I’d first heard about this bike following the Philly Bike Expo, where it won the People’s Choice award despite not even being on the official list for the award. Then I hung out with Anna Schwinn in Minneapolis about a month ago and got to meet its builder, Erik Noren of Peacock Groove. I snuck a peek at the bike in the back of his workshop, where it was undergoing changes and additions for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.
I’d heard the excitement in Anna voice when she talked about what she called “the most beautiful bike in the world.” I’d gotten to hang out with its builder, who’s intensity and passion for creating bikes was clear from the first minute of our conversation. And so, I felt a special sense of pride for everyone who made this bike happen when it won not one, but two awards at NAHBS this year.
Erik and Anna were first called on stage to accept the Best Theme Bike award, which was a no-brainer. It was such an obvious winner that this is the last year they will be judging this particular category at NAHBS, because it is believed that no one can top this bike. The way every single piece of this build ties in to the Prince theme is almost unreal—carved-out logos and the words “Much Too Fast” from his song “Little Red Corvette” on the disc brakes, white dove bar tape and a white custom saddle by Leh, lyrics to “Purple Rain” around the rims, one of Prince’s actual picks on the stem, and the matching Paul components that tie it all together. Behind the pretty exterior of the bike, there’s the fact that Prince was from Minneapolis, where Anna lives and Erik runs Peacock Groove, and the collaboration and communication between these two to make this deep custom bike happen was highly apparent.
After winning Best Theme Bike, we all thought that was that for Peacock Groove and the Prince bike. The team disappeared somewhere to take pictures as a couple more awards were announced. And then, the Best in Show trophy came out, and Erik Noren was called back onstage as Anna shrieked with excitement.
I don’t know Erik that well, but from what I do know, he deserves every bit of that award. Congrats Erik, and go enjoy that bike, Anna. Oh, and happy birthday.Tweet Print
More bikes and builders. More goodness. So much goodness.
Sean Walling – Soulcraft
“Merchandises like he worked at the Gap” award
Sean Walling has been part of the NorCal framebuilding scene for a long freaking time. Not Bruce Gordon-long, but still. Walling did learn the craft from Gordon, and Ross Shafer at Salsa (long before Salsa moved to Minneapolis). Soulcraft was an early proponent of the drop-bar dirt bike, probably due to the fact that the original 700×43 Rock and Road tire was so easily accessible. First with the Groundskeeper (which became a more racy cyclocross bike) and now with the Dirtbomb (yes, the band inspired the name), you can get your monstercross on here. That custom painted Pass and Stow rack is aces. More info: Soulcraft
Erik Noren – Peacock Groove
“You can buy this domain for 12 monthly payments of $158” award
Eric Noren has been that guy at NAHBS for year. He builds bikes that attract attention. Lots of it. But this isn’t a put-on by Noren, in my experience, it is just who he is. This cargo trike is the latest in a line of flashy bikes, but this one is eminently functional as well. A 500 watt motor provides some serious extra go-juice, and the oversize batteries also power turn signals and 4-way flashers. An eight-speed Alfine hub acts as a jackshaft, sending power to a rear differential from a go-kart. The shift lever on the downtube is the parking brake lever. While this thing was very well finished, and very flashy, it was also very simply executed. More info: Peacock Groove
Todd Ingermanson – Black Cat
“Head badges? We don’t need any stinking head badges” award
Black Cat is probably best known as a mountain bike builder, but drop bar bikes are well within Ingermanson’s wheelhouse. This one is an understated champ of a bike, using Black Cat drop outs, a clean meeting of graphics and logo, and a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain. More info: Black Cat Bikes
Brad Hodges – W.H. Bradford Custom Bikes
“Droppers for everyone!” award
Talk to me about bikes for more than half an hour, and I’ll bring up dropper posts and how I want one on all my bikes. The dropper is what pulled me to this bike first, but there are a lot of sweet details that shouldn’t be missed. The fork is a Whisky with custom machined bottle mounts installed by the carbon wizards at Ruckus Composites. The dropper lever is tucked up nicely next to the left brake lever, and Porcelain Rocket did another primo job on the bags. More info: W.H. Bradford
Curtis Inglis – Retrotec and Inglis Custom bikes
“Clown car” award
I’ll admit it, I lust pretty hard after our former-web-guy Jeff Lockwood’s Inglis-built road bike. This one is similar, although it adds a set of disc brakes, and probably a bit more tire clearance, both good things by my accounting. This is another one of those bikes that seems some flashy at first, but is really very understated when you look closely. More info: Retrotec and Inglis Cycles
We’ve got a few more odds and ends from the show to talk about, check in again tomorrow.