NAHBS 2016 – Interview with new builder Alex Clauss of Portus Cycles

NAHBS-2016_Alex-Clauss_Portus_02
Photo by Paul Skilbeck
Photo by Paul Skilbeck

One of our favorite things about New Builder Row at NAHBS this year was Alex Clauss, a gregarious guy with a very interesting full suspension steel frame. The frame, with kinematics driven by the Internet Community Bicycle 2.0 project by mtb-news.de, features a spec of mostly German components. Its theme, “Armor of God,” tells a story of Alex’s history and is a statement on his personal philosophy.

During our 30 minute booth-side chat at NAHBS, we learned about this history. His passion for bicycles began as a child, from which he got a job at a bike shop and worked his way up through several component companies. Finally, he arrived at frame building at England’s The Bicycle Academy where he took a course that resonated with his interest in social welfare. It was in this course that Alex found his life’s calling. “The frame is the heart, the soul of a bicycle. By choosing the geometry, you choose the character of the bike. For me, frame building- it was pursuing the last step…”

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One of our favorite things about New Builder Row at NAHBS this year was Alex Clauss, a gregarious guy with a very interesting full suspension steel frame. The frame, with kinematics driven by the Internet Community Bicycle 2.0 project by mtb-news.de, features a spec of mostly German components. Its theme, “Armor of God,” tells a […]

Posted in Feature, Interviews, Mountain Bike, NAHBS6 Comments

NAHBS 2016 Interview: new builder Hernan Montenegro

NAHBS-2016_Hernan-Montenegro_Montenegro-Manufacturing

I know Hernan Montenegro from the alley cat racing circuit, so I was caught off guard seeing him in the new builder’s row at NAHBS with a fresh shave. Hernan’s submission: a buttoned up carbon road frame with a custom saddle and a set of sophisticated integrated handlebars, all made from scratch by him. During our short 15 minutes chatting, we talked about how he went from a shop rat to a working with carbon, to then fulfilling his dream of becoming a bike builder, and the critical help he’s had along the way…

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I know Hernan Montenegro from the alley cat racing circuit, so I was caught off guard seeing him in the new builder’s row at NAHBS with a fresh shave. Hernan’s submission: a buttoned up carbon road frame with a custom saddle and a set of sophisticated integrated handlebars, all made from scratch by him. During […]

Posted in Interviews, NAHBS, Road Bike2 Comments

NAHBS 2016 – Bastion Cycles changes the game with 3D Printed Ti and carbon bike- that customers design

NAHBS-2016_Bastion-Cycles_Carbon_3d-printed-titanium_Road_Disc_05

NAHBS-2016_Bastion-Cycles_Carbon_3d-printed-titanium_Road_Disc_111

When it was announced that automotive company, Toyota, was shutting down manufacturing and development in Australia, vehicle dynamics engineer and cyclist Ben Schultz developed a business plan for a high concept custom carbon and 3D-printed titanium race bike. Little did he know that his coworker, James Woolcock, was independently developing his technical concept for the same bike. At lunch one day, they pitched the same concept to one another.

The bicycle, shown at NAHBS, is technically impressive, but the bike itself is really just the tip of the iceberg as far as what makes the product and brand compelling. And that’s what’s really exciting – James and Ben, along with their partner Dean McGeary, have brought their experience in automotive process, business and design to cycling. The result is a clever, buttoned-up deep custom consumer experience package that puts total control of the design directly in the hands of the customer and seems to have exploited every ounce of opportunity within the bicycle design, ordering and fabrication process. And the final product is, well, pretty mind-blowing as a result. It is my pick for most compelling new bike I saw at NAHBS – maybe the most compelling bike I’ve seen all year.

Buckle up for this one. In order for the bike to really blow your mind, you have to wrap it around the whole concept first…

Continue reading “NAHBS 2016 – Bastion Cycles changes the game with 3D Printed Ti and carbon bike- that customers design”



When it was announced that automotive company, Toyota, was shutting down manufacturing and development in Australia, vehicle dynamics engineer and cyclist Ben Schultz developed a business plan for a high concept custom carbon and 3D-printed titanium race bike. Little did he know that his coworker, James Woolcock, was independently developing his technical concept for the […]

Posted in Feature, Interviews, Road Bike32 Comments

Road to NAHBS 2016: Alexander Clauss of Portus Cycles

Photo by Portus
Photo by Portus

Also joining NAHBS from the international community is new builder Alex Clauss of Portus Cycles in Germany. After building his first frame at The Bicycle Institute in the UK – a fillet brazed steel frame to be donated to those in need – Alex Clauss caught the frame building bug. Now welding rather than fillet brazing, Alex is making his NAHBS debut with an ambitious full-suspension steel frame that’s bound to turn heads.

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Also joining NAHBS from the international community is new builder Alex Clauss of Portus Cycles in Germany. After building his first frame at The Bicycle Institute in the UK – a fillet brazed steel frame to be donated to those in need – Alex Clauss caught the frame building bug. Now welding rather than fillet […]

Posted in Interviews, Mountain Bike, NAHBS, Road Bike1 Comment

Road to NAHBS 2016: Matt Conrad of Journey Cycles

NAHBS-2016_Matt-Conrad_Journey-Cycles_Second-Carbon-Frame
Photos by Matt Conrad

After leaving the corporate world, and armed with years of experience in composites, Matt Conrad saw an opportunity in the frequency of damaged carbon bikes coming into his bike shop. After repairing frames for a time, he decided to take the plunge to establish and pursue Journey Cycles full time. Though it would initially be a vehicle for his carbon repair business, his goal was always to move fully into frame building…  and 2016 is his big NAHBS debut.

