2010 was the last year the North American Handmade Bicycle Show was held in the Eastern states of North America. Craftsmen from all over the world would convene this weekend in North Carolina's concrete jungle of downtown Charlotte. 150+ of the best hand crafters in the world do this annually and travel from as far away as Tokyo Japan each to compete for top building honors. It'd be a mix of Industry giants down to the sole proprietor who's turned his garage into his play house, each represented at 2014's show and each with equal chance at taking home one of fifteen trophies.
Downtown Charlotte, like most of the cities in the United States, has undergone some revitalization over recent years. Downtown was rocking with lots to do, see, eat, and drink. The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art was one of the more interesting buildings along S Tryon St, the epicenter of downtown. But wait, we are not here to sight-see, we're here to see some hand made bicycle goodness.
The Charlotte Convention Center was the site for the 2014 show. All of the exhibitors where set up in one of the halls located in the basement of the center. Old grandfather time says it's past 10:00 a.m., doors are open, time to go get a lookzy ourselves.
The contest for the more utilitarian fat bike was between Moots
(top pic) and Boo
(bottom pic). Moots with their trail service attack vehicle and Boo with mountaineering/skiiing two wheeler fat bike. Which every might suite your personal needs, both were loaded to the rims (pun intended) with all the necessary tools of the trade. Very sick!
If it were up to us, the Festka
crew had no competition with the artistic expression awards. Their handful of bikes looked much too nice to ride and would be better suited to hang on the wall as piece of art work. The Czech crew were in a class of their own.
Though the weekend focus was on the small biz and hand crafter in the industry, some of the big names in the industry were on hand. Shimano, DT-Swiss, Chris King, Boyd Cycling (each pictured above), and few others were showing some support displaying some their products though on a much smaller scale when compared to similar trade shows. Six Eleven Cycles
, nice lines, excellent choice of build parts, and nice color choice. Xprezo
out of Bromont Canada was the only company we saw that had DH goodness on display. A revised pre-production Furax was on display in raw aluminum that we were told was still in process of being developed..... also the Endruo/AM Adhoc in BRIGHT Pink and Yellow. Personally, I like the Adhoc... color has always been my friend. Pegoretti
had a flair for the artistic side in both their booth setup and expression of what bikes should be.
A pair of HED Triple Crown retro racers.
Some of the most intricate handy work was from Sunrise Cycles
and Yu Takai, whom came from the other side of the world, Tokyo Japan.
One of what they have labeled, "The Original Six", Don Walker
had some his company's great stuff on display. He's one of the six folks credited with putting on this show, with the first held in 2005 down in the great state of Texas.
There was a long line of the "little guys" along the west wall of the expo. Innovators, artisans, and just all around good regular folk, each with their own spin on the industry.... that's what makes this business what it is.
I wonder if BME Design
was inspired by the radar deflecting lines of Lockheed's F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter?
Strider Push Bike? Neah, KISH
built a display model fully worthy of a full hard tall build for the little tike future shredders out there.
One of the US Distributors of Germany's Rohloff
geared rear hub was on hand. Sick little pieces that were surprisingly light weight, considering all the internal parts. It will be interesting to see how the mainstream industry and public choose to adapt to this technology (or not) over the next several years. We are starting to see more and more of this stuff every year.
I think we all need one of these for our trail rides. No need to go to the bar when you can take it with you. There were a couple of these similar setups in the show. This one was Campagnolo's
take on the beverage delivery service.
The Best Mountain Bike of 2014 award..... we're on board with that. Nicely done Bread Winner
Exogrid has re-defined the term "Machining Tolerances" with their unique joints and carbon infused Titanium frames. Way cool and come with a pretty hefty price rag...... It's Ti/C, what do you expect?
Urban themed Broakland Bikes
made the trip from the west coast, Oakland, CA. Love the vibe this company put off, not to mention the selection and quality of their product line.
It's not a function of quantity, it's a function of quality. Simple was what Geekhouse Bikes
went for and it seemed to work. One of the simplest, yet most elegant displays at the show.
Lots of drive assist going around the industry these days. Seems the options are endless as are the selection of builders, each with their own spin on what the product requirements should be. VP Components
brought out their Boo "All Mountain" hard tall. HT or not, I'd bet it's fully capable of holding it's own on it's descents.
Colors! Colors! Colors!
Always a great chat with Ted and Drew from Industry Nine
. Great "Local to North Carolina" outfit with the best looking wheels on the market. Ride in WNC, whether it's Pisgah, Dupont, or Bent Creek and a majority of what you see is from I-9.
Enve was a name we saw lots of this weekend. Builders, including Calfee Design
, opted for their carbon line to complete the finishing details of their two wheeled freaks.
You can't have a St. Patty's day weekend event without seeing some signs of the Irish..... even at a bike show. Happy St. Patrick's Day Everybody!!!
2014 NAHBS Awards:
Best City or Utility Bike: Cykel Mageren
Best Road Bike: Kent Eriksen Cycles, Steamboat Springs CO
Best Mountain Bike: Breadwinner Cycles
Best Cyclocross Bike: Retrotec & Inglis Cycles
Best Track Bike: Six-Eleven Bicycle Co.
Best Tandem Bike: Co-Motion Cycles
Best Fillet Frame: Ellis Cycles
Best Tig Frame: Kent Eriksen Cycles
Best Layup: Argonaut Cycles
Best Finish: Independent Fabrication
Best Theme: SyCip Bicycles
Best New Builder: Harvey Cycles
President's Choice: Peacock Groove
People's Choice: Six-Eleven Bicycle Co.
Best in Show: Argonaut Cycles
More information, news, press releases and event photos can be found at the event website: 2014 NAHBS
. Catch the 2015 show next year in Louisville, Kentucky.
Event Sponsors: Oskar Blue BreweryGates Carbon DriveShimanoQBPCampagnoloPedro'sChris King Components