The North American Handmade Bicycle Show is a gathering place for a subculture of people who painstakingly hand-craft bicycles and items that most cyclists can purchase ready made on Amazon. Measured by Wall Street's scale of corporate indifference, there is no justifiable reason to TIG-weld a steel hardtail in the solitude of a 900 square foot shop crammed with second-hand machinery, and then sell it for what amounts to an average day-job wage. We have largely become consumers, dependent upon pre-made goods and instant satisfaction. We upgrade our phones, lease our cars, and arrange for work to be done. We freak out if packages take more than 24 hours to arrive. Time equals money.
What can't be measured is the sense of empowerment that comes from making things - from doing it ourselves. If you can weld up a bike, you could make a motorcycle without much trouble; if you can lay up a carbon front triangle, it wouldn't be a stretch to mold a prosthetic leg. The self-confidence generated by turning an idea into a physical, useful object with your own hands far exceeds the value of the creation. The North American Handmade Bicycle Show is packed with people who get that. Some of them have been making bicycles for decades, while others are celebrating their first frames, and how awesome it feels to join the club. It's an inspiration.
Altruiste Bicycle Company
Altruiste's founder and builder Gabriel Lang Is from New Brunswick, in eastern Canada, where he mainly builds with chromoly, but is experimenting with titanium. The ex-downhiller worked for some prominent Canadian builders as a welder before founding his own brand. He's pretty much a one-man show.
Lang believes that plush suspension is more efficient in the long run, even at the expense of pedal bobbing, which is why both his dirt-jump and trail bike designs use a concentric bottom bracket pivot location for their swingarms. I liked his asymmetric shock and seat tube arrangement. It is a simple solution that should be lighter weight and stronger than the more common work-arounds.
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