'Round and 'round they go
Track bikes are always a popular segment at handmade bicycle shows but RMBS' more performance-oriented atmosphere brought out some more bona fide racers than usual – perhaps in homage to the races held the first night of the show at Boulder Indoor Cycling's new velodrome.
Case in point was a stunning white and chrome stunner from Primus Mootry out of Longmont, Colorado, recently piloted by Clark Sheehan to a US National title in the Masters points race. The formula was straightforward enough – big, stiff aluminum tubes arranged in a sensible geometry – and a bit of aero work was included, too, by way of the deeper tube profiles and Oval Concepts twin-blade fork.
Long-time track builder David Tiemeyer was on hand with a beautifully executed aero aluminum frame custom painted by Spectrum Powderworks. Unlike the steel dropout faces used on the Primus Mootry, the Estes Park, Colorado builder instead opted for wholly replaceable titanium dropouts. Tiemeyer says he built the frame primarily as a showpiece – but conveniently, it also just happens to fit him.
Given his proximity to the 7-Eleven velodrome in Colorado Springs, it makes sense that Groundup Designs builder Eric Baar also specializes in track frames. His aluminum creation was definitely among the more radical on display, however, with a highly unconventional seat cluster arrangement, full hand-shaped tubing and an electrifying bass boat blue paint job.
In contrast, Boulder, Colorado titanium specialist Dean went with the ultra-clean route on its track machine, using nothing but straight tubes, a bit of ovalizing for the chain stays and some external machining on the head tube to save a few grams. Even the segmented titanium fork uses straight pipes exclusively, too. Rounding things out are a custom titanium stem built in-house, an Eriksen titanium post, and running gear mostly from White Industries.
Have bike, will travel
Travel bikes seem to be the next big trend in the handmade industry with several builders offering up their own take on the best way to disassemble a frame.
S&S couplings are still an incredibly popular option given that they can be inserted nearly anywhere and offer a surprisingly solid connection between the mating tube ends. This was the method of choice for big-and-tall specialist Lennard Zinn, whose personal titanium road bike is so immense that it actually requires twice as many couplings as usual. Still, Zinn insists the bike fits in the standard Samsonite case prescribed by S&S though we'd imagine it would still require a touch extra care in doing so.
Black Sheep's setup instead uses a removable rear triangle. An overlapping slotted clamp is used up top just behind the seat tube (with an end that is artfully scalloped to match the adjacent weld bead) while two set screws secure the overlapping chain stays below. The dropped top tube provides extra standover clearance, a titanium rear rack is welded right on to the rear triangle, and a custom segmented titanium fork is included as well.
Then there's the Sendero method. Only two bolts hold the front and rear triangles together with each joint similar in appearance to a swinging door hinge: just line up the holes, insert the bolt and tighten. Disassembly is naturally just as easy.
Good ol' road bikes
We don't want to give you the wrong impression. RMBS (or any handmade show) isn't just about niche bikes and there were plenty of straight-up road and off-road machines on display as well – albeit each with its own distinctive flavor.
Case in point is the gleaming new Revel from Sedona, Arizona based Form Cycles. Form builds the Revel with Reynolds stainless steel tubing throughout – including the BB30-compatible bottom bracket shell and Paragon dropouts – for a light and lively ride that offers a viable alternative to carbon fiber. Bare frames retail for US$2,645 (add US$100 for the BB30 option) while top-shelf complete bikes with SRAM Red and FSA K-Force Light components fetch US$7,500.
Primus Mootry builder Joe DePaemelaere brought along his personal ride: a gorgeous metallic red and blue number with carbon fiber tubes, an integrated seatmast and handmade welded, carved and polished aluminum lugs with a BB30-compatible shell. DePaemelaere estimates this frame took him about sixty hours to build, though, so while you could buy something like this from him for yourself, it'll certainly cost you a pretty penny.
Fort Collins, Colorado builder Renold Yip blended old and new with a road bike he built for his wife. The lugged steel frame boasts a level top tube and matching steel fork with curved blades, all covered in an understated metallic grey paint job with a white head tube and dark red accents. Hanging off of it all, though, was Shimano's thoroughly modern Dura-Ace Di2 group. Not content to simply use Shimano's included stick-on cable guides, Yip brazed housing guides to the underside of the down tube and bottom part of the seat tube specifically to route the wires.
Rebolledo Cycles showed off its usual array of classically styled machines as well, including a pink-and-cream randonneur tourer with a minimal front rack and dual headlamps (powered by a Schmidt dynamo front hub), chrome fenders, a matching Silca frame pump and a leather Brooks saddle, fender flap and bar tape.
Few builders adhered to the retro theme more than Boulder-based René Herse, however, who specializes in 1930s-era French style bikes. A key feature on its randonneur tourer was the rarely used 650B wheel size. The smaller rims and larger diameter tires allow for an outside diameter similar to a standard 700c road setup but with a far cushier ride on rough roads. A small front rack, Schmidt dynamo-powered lights (with a rotary switch integrated into the top of the stem) and dimpled chrome fenders complete the package.