2013 NAHBS: Highlights and Winners from Denver


The 2013 NAHBS or North American Handmade Bicycle Show took place in Denver this year, and showcased US and international handmade bicycle frame builders. It encompassed everyone from larger companies, to one-person operations, whom all have the passion and love for handbuilt bikes. The bikes are predominantly made from steel and titanium and aluminum, and sometimes with more exotic materials, including carbon fiber, wood and bamboo. Bikes encompassed every type imaginable, including road, townie, city, track, TT, mountain, BMX, folding and fat tire.

What I noticed from around the show, was that a lot of designers were using belt drive systems, especially in conjunction with internally geared hubs. I saw this on quite a few bike categories, including fat tire designs. Another common component on bikes was ENVE rims, which was nice to see, since they’re light, strong and phenomenal for just about any system.

Saturday’s Awards

  • Alchemy Bicycle Co. — Best carbon construction
  • No Award given — Best steel construction
  • Bishop Bikes — Best road bike
  • Bilenky Cycles — Best lugged frame
  • No Award given — Best experimental design
  • Steve Potts Cycles — Best TIG frame
  • Kent Eriksen & Black Sheep Fabrication — Best titanium construction
  • Boo Bicycles — Best alternative material
  • Cherubim by Shin-Ichi Konno — Best city bike
  • Retro-Inglis Cycles — Best mountain bike
  • Mosaic Cycles — Best cyclocross bike
  • Black Sheep Fabrication & Calfee Design — Best tandem
  • No Award given — Best utility bicycle
  • Matsuda Cycle Factory — Best track bicycle

Sunday’s Awards

  • Winter Bicycles — Best finish
  • Moots — Best Theme Bike and People’s Choice
  • Avery County Cycles — Best new builder
  • Level — President’s Choice
  • English Cycles — Best of Show

Shamrock Cycles
The paint job on the Galway 650 B52 bike really caught my attention. The bike was created for Edward Deason of London England, and the painting was done by Corby Concepts. The front triangle is bi-laminate (fillet brazed custom lugs) construction with hand cut lugs, while the rear is a Ventana painted to match. The paint job is meant to emulate an old fighter plane, hence the occasional rivet graphics and aluminum color. I also liked the small attention to detail, like the shamrock shaped water bottle mounts.

Tim O’Donnell of Shamrock Cycles builds his steel bikes somewhere in the mountains of Indiana, and he has a great website name, lugoftheirish.com.

38 Frameworks
The Hogback is supposedly the only USA made full-carbon fat tire bike on the market. The frame uses aerospace grade carbon fiber tubing, a 170mm rear spacing, and accepts 100mm rims and 4.7″ tires, and weighs in at 3.5 lbs. The frame retails for $2400 or $2600 with the Carver O’Beast carbon fork. They gave the bike some light-green sparkles with the clearcoat, making for a fetching paint scheme. They’re located in Denver, and in addition to the trick carbon Hogback, they make the aluminum fat tire Jackalope.

Vibe Cycles
The Vibe Lincoln was certainly an eye catcher with the bright copper plating interspersed with black paint, along with the nice attention to detail on this steel fat bike. He even copper plated Surly’s Rolling Daryls. Vibe not only makes steel fat bikes, but bamboo and aluminum, and soon perhaps titanium might be in the works.

All their bikes include a cool built in Blinky on the top of the seatstay and Vibe flask and flask holder.

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on the trail.

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  • John Sokuda says:

    Word from the show is that the awards process has gotten “funky” and “screwy” and therefore some builders are still showing but not participating in the awards competition. This is worth reporting on, don’t you think?

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