Color, Craft, and Creativity: The North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2012

Well the weekend has come to a close and I hope that everyone got to enjoy the amazing weather. As for me, a bit of cycling culture rolled through town and I couldn’t help but check it out. On saturday afternoon, I packed up the fam, met up with up with Schoppmans, and hit up the North American Handmade Bike Show in downtown Sacramento.

A rare treat to have the event hosted in our hometown, it was a great opportunity to check out the latest in handmade bike trends and see who was pushing the limits of creativity. This year there was an even greater appeal as it was a chance to take my son to his first bike show. How cool, right!?

The Bikes

Well, I’m very pleased to say that my first trip to the NAHBS did not disappoint. It was a special glimpse into the carefree and crafty world of cycling…a side that I probably don’t frequent enough. Fully expecting some timeless steel frames, expert metalwork, and vibrant color, I was blown away to see the extent at which the participants expanded on these ideas. Steel was just a fraction of the floor. Instead, we were bombarded by a bevy of unorthodox materials and finishes as we swept down the aisles. Contoured wood frames, Bamboo architecture complete with internal cabling, tricked out tandems, and outrageous mountain monsters were scattered throughout the show.


Putting the intricacies of these bikes into words is just a bit out of my realm so I’m happy to let you cruise the gallery below to full understand what was on display.  However, I do think it is necessary to make note of a few gems and trends as you browse the slideshow.

  1. Bran and I agreed that the monster mountain bike to the right wins best of show. I mean, can you imagine stomping down a hill on that bad boy?  Unbelievable.  There are a few more shots of it below and on one you’ll notice that rather than sporting a water bottle cage, it has a holster for a flask…probably not a bad thing to have a little medicine for when you wreck with this tank.
  2. Apparently there is a full on trend of rolling with a flask on your bike.  Originally I thought it was a fluke reserved for the aforementioned tank, but I caught at least three other shots in three separate booths.  Apparently it is the new hotness?  Sounds fun!
  3. I had thought I was pretty impressed with bamboo bikes…that is until I met the guy from the “Boo” booth. Dude was practically sporting wood …terrible bamboo joke but seriously, look at that grin! pure excitement over his own product.  pretty cool.
  4. Great Scott! The Delorean actually rolled in the auto to the show.  pretty nuts but I hope their bikes perform better than the original.

The Gear

Beyond bikes, we gazed upon pressed leather paniers, custom jerseys (a personal fav), and many more slick accessories that were there to fill in all the gaps. The two standout booths as far as gear was concerned seemed to be brooks (saddles and all things leather) and Twin Six for apparel. I’ve already got too many jersey’s to count but they had a collection worth a second look, some sweet caps, and a few onesies that would have been worth pulling the trigger on for the little guy.  I’m sure there is much that I’m leaving out but that is what you get when you pack so much into a single afternoon.

The Way of Life

What I saw this weekend was more than style, artistry, and engineering.  It was a way of life, a mindset that values creativity over performance (if the two have to conflict) and that honors the need to create something new. For every carbon wheel I saw, there was another that was pulling spokes for weight/style. Its a pretty cool thing to see. Long-story-short, I left the show inspired. If you ever have the chance, you’ve gotta check it out. And if you were there too, leave your thoughts in the comments. I’d love to hear about other perspectives, niches of the show that I may have glossed over, and see any more shots if you have any!

Well that is all for now.  Enjoy the gallery!  See you soon.


Enjoy the full Gallery Below (click for a slideshow)

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