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How To Build A NAHBS Bike – Part 5: Selecting All The Right Components

RockShox Bluto Fat Bike Suspension Fork Review (2)

When building your dream bike, everyone has a tendency to simply pick all of the most expensive gear in existence. While it is a show bike too, I am making sure it is purpose built for riding. NAHBS can be a place of bikes that start at $10,000, so this bike which will come in around $6k retail might just be the most affordable on the show floor. And that is because it is made to be ridden.

In this article, we go through all of the components chosen for this build, and the reasons why.

The first product chosen was the Rockshox Bluto RL. Truly pushing the envelope for fat bikes, the Bluto is the only legitimate suspension fork, and it is really changing how the builders themselves start to create fat bike models. Even though it goes to 120mm of travel, and this bike is going to be made for getting rad, I stuck with 100mm to keep the front end from getting too high.

Take a look inside to see what makes my list for the ultimate fat bike for riding dirt…


How To Build A NAHBS Bike – Part 4: Melting Tubes Together

All-The-Materials-To-Make-a-Bike Welding a bike together can bring about romantic notions of fire and metal meeting, making something from nothing. Every bike must go through a transition from a raw material into an operable bicycle, and this is where the skill of your custom builder comes in. Some builders are pure artists. Some builders are very skilled craftsmen. Some builders are expert welders. Some builders are master designers. For this particular bike, I wanted something that could be ridden hard, and personally, I’m not really attracted to the ornate bikes that are intended to just look nice. I chose Matter Cycles because of Collin’s focus on design and geometry, and his simplistic style. Take a look inside at some pictures of this  bike moving from 10 round tubes to a tool that will take me ripping down the trail… READ MORE ->

How To Build A NAHBS Bike – Part 3: Working With Your Builder And Agreeing To The Design


The next step in creating your custom bike, after you talk through your wants and needs with your builder, and are sure of your proper fit dimensions, is to agree with the builder what is to be done. This is typically done with a drawing, especially if you are of a more technically inclined person who wants the nitty gritty. A line drawing picture of your new bike is also kinda fun, bringing on the dreamy thoughts of where it will take you.

A drawing is also helpful for the builder, as they will typically consider it a contract. Since many custom bikes take time to make, there is a constant threat of a customer changing their mind on something, or wanting the bike to now be compatible with whatever new hub standard comes out next week. Part of working with a small custom builder is also being a good customer. Most of these guys are one-man-shows, and it takes a lot of time to talk through the process, and a lot more time to make changes. Every time you make a change, they have to put down the torch to answer the phone, boot up the computer to change the drawing, and possibly scrap materials and buy new ones. Some builders are even taking new approaches because of this amount of time, such as Steve Garro of Coconino Cycles, who only accepts orders from January 1st-15th of every year, for that entire following year.

So Collin and I have agreed to a drawing of the Benefat. More than just an assemblage of numbers, a good custom builder has a reason behind each choice they made, and those good reasons should align with what you want out of the bike. Jump past the break to see what the man behind Matter Cycles thinks in each area of geometry…


How To Build A NAHBS Bike – Part 2: Ensuring Proper Fit With A Specialized Body Geometry Fitting


Working into the process of building the custom Matter Cycles BeneFat, I wanted to make sure that all of this effort was not wasted, and that the bike fit me well. I owned about 30 different mountain bikes in the last 15 years, and I’ve always been able to dial in a comfortable position. However, even though they were comfortable, I never knew if they were actually right for the flexibility and geometry of my body, since most of my setup was guess-work.

Deciding to use the bike I spent the most time on recently, and was very comfortable on, I went to Erik’s Bike Shop for Certified Master BG Fit Technician Jason Wolf to insure I was on the Ibis Ripley properly. In addition to dialing in the Ibis, it would give me the fit geometry numbers I needed for the BeneFat.

What I found was really interesting. While I was comfortable, there were quite a few changes that could be made to fit the Ibis better, and make sure the custom bike was truly dialed in. Read on to see the results and why every cyclist should get a fit someday…


How To Build A NAHBS Bike – Part 1: Starting The Process Of A Custom Bike


Bikes shown at the North American Handbuilt Bicycle Show are objects worthy of drool. For years, I have seen the art that passes through those halls, and dreamt of someday owning one of these rolling masterpeices. The most impressive are the bikes that can hold their own for finish quality, yet you know are going to be ridden hard once the owner takes it from the show hall.

A few months back, we covered new builder Matter Cycles. After striking up a conversation with the owner, Collin, he mentioned that he would be showing his bikes at NAHBS this year. When writing the original story on them, I was very impressed with the BeneFat, Matter’s take on a fat bike. The 420mm chainstay length is the shortest I have seen on any fat bike, and I was looking for a trail-oriented fattie. A Surly Ice Cream Truck is a part of my stable for winter fat bike riding, but I wanted more of a dirt-oriented fat bike. You know, long, slack and low for ripping the trail.

Most NAHBS show bikes are actually owned by the builder’s customers. Most small builders don’t have the resources to build show-specific bikes, and they work with their customers to show off some of their best work. In this series, we will be following the entire process of building a Matter BeneFat, custom for me, and crafted as a show peice for the show. Here’s how it starts…


Cielo Road Race Disc Road Bike Follows Up Standard Model’s NAHBS Release


Cielo’s Road Race Disc brake road bike takes the racier geometry and updated build of the standard Road Race model they just introduced at NAHBS this year, then moved the brakes to the rotors. It even gets the special color options and Cielo stems.

Built with custom drawn ovalized steel tubing, modern touches like a 44mm head tube, PF30 BB and, of course, the disc brakes, make for a thoroughly modern road bike. And word has it, it’ll actually be legal in the UCI peloton in a couple years. It’s available in either electronic or mechanical shifting frame formats. The former requires the use of an internal seatpost mounted battery. Retail’s $2,495 and includes a Chris King headset and ENVE carbon fork painted to match. Roll on down for more pics…


NAHBS 2014: Bike Roundup – A.N.T., Helavna, Brompton, Rob English & More!


As our NAHBS coverage wanes, we’ve got a few more roundups and posts to mix in with the rising Sea Otter news. Above, Rob English didn’t have a booth this year, but he peppered a couple booths with his fantastic looking bikes. This road bike sat in Campagnolo’s space, but was paired with TRP’s Spyre mechanical discs, not Campy disc brakes (we think you probably won’t have to hold your breath too much longer).

Check out the rest of the frame and many more from several builders below…


NAHBS 2014: Boo Builds an Epic Winter Sports Fat Bike, Plus Custom Bamboo Bikes and Paint

Boo bikes fat bike tiger custom paint bamboo rack tandem (2)

Boo had a number of impressive show worthy bikes this year at NAHBS, but if there was one bike that stopped people in their tracks it was probably this AluBoo fat bike. If fat biking in the snow wasn’t enough winter sporting for you, this bike is the ultimate winter sportsmobile. Able to carry all the gear you need to get out to your favorite ice climbing location, the bike also has to ability to carry some massive skis if the snow gets too deep for fat bike tires.

Even if you don’t need a bike for a winter triathlon, Boo had some other bikes that may interest you…


NAHBS 2014: Calfee Builds a True Workhorse, Plus more Custom Gates Equipped E-Bikes

Craig Calfee Workhorse e bike saw blad disc rotors (2)

Quick, what can you make from some wood, axe and hammer handles, some pipe, saw blades, and a handfull of bike parts? Answer – Craig Calfee’s humorous take on the “workhorse” bike. Easily one of the most creative uses of non-bike-parts-as-bike-parts of the show, the Workhorse is definitely hand built, and definitely unique…