Road to NAHBS 2012 – Boo Bicycles
Given the recent bamboo fat bike we posted, we found it only fitting to show what Boo Bicycles has been up to between NAHBS shows. From the looks of things, owner Nick Frey has maintained a healthy mix of panda-monium and serious frame building…
BIKERUMOR: What have you been working in since NAHBS last year?
NICK: Two words: BIG THINGS. Our goal is to continue melding two composites, carbon fiber and bamboo, to create a hybrid that features the best aspects of both, a seamless integration of two very similar materials. I have set out, from my first races on a bamboo bike at Princeton in March of 2008, to prove that a well-engineered bamboo-carbon hybrid bike can compete heads-up with the best bikes in the world.
James Wolf and I have continued with our goal to optimize the frame through the strategic use of carbon and bamboo. James has been tinkering with his hands in Vietnam, and I’ve been tinkering in my head on these long mountain training rides…and we have some very special new things to debut at NAHBS. I don’t want to give away too much, but be prepared to see a combination of carbon fiber and bamboo that has *never* been seen before.
BIKERUMOR: Any killer custom bike builds?
NICK: No, they’re all quite bland and reserved, actually.
OF COURSE! One of my personal favorites is a new RS-M 29er equipped with a carbon Lefty, Gates CenterTrack, Rohloff hub, Enve carbon tubeless rims, and some fancy bits and pieces from Germany. The RS- designation is Porsche-inspired and stands for “rennsport” and is the highest performance designation they offer. Boo isn’t German, although I think a majority of yours truly is from Deutschland, so I think of it as “racing special”. This Boo RS- designation is the newest thing James and I have been working on, and it’s extremely special. The bamboo is special, the carbon is special, the mixture of the two is special…I could go on, but again, I don’t want to say to much about it before the show.
I will have my own personal RS-R and RS-M 29er at the show. These will be my on-road and off-road racing rigs for the 2012 season. The RS-R is going to feature a full complement of Enve Composites wheels/fork/bar/stem…but run a single front Fibre-Lyte carbon chainring, Experimental Prototype carbon chain guide, Lightning carbon crank, Di2 rear derailleur, and standard brake levers with custom buttons integrated under the brake hoods–left easier, right harder. The RS-M 29er is going to be equally over-the-top…but you’ll have to swing by the booth to see it in person.
BIKERUMOR: Did you see anything last year that’s inspired you?
NICK: Every year NAHBS stokes my fires for the next 12 months. It’s the most incredible bike show on the planet, and the passion throughout those three days is unrivaled by anything else in the cycling industry.
If I had to be more specific, I take inspiration from two things: 1) the integration of components within an overall frame design (interesting cable routing, bar/stem/headset integration, the frame fitting the components and not the other way around) and 2) the awesome racing performance of certain builders’ bikes. I’ve always believed that racing is the truest test, the best proving ground, for bicycles…even if most customers are not racers themselves. This is true in the car industry, and when one thinks of the best performance vehicles in the world, they are all steeped in racing heritage. It’s natural to put things to a true trial by fire, and I admire and respect builders that focus on improvement through racing performance. That’s the only way I could ever run Boo.
BIKERUMOR: Can you give us a teaser of what your bringing to NAHBS 2012?
NICK: We’re going to bring a full compliment of road, ‘cross, and mountain bikes. My personal favorite bikes are 1) FrankenBoos that require an outside-the-box approach in the extreme, and 2) Boos designed for all-out racing performance while maintaining the supple ride for which we’ve become known. James and I have been hard at work upping our game to provide more custom details and integration of different components, all the while optimizing our bamboo treatment, carbon lay-up, and refining and testing the new RS- models.
BIKERUMOR: If you had to race all the other builders, who would you want to inch out for the win right at the line?
NICK: I would take all comers! My goals this season are to race most of the same professional events I have in the past two years on Jamis Sutter Home…but do it on Boo. I know I can be top-10 at some of the biggest NRC and UCI events on the calendar, but my goal is to prove Boo’s performance through my own performance. Of all the incredible builders at NAHBS, very few actually race…but there’s one for whom I have much respect: Rob English. He’s one of my favorite builders, with incredible designs and clean builds, and also a straight-up competitor who I’ll probably ride against at some point this season. Rob was actually my main inspiration to race my own bikes at the highest US domestic level of cycling, so we’ll like be the only two guys in the pro field that are racing our own handmade bikes!