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After leaving the corporate world, and armed with years of experience in composites, Matt Conrad saw an opportunity in the frequency of damaged carbon bikes coming into his bike shop. After repairing frames for a time, he decided to take the plunge to establish and pursue Journey Cycles full time. Though it would initially be […]

Posted in Commuter, Interviews, NAHBS, Road Bike, Triathlon9 Comments

Road to NAHBS 2016: Dmitry Nechaev of Triton Bikes Russia

By Alexey Bubryak, LIS Fabrication
By Alexey Bubryak, LIS Fabrication
By Alexey Bubryak, LIS Fabrication

One of the most exciting aspects of this NAHBS are the international builders. And out of that crop, we have Triton Bikes Russia to really look forward to. The antics of Dmitry and his crew of titanium frame builders have been all over social media in the weeks leading up to the show (if you’re not following them, you’re really missing out).

Dmitry kicked off his bike industry career out of a need for a trials frame, one he could not attain easily in Russia. After years of sourcing them outside of the country (and a brief stint in the professional world), he saw the opportunity to up his game by bringing manufacturing in house. Today, Triton makes titanium frames across all categories and Dmitry, as you will read, is excited about basically everything.

Continue reading “Road to NAHBS 2016: Dmitry Nechaev of Triton Bikes Russia”



One of the most exciting aspects of this NAHBS are the international builders. And out of that crop, we have Triton Bikes Russia to really look forward to. The antics of Dmitry and his crew of titanium frame builders have been all over social media in the weeks leading up to the show (if you’re […]

Posted in Fatbike, Feature, Interviews, NAHBS, Road Bike20 Comments

Road to NAHBS 2016: Rob English of English Cycles

Photo by Tina Buescher
Photo by Trask Bedortha
Photo by Trask Bedortha

The frame building and racing career of Rob English began at an early age. Having built his first bike as a teenager for a school project, his passion for bikes, racing, and engineering drove him to build his first branded bike, a time trial bike, when he could not find any available to work for his unique fit requirements. While he always knew he would work within the bike industry, it was outside interest in his approach and process that really drove him to break out as a frame builder.

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The frame building and racing career of Rob English began at an early age. Having built his first bike as a teenager for a school project, his passion for bikes, racing, and engineering drove him to build his first branded bike, a time trial bike, when he could not find any available to work for […]

Posted in Feature, Interviews, Mountain Bike, NAHBS, Road Bike16 Comments

Road to NAHBS 2016: Curtis Inglis of Retrotec

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Photo by Curtis Inglish
Photos by Curtis Inglis

When I visited Curtis Inglis at his shop in Napa, CA, last summer, I got a glimpse into the mind of a guy who is obsessed with bending tubes. And actually, it ruined me a little for looking at other bikes. When you see a Retrotec in a room full of straight-tubed bicycles, it’s easy to take its curves for granted because it is just that different. When you finally really see and understand the flawless quality of the arcs in a Retrotec frame, bends Curtis has been refining for decades, you can’t unsee it. And you find yourself reevaluating all curved frames with that eye.

Last year, despite a hurried build due to attending the show at short notice, Curtis took home the Best Mountain Bike award for his fat bike. For this year, it looks like we have more stunners to look forward to…

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When I visited Curtis Inglis at his shop in Napa, CA, last summer, I got a glimpse into the mind of a guy who is obsessed with bending tubes. And actually, it ruined me a little for looking at other bikes. When you see a Retrotec in a room full of straight-tubed bicycles, it’s easy to take […]

Posted in Feature, Interviews, Mountain Bike, NAHBS10 Comments

Road to NAHBS 2016: Complete Pre-Coverage Interview Summary

ROAD_TO_NAHBS

ROAD_TO_NAHBS

We took a dynamic approach in covering this year’s show compared to past coverage. Rather than send out a standard questionnaire to builders, I chose several builders for long form phone interviews to break up the rhythm of the posts. Both types of interviews would center around an origin story theme because, well, I was personally curious. While some build their stories into their branding, others are more guarded about them. For new builders, they are still living their origin stories. Some just don’t want to muck around in the past because they are too excited about current and future projects.

At any rate, it was a total pleasure to speak to all of these builders and I’m grateful that they took time out of their insane schedules leading up to the show to tell us their story.

What I started to understand a few weeks into the coverage is that there were several themes evolving that I did not expect to hear. My own perceptions of the industry, one that I had felt pretty intimate with, were challenged. After the process of writing and editing these interviews, I  respect and appreciate the frame builder community more deeply than I previously had thought possible.

I hope you enjoy these; it’s a fascinating corner of the industry full of interesting people and fantastic stories. Bookmark this summary and save it for later. You’ll learn something.

Continue reading “Road to NAHBS 2016: Complete Pre-Coverage Interview Summary”



We took a dynamic approach in covering this year’s show compared to past coverage. Rather than send out a standard questionnaire to builders, I chose several builders for long form phone interviews to break up the rhythm of the posts. Both types of interviews would center around an origin story theme because, well, I was personally […]

Posted in Feature, Interviews, NAHBS7 Comments