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North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2010 - Part five

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The extra wide stainless steel rack on this custom Banjo cargo bike looks set to haul a lot of gear.

The extra wide stainless steel rack on this custom Banjo cargo bike looks set to haul a lot of gear. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Aaron Rogers of Banjo Cycles built this heavy duty hauler for a customer in Madison, Wisconsin. Rogers says this customer rode the bike to his shop with an extra bike on the back so he could display it at NAHBS, then unhooked the secondary bike and rode that home.

Aaron Rogers of Banjo Cycles built this heavy duty hauler for a customer in Madison, Wisconsin. Rogers says this customer rode the bike to his shop with an extra bike on the back so he could display it at NAHBS, then unhooked the secondary bike and rode that home. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Banjo Cycles also included this neat custom bezel for the front light.

Banjo Cycles also included this neat custom bezel for the front light. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The back end of this Banjo Cycles cargo bike can accept any of Xtracycle's carriers while a fork mount also allows the rider to tow another bike behind.

The back end of this Banjo Cycles cargo bike can accept any of Xtracycle's carriers while a fork mount also allows the rider to tow another bike behind. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The cloth handlebar tape on this Banjo Cycles tourer is finished with jute twine then fully lacquered.

The cloth handlebar tape on this Banjo Cycles tourer is finished with jute twine then fully lacquered. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Custom carbon fiber and walnut veneer bottle cages on this Banjo Cycles tourer were custom made especially for the project.

Custom carbon fiber and walnut veneer bottle cages on this Banjo Cycles tourer were custom made especially for the project. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Banjo Cycles' Aaron Rogers also crafted this neat little display.

Banjo Cycles' Aaron Rogers also crafted this neat little display. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The leather fender flaps on the Banjo Cycles tourer were sourced from Brooks but custom decorated by Kara Ginther Leather.

The leather fender flaps on the Banjo Cycles tourer were sourced from Brooks but custom decorated by Kara Ginther Leather. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Banjo Cycles builder Aaron Rogers devised a custom mount for the dynamo-powered front light and neatly routed the wires with lacquered jute twine.

Banjo Cycles builder Aaron Rogers devised a custom mount for the dynamo-powered front light and neatly routed the wires with lacquered jute twine. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Aaron Rogers of Banjo Cycles built this S&S touring bike for himself and the level of detail was indeed very impressive.

Aaron Rogers of Banjo Cycles built this S&S touring bike for himself and the level of detail was indeed very impressive. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The simple head tube badge contrasts with the amazing level of detail on the bike to which it's affixed.

The simple head tube badge contrasts with the amazing level of detail on the bike to which it's affixed. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The front rack on this Banjo Cycles tourer is set to hold a big rack-top bag as well as lowrider panniers.

The front rack on this Banjo Cycles tourer is set to hold a big rack-top bag as well as lowrider panniers. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The svelte rear brake housing stop on this Banjo Cycles tourer is neatly brazed to the back of the seat lug.

The svelte rear brake housing stop on this Banjo Cycles tourer is neatly brazed to the back of the seat lug. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Check out the leaf details on this Banjo Cycles custom stainless steel rack.

Check out the leaf details on this Banjo Cycles custom stainless steel rack. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Banjo Cycles builder Aaron Rogers designed the racks to be easily disassembled so they would fit with the rest of the bike into the S&S hard case.

Banjo Cycles builder Aaron Rogers designed the racks to be easily disassembled so they would fit with the rest of the bike into the S&S hard case. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Brooks makes the saddle but the artwork comes courtesy of Kara Ginther Leather.

Brooks makes the saddle but the artwork comes courtesy of Kara Ginther Leather. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Wiring on this Banjo Cycles tourer was very cleanly done and neatly concealed.

Wiring on this Banjo Cycles tourer was very cleanly done and neatly concealed. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Anyone remember Benotto Cello tape? The guys at Bilenky Cycle Works clearly did for the bars of this Hetchins-style period piece.

Anyone remember Benotto Cello tape? The guys at Bilenky Cycle Works clearly did for the bars of this Hetchins-style period piece. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Check out the double-layer lugs on the chain stays of this Bilenky bicycle.

Check out the double-layer lugs on the chain stays of this Bilenky bicycle. (Image credit: James Huang)
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An extra guide is required to route the derailleur cable on this Bilenky Cycle Works machine.

An extra guide is required to route the derailleur cable on this Bilenky Cycle Works machine. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Bilenky Cycle Works says they built this period piece using a variety of tubes and parts given to them by a customer.

Bilenky Cycle Works says they built this period piece using a variety of tubes and parts given to them by a customer. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Awesome chrome and pinstriping work on this Bilenky Cycle Works road bike.

Awesome chrome and pinstriping work on this Bilenky Cycle Works road bike. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The curved stays on this Bilenky Cycle Works bike are reminiscent of an old Hetchins machine.

