NAHBS 2013 preview: IF Bikes to show new Gravel Royale

Bike porn alert! The North American Handmade Bicycle Show starts tomorrow. Here's a preview of some of the best looking bikes

by David Arthur   February 21, 2013  

The North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) opens its doors in Denver, US tomorrow for its 2013 edition, housing some of the most exotic cycling manufacturers from around the world. The show runs for three days, 22-24 February.

The trend for handmade bicycles is in very good health and the last few years have seen more new manufacturers launching in the US and here on home turf. NAHBS brings many of the most highly acclaimed frame builders who’ll be showing off their beautifully crafted frames that in many cases look back to the past for inspiration or are a glimpse of the future.

Last year the Southampton’s Demon Cycleworks, who have only been going for about four years, scooped the prestigious Best Road Bike award. No mean feat. The winning bike, a Demon Frameworks Manhattan, is pictured above.

Anyway, enough misty-eyed reminiscencing, let’s have a look ahead to this year’s show. We won’t give you the full list of exhibitors here, you can that that list behind this link. Some of the standout names include Alchemy, Zullo, Yipsan, Tommasini, Strong Frames, Soulcraft, Silk, Richard Sachs, Moots, Merlin, Kirklees, Hampsten Cycles, Guru, English, Demon, Dean, Brompton, Crumpton and Calfee, to name but a few.

And ahead of the show, we can reveal Independent Fabrication will be showcasing their brand new Gravel Royale for the very first time. It's a bike designed for the trend of long-distance gravel races over in the States. Think a merging of a road bike and a cyclo-cross bike with disc brakes and you're generally along the right lines. The key design criteria is clearance for fitting slightly fatter tyres for comfort and traction on the loose surfaces, and disc brakes seem a natural choice. Geometry is usually a touch more relaxed than a road bike's too.

IF Bikes are being coy with details at the moment, obviously waiting until the show to reveal all the details.

What we can ascertain though is it has steel frame and fork with mechanical disc brakes and clearance for reasonably chunky tyres. It looks stunningly beautiful with elegant clean lines and a lovely paint finish.

Excuse me while I take a moment...

Other bikes from IF include a Lamborghini Orange and Meteorite Silver Metallic Planet X.

And a carbon Corvid with silver lugs.

Fancy.

Mosaic Cycles is a Boulder-based bespoke bicycle manufacturer of titanium and steel frames led by frame builder Aaron Barcheck. They’ve been going just four years.

This here is their RT-1, a titanium 3/2.5 frame with custom butted and oversized tubes. It has an integrated seatmast and internal Di2 and EPS routing, it’s pictured here with a Campagnolo EPS groupset.

They’ll also be showing this lovely disc-equipped cyclo-cross bike. It’s uses the Hope V-Twin cable-to-hydraulic disc brake converter.

Kelson Bikes builds custom carbon, titanium and steel bikes. Frame builder Brian Williams has spent many years working with carbon fibre and this Custom Carbon Road bikes will be the star of their stand (it’s also an entrant for the Best Carbon Construction award).

Tubes are rider-specific and use a bladder moulding process with hand-crafted cable stops and brake bridge, all built in-house.

This is the Black Sheep Fabrication’s big-wheels cruiser bike, singlespeed and disc brakes and swept back bars.

Paketa Custom Bikes have been going for 11 years and use magnesium, a rarely seen frame material these days, after a brief flourish of popularity in the 1990s. They use AZ61 magnesium alloy (93% magnesium, 6% aluminum, and 1% zinc) for all their frames.

As well as road bikes, they like their tandems. They’ll be showing the world’s lightest travel tandem (their claim, not ours) at NAHBS. They’ll be displaying two D2r travel tandems, one with two couplings and one with four coupling. The 4-coupling version fits into two cases small enough to fit into tight spaces, while the 2-coupling versions pack into a standard-size single bike travel case. The titanium S&S couplings are exclusive to Paketa.

Carbon frame manufacturer Calfee are entered into the Best Alternative Material award category, with the Bamboo Pro.

It features internal cable routing and full Campagnolo EPS integration and is one of the first bikes we’ve seen to use Look’s Zed 2 crankset. This crankset, reportedly the lightest on the market, requires a huge 65mm shell.

This is Calfee’s road bike designed specifically for the gravel racing scene that is popular in the US. It’s designed around 650b wheels which means 32-42mm tyres can be fitted, with the same overall size more or less as a 700c wheel - so more comfort and bump absorption without any loss of rolling speed.

It has Enve carbon rims with mechanical Avid disc brakes and Shimano Di2 groupset.

And here’s Calfee’s unique one-piece handlebar/stem with an integrated K-Edge Garmin mount.

Here’s a look back at last year with highlights part one and part two.

More info at http://2013.handmadebicycleshow.com/