Sunday, March 05, 2006

North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2006

The North American Handmade Bike Show is held in San Jose, California this year. As it is 4.57 miles away, I had no reason not to attend : )

I was there!

Rather than being held in the main convention building at San Carlos and Market, the bike show is located in the giant blue tent behind it.

The famous tricycle, by Vanilla Bicycles. That's one expensive toy for your kid. Those tubes are all titanium.

Cane Creek's booth. I like their hubs

A very nice road bike for a really petite adult, or a very lucky kid.

A sentence on the sign states that this one-off tandem bike by Co-Motion is not for sale. The bike was created when they stumbled upon a cache of vintage formed steel tubes used to make bedposts.

Besides their signature carbon fiber bikes, Calfee Design brought 3 bikes made from bamboo tubes. Is that a single-speed or is that a single-speed?

Phil Wood's booth. A very nice lady here managed to convince me to whip out my check book for a pair of trinkets.

Merlin's booth. I forgot to ask about their new Merlin Works line up.

Why? The engraving on the Merlin Cyrene distracted me. As if plain polished titanium isn't enough. Hubba! Hubba! All of Merlin Metalwork's road frames are designed by Tom Kellogg.

Check out the engraving on the head tube. (Photo credit: Trail Riders of Greater Stanislaus (TROGS))

On the other side is the Litespeed booth. The arrangement makes sense. Both companies are now owned by the American Bicycle Group.

The Litespeed Niota Ti's linkage caught my eye. Is that a beauty or what? The bike is yours for US$6199.

White Industries' offering. I made a fool of myself when I asked the gentleman where were the suspension forks and he went, "Ah, you must be thinking about White Brothers!" Doh! Find me a place to hide!

Check out the rear rotor of this tandem by Santana Tandem. This carbon fiber titanium tandem has couplers to enable easy disassembly and transport of the bicycle. There's one at the top left hand corner of the picture. According to the staff, the couplers are extremely strong as they are not simply glued on to pre-fabricated carbon tubes but rather, carbon fiber tubes are formed around the couplers.

Roark Custom Titanium Bicycles shows off their racer-in-a-suitcase. It appears to use the same type of couplers. Moots offers this option as well. Speaking of Moots, I didn't see them around here.

Paul Components. I like their jig. It enables people to actually squeeze the brake levers and get a "feel" of the mechanism.

Reynolds was there promoting their new steel alloy, Reynolds 953. One of its biggest selling points is that it has the same corrosion resistance as stainless steel.

A cross-sectional view of some Reynolds 953 tubes. The material is very thin, but the tube is very strong. More detailed information can be found here (scroll down).

A fork leg, drop-outs, brake bosses, and integrated headset bearing races made from Reynolds 953.

Vicious Cycles' "kiss" paint job. Muah!

Spectrum Cycles' booth. Tom Kellogg was away regaling attendees with stories.

The paint scheme of this bike reminds me of my first mountain bike. A top-of-the-line Bridgestone MB-0 (Zip) back in 1991. Mr. E has an identical one too : )

An all-wood rim at the Wheel Builders booth.

I missed the 12 PM presentation, "How to choose your next frame-builder," by Tom Kellogg.

But I managed to catch him (and others) regaling the crowd with anecdotes and stories at 5:15 PM.

Some of the storytellers. Tom Kellogg is the gentleman in the grey Polo tee-shirt in the center. To his right is Richard Sachs.

The trinket I got from the Phil Wood booth: mini hubs. They are fully functional and made with the same precision too. Just like their big brothers, they spin forever.

A wide angle view of the bike show. As you can see, they only took up half of the tent.

The atmosphere is definitely different. There's a passion in the air. The attitude is not "How many units can we sell? How can we increase sales volume?" but "How can we make our bikes better? How much closer can we get to perfection? How can we build the perfect bike to fit the unique you?" I found myself speaking not so much with sales associates but artisans.


The following pictures were taken by MTBR founder, francois.

Lugs and fork crowns by Richard Sachs.

Custom Phil Woods rear hubs for the Vanilla titanium tricycle.

Vanilla Bicycles' rear drop outs.


zeenie said...

Man, that sounded like a really really cool exhibition to attend. Lucky you! Short of us turning back time and flying across the world to attend, looking at your pictures and reading your description is the next best thing. Thanks!

-ben said...

Thanks for dropping by, zeenie. The pictures don't do justice to the exhibition. There were a lot of gorgeous steel bikes and carbon fiber bikes as well, I just chose to focus on the titanium stuff. Also, there were companies offering jigs for constructing bicycles, machine tools, bike parts such as lugs, drop outs, fork legs, raw tube sets, etc. I.e. basically stuff that is useless to anyone not skilled in miting, welding, or filing and brazing bicycle frames. I just found out that the Vanilla titanium tricycle uses custom Phil Wood hubs. Is that insane or what?

Amy said...

Oh My!!!
I want those Phil Wood Mini Hubs - Lugs Lugs and more Lugs make me drool.

-ben said...

More lugs here, Amy : )
Lugs and crowns by Richard Sachs.
Custom Phil Woods rear hub for Vanilla titanium tricycle.
Vanilla Bicycle's rear drop outs.

Pictures by francois, MTBR Overlord.