Sunday, February 10, 2008

2008 Edition NAHBS...

Well, it's that time of year again when frame builders from across the lands converge on one common spot to show off what they've created. I didn't choose to go this year. At one point, I was a little bummed I didn't go - not necessarily for the bikes, but to hang out with old friends and folks I've been conversing with recently. There is a plethora of websites with photos that can put me there. has Gary Boulanger in attendance recording the happenings with pen and digital camera. is present with a multitude of photos. You can even download 53mb worth of photos from Clockwork Bikes' website - which I did to have my own virtual "walk-through" of the show. also has a great set of photos on Flickr.

There are a lot of really cool bikes there. However, there are also a lot of very gaudy frames. The concept of something made by hand taken to extremes. Maybe it's because I am a fan of simiplicity, but I'm not digging the super intricate lugwork. Sure, someone put a lot of time into creating those frames, but it just ain't my bag baby. Maybe that's the reason some of these frame makers have multiple year waiting lists - all their time is spent on one-off trailer queens. Something to think about.

A couple of other photos I saw that left me scratching my head:

An example of a tig-welded seat tube junction. Huh? How did that guy even get entry into the show?
Big obnoxious dropouts. Seems some folks have taken Vanilla's elegant dropouts to extremes.

A disc brake rotor mounted to a left crank arm with caliper mounted to the down tube - on a fixie no less.

I didn't quite get this seat stay bridge. And you think they could find a coffee shop other than starbux.

As much as I like a blue/orange color combo and Retrotec's bikes, their triple top tube frame ... looks like a ladder.

Words escape me on this frame.

Sometimes I believe just because you can doesn't mean you should.

What was cool:

Wooden rims.

The super sano naked frame of Richard Sachs.

Rick Hunter's suspension frame was very elegant.

This Bruce Gordon was oh so right.

A modern LD stem by Groovy.

I think that trying to find "things" that are cool at the show may be overshadowed by the "concepts" that are cool. The one prevailing bike concept (I hesitate to label "concept" because it should be well beyond the conceptual stage) that is very cool is the bike that is not designed to go fast. The bike that is meant to be ridden from here to there and back. The bike that is fun to ride and can carry something besides the rider. The bike that is so fun to ride that you don't want to drive your car. There were a lot of them at this show. I believe that this is the show and the folks who will help drive the movement to get people out of their car and on their bike for that weekend trip to the market, to the video rental store, to the post office, to the park for a picnic lunch... These frame builders are the guys who are going to make bikes cool again.

(What's playing: Well, it's 2:00 so it's gotta be KWMR because my kid will be on the radio with his selection of 5 songs.)