The Adventure Behind our Adventure Bike
It’s our first year exhibiting at NAHBS, the North American Handmade Bicycle Show and we’ll hopefully be enjoying some nice weather in Sacramento, CA this March.
Each year the show alternates between east and west coast venues, so we’re excited to be bringing a couple bikes out to California March 15-17 to escape the winter here in Buffalo. With lake effect snow and single digit temperatures it’s getting really tough to ride around here lately.
Here’s what it looks like outside our office right now!
Jessica and I have been working on a gravel / adventure bike for a couple months now which will make it’s official debut as our show bike. It’s built on an entirely new platform that we’ll be using to launch new production bikes this summer, and this show bike will have a few extra touches in addition to this. Our current model, the Urban Scout is built around being simple, beautiful, and fun to ride. This new platform is focused on versatility. It spans the categories of Adventure, Gravel, and Touring and lends itself well to all of them.
It has a typical gravel or adventure geometry. A long wheelbase provides stability through rough terrain, while a (slightly) raised bottom bracket drop adds a little extra clearance to the ground. The top tube sports a fairly aggressive angle to give plenty of standover height. It’s ready for wheel & tire combinations up to 700 x 45 or 27.5 x 2.0 (I’ll confirm this once the frame’s done). It even comes with a chain! -Sorry for the crude rendering above.
For NAHBS we are using curly hard maple which has a wavy, almost iridescent quality to it when finished. It’s also being built with a black walnut pinstripe through the entire frame. The pinstripe is real black walnut wood, sandwiched into the lugs and as an inlay into the tubes. I actually had to build a new machine to make this happen. Our test piece shown here even looks pretty nice. Depending on the feedback we get at the show, this pinstripe may become a standard feature on this new frame.
Keeping true with our usual process of choosing components, we put together this build spec over the course of a few months. We built demo bikes to test some of the parts, and scoured our sources to find the best overall value for this bike. It’s one thing to make an awesome $10,000 bike but it’s something entirely different to do the same thing for closer to $6,000. We’ve hit all of the necessary points – drop bars, thru axles, hydraulic disc brakes, big tapered headset, and tons of tire clearance. One of my favorite parts so far is the Rodeo Labs gravel fork. Their Spork 2.0 actually makes our 2″ diameter frame tubes look small. It’s a really impressive full carbon fork. This thing is made for adventures, and perfectly represents what we’re going for with this new bike.
There are also some smaller details that I think really bring this bike to another level. We’re upgrading the headset and seatpost inserts from aluminum to carbon fiber. These carbon inserts are fiberglass lined as an insulator against corrosion, and are a fraction of the weigh of their aluminum counterparts. I’ve also designed brand new dropout brackets to utilize the Paragon Machine Works rocker inserts. The lucky owners of these bikes will have the ability to swap inserts and use pretty much any hub, derailleur, and disc brake option on the market. As components evolve, so can your frame. It all goes back to the versatility that this bike was designed on.
The most exciting part of our trip to Sacramento might be what happens after the show. We first have a short stop in Oakland to meet our friend Karl for a photo shoot. From there, we’ve rented a camper van from Escape Campervans and will be traveling down the coast. We’ll camp and ride through that week as we make our way to visit Jessica’s cousin outside of LA. We’re no strangers to campervan excursions and can’t wait to get out there.
Stay tuned for updates as the build progresses, and Follow Us On Instagram for the most up to date thoughts and photos as we go. If you can make it to NAHBS in March please stop by our table to chat. We’re the first new builder as you walk into the exhibit hall.