The curved stays on this Bilenky Cycle Works bike are reminiscent of an old Hetchins machine. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The pinched seat tube on this Bilenky Cycle Works road bike is apparently consistent with an old six-day racer.

The pinched seat tube on this Bilenky Cycle Works road bike is apparently consistent with an old six-day racer. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Why is there a cork hanging off of this Bilenky bike? Back in the day this was a way for riders to say that they were never "out of cork" and always had something left in the tank.

Why is there a cork hanging off of this Bilenky bike? Back in the day this was a way for riders to say that they were never "out of cork" and always had something left in the tank. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This Bilenky Cycle Works employee proudly shows off one of his custom rack jobs.

This Bilenky Cycle Works employee proudly shows off one of his custom rack jobs. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Even though frames are never delivered like this, raw frames such as this one from Bilenky Cycle Works provide visual evidence of a builder's skill with a brazing torch.

Even though frames are never delivered like this, raw frames such as this one from Bilenky Cycle Works provide visual evidence of a builder's skill with a brazing torch. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Bilenky Cycle Works showed off this highly detailed tandem tourer.

Bilenky Cycle Works showed off this highly detailed tandem tourer. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The custom rear rack on this Bilenky tandem tourer is clearly capable of handling a lot of gear.

The custom rear rack on this Bilenky tandem tourer is clearly capable of handling a lot of gear. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Bilenky fits the dynamo-powered front light directly to the rack on this tandem tourer.

Bilenky fits the dynamo-powered front light directly to the rack on this tandem tourer. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Just a hint of extra detail on the seat stay caps of this Bilenky tandem tourer.

Just a hint of extra detail on the seat stay caps of this Bilenky tandem tourer. (Image credit: James Huang)
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We've come to expect elaborate paint jobs from Groovy Cycleworks and they've delivered yet again.

We've come to expect elaborate paint jobs from Groovy Cycleworks and they've delivered yet again. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Groovy Cycleworks modified a Shimano Deore XT cassette to fit on a truncated Chris King singlespeed freehub body for a dishless rear wheel.

Groovy Cycleworks modified a Shimano Deore XT cassette to fit on a truncated Chris King singlespeed freehub body for a dishless rear wheel. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A triple-plate crown is used on this Groovy Cycleworks mountain bike.

A triple-plate crown is used on this Groovy Cycleworks mountain bike. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Groovy Cycleworks also showed off this stylish 29er hardtail.

Groovy Cycleworks also showed off this stylish 29er hardtail. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This GroundUp machine is a perfect example of a builder doing something just because he can. See the picture on the left? Yup, this bike serves double duty as a flamethrower.

This GroundUp machine is a perfect example of a builder doing something just because he can. See the picture on the left? Yup, this bike serves double duty as a flamethrower. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Fuel is held in the small bottle underneath the down tube of the GroundUp flamethrower and the system is pressurized with the attached shock pump.

Fuel is held in the small bottle underneath the down tube of the GroundUp flamethrower and the system is pressurized with the attached shock pump. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Check out the tidy X-shaped seat stay brace on this GroundUp bike by Eric Baar.

Check out the tidy X-shaped seat stay brace on this GroundUp bike by Eric Baar. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Pressurized fuel shooting out of the nozzle at right passed over the tiki torch holder on the fender. You can guess the rest.

Pressurized fuel shooting out of the nozzle at right passed over the tiki torch holder on the fender. You can guess the rest. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Baar also adds a little bit of style to the Dura-Ace chainring on his GroundUp track bike.

Baar also adds a little bit of style to the Dura-Ace chainring on his GroundUp track bike. (Image credit: James Huang)
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GroundUp now uses titanium dropouts for its track bikes.

GroundUp now uses titanium dropouts for its track bikes. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This GroundUp track bike was recently raced at the Six Days of Rotterdam.

This GroundUp track bike was recently raced at the Six Days of Rotterdam. (Image credit: James Huang)
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New builder Herbie Helm crafted some of the best cable stops of the show.

New builder Herbie Helm crafted some of the best cable stops of the show. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This graceful looking Herbie Helm frameset was one of our favorites of the show.

This graceful looking Herbie Helm frameset was one of our favorites of the show. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Excellent lug sculpting on this Herbie Helm frame.

Excellent lug sculpting on this Herbie Helm frame. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The gracefully curved seat stays on this Herbie Helm frame recall some of the shapes of yesteryear.

The gracefully curved seat stays on this Herbie Helm frame recall some of the shapes of yesteryear. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A mix of old and new: Herbie Helm included an extended seat tube on this frame along with a cleverly internally routed rear brake cable and excellent lugwork.

A mix of old and new: Herbie Helm included an extended seat tube on this frame along with a cleverly internally routed rear brake cable and excellent lugwork. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The front brake cable is also internally routed on this Herbie Helm-made stem.

