NAHBS 2016 – Pretty Pictures, part 1


We’ve got lots of goodness lurking in our memory cards, here is the first taste.

Rick Hunter – Rick Hunter Cycles

“Can he build it? Yes he can” award


Rick Hunter had perhaps the booth with the biggest variety of bikes at the show. Drop bars, mountian bikes, 26plus swampers, etc.. It was this cargo bike that really got my attention. It is an odd, but functional, marriage of a long john and a long tail. The custom bags are by Randi Jo Fabrications. Everywhere I looked, there was interesting detail, or well-thought-out design. The singlespeed front wheel can be swapped for the rear in case of a cassette body failure, chain tension is provided by an linkage and wingnut under the bottom bracket. The components are an interesting mix of old and new, with Suntour friction shifters and derailleurs , Paul’s Klamper brakes and a Surly crank. The live-edge wood was pretty swank. More info: Hunter Cycles











Ben Farver – Argonaut

“Laser focus” award









Argonaut makes road bikes with just a few obvious options. Standard seatpost or seat mast. Rim brakes or disc. That’s about it. Select from those options and Argonaut will take it from there. Utilizing customer’s proportions and power numbers, Ben Farver decides on custom geometry, tubing diameter and carbon lay-up making for one of the most truly custom bikes you can buy. For going fast on the road, there really might be anything else out there quite like this.

I’m guessing there isn’t much overlap between the average Bicycle Times reader and the average Argonaut customer, but talking to Ben made me want to ride one. More info: Argonaut Cycles



Danielle Schön – SCHÖN STUDIO

“MMMM, Dönuts” award


Danielle Schön and Schön Studio make more than bikes, in fact are a full service fab shop in Toronto, Canada. Schön has a table in the new builders isle, and this bike was hard to miss. Handcut lugs, stainless tubing and an inset head badge were obviously made with love. The top-cap revealed the bike’s donut theme. The 1.5″ tapered steerer tube is not a thing in cast fork crowns, so Schön made one. Not an easy task. More info: Schön Studio


Bruce Gordon and Paul Sadoff – Schnozola

“Aren’t these guys busy enough” award


Gordon and Sadoff have been building bike for years. Like a Jewish, bike-building Voltron, they recently joined forces to create Schnozola. All Schnozolas will share two things in common: all will be painted red, and all will be built around Gordon’s Rock and Road tires (700c or 650b). There will be a few different models to choose from, including this “Grinduro steel racer”, which is set up for bikepacking in these pictures. More info: Bruce Gordon Cycles or Rock Lobster Cycles


Aaron Barcheck – Mosaic Bespoke Bicycles

“A flask and two small bottles of Bulleit won’t buy you an award” award

NAHBS-BT_WEB-1-2 (1)

Unlike most custom bike builders, Mosaic works with about 30 dealers in the U.S. and abroad to provide hands-on fit service and a local contact for service. Building in both steel and titanium, Mosaic offers a 6-week turn around, something that is exceedingly rare in the custom bike world. The Ti road bike I shot was a showcase of modern standards (T47 bb, flat mount disc brakes) and classy finish. I’m glad I took this one outside, the bead-blasted logos are somehow both sharp and soft at the same time in the daylight. More info: Mosaic Cycles

Nahbs_Mosaic-1 Nahbs_Mosaic-2 Nahbs_Mosaic-3 Nahbs_Mosaic-4 Nahbs_Mosaic-5 Nahbs_Mosaic-6 Nahbs_Mosaic-7 Nahbs_Mosaic-8



More to bikes and bike stuff and bike people to come. Stay tuned for part 2.



T47 – Are threads the solution to PF30 bottom bracket woes?


Years ago, in search more stiffness, cranks with 30 mm aluminum spindles were introduced. Unlike the steel 24 mm spindles already on the market, these new oversized spindles didn’t work with the established threaded BSA bottom bracket. This led to a new standard, BB30. The BB30 standard involved bearings installed directly into frames and snap rings to hold them into place. The oversized shell also made it easier to connect modern oversized tubing. In theory this system should work fine, but in practice the tolerances needed to make it all work proved problematic for most everyone that made frames to this standard. This led to noise, bearing play, short bearing life and unhappy riders.

