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North American Handmade Bike Show (NAHBS) Report

My head is spinning. As a frame builder, lover of all things two-wheeled, and self-diagnosed bike geek, the trip to the North American Handmade Bike Show (NAHBS) was pure nirvana. Never before have I been surrounded by such a vast expanse of like-minded folk—builders and attendees conversing in velo-speak about the sometimes subtle nuances of each display.

Within the halls of the Denver Convention Center were over 200 builders and exhibitors of steel, aluminum, Ti, carbon, and beyond. A quick search around the interwebs will churn up a never-ending photo gallery of rolling art from this year’s show. I spent the majority of my time snapping pics of ideas, with little regard to photographic excellence, but wanted to pass along some of my observations from the show that might not appear on Cyclingnews or your favorite forum.

My favorite part of the show was not a particular bike, but rather, the openness of the frame builders to discuss their trade, techniques, and love of building bikes for their clients. Even though rubbing shoulders and picking brains with legends of frame building like Steve Potts and Kent Eriksen had me feeling as flushed as a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert, their down-to-earth demeanor was hard to ignore. Time and time again I found myself discussing the finer points of a particular dropout or tube selection with another builder as if we’d been friends since birth. One row of the show was dedicated to those builders who have been in business less than two years, or who have built less than 40 frames. Logically, these were my guys, many of whom share my own conundrum of building frames as a supplement to a normal economic gig. I spent a lot of time in row one.

Connecting with so many people in the industry, and learning so much about everything from how Ti tubes are made to the inner workings of product liability insurance, will have me going back again next year, funds permitting. What a great event!

Below: One half of the new Paragon Machine Works wishbone chainstay yoke. Room for 3” tires, oh my!

Paragon Machine Works wishbone chainstay yoke

The new PMW Pollydrop has postmount disk options and can do belts, singles, 12 × 142 mm, and everything in between but comes with a heavy price and weight factor.

PMW Pollydrop

This woody gave me a …

Wooden bicycle

The chainstay yoke of the new 650B Eriksen 5” bike. What I wouldn’t give to trash this one a nice piece of single. Sometimes new designs look half-ass, sometimes they are perfect. This is the latter for sure.

Chainstay yoke for new 650B Eriksen 5" bike

650B Eriksen 5" bike

Postmount options are coming of age, but no steel versions are available yet from PMW.

PMW postmount

More than a few custom stem-bar combos were spotted.

Custom stem-bar combo

I need a custom Ti Fat Bike, don’t you?

Custom Ti Fat Bike

Some bikes just look fast sitting still.

English bike

I talked to the builder about how this was made. Envision building a steel bike, cutting it apart, and replacing some of the tubes with carbon ones, then trying to put it back together. Yeah, um, okay…

Custom-built bike

A new take on pivots from Dean. Super simple, love it.

Dean pivots

OMG, I love gray-and-orange bikes.

Gray and orange bike

And maybe my favorite bike of the show: the IMBA bike from Moots. Speechless!

Moots IMBA bike


Mike Best is the creator of BOCOMO Bikes. Check out his bio for more information. If you have any questions about the article, feel free to contact Mike.

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