Monday, February 11, 2008

NAHBS - 2008

This is my best memory of the North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show. Stacks and stacks of trendy bikes piled high for all to see.

My son and I made the pilgrimage to Portland this weekend to see both family and the Shrine that was the NAHBS. It was a spectacle to be sure. There were wonderful bikes from all over North America. Looking back on it I think of it more as an art show than an industry sales pitch. Most of the bikes on display were well out of the reach of the mere mortal. There were interesting concepts, but in the end I wonder how "sellable" any of these machines are, and that's why I call it an art show.

The show was wonderful, if you were there for the beauty of the machines that were being displayed. The "best in show" bike was one built not far from where I live here in British Columbia -- Naked Bicycles and Designs of Quadra Island. To be sure his entry was pure art.

There were many beautiful machines. I have posted some of my highlights here. Some of my favourites included the Retrotec curved and sloping top tubes into seat stays. I love this look and never tire of it. Other bikes that used this combination were the Rock Lobster, Signal Cycles and Black Sheep.

One of the most stunning parts of the show was the finishes of the bikes on display. All had absolutely beautiful colours with either matching fenders or contrasting wheels or complimentary racks. Some of my favourites were the combinations from True Fabrication (shown), A.N.T and Bilenky.

There were, of course, the perennial favorites. Ahearne, A.N.T and Vanilla. Vanilla was so popular it was difficult to get near the booth -- hence my poor photos. And of course there were those bikes on the edges of the envelope. The Calfee bamboo bikes this year included a tandem held together with hemp twine and epoxy. There were wooden wheels -- which looked great on an offering from Townsend bikes. There was the wacky Arantixst Kevlar "twine" bike. But my favourite of this group was the long (and wide) bike from Black Sheep. Thanks for the apples Guys -- we got to you just as my son was fading.

All in all we left inspired. There are beautiful machines out there. It would be hard to make a decision on which of these wonderful bikes I would want to take home. Thankfully I won't have to. It was a great way to spend a Saturday.

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