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:
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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”.