24 Unusual Handmade Mountain Bikes from NAHBS. Well, sort of…

by Hannah Dobson 4

The North American Handmade Bike Show – NAHBS – brings forth a pretty spectacular mix of bike builders. They’re not all American – people now come from all over the world to exhibit at the show. And they’re not all handmade bike builders either – component companies also have stands at the show.

There’s a ton of bikes of all shapes and sizes, and luckily for those of us not lucky enough to get to be there, they’re photographed at the show so that you can behold them from the comfort of your living room. We’ve been through the press pack of images – there were well over 400 of them – and picked out those which are, approximately, mountain bike shaped. Or at least flat barred and large tyred. Because when it comes to NAHBS (as you’ll see in this list of bikes below), pigeonholing some of the frames into a niche can be pretty difficult.

1. Altruiste I

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

This is a bit of mystery bike. It’s in the press pack, and it’s tagged as being by Altruiste bikes, but beyond that we can’t see any information about it. A bit of digging around the Altrusite Facebook page reveals it’s the ‘Zydeco slope rig’. We think that means it’s for doing tricks on and getting air and possible ‘steezey’.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

It’s an unusual position for a shock. We strongly recommend tightly fitting shorts. Or very, very skinny jeans.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Look at those spokes, and that chain!

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

We’re assuming that’s some kind of pivot round that bottom bracket shell. Maybe not designed for UK mud?

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

There’s a clown’s approach to colour coordination, but it kind of works. We’ll be coming back to Alturiste later…

2. Beardman Bikes

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Is it a mountain bike? Possibly, one of the bike packing variety maybe? There’s certainly room for plenty of water for a desert crossing, plus space for a pizza.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

For when even a Jones Bar is too mainstream? This bike is by Beardman Bikes, and that’s an orange/purple combo that we can definitely see appealing to Chipps.

3. Bingham Built

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

This Bingham Built bike is by the maker of the company who won best TIG welded bike.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

It’s sooo looong.

4. Black Sheep Bikes I

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Is this a mountain bike? It has a dropper post. And appears to have the capacity to carry stuff – maybe a live raccoon? And then there’s the wheels…which are apparently 36in wheels. <mutters darkly about new standards> This creation by Black Sheep Bikes won the ‘Best Artisan Bike’. So maybe that rear rack is for sourdough and beard oils.

5. Black Sheep Bikes II

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Singlespeed, backswept bars, rigid fork, dropper post…it’s almost a normal mountain bike. It’s also made by Black Sheep Bikes.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

That looks like a tricky little niche to weld neatly.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

We think that’s a sheep wearing a wolfskin coat.

6. Blaze

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

This is the Blaze Fox 29er. It seems like a pretty normal mountain bike. There’s also a Blaze Wulf 27 Plus, another pretty normal looking mountain bike.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Nope, nothing to see here folks, just lots of lovely titanium.

7. Cal Poly Bike Builder’s Club

Image Courtesy of
NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

This creation is from the Cal Poly Bike Builder’s Club. Imagine if we’d all spent our school days so constructively. It looks pretty slack up front…

Image Courtesy of
NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

…and is that sliding dropouts for swapping wheelsizes, adjusting handling, or singlespeed conversion? Or all three?

8. Fenix Bykes

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

This is the 1Fourty+ by Fenix Bykes. A trip over to their Facebook page reveals that this bike has the following features:

  • 140mm travel 27.5+ FS Bike
  • Designed around true plus size tires (27.5×3.0 max tire size)
  • Hand built by Ted Wojcik in Plaistow, NH
  • Steel frame with steel upper and lower links
  • Shown with 622mm (24.5″) top tube, to be sold in top tube lengths
  • 66.5° head tube angle with 150mm fork and 67 deg HT angle with 140mm fork
  • 439.5 mm (17.3″) chain stay length
  • Designed around long travel dropper posts (175 to 200mm)
  • 1X Drivetrain only with optional chain guide with bash guard
  • Hydropack free design for shorter rides includes downtube water bottle braze-ons with additional braze-ons installed higher up on the downtube for storage and tools.
Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

9. Independent Fabrications

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Erm…it’s made by Independent Fabrications. That’s about all we can tell you about this.

10. Groovy Cycleworks LLC I

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

This pink and blue splattery spackley number is by Groovy Cycleworks LLC.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

11. Groovy Cycleworks LLC II

That’s one way we’ve not seen seatstays welded to a seat tube before.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad QuartuccioAnd this no-I-must-not-pick-at-the-paintwork (which is apparently not actually paint but some kind of special coating) baby blue number is also by Groovy.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Multicoloured spokes again.

