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NAHBS 2014: Alchemy Gets on the Gravel w/ New Bike & Fork, Plus 700g Helios SL & Serotta Designed Titanium

Alchemy Helios SL ultralight custom carbon fiber road bike at NAHBS 2014

We just toured Alchemy’s Denver, CO, factory last summer, and thought we saw a lot. They must’ve been keeping several projects hidden, though, as there were quite a few surprises at NAHBS!

Shown above, the Helios SL takes their very good looking road bike and drops a whopping 25% off the frame weight! By using a large proportion of lighter, military-grade hi-mod carbon fibers, designer Matt Maczuzak was able to shed considerable grams without having to change the molds. But the result is something he says is one of the very lightest “production” frames available today. As in, it comes in as light as 700g for a 54cm equivalent frame.

Of course, there are tradeoffs to making such a light frame. Read on to see what they are, and see what’s arguably even more exciting than a 700g frame…


NAHBS 2014: Harvey Cycle Works’ Awesome Connector-Less Gravel Grinder Dyanamo Light Rig

Harvey Cycle works connector less dynamo gravel lights bike (7)

In addition to the beautiful gravel bike the lights were hung from, Harvey Cycle Works also makes some trick components like this impressive dynamo set up. While a dynamo set up might not sound like the most exciting thing at first, once you see the genius at work behind the connector-less design, it’s hard not to appreciate.

The beauty of a dynamo hub and light is that there is always power – power that you create. However, dynamos mean somehow transmitting that power from the generator hub to the light itself. This usually means wires, and at least one connector. Kevin Harvey not only figured out how to hide the wires, but also how to allow for installation and removal of the lights, completely trouble free.

Plug in after the break.


NAHBS 2014: Abbey Bike Tools Continues to Impress with new HAG, Pedal Wrench, Crombie Team Issue, Prototypes and more!

Abbey Bike Tools Hag crombie team issue sl prototype (6)

So far, every tool that has come out of Abbey Bike Tool’s Bend, OR production facility has left us impressed, and the latest round of tools looks just as good. At the heart of development would have to be the new HAG derailleur hanger alignment gauge which has been in the works for some time, but definitely worth the wait. In typical Abbey Bike Tools fashion, the HAG is built to meet the exacting needs and precision of pro race mechanics, but includes clever features that any shop mechanic will appreciate.

Align yourself with the new HAG plus check out one of the best pedal wrenches we’ve seen after the break!


NAHBS 2014: Appleman’s Rock Solid 29er Mountain Bike & More

Appleman 29er mountain bike custom carbon fiber bicycle nabs 2014

Appleman gave us a teaser in our Road to NAHBS preview, but his custom 29er still had a few surprises. For starters, it was sitting atop the prototype ENVE carbon rigid fork.

The frame itself was made for a 250lb, 6’4″ guy, so it comes in around three pounds and is the strongest tube set builder Matt Appleman offers. He uses a custom tube maker in Minnesota, which lets him get a specific diameter, wall thicknesse, layer count and layup for each bike and it’s rider.

But the tube set wasn’t the only thing making this bike tough…

NAHBS 2014: Thomson Puts 27.2 Dropper Post in Production, Running Changes For All Sizes

The Thomson 27.2 dropper post has moved into production and should hit stores in late May. Retail will be $479, a bit more than the Regular ones because they’re a bit tougher to make.

Shown here with the lever for ease of display, it’ll come with the remote, cable operated remote. The lever is an aftermarket accessory.

The Covert stealth dropper is also in production, coming online in late April in limited supply and fu inventory by late May also. Preorders have eaten up most or all of that, so if you haven’t ordered yet, get on it.


Road to NAHBS 2014: Argonaut Gets on the Gravel


We’ve been following Argonaut’s Ben Farver since his launch, with an in depth look at how they make the bikes and a full review of the gorgeous road bike. Now, after dialing in the process further, he’s launching his second model and we’re stoked to see it jumping on all the right bandwagons.

