With our Oregon Handmade Bike Show coverage wrapping up, it’s not hard to begin thinking about what some of these builders will bring to the table next year. While this years show was generally drenched in rain, the turnout was more than enough to keep everyone moving around, and the Ninkasi beer booth was definitely hopping (sorry).
Here is what we have from Winter Cycles, Strawberry, Iglehart and Ti Cycles. There is also a new fork testing machine in development which I took a moment to learn a little about. Click through for the rest of the show.
First up, Winter Cycles. Last year Eric Estlund produced some very unique bikes with equally unique finishes, which we covered here and here. This year he brought up a few bikes from his Tool Series. Coming in at a slightly lower cost than his full custom work, the Tool Series offers a custom geometry and a few options, but less lugged and customized than a one-off build. this lowers the turnaround time at the same time, which seems to be a well-adopted tactic across the industry. I photographed his cyclocross bike, the matte black with day-glow yellow, which proved tricky to capture. Notice the different head badge displaying a hammer to differentiate the Tool Series.
Next we have Strawberry. Although Andy has been mettling with his torch for a long time, the detail work in these framesets were hard to pass up. We covered Strawberry here, and several more places as a sports supplement flavor. It was the uniquely machined downtube cable stops that first caught my eye, but the real attraction were the custom forged lugs designed by Andy Newlands himself. Check out the raw and finished lugs below.
Igleheart… Most anyone can find a fantastic paint job. It is the innovative mind of Christopher Igleheart that had definitely created some unique pieces. The logo is pretty interesting, but his remote generator hub light switch left me thinking “why didn’t I think of that.”
Ever wish you could easily turn on and off a generator light system while riding? Usually you have to access an out-of-reach headlight mounted switch. Chris decided to machine down a chris king stem cap and insert an aviation grade machined aluminum push button on/off switch. My first question was about water proofness, to which Chris responded that it drains itself down and out of the steer tube. He followed that by mention of how he’s been riding this design for over a year without issue.
Noticing the bright orange straight, 5 piece, steel fork and stem being the lover of that exact style of fork, I asked specifically about that one. Chris smiled and said he built this fork of Reynolds 853 steel, making for a relatively light fork. And it was, but I didn’t have a scale, and he hadn’t weighed it. It simply felt much lighter than a standard steel fork. Because the tubes are a little thinner, he chose to braze the rack mounts onto the fork instead of drilling into the tube to maintain structural integrity. His stem looked beautiful and was painted both inside and out. Another little detail Chris mentioned was how the green bike was color matched to a little green crochet patch. Take a look below.
Right when you walk into the room, you have this guy staring at you. We covered Ti Cycles’ CarGoAway cargo bike here, but now there is a solar panel powerful enough to charge the substantial Li-Ion battery in about four hours in full sun. Another bike that stood out was their Hyak Di2 steel road bike. The clean execution is what catches the eye here. Looking closer, notice the beautiful Ritchey dropouts out back. The paint was hands-down amazing.
Hanging out on the side of the show was a new piece of equipment being developed to perform fork testing to the Europe’s CEN safety standards. The photo above somewhat illustrates the frontal impact and maximum static load testing capabilities. The large weighted drum would drop down onto the fork, striking a purpose-built front axle designed to simulate a frontal impact, or maximum load capacity.
On the reverse side, the hydraulic ram is used for testing fatigue by flexing the fork back and forth until failure. This would simulate regular use and should eventually break any fork. The question looking to be answered is where the failure would occur and how long would it take. Once the machine is fully operational, it will find a home at UBI Portland. Built by a crew of Portland builders and machinists, this will make an amazing addition to the Universal Bicycle Institute’s frame building curriculum.
At the end of the weekend, the visitors turned in their vote for who should win the new Peoples Choice Award. This year Joseph Ahearne’s stainless steel touring bike (found here) was chosen to win the Peoples Choice Award. Congratulations! Can’t wait to see next year’s show!