Behind the scene at NAHBS


Taking it over the top in 2011

One of the most rewarding things about shooting bikes and builders at NAHBS is having a couple of minutes away from the bustle of the show floor to chat with individuals behind the bikes. The builders seem to appreciate a brief respite from the constant barrage of questions and talking points—it’s nice to see everyone relax just a bit and take a deep breath.

A few builders this year pushed details of their show bikes a little beyond a level that might be considered, well, practical. We’ll call these “stories of great ideas, likely never to be executed again.”

Keep in mind there are dozens of similar stories at any given handmade bike show. These are just the stories I was lucky enough to hear, and fortunate enough to be able to pass on.

Sean Chaney from Vertigo showed us his 29er mountain bike with a Ti hydraulic brake line running internally through the downtube, and out to through the chainstays. Using banjo fittings to connect the hydraulic line on either end makes for a super clean and seemingly robust setup.

This was one of my favorite functional details from the show. Unfortunately, we may never see this again as this process was simply too expensive and time consuming for Sean to consider doing again. The raw materials for this project alone were a couple hundred dollars, and required two days of his time to execute.

All that said, maybe you could twist Sean’s arm with enough dough to convince him to do it again, just don’t tell him I sent you…

Wade Beauchamp from Vulture Cycles showed this beautiful red “Skirt Bike” for his wife. We’ll be featuring this bike in Bicycle Times Issue #11, so subscribe here by April 20 to be sure not to miss the coverage.

Wade has wanted to hand-hammer some fenders for years, and these puppies are simply gorgeous in an organic, rough-around-the-edges sort of way. Will he ever do something like this again? Not likely, based on his description of the process. Imagine hammering the underside of the fenders first for shape, then working back around the outside to finish aesthetically. Each of those beautiful little dimples is the result of a loving strike with a ball-peen hammer. Yikes….I can’t imagine.

Bonus point for anyone who can convince Wade to do that again…

Rody Walter from Groovy is known for his wild and intricate paint jobs, but his description of the process for this “dinosaur skin” paint job left me speechless. 27 hours of painting and multiple thousands of individual masking dots—painstakingly installed, and painstakingly removed—went into this masterpiece.

If you’ve ever looked at the underside of a lizard, you know their skin gets lighter on their belly. Look at the underside of the tubes on this Groovy, and you’ll see the same fade to lighter skin under all of the tubes. Unfortunately, your half-wit photographer didn’t get a good photo of the underbelly of the tubes.

Rody, you’re a much more patient (and talented) man than I’ll ever be… So much so, I can even see him tackling another project like this again.



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