12. Groovy Cycleworks LLC III

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

And yet another Groovy bike. This time with two top tubes, one of which seems specifically place for unpleasant interfaces in emergency dismount scenarios.

13. Northern Frameworks

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

This is…basically a pretty normal looking bike – but made for a tall rider, so actually a cunningly designed bike to keep everything look in proportion. Kitted out by Northern Frameworks with some rather nice looking Paul Components, er, components.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

14. Olivetti Bikes

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

This is the Thunder Pig from Olivetti Bikes. Should sit nicely in the shed alongside the Thunder Chicken above then, hmm?

15. Porter Cycles

Image Courtesy of
NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Porter Cycles that made this also make a variety of metal products, including sculptures – not just bikes. Is it a mountain bike? Or a shopper? Argh, the hell with labels, it’s a bike. Or is it a travelling sculpture?

16. Sklar Bikes I

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Argh! This klunker bike is all rusted and textured and we can only imagine that it feels horrible to the touch. But it’s got a dropper post, so it’s not all bad.

Image Courtesy of
NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Originally, this is called the Klunk and it’s by Sklar Bikes. Klunk and Sklar – possibly also items of Ikea furniture? Actually, they’re built by Adam Sklar, an actual person, who is nevertheless very handy and probably quite good at building flat packed furniture too.

17. Sklar Bikes II

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Another Sklar bike – one with a lovely fade paint job. So it’s not all rusty klunkers.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Mmm…that is a really lovely fade.

18. Squid Bikes I

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Ok, Ok, so this is a BMX. But it does have 26in wheels. And a brilliant Squid Bikes head badge.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Just don’t leave it lying down on the grass or you’ll never find it again.

19. Squid Bikes II

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

With a very grubby set of grips – what’s that about? – this is another Squid Bike.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

We’re letting it in here because it’s got knobbly tyres and flat bars, but apparently it’s a ‘tracklocross’ bike, not mountain bike. We would totally give that a go on some wooded singletrack though!

20. Stinner

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

This plus bike from Stinner looks pretty spectacular. Just look at that paint. What is that? Metallic marbling? Crackle glitter?

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Whatever it’s called, we’d love to ride it if only we weren’t so scared of scratching it.

21. Stinner

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

This is another Stinner bike. Everything about it looks lovely and simple, except the paint work, which is not simple, but still rather nice.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

22. Toresvelo

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

This is from Russian makers Toresvelo. A hunt through their Instagram feed has us reaching for our wallets, and also tells us that this fork has a 51mm offset, tapered steerer and 490mm length. Plus lots of bosses, as this is made for travelling.

23. Vicious Cycles

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

This is by Vicious Cycles. Carl ‘Snarl’ Schlemowitz behind this bike doesn’t appear to have updated his Instagram or website since forever. We suspect you reach a point where you’re so in demand there’s no point in advertising. Or maybe you just don’t give a hoot.

24. Altruiste II

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

We said we’d come back to Altruiste, and here we are. We know a little bit more about this one as it won Best Mountain Bike and Best In Show. And that’s what we know. The NAHBS press release is big on pictures and that’s about it.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Here is the man behind that winning bike. He looks pretty happy. Either he’s called Gabriel, or he’s stolen his shirt.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

A trip over to the Altruiste Facebook page reveals this is an enduro bike called the ‘Thunder Chicken’. Possibly a name worthy of an award.

This image shows just how that shock is fitted in. It’s pretty wild.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

So much whut?

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

The back end may be wild, but the front is a little more short-stem-stock-forks normal.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

Except for those forks of course. Which are pretty wild whatever colour bike you have.

Image Courtesy of NAHBS/Brad Quartuccio

This shock is pretty lovely to behold. But what do you reckon to that bent seat tube? It’s this innovation along with the effort and attention to detail that won the judges over. You can see Gabriel being interviewed here – or rather the judge showering him with praise and Gabriel being ridiculously modest.

Phew! Now we think that’s everything that might just about fit the ‘mountain bike’ category. More weird and wonderful definition defying bikes coming soon.

Comments (4)

  1. Bent seat tube. Not seat stay.

  2. Groovy LLC for me. Delish. Anyone have any information on Vicious? I’d heard that Carl Schlemowitz wasn’t very well at all. Then was teaching in a bike building workshop. I have a VC metal guru and it’s one of the nicest bikes I’ve ever ridden. I was always keen to hear what happened.

  3. Love seeing these. Some amazing creations.
    (It’s Independent Fabrication btw – no ‘s’)

  4. The altruiste looks very cool, but are bikes that pedal like shit a thing now? Of course that if you overlook that very critical factor and just place the pivot on the bottom bracket, you can come up with nice looking solutions.

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