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Road To NAHBS 2013: Don Walker Cycles

Don Walker cyclocross racing

One of Don's sponsored racers showboating. Pic by Michael Frey.

Don Walker is a perennial fixture at NAHBS, and for good reason: He puts on the show. And, each year his booth’s focus is steel road and cyclocross bikes, but they’re punctuated with one or two “extras” to grab eyeballs. Last year it was a vintage Stayer track bike and a prototype disc brake ‘cross bike. This year, we should have something really new to look at…

Bikerumor: What materials do you build with? Which is your favorite and why? 

Don Walker: I work only with steel. I started with steel in 1991. I love everything about it from the road feel to the aesthetics of a bike made with it.


Road To NAHBS 2013: Strong Frames

nahbs 2013 carl strong frames

Carl Strong is one of the few builders that routinely builds with all four materials: Steel, aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber. How he got to that point is laid out on his website with a nice little retrospective. Although he’s not doing much with aluminum anymore, he is still making a wide range of bikes, from road to cyclocross to mountain bike and anything in between. Here’s what he’s been up to lately…

Bikerumor: What materials do you build with? Which is your favorite and why?

Strong: I build with steel, titanium and carbon fiber. If I have to choose, and I really don’t like to, I’d chose steel. I probably like it best because steel is what I started with and it’s what I’ve done the most. All materials are great as long as they are applied correctly, so I don’t favor any for performance reasons just the emotional attachment.


Road To NAHBS 2013: Ellis Cycles

ellis cycles nahbs 2013

Funny enough, we paired last year’s show coverage of Ellis’ booth with Gaulzetti’s in a roundup, but the brands couldn’t be more different. Ellis’ style is classical, with an eye for subtle flair and small steel tubing, making gravel/rando and road bikes that would have looked perfectly at home fifty years ago. Well, except for the 11-speed groups and modern tube sets! Here’s what builder David Wages has been up to…

Bikerumor: What materials do you build with? Which is your favorite and why?

Ellis: I build with steel and stainless steel, and it’s not because steel bikes are better than everything else on the market, it’s simply because steel fabrication is my area of expertise and because I feel like the huge variety of steel tubes that are currently available allow me to build a bike for pretty much anyone and any purpose. The beauty of what I do is that every frame is built for a specific customer, so I can choose each individual tube based on their size, weight, ride preference, and really “tune” the ride of the bike. One of the engineers that I worked with at Serotta had a great saying, “there are no bad materials, only bad applications”, so my goal is for my steel bikes not to fall into the “bad applications” category.


Road To NAHBS 2013: YiPsan Bicycles

yipsan bicycles nahbs 2013

Renold Yip is always a crowd favorite. Whether it’s the showstopper Sunflower Mixte from Richmond’s show or the Cafe Racer from Austin, he’s always got something worth stopping and staring at. Based in Fort Collins, CO, Yipsan’s bikes generally skew towards commuter and touring, but let’s see what he’s up to for 2013:

Bikerumor: What materials do you build with? Which is your favorite and why?

YiPsan: Steel. It is flexible in its application with wide tubing choices.


Road To NAHBS 2013: Bilenky Cycle Works

bilenky nahbs 2013

We love Bilenky Cycle Works, based in Philadelphia, PA, for their quirky, creative and wildly artistic bikes. But what would you expect from a brand that hosts an annual cyclocross race in their neighbor’s junkyard? (video here and here)

Check out our factory tour here to see the shop, and some past NAHBS bikes, then read on to see what’s in store for 2013…

Bikerumor: What materials do you build with? Which is your favorite and why?

Bilenky: We love steel! Steel is real. We love its versatility, the many ways it can be connected, and the incomparable ride it provides. We also like titanium and do many repairs and retrofits and a bike here and there, but steel is our passion. We’ve been using stainless quite a bit lately – TIG welded, lugged and silver fillet brazed. It’s a little bit lighter and stiffer than regular steel, and the unpainted finish options are limitless. We have a big sticker at our shop that says “I ride lugged steel and I vote!”


Road To NAHBS 2013: Caletti Cycles

caletti cycles nahbs 2013

The second call up for our Road to NAHBS 2013 series is John Caletti, who always pleases with clean designs and simple yet elegant paint schemes on his various iterations of road and cyclocross bikes. Check out 2011 and 2012 show coverage, or just dive right in to see what he’s been doing since…

Bikerumor: What materials do you build with? Which is your favorite and why?

Caletti: Steel and Titanium. Which is my favorite? That’s a tough one, as both have a lot of great merits. Aside from the logic of it all, I get a bit more drawn to steel – it’s sort of an emotional response I have.


Road To NAHBS 2013: Gaulzetti Cicli

gaulzetti corsa

It’s time again for our annual pre-NAHBS interview series where we learn what some of the builders have been up to since last year’s show and, perhaps, a sneak peek at what they’ll be bringing to Denver in February.

First up is the ever popular and always entertaining Gaulzetti Cicli founder Craig Gaulzetti, hailing from Nahant, Massachusetts. Never heard of him? Perhaps it’s best to prime yourself with last year’s interview and our show coverage from 2012. Otherwise, let’s get rolling…

Bikerumor: What materials do you build with? Which is your favorite and why? 

Gaulzetti: We build bikes out of bamboo, aluminum and wood. That lets us maintain a presence in every NAHBS “alternative material” subset. Remember when the Melvins did that easy listening album or when Flipper performed Beethoven’s Seventh at Pukkelpop? It’s kinda like that. We’ve taken big steps this year to branch our into other areas of “alternative”.

OK – so I don’t really build bikes out of wood or bamboo- but I also consider the song “Typical American” by the hip-hop group the Goats one of the best alternative songs of the 1990s. Anyway, we do race bikes out of aluminum and race bikes out of steel. Aluminum is my favorite and is an ideal material for 90% of my clients. I honestly think it is less about the material and more about the design and where the wheels end up than the material. My steel bike, the Cazzo allows me to use physically smaller pipes which makes for a bit more clearance than I could achieve with my aluminum tubes….so for a Paris-Roubaix style race bike, I like to use Colombus ÜberOversize PegoRichie steel.


Road to NAHBS 2014: Don Walker’s Steel Bicycles

Don-Walker-Star-Track-BikeSomewhere between running his team and putting on this little show called NAHBS, Don Walker finds time to build a few bikes. Typically, they’re for the track or the cyclocross course, but every now and then he brings a little something different. Let’s see what’s been going on since last year’s interview and show

BIKERUMOR: What are your main building materials?

DON: Still steel. I have been threatening to break out of that for a while now, but time will tell.

BIKERUMOR: What’s new with your company since NAHBS last year?

DON: I’ve tried to re-tool, re-organize and get the shop flow to be able to produce bikes quicker. Seems to be faster, too!


NAHBS 2013: Gaulzetti, Generic, Tommasini & Richard Sachs

Gaulzetti Cicli pantone green road bike with new dropouts

In our pre-NAHBS interview this year, Gaulzetti promised a new emerald green color, supposedly the hot new Pantone (17-5641) hue for 2013, and, well, he delivered. It’s a bit brighter in person, and surprisingly good looking.

And that’s not all they showed that’s new. Click through for pics and info on his stuff, plus bikes from Generic Cycles, Tomassini and our usual photos-only coverage of Richard Sachs…