Wednesday, March 15, 2017

North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show 2017 - Finale


We'll end our NAHBS posts with favorites...


Hand-built bicycles and Roland Della Santa are one-in-the-same. Larry was so happy to see his bikes displayed here.


Sadly, none of Larry's photos of an entire bike were any good.


So you'll have to be satisfied with the detail photos...


...like these, or use the link above to visit Della Santa's website. Larry loves the old time BB cable guides and sometimes wonders why they went out of fashion?


Seat lugs and seat stays don't get any prettier than these!


Flat crown forks are always gorgeous!


Think the Fat Bike fad is a recent development?


In 1992, this was FAT before there was FAT! Yep, two rims laced side-by-side to improve flotation, just like a modern Fat Bike.


This vintage Mercier was stunning!


"Drillium" forever! Well at least to look at, Larry's not so sure about riding some of this elegantly lightened stuff.


Steel bicycles just look "right"...


...back or front.


A gorgeous recreation of a classic vintage Raleigh track bike

 

This modern steel Merckx looked pretty retro with the classic paint job and polished Campagnolo Potenza groupset. Only the clamp-on stem mars an otherwise beautiful machine.


Larry's favorite bike in the show was this - Davis Phinney's old 7/Eleven "MURRAY" race bike.


These were built by Ben Serotta in the mid-80's before the more famous HUFFY branded bicycles which came later.


The polished aluminum Campagnolo components combined with the chromed steel stays and brake bridge exude class. Pantographing adds even more.


The entire idea of sponsor branding vs bike building is interesting. Back in these days did anyone actually believe these bikes were made by Murray or Huffy instead of Serotta? When Eddy Merckx was racing on bikes with his name on the downtube did anyone believe HE actually made them instead of DeRosa, Colnago, Masi, etc?

Of course Eddy went on to start (with DeRosa's help) his own bike factory, but nobody was fooled into thinking the bikes he raced on were his own creations. But these days, multi-millions of dollars change hands with these sponsorship deals, so those putting up the big wads 'o money want you to believe the bikes ARE actually the products of the company whose name is on the downtube.

For most of the team members that may still be true, but quite often the big-stars get made-to-measure machines created for them by "builders of trust" that look just like the ones you can buy. For example, John Slawta of LandShark built bikes for Andy Hampsten despite the HUFFY logos on the downtubes and Serotta stickers on the chainstays while Antonio Mondonico was the "builder of trust" for Claudio Chiappucci.  Lots of cloak-and-dagger hide this fact though it might even be more prevalent than ever since so many modern bikes are created with a big, expensive mold, making t-shirt sizes (too small, too big and close enough) the only sizes available. If it's really obvious some brands will spend the loot to create a properly-sized mold to create a bike that truly fits the star, but that's pretty rare.

Final note on NAHBS - Among all the beautiful, artisan and truly hand-built bikes present, Larry noticed a large display from a US bike factory, one that makes their bicycles pretty much the same way they're created in Asia - using huge, expensive molds. When asked how these bikes might differ from those made in Asia, the factory rep could point only to the closeness of the factory and designer and the possibility of using materials that could not be sold in China. Otherwise they're the same as the big (and small) brands of molded bikes, the vast majority of which are created in huge factories in Asia with Brand
S coming out one door while Brand T or G come out of others. 

This begs the question - what is HANDBUILT and how soon before one of these big-brands inquires as to why their brand can't be displayed and promoted at NAHBS?


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