The world’s number one custom bicycles show, the Shimano North American Handmade Bicycle Show moves from city to city each year. It happened this weekend at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Virginia. The show is dedicated to showcasing the talents of individuals around the world whose art form is the bicycle. It aims to be a meeting point-online and in person-for frame builders and consumers looking for custom-made bikes, for the sharing of ideas, and the promotion of a special industry with a rich history dating back to 1819. Since its first year in 2005, NAHBS has grown from a show with 23 exhibitors and 700 attendees, to 150 exhibitors and 7200 attendees.
Here are some of the prize winners from the 2010 show.
Ellis Cycles – Best of Show
Dave Wages, owner of Ellis Cycles, would like first and foremost to thank his wife for putting up with the hectic schedule completing his Best in Show-winning bike. “I had a similar bike in mind before last year’s show, but couldn’t finish it in time.” This year’s entrant and eventual winner was built for a customer from San Francisco, and the proud owner-to-be flew into Richmond to see his machine take top honors.
Asked for the secret of the bike’s success, Wages said, “It’s shiny but understated. I keep a classic look to my bikes and there’s no one element that draws attention to itself. The beauty is integral.”
Bilenky – Best Road Frame
Stephen Bilenky of Philadelphia has been building bikes for nearly 30 years, in the first 25 of which he focused on making tandem bicycles. His award winning model is an old French style tandem, using modern geometry and updated components. “It was built for a tandem review in a magazine. The frame is simplistic–a fillet brazed tandem–but it came out so well with the box pin-striping and luggage racks that we saw it as a show bike,” explained Stephen Bilenky.
Richard Sachs – Best Track Frame
Richard Sachs liked this bike so much that he told the customer he’d like to buy it back if it ever went up for sale. A few years later, the customer sold it back to him. Around the year 1990 Richard Sachs got to a point where some frames he makes get very close to his ideal of how a frame should be. “You never know if you’ll get there again, so I’d like to keep a couple of these frames. This is one of them.” It is a 1970s style frame, with narrow (by modern standards) sized tubes, juxtaposed with 2009 components.”
Crumpton – Best Carbon Fiber
Nick Crumpton denies he’s rigid. “I’ve heard from people I’m not flexible,” he said. His custom, scratch-made full carbon fiber frames are built using measuring tape and discussion — and a little intuition. Show him how you sit on a bike and then give him freedom to work, and, he says, he will build the best bike he can build. Having built for about 6 years, he got a call to participate in the first NAHBS show in Houston right after quitting his day job in 2004. Crumpton taught himself how to work with his unusual material. Cracking books, surfing the internet and experimentation led him to a place where he’s comfortable crafting a very different kind of bike.
Ericksen – Best Titanium
Kent Ericksen chooses each tube set according to the physique, riding style, and intended use of each customer, and he builds in titanium only. The winning bicycle was chosen as a show model because of its clean, simple, elegant and functional design–which represents Kent Ericksen’s values.