Now the seats are all empty
Let the roadies take the stage
Pack it up and tear it down
"The Load Out" by Jackson Browne
Well, by now all the bikes have been packed up and shipped back home. The big "handmade" bike show is all done for another year. Of course, you won't have to wait long for another one of these shows. They seem to have sprung up in every corner of the nation now. Still, "NAHBS" is the one everyone geeks out on, and next year the whole circus sets up shop in Sacramento, California. Get yer "art-bike" on in Cali!
I should say that not all of the "handmade" bikes are custom art on two wheels. Some of them are really purposeful, like the Moots shown here. However, these are not the bikes that garner all the attention. Not usually, anyway.
But that's another post. This one addresses something I found to be odd after the fact. A prominent cycling photographer/writer had the following to say on Twitter about the recently closed "NAHBS" and what he felt were it's main themes:
"2 trends from #nahbs: road bikes w long-reach brakes for fat tires&fenders, "monster cross"/adventure bikes w huge 700c tires, discs, drops"
Now earlier the same journalist was saying that "NAHBS" was an indicator of what mainstream cycling companies would be pushing in a few years.
I don't mean to pick on this particular journo, but I do believe a large portion of "NAHBS" fans actually believe this sentiment. Nothing could be further from the truth.
First of all, let's take up the case of the "monster cross"/adventure bikes w huge 700c tires, discs, drops"
Let's clear up one thing right away- "Monster-cross" bikes are not drop bar 29"ers. Secondly, see that pile-o-bikes in the photo? Yeah- production drop bar 29"ers right there. Been around a few years too, by the way. Did I mention that these are specifically marketed as "adventure bikes"?
Yup. That's right folks. A production bike company that has bikes built in Asia by human hands, (gasp!), did this before it was a "trending topic" from the most recent "NAHBS". (But to be totally fair, said company also has titanium versions made by human hands in Tennessee, of all places. Can you believe it?)
And if you really want to know about "adventure bikes", I believe there was a guy hangin' around at these "NAHBS" deals that could have told ya all about where that idea came from. Nothing new there, really.
Then we have the case of the "road bikes w long-reach brakes for fat tires&fenders" to discuss. Now really......can you honestly say this is a "trend"? "NAHBS" was practically founded upon such custom bikes.
Rivendell, anyone? Or how about this Raleigh Clubman, replete with fenders and long reach brakes.
So, is the tail wagging the dog here, or what?
I don't know about "trends" from the 2011 "NAHBS" that will be picked up by the bigger companies, but if the lack of pictures of urban fixies from the show means anything, there will be at least one thing we can all be glad about.
Finally, let me emphatically say again that this show, custom, high art bikes, and people that dig that are all okay by me. Heck, I own two such "handmade bikes" myself. I just think that the "importance" of all of that is a bit overdone. It is what it is, and nothing more than that. Trouble is, a lot of folks have attached "meaning" to custom, one off bikes that is, at best, misplaced sentiment. They are bikes. Ride them. Have fun. That is all.
Meanwhile the hall is empty and the show has moved on to another town......
Iowa August 2014
1 day ago