BIKERUMOR: What are your main building materials?

BEN: Carbon fiber, with aluminum and titanium dropouts.

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

BEN: Oh man… so much! We’ve even further refined and developed our layup patterns to more accurately and specifically meet customer’s needs. We’ve also developed what I’m calling a gravel racer. The gravel racer is a variation on our current road bike, but with disc brakes and slightly more stable geometry.


Road to NAHBS 2014: BME Design’s Wicked Nighthawk Stealth Fighter Road Bike & More!


Editor’s note: This is a guest post, written by a friend of the builder, so it’s a bit of a different format than our usual Road to NAHBS. We’ve paraphrased and edited it slightly for length, but the spirit of the article remains intact. We like it because it provides a bit of insight into what many small builders go through to not only build the amazing bikes we feature here, but what it takes (especially for foreign brands) to ramp up then stop work to travel for the show. Big thanks to Peter Kortvel for the submission, and James D. Shepperd for writing it. Enjoy!

Most of Bikerumor’s readers are familiar with NAHBS, the North American Handmade Bike Show, center of gravity for the burgeoning handbuilt movement. What they may not know is how these builders prepare for this annual coming out. Writing as an amateur builder and enabler of other lunatic builders, painters and cyclists, I wanted to take this opportunity to share what goes on in a builder’s head when he commits to showing his work to 8,000 people in a weekend.

Building custom frames for a living is no easy feat. Marrying the skills needed to build appealing, durable and safe bikes is hard enough. Add to that artisanal skills, marketing know-how, accounting and negotiation, and you will start to appreciate how much is involved in bringing the custom bike of your dreams to reality.

In the last few hundred hours of work and worry before the show, builder Brano Meres of BME Design is making an even more demanding journey to bring his bikes to NAHBS and to the world. Based in Bratislava, Slovakia – a former industrial hotspot behind the Iron Curtain in what was Czechoslovakia – he is meticulous. He is taking the painful and uncommon for custom builders route of getting all his frames and components tested to EN14764 safety standards.

I asked Brano, why go through the trouble of testing with such small numbers of frames? “Well, since I first started with frame building, I have had much of my joy from innovating new materials and processes that allow them to achieve -I hope- similar tolerances to mainstream materials.”

He is bringing two complete bikes to Charlotte, two types of laminated bamboo frames, and two titanium/carbon frames to NAHBS. All have faced “the rack”…


Road to NAHBS 2014: Retrotec Puts the “Fun” in Enduro


Curtis Inglis is still splitting his talents between his namesake brand and the curvy Retrotec bikes, and this year’s interview is all about the latter. Despite the classic sounding name, his latest creation is all about the current craze in the mountain bike world. Yep, that means enduro!

BIKERUMOR: What are your main building materials?

INGLIS: I build entirely out of steel.

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

INGLIS: I have been getting more requests for hardtail mountain bikes built around the 140 fork. I have been working on getting the geometry and tube sizing correct to make the bikes sweet. I call all the bikes built around the longer fork with slacker head angle Funduro. I’ll have one at the NAHBS show.


Road to NAHBS 2014: Breadwinner Cycles


Breadwinner Cycles, a collaboration between well know builders Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan, debuted at last year’s NAHBS show with a solid if reasonable range of bikes. While they’re not giving up too much about what’s en route to Charlotte, we did get some teaser pics and a little update on their progress.

BIKERUMOR: What are your main building materials?

BREADWINNER: We use Columbus steel for all of our builds because of their expertise in metallurgy, consistent quality of finish and range of selection. We believe that Columbus tubes are the highest quality materials available. All our bikes will now come with our proprietary TITO dropouts, which feature durable stainless steel surfaces on wheel, derailleur and brake caliper interfaces to eliminate rust and add to the longevity of our frames. On our performance bikes, we have partnered with ENVE Composites to supply carbon forks. Their innovative design is the gold standard for carbon road forks and they compliment our frames well.