Another year of Berlin’s consumer Bike Show kicked off this weekend highlighting a lot of the urban and lifestyle segments of the bike industry that sometimes get glossed over with new derailleur and suspension tech. That means a lot of classic city bikes, many e-bike applications, internally geared hubs, and belt drives, plus more cargo bikes than you can shake a stick at. Over the next week or two we’ll try to roundup a bunch of things that we spotted that stood out from the crowd and the free flowing Henrick’s Gin and Tonics and German beers.
Read on for a modern take on a classic, city bikes and great finishes, some custom bags, and an e-bike to sneak on some group rides…
Standard Highwheels is a Swedish production builder of modern high-wheel bikes, one of only a couple worldwide. They now offer 48″ and 52″ wheeled variants for about 1500€ a piece and are planning to expand this year to offer more sizes, since the wheel size determines fit unlike a frame’s size on our regular safety bikes. Pretty much everything on the bike is a contemporary redesign of the classic, from the aluminum fork with unique axle and steel frame to purpose-made light alloy rims and solid EPDM tires. They are still growing but expect to sell about a hundred of these a year.
Auftragsrad is a Berlin custom bike shop that featured several bikes available from different suppliers. We’ve seen the 1500€ aluminum singlespeed Belitanner NYC cab bike before, but thought we’d share its quadruple triangle (?) frame design. We have shown you the Estonian stainless steel Viks before, but this one had a sweet finish from Happarel Bicycles, another Berlin custom shop. Their thing though is a pretty cool reflective makeover that makes the frame pop when light hits it and can be combined with both colored and reflective treatments to the spokes for interesting spinning effects too.
We’ve featured the work of Crema Cycles’ high-end custom bikes before a couple of times over the year, but they are here simply as an example of the great finishes you see at the Berliner Fahrradschau. There are lots of custom builders at the show that we don’t feature, simply because they cater towards the local or German markets exclusively. But the bikes from some of these builders would certainly not be out of place at NAHBS, Crema just stands out as a company that does a good bit of international work and collaborations and has a well established relationship with ENVE.
Kori Kohri is a small upstart bike luggage company from Italy that made their way up to the Berlin show. They were displaying a small simple utility/tool roll called the Afua that they offer for just 15€. Available in a wide range of made-to-order colors it made a simple solution for either tools or a mix of wallet, phone, and spares. It rolls up small enough to slide in a jersey pocket and is held shut with a simple elastic loop. The bigger, as yet unnamed, tool roll was a prototype at the beginning of last cross season, but is now also available for 45€. It is somewhat customizable in pocket size/layout and fabric color. It folds closed, then rolls, and straps shut with two buckled straps and an outside carrying handle. I saw the one that had a season of cross racing and a new one, and you couldn’t see any noticeable wear except a spot or two of grease on the inside.
Kori Kohri also makes a pretty cool lightweight packable bike bag that is designed to carry a bike on the train. Moving around Europe by train is pretty easy, but you often have to pay extra for a bike, while luggage is generally free. With this bag, you just pop off the wheels and drop your bike inside, getting around bike fees. The 45€ Abimbola bag is made from some lightweight nylon (or similar) fabric and rolls up to an almost jersey pocket friendly size. Two that they had at the show would fit in a pocket, but a tight fit. The bags are made-to-order and are typically sized specifically to fit the dimensions of your specific bike. Have a look at their Instagram for some more pics.
Ernst Wabek of Selberbruzzler – the Vienna Framebuilder Collective – had a bike that was eye-catching if you looked close enough. Wabek’s steel framed mixed-surface bike is really a super stealth e-bike. With the custom-made battery hidden inside the downtube (accessible by removing the big headbadge) and the relatively small 250W Keyde rear hub motor, it was pretty easy to walk by the bike without noticing. But to make the custom drive system work, Wabek had to machine his own headtube so it would be strong enough with the large cutouts needed for battery access, and he fabricated the bi-laminate lugs that make up the seat cluster and the very original bottom bracket lug that includes the power button and charging port. The complete bike made of Columbus Spirit & Life tubing and built with modest CX50 and 105 components weighs just 11.8kg.
The crazy thing about the bike is that Wabek isn’t a professional framebuilder, nor are any of the other Selberbruzzler collective members. They are all just a bunch of amateurs who had an idea or just wanted to learn how to make their own bikes (Wabek is actually a chemist.) None of the bikes displayed were for sale, so unfortunately I won’t be able to buy one to keep up with my faster riding partners after they return from training somewhere warm. If you are interested, they have some good documentation of their process over at their flickr page; caution, you may be inspired to do something crazy like try it yourself.
That’s all for today. Keep your eyes open for more Berliner 2015 updates over the next couple of weeks.