NAHBS 2013 – City bikes

Karen Brooks

Building a bike to be an everyday vehicle gives a lot of opportunities for creative framebuilders to add all kinds of amenities to their NAHBS show bikes. Here’s a few that have stood out so far.


This Donkelope caught my eye right away. Builder Greg calls it a steampunk bike. It has an actual bike lamp—yes, a lamp—from the early 1900s, retrofitted with a modern LED light inside. 

You’ll notice the curly bits to the left of the light—that’s stainless steel hydraulic housing making its roundabout way into the handlebar, then back out, then inside the frame. Pretty slick.

Here you can see the front housing entering the left fork leg, and the prettiest fender mounts I’ve seen.

Here’s the back end, with that housing peeking through before joining the rear brake, and another pretty fender mount. It’s tough to see here, but the paint was a sparkly black.


This Geekhouse Brentwood had a nice big front rack, generator lights, disc brakes, and a sweet old-school chainguard.


Metrofiets participated in the Disaster Relief Trials in Portland—read about that in issue #21, “Disaster Bikes.”

This bike had a vibe like an expensive car from a 1930s movie—refined, classy, and maybe a little intimidating. The dyed and embossed saddle is by artist Carson Leigh.


Here was a rando-ish practical looking bike from Sycip that had what is turning out to be a popular combination this year: a Roholoff 14-speed internal hub with a Gates belt drive.


Ti Cycles

This was one of the most interesting bikes I saw today—a monster of a cargo bike, with a serious motor to help push an insane load, from Portland builder Ti Cycles. It has a Shimano Alfine 11-speed internal hub plus a Patterson transmission crank, for 22 speeds total, in case you feel like pedaling.

What’s going on here? That’s the exposed EcoDrive motor and drive wheels. That sucker puts out 1300 watts. Builder Dave Levy said it was awesomely fast… unless you’re testing it indoors, at a crowded bike show… anyway, EcoDrive is also from Portland. Their Velociraptor controller for the system is programmable.


The front generator hub trickle-charges a battery—the black box just behind the headlight—which then powers the lights and a USB port. The front basket also has a solar-paneled cover (forgotten in the rush to get to the show, alas).


When you’re hauling that much of a load, you might need some moral support. Check out the stack of headset spacers, in alternating colors and with logos meticulously aligned.


Renold Yip returned this year with the third version of his complete city bike. This one is on loan from the customer, an employee of Bikes Belong, who rides it daily. This one goes as well as shows.

For this iteration, Yip integrated a cable lock as well as a ring lock, and that’s a pump tucked between the twin top tubes.


And the sunflower rack is as pretty as ever.

Coming up next

We’ll have more coming from NAHBS all weekend, and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram or Facebook to see more behind-the-scenes photos. 


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