They Should Re-Name The Show: Well, if you are any sort of bicycle geek at all, you know that today is the opening round of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, or "NAHBS", in Austin, Texas. For the next three days, scads of bicycle nerds will be geeking out on steel, titanium, carbon fiber, bamboo, and whatever else someone decided to form into the shape of a bicycle. Already I've seen mentions of Calfee Bikes bamboo "tall-bike", which is supposedly a "show-stopper".
NAHBS is the bicycle equivalent of a Trekkie convention. Only cyclists see the imminent importance of the show and its meaning for "life-as-we-know-it". The rest of the world could give a rip. Heck, dog shows get more attention than this bicycle show does. And for that matter, what bicycle isn't hand built? Oh.......yeah- there is the "North American" thing. But even NAHBS has builders from overseas.
You know, bicycles are built by highly skilled laborers in Asia. Handbuilt indeed! While they may not sip espresso from an Italian cup, or sport a "soul patch", I really do not see any differences in what they do and what the "Hand built" guys are doing at NAHBS. You might say that the "art" of the bicycle is elevated to a higher degree. Okay, I'll give you that much, but the "art" doesn't make it ride any better. What is more, the Asian builders have repeatability down pat. Try that with your fancy-pants bamboo tall-bike.
Look, NAHBS is cool, but lets call it what it really is: The "North American Rolling Art Show" would be more appropriate. High bicycle art commissioned by discerning bicycle connoisseurs, is what is actually happening. Of course they are hand built, but so is every other bicycle in a bike shop. Big deal.
Nothing wrong with the show in Austin, and of course, I'd go in a heartbeat, if I could have afforded to, but let's not get distracted by the "hand-built" moniker. I believe it cheapens what hard working people are doing elsewhere with bicycles, that in reality, are touching far more lives than anything you'll see coming out of NAHBS.
James Huang of cyclingnews.com says of NAHBS that it will be the harbinger of what is to come from mainstream bike companies in the next few years. I think he's right to a point, but what NAHBS can influence is limited. Really- NAHBS is more of a proving ground and introduction for new parts by the component industry, and a showcase for how they can be used more than it is an innovator of cycling trends. In fact, you could argue that NAHBS trends are heavily influenced by mainstream cycling companies, instead of the other way around.
Well, enough of that, now go and geek yerself out!
Black Mountain Cycles blog where a guy stuffed some Nanoraptors in his BMC Monster Cross rig. I also know that Kenda Karma tires have been shoe horned into that frame and fork. Well, I thought about it for a minute or two, then I remembered I had a set of Geax Barro Race tires in the TNT flavor which, as I recalled, measured about 1.85" on 24mm wide rims. Perfect candidate for the BMC!
I mounted them with tubes and they fit just fine. (By the way, they are not shown in this image, I'll get a pic later to share.) I also recalled that I was able to run crazy low pressures tubeless with these. I set them up and test rode it around the neighborhood. What a fantastic cushy feel. When I got back, I found out I had barely over 20psi in each tire! Well, I'll run a bit more than that on gravel, but these are going to be great "suspension" for gravel roads. At least I have some "monster-cross" like tires on the "Monster Cross" model from Black Mountain Cycles now. Ol' #42 is looking pretty good with those shoes on.
CIRREM: Tomorrow is the Centarl Iowa Rock Road Endurance Metric, or CIRREM, which is about a 63-ish mile slog over the hills of Madison County. I'll be taking the BMC and will get a ride report up for Monday. Look for that then. (It'll be a bone-chillingly cold ride, I know that much!)
Have a great weekend!
RidingGravel.Com: Total Grit
5 hours ago