North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2007

The North American Handmade Bicycle Show, now in its third consecutive year, graced the San Jose Convention Center during the first weekend in March. Despite its short history, it attracted a large number of framebuilders and equipment manufacturers, from major firms such as Waterford, to renowned one-man shops like Richard Sachs and Brian Baylis, to relative newcomers like Pereira and Rebolledo.

There were bikes for everyone's tastes, from classic French-style randonneuring bikes to 10-pound all-carbon machines, though—thankfully, in my opinion—the steel-leather-and-wool crowd occupied the majority of the showroom floor. The exhibit was even covered in I recommend taking a look at their photo galleries of the show.

I promised Kara that we would just do "a brief run-through," but little did I know how hard that would be. We eventually left after about three and a half hours, and still I felt that I'd rushed through without talking to even a fraction of the builders or checking out many of the coolest bikes. I look forward to next year's show, and highly recommend it to anyone interested in bicycles. Well worth the $18 admission.

Richard Sachs' space was located close to the entrance. On display were a road bike, a cyclo-cross bike, and a track bike, all pure racing machines, as well as several unpainted frames and various lugs, fork crowns, and accessories. The three finished bikes provided a case study in how form follows function: steeper geometry on the track bike, more tire clearance and top-tube cable routing on the cross bike, and many other details.

Vanilla Cycles' booth featured, among others, an awesome long-distance touring theme. It reminded me a little of a Peterson's clothing catalog. Also striking was a very fancy tricycle:

Llewellyn, Bilenky, and Waterford displayed some of the most ornate lugwork:

Even more unusual was Independent Fabrication's carbon fiber frame with gold-plated lugs (available for a 5-digit dollar sum, I believe), and Calfee's bamboo frame, whose "tubes" are joined with a bamboo-fiber-plus-epoxy compound. Yes, those are real horns on the bamboo fixie.

Some of Kara's and my favorite bikes at the show were the work of recently established one-man shops, Pereira Cycles and Rebolledo Cycles. Both build elegant, functional bicycles that are beautiful down to the smallest detail but seem to avoid excessive ornamentation. I wish these guys a lot of luck with their businesses.

Marschall Framework of Germany stood out for the spare elegance of its classically proportioned stainless steel frames.

Mike Flanigan was also on hand with a full complement of beautiful commuter and cargo-carrying frames: one-stop shopping for the loaded urban cyclist. The bikes were lovely, and it was great to see some familiar faces from Boston.

And in addition to bicycles and frames, there was also a smorgasbord of tool and component manufacturers. Frame-building jigs, tubing, lugs, braze-ons, components...

When it was time to leave Kara and I were still doing ok, but maybe Marilisa had had enough of bicycles and strange people for one day!

Curious for more? Take a look at all the photos (unfortunately most still lack captions).