Baby You’re Much Too Fast: NAHBS 2017 Recap

A toddler riding a custom Triton Push Bike

A toddler riding a custom Triton balance bike.

Now in its thirteenth iteration, the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) is an annual convention showcasing the bicycle industry, prioritizing those who choose to construct bicycles specifically designed to the owner’s personal specifications.

Unlike its larger counterpart, Interbike, NAHBS is open to the public, with a specific focus on handmade bicycles; an art first pioneered by Ignaz Schwinn of Schwinn Cycles. While the majority of modern-day bicycles are mass-produced and imported from overseas, there is still a strong following of artisans that continue to push the envelope of bicycle construction locally on the North American continent. These frame builders utilize not only a variety of assembly techniques, but unorthodox material choices and graphic designs as well. While there was no shortage of innovation to behold, three artisans in particular took precedent over all others.

Emily Kachorek, Squid Bikes:

“It started because bikes were boring in general.” Emily Kachorek on the inception of Squid Bikes.

“It started because bikes were boring in general.” Emily Kachorek on the inception of Squid Bikes.

Handmade and spray painted in Sacramento, CA, Squid Bikes is creating bicycles as unique as the people who ride them. Spearheaded by Emily Kachorek, Squid Bikes is leading the rattle-can spray-painted bicycle movement.

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Squid Bike’s custom build for the TRP booth. This particular finish was accomplished via layering with painters tape and spray paint.

Instead of providing stock finishing options for their clients, Squid Bikes instead sells their frames raw, and encourages new owners to take up a DIY approach through the use of masking tape and spray paint. From memories of pizzas past, to dreams of clouds and orange creamsicles, the creativity of Squid Bikes and their clients speak for themselves.

David Folch, DirtySixer:

The only bike designed for tall people, by tall people.

The only bicycle designed for tall people, by tall people.

At 6’6″, the standard 27″(700c) wheel size does not make for an ideal bike fit for David Folch. Led by a passion of cycling and inspired by a crash on a custom bicycle sporting 27″ wheels, Folch took it upon himself to design the ideal frame for men of greater stature; the DirtySixer. Rohloff hubs, custom dropouts, disc brakes, 36″(!) rims, oversized tubing, and extended crank lengths all come standard; every part specifically tailored to the task of serving a larger-than-average rider.

Lauren(5'7'') leg presented for comparison.

Lauren(5’7”) leg presented for comparison.

Folch has two Kickstarters to propel his business; a 32’’ wheel based design for those measuring over 6ft, as well as a corresponding 36’ variation for those who live larger than life. Check out both campaigns by clicking here and here.

As an added bonus, be sure to check out his DirtySixer in action in this American Express commercial featuring a very familiar basketball player…

Erik Noren, Peacock Groove

Eric Noren, posing with his award-winning build, Purple Reign.

Erik Noren, posing with his award-winning build, Purple Reign.

Erik Noren is a man who needs no introduction. Well known throughout frame building culture for his unapologetic mannerisms, when it comes to designing and creating bicycles, Noren has no peer. This could not be made any more clear than in his Magnum Opus, Purple Reign.

Commissioned by famed bicycle designer Anna Schwinn, Purple Reign is an homage to the late fellow Milwaukee native, Prince. An avid fan himself, Noren integrated homages to some of the artist’s most famous lyrics within Purple Reign. These references include, but are not limited to, Little Red Corvette, Purple Rain, When Doves Cry, Sexy MF, Seven, as well as a gratuitous use of Prince’s beloved Love Symbol. Purple Reign took home not only Best Theme Bike, but also Best In Show for NAHBS 2017.

“This is a sort of mania.”, Don Walker, Frame Builder and NAHBS President/Founder discussing Norton’s Purple Reign.

“This is a sort of mania.”, Don Walker, Frame Builder and NAHBS President/Founder discussing Norton’s Purple Reign.

For a closer look into the builders and bikes present, check out the slideshow by clicking here.


Cain Ramirez is the Co-Founder and CEO of Cowgirl Bike Courier. He has been designated by Richard Masoner as part of the less-than-one percent of transportation cyclists that identify as “Strong & Fearless”.

2 Comments

  • Daniel M
    March 14, 2017 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I would correct your article to reflect that the 700c wheel size is more comonnonly referred to as 29″, not 27″.

    700c = 29″ = 622 ISO
    650b = 27.5″ = 584 ISO
    26″ = 559 ISO

    I think the old 28″ road size was something like 630, so in some circles 622 might have been referred to as 27″, but what roadies call 700c is what people call 29-er in the MTB world these days. Since MTB tires tend to be bigger than road tires, the overall wheel gets closer to 29″ And that’s why classifiying wheels by their outside diameter (with tire) can be so misleading!

    Daniel “559 forever” M
    Berkeley, CA

  • March 15, 2017 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    Re: Erik and Prince, Minneapolis, not Milwaukee. I lived in Mpls for a summer about 30 years ago and folks there were very proud of the fact that Prince called Mpls home.

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