Next up? PF30, a press fit version of the same standard. In a similar fashion to a headset, the bottom bracket bearings were installed in a plastic or aluminum cup which was pressed into threadless bottom bracket shell, much like a headset. This certainly made it easier to assemble a bike, and in theory the cup should remain quiet and be able to make up for small deviation in tolerances. The PF30 bottom bracket shell is also almost universal, with inserts available to run 24 mm spindles, standard threaded bottom brackets, and even eccentrics to tension a chain for singlespeed or IGH use.

But once again, theory was no match for real world use and abuse, and riders are once again left to deal with noise and short bearing life. The aftermarket has been hard at work to help with this, creating bottom brackets that thread to themselves and helping to keep things quiet. Wheels Manufacturing, Enduro  and Praxxis Works all make well-regarded thread-together bottom brackets that seem to be keeping a lot of people happy.


Never ones to stop improving on things, some frame builders and smaller component manufactures started to close in a solution. In the end, much like the 44 mm headtube that allows for straight or tapered steerers, the T47 standard is a “duh, why didn’t I think of that” moment. Take a standard PF30 bottom bracket shell and thread it with 47 x 1 mm threads and make a matching bottom bracket. In theory (there’s that word again) a T47 bottom bracket should offer the creak free performance of the English threaded bottom bracket while enabling the use of any crank standard on the market, and easily adaptable to future standards and the current crop of fat bike bottom bracket widths.

There has been much moaning about another standard, and considering what is happening with axle spacing these days (which isn’t settled yet), it isn’t surprising, and not entirely unwarranted.

But unlike most new standards, T47 is very backwards compatible. While the 47 mm diameter isn’t a widely available size, it allows all metal PF30 shells to be threaded with the taps that will be available in a month or so. Those taps will fit the common Park Tool tap handles that most shops already own. The 47 mm diameter means that all frame building fixtures for PF30 won’t need to change. Most eccentric inserts for PF30 will still work fine in a T47 threaded shell. The 1 mm thread pitch is similar is what is used in English shells, and is fine enough to easy cutting in notoriously difficult titanium shells. In my opinion these are solid reasons to go with 47 mm versus using a readily available size like 48 x 1.5 mm.

With a solid core of builders and component manufactures behind this open standard, I expect it to become widely accepted, and relatively quickly.

The minds behind the new standard (in alphabetical order):

Argonaut Cycles

Chris King Precision Components 

Engin Cycles 

Paragon Machine Works

White Industries 

I had a hard time getting hold of Engin, Paragon and White Industries to chat about this, as all three were traveling for the Philly Bike Expo, but in a moment of bike industry magic I managed to get through to Alec White on his cell while he was in a car with Drew Guldalian from Engin and Mark Norstad from Paragon.

Here’s Ben from Argonaut Cycles breaking it down:

Some pics of the White Industries bottom bracket, Paragon bottom bracket shell, and Engin complete bike with T47 bottom bracket.

T47_PBE_BT-1 T47_PBE_BT-2

T47_PBE_BT-4  T47_PBE_BT-3

What’s your take, dear reader?



Video: Argonaut’s new gravel road bike

Argonaut Cycles, the one-man custom carbon fiber frame shop of Ben Farver, introduced its latest project, the disc brake Space Bike at the Rouge Roubaix. The race is 106-miles of “true grit” traversing some of the worst roads in Louisiana and Mississippi. Argonaut bikes are built by hand, one at a time, with custom geometry and layup for the ultimate in ride perfection. It was even awarded Best Layup and Best in Show at the 2014 North American Handmade Bicycle Show. This short film by Brian Vernor captures it in action.


Join Argonaut Cycles at Aether Apparel in NYC


If you’re in New York this Friday you’re going to want to head over to Aether Apparel to check out the new Argonaut Disc Racer and meet its creator, Ben Farver. The Racer Disc won Best in Show at the most recent edition of NAHBS in Charlotte, and videographer Brian Vernor will be debuting his film from the Rouge Roubaix. Plus complimentary drinks, so why not?!

Get the details here.

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