NAHBS highlights 2: Starring DeLorean, Sarto, English & Crumpton
Back to the Future and a bit of a battle of the weight weenies in our second lot of North American Handbuilt Bike Show highlights
You had me at the word ‘DeLorean’. Let’s face it, for people over a certain age, there remains nothing cooler than Doc Brown’s time travelling machine. So having one on your stand was going to win you a lot of fans. Hell, if I’d had a credit card that could have withstood the pain, I would have signed up for one of the new DeLorean bikes, which were launched at NAHBS. It’s an official licensing collaboration between Texan entrepreneur Stephen Wynne and Sarto Cycles – a not-so-well known Italian framebuilder (more on them in a minute).
Wynne holds the rights to the DeLorean name (and still makes the cars), and has sanctioned the bikes to be made, in, that’s right, stainless steel. These prototypes didn’t have quite the correct brushed steel finish (the production ones will), but they still looked excellent.
Prices were fairly eyewatering for the hybrid (the road frame’s price hadn’t been fixed yet), but not totally out of the ordinary for an XCR frame. Crazy wheels, EPS and champagne finishing kit optional. The company will soon have a website up and running, and will be taking orders.
Sarto, by the way, also had a tasty looking range of Italian-made bikes. According to their representatives, they’ve been one of the big hidden names in the contracting and rebadging business in Italy for donkeys’ years; only now are they coming out of the shadows to launch their own bikes. They certainly looked like the framebuilders knew what they were doing – and they were very Italian, if you know what I mean. Clear fave was the deliciously bad taste Liger TT bike.
Flying the St George’s flag in a corner of the States is Rob English - remember him? - and his booth was getting a lot of attention. He was displaying his own bike, which used a combination of carbon and steel to tip the scales – complete – at 10.8lbs (4.9kg). Using pretty much every weight-saving trick in the book – except, of course, for being mainly steel – the bike looked great.
One nice touch among many was the down-tube shifter for the front derailleur, ditching all the gubbins in the left-hand brake lever and saving precious grams. English says he’ll race the bike this season, which should be interesting. If it was me, I’d worry about the pencil-thin seatstays in all the rough and tumble – but, being neither a racer nor a framebuilder, my opinion on that isn’t worth the pixels it’s printed on.
Not to be beaten in the weight-weeny stakes, was Crumpton Cycles is an Austin-based company that uses Enve tubes for its carbon bikes (a bit like Alchemy, in our first round up). Its trump card at the show was a 9lb-plus-change (4kg or so) road bike. The company says it was made for a customer, so not just an exercise in lightness, and that the component spec was down to him. Yes, that carbon chainring won't last long, and the AX Lightness brakes won't stop you super quick, but if you want a bike that flies away in a stiff breeze, that's the price you pay.
The frame itself is only 666g, and has a satin clear coat, and a painted logotype underneath (16g in total, since you asked), which protects the epoxy resin from the sun. Against a black background, the black bike was difficult to photograph – apologies. You can always check it out on Crumpton’s site. http://www.crumptoncycles.com/project-bikes.html
NB: Rob English points out on his blog that the Crumpton didn’t have either pedals or bottle cages…