NAHBS 2009 roundup

March 3rd, 2009
El Matidor and Cherry Bomb

El Matador and Cherry Bomb

Andrea and I are almost home from our trip to Indianapolis for the 2009 North American Handmade Bike Show. The bikes look like they survived Air Canada so far. I’m a bit nervous to see how they are after the Vancouver baggage handlers had their usual way with them.  The boxes have some tell-tale security repacking tape. I will leave that little suprise for tomorrow!

The show was definitely a success in many ways. As usual we learned a lot from the other exhibitors and met a lot of very nice and very genuine people from all over. This years had the highest attendance yet.  By mid-day Saturday it certainly felt that way!

There are some great gallery’s and write ups at:

The “Cherry Bomb” Mountain bike we brought turned out to be quite a hit with the public and we were honoured to receive peoples choice for the second year in a row. I was also delighted by the great response to the little city cruiser we brought. I am delighted by all the press but now I have to remind everyone that most of our usual bikes are MUCH more low key and budget friendly.  Shows are for show bikes, now is time for real bikes for real people. The bikes I bring to NAHBS are there to catch imagination of kid in all of us who just plain loves bikes in all there strange and wonderful incantations. The idea with this one was to take the lines and modern technology of a modern rig and give it some old-skool building charm. I was delighted to see that many other builders where also not afraid to step outside of 1975 and let there mind wander a bit.

Some real notable bikes and builders came from all sorts of places, some predictable, some not so much. The two real show stoppers for me was Kieth Anderson’s stellar mini cruiser complete with baseball card braze-ons and Black Sheep’s 36″ wheeler that was so well balanced and thought out, it actually made 36″ wheels look “normal”. Both of these would have easily got my vote for best in show.

I was also blown away as usual by the lug work executed by Waterford and a few others. Suzzanne’s headbadges were gorgeous one of a kind art pieces. The attitude towards bikes and building shown by builders such as ANT and Bilenky really define what bikes and building should be all about and strive for in my standard builds.  I am always a fan of Erikson’s simple beauty, Engin’s smart designs and Sasha’s classy, elegant branding. I always like to see what IF is up to. I really like the empire they have built for themselves. I was delighted to discover some great builders we hadn’t met before. Shamrock cycles was definitely populated by a great bunch of Hoosiers and some fine frames. October bikes was a great new find for us as well.

I’m sure we missed some beautiful bikes andpeople, and the truth is everyone at the show had some great things to offer.

I had a lot of help with the show bikes we brought this year including, White Brothers, Brooks, Cane Creek, FSA, Chris King, Garnet Kehns, Schwalbe tires, Wheel Fanatyk, Rich guitars, Shamrock cycles, Joe’s Bikes and Mike Corby.