Handmade Bikes in the Wild – Naked Cycles

Editor’s note: Each year we cover dozens of the most beautiful bikes in the world at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show and other local shows. But what happens to them after the display booths are disassembled and the lights go out? After all, bikes are built to be ridden, not to sit around and look pretty. So we followed up with some of the bikes and builders we’ve covered in the past to see how these works of art are holding up.

By Montana Miller. Photos courtesy of Sam Whittingham.

Sam Whittingham founded Naked Bicycles on Quadra Island, British Columbia 14 years ago. He builds everything from steel track to long wheel-base cargo bikes. At last year’s NAHBS, he showed a gorgeous stainless steel road bike. We followed up to ask him where it’s been.

Dirt Rag: Where is the bike now?

Whittingham: The stainless "road adventure" I rode to the show and displayed last year has become my daily all road bike. Currently waiting patiently for me by the shop door.

What’s the best ride you’ve had on the bike?

I’ve had a few great rides on this thing. I did the 275km Victoria Grand Fondo, a huge epic on paved and not so paved roads with mondo climbs. Also did a few logging road exploratory rides. Most recent epic all road adventure was "100k on New Year’s Day". That included single track, road, logging roads and even some beach.

What kind of riding are you doing the most on the bike? Is it being used to do what it was designed for?

Definitely being used for that which it was designed and then some.

How many hours went into building the bike, and how many hours has it been ridden?

think build time on that bike was about 30 hours, with all the custom touches. Ride time is at least 400 hrs so far, with lots more to come.

Now that you’ve used the bike, is there anything you would change?

Not really. I swapped out the Nokon housing for standard, which improved the shifting. I also did my own change to the Paul Racer Brakes so they are linear pull instead of standard yoke pull. Not quite as powerful but completely eliminates any dreaded yoke pull fork shudder

What cool stuff are you bringing to Denver?

I’m concentrating on customer bikes this year.


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