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Last weekend saw the finest collection of frame builders all together under one roof for the  North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Richmond, Virginia. This year the 3 day show had over 6,000 people turn up to look on in awe and amazement at some of the finest bicycles that their blessed little eyes have ever had the pleasure of viewing.

Not that I’m jealous or anything that I have still have not been able to make it over for what has to be the most amazing bicycle related show around, but on the bright side, going on quality of this years show I would be coming back with about 10 pre-orders for new bikes after having to sell what ever organs I could get rid of to pay for them!!

So I’ve got together a collection of photo’s of just some of the highlights that caught my eye.

Thanks to all the people who took these photo’s and put them up for our viewing pleasure.

Bamboo and Wooden Bicycles!

This Bamboosero Bike was started by Craig Calfee who has built bikes for Greg Lemond and other professional racers with the idea of teaching a man or woman to build bikes as a long-term solution that can have a lasting impact.

Bamboo grows in most of the developing world and makes it far easier to supply a bike builder with raw materials with no mining or cutting down of forests.

You will be surprised by how strong bamboo is and the amazing properties it has which makes it perfect for frame building. Still not convinced? Then check out their website for some interesting reading and a video showing just how strong bamboo is.

Sylvan Cycles create not only some of the most beautiful looking bicycles, but they are also some of the most innovative.

I’ve always been a massive fan of lugged frames which use a different material for the main tubes, mainly for the aesthetic look alone but its something about the contrast in the materials that are used which I love.

With the Sylvan its not just looks, but its backed up by bicycles that offer exceptional ride qualityand high-performance.  For example, their wood-composite tubes are as stiff as comparable steel tubes, but are 30% lighter offering damping properties similar to titanium, superior impact resistance to carbon and the incomparable aesthetic of wood!

My latest fetish! Lugs……..

Villin Cycleworks and their just gorgeous hand hammered lugs that are forged and hammered by co-owner Alexis Dold.

More from Villan Cycleworks.

A beautifully restored Hetchins by Spectrum Cycles.
Bilenky Cycle Works and some quite exceptional double layer lugs.Some detailed work by Peter Mooney.Boulder, Colorado builder Mosaic and some nice chromed lugwork.More Peter Mooney with added pinstriping.Bilenky Cycle Works at it again with pinstriping and some serious chrome..

Shamrock Cycles here with matching lugged stem which brings me nicely to a small but elite selection of lugged stems!

This lugged stem matches perfectly the Ellis frame with its polished Reynolds 953 tubing that it was attached to.Engin Cycles with this beautiful stainless steel lugged stem.

Even the headset spacer matches on this Llewellyn bike.

Mmmmmmmm, headbadges.

Head badge from Cielo Bikes by Chris King.This may not be on the headtube but I love the Pegoretti’s emphasis on the handmade.Alchemy Bicycles with its head badge which is a blend of alchemy symbols for silver and gold.Says it all on the badge really.Black Sheep Bikes.I know this one’s not a badge, but some awesome work done here by Black Sheep Bikes.

Speedvagen’s Cross Bike.

Speedvagen is a purpose built, limited production race machine. Each Speedvagen is designed and hand built in the Vanila workshop and at the heart of that workshop is owner, designer and framebuilder Sacha White.

An introduction to Vanilla by Vanilla

“The Vanilla Workshop is a community — a collaboration between master fabricators, expert bicycle painters, photographers, wood, leather, fabric and metal workers–all working closely to bring the intelligent, edgy, sexiness of Portland to the rest of the world.”

The Edge forks are painted to match the frame perfectly.

Along with the Edge forks Speedvagen use the Edge composite stem which is also naturally painted to match.

Something which is always a problem with cross bikes is cable routing for the brakes and Speedvagen have come up with a beautiful solution.

Even the cable routing for the rear brake has had the Speedvagen magic wand waved at it.

Stainless steel faces are bolted to the outside of the dropouts.

Even Chris King has had a face lift.

Just a thing of beauty.

And now for my top 3 favourites.

In number 3 is this Australian born bicycle from creator Darrel McMulloch who was a mechanic with the Australian National Team.

The Llewellyn bike won Best Paint at this years event with friend and business partner Joe Cosgrove who painted the award winning frame.

Darrel’s philosophy on frame building has come from 25 years of involvement with bicycles were he has seen compromises being made by manufactures and frame constructors has led him to build true value into his bikes. Using long lasting proven products and design approaches he builds bikes the way they should be built.

Stainless steel lugs have been polished to within an inch of their lives.

Just phenomenal detailing in the smallest of areas.

Heart detailing can be seen through out the bike.

And the piece de resistance – the matching spacer and lugged stem.

In number 2 is twenty-three year old Herbie Helm’s bike who is not yet out of college. The Industrial Technology student at the Western Michigan University build his bikes out of Doug Fattic’s frame shop.

His first time at the NAHBS has created a bit of a stir with his level of artistry in his frameset that is not seen from many veteran frame builders.

Some beautiful work the headtube.

His “flying buttress” cable stops show some of his artistry off and proving even the smallest of details on a bike can be beautiful.

Beautiful shape to his seat stays.

Even the Herbie Helm stem has been well thought out with internal routing.

Blending old with new, beautiful lug work with extended seatmast, more clever internal internal cable routing and even rack mounts.

Helm graduates this spring ”I’m not holding my breath about becoming a full-time builder, but I’ll keep doing it anyway.”

Lets hope he does!

And my favourite of the show.

Now its won the Best Off-Road Bicycle this year so as you can tell by the award its not a road bike but when it comes to mountain biking this is exactly the machine I’d choose. A rigid, 29 inch wheel single speed!

To be fair its a as close as you can get a mountain bike to a road bike.

Engin Cycles are Philadelphia based where each bike is built one at a time with the specific rider in mind. Each frame is different. Design, fit, tubes, construction method and aesthetics are all taken into consideration. Just as every person is different, so are the bikes made for them by Engin.

Drew Guldalian, builder, designer, Engin’s founder.

All of the lugs are made by Drew, from scratch. He doesn’t use off the shelf parts like other frame builders.

Both the seat post and stem are made of stainless steel, and yet again Dave steps up to create these beautiful pieces. They are not all show and no go, Dave said that this stem was probably one of the stiffest, torsionally rigid stems anywhere.

As it clearly states Dave use Reynolds exceptional 953 tubing for the front triangle. As with the Reynolds badge the logo and frame marks are made by etching the metal rather than paint or stickers. Nice!

Sliding dropouts are used and to keep the chain tension at bay Dave uses a knurled brass barrel.

There is about a years waiting list for an Engin bicycle, this particular one took three weeks to make.

So if any of these beauties take your, fancy get your orders in as there tends to be a bit of a waiting list when custom frames come into play. But as you can see from the photo’s, they are well worth the wait.

Thanks to James Huang, for the majority of the photos.

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