The front brake cable is also internally routed on this Herbie Helm-made stem. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Darrell McCulloch's Llewellyn frames never cease to amaze us. Check out the detailing in just this tiny area.

Darrell McCulloch's Llewellyn frames never cease to amaze us. Check out the detailing in just this tiny area. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Hearts are a consistent Llewellyn trademark.

Hearts are a consistent Llewellyn trademark. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The quality of polish on the stainless steel lugs was absolutely brilliant.

The quality of polish on the stainless steel lugs was absolutely brilliant. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Darrell McCulloch made the trip all the way from Australia to show off his Llewellyn frames - and we're glad he did.

Darrell McCulloch made the trip all the way from Australia to show off his Llewellyn frames - and we're glad he did. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Check out the seat stay bridge on this Llewellyn road frame. Awesome.

Check out the seat stay bridge on this Llewellyn road frame. Awesome. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Can you spot any flaws in this Llewellyn seat cluster? Neither can we.

Can you spot any flaws in this Llewellyn seat cluster? Neither can we. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Custom painted-to-match headset spacers? Why yes, of course!

Custom painted-to-match headset spacers? Why yes, of course! (Image credit: James Huang)
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Llewellyn also brought along this beautiful yellow and blue machine.

Llewellyn also brought along this beautiful yellow and blue machine. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Polished cranks nicely offset the gleaming gold plating.

Polished cranks nicely offset the gleaming gold plating. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A close-up view of Peacock Groove's trademark dropout design.

A close-up view of Peacock Groove's trademark dropout design. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Peacock Groove also gold-plated the matching rigid fork, too.

Peacock Groove also gold-plated the matching rigid fork, too. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Peacock Groove did a full copper plated bike for NAHBS 2009 and builder Erik Noren outdid himself this year with gold.

Peacock Groove did a full copper plated bike for NAHBS 2009 and builder Erik Noren outdid himself this year with gold. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The cutout seat tube makes for very short chain stays on this gleaming Peacock Groove 29er.

The cutout seat tube makes for very short chain stays on this gleaming Peacock Groove 29er. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Peacock Groove plated the stem and custom headset spacer, too.

Peacock Groove plated the stem and custom headset spacer, too. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This stainless steel chain stay protector is bolted to the frame on the inner surface of the chain stay for a slick 'floating' effect.

This stainless steel chain stay protector is bolted to the frame on the inner surface of the chain stay for a slick 'floating' effect. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Peacock Groove's stainless steel head tube badges are among the easiest to recognize.

Peacock Groove's stainless steel head tube badges are among the easiest to recognize. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Peter Mooney's frames are generally more understated than some of the more outwardly embellished rigs at NAHBS.

Peter Mooney's frames are generally more understated than some of the more outwardly embellished rigs at NAHBS. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Peter Mooney clearly has superb control over his files.

Peter Mooney clearly has superb control over his files. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Intricate lug carving and excellent pinstriping mark this Peter Mooney seat cluster.

Intricate lug carving and excellent pinstriping mark this Peter Mooney seat cluster. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Polished stainless steel rings decorate the seat tube on this Peter Mooney frame.

Polished stainless steel rings decorate the seat tube on this Peter Mooney frame. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Shamrock Cycles included this 'Team Issue' 650b bike in its booth at this year's NAHBS.

Shamrock Cycles included this 'Team Issue' 650b bike in its booth at this year's NAHBS. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Paintwork as intricate as on this Shamrock Cycles frame is unlikely to be found on a typical showroom floor.

Paintwork as intricate as on this Shamrock Cycles frame is unlikely to be found on a typical showroom floor. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This Shamrock Cycles 'Belle Fast' was painted by Kate Oberreich and depicts "her interpretation of a road ride along a stream on a southern Indiana night."

This Shamrock Cycles 'Belle Fast' was painted by Kate Oberreich and depicts "her interpretation of a road ride along a stream on a southern Indiana night." (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Shamrock Cycles head tube badge is surrounded by a starry night.

The Shamrock Cycles head tube badge is surrounded by a starry night. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Shamrock Cycles topped the rear rack with this nicely finished wooden shelf.

Shamrock Cycles topped the rear rack with this nicely finished wooden shelf. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Check out the water bottle braze-ons!

Check out the water bottle braze-ons! (Image credit: James Huang)
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Even the display stands in the Shamrock Cycles booth were well thought out.

Even the display stands in the Shamrock Cycles booth were well thought out. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Shamrock Cycles built this road bike with Columbus Spirit for Lugs tubing.

Shamrock Cycles built this road bike with Columbus Spirit for Lugs tubing. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Shockingly, this Shamrock Cycles road bike sported the only Star headset we saw in the entire show.

Shockingly, this Shamrock Cycles road bike sported the only Star headset we saw in the entire show. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Interestingly, the three-armed Campagnolo crank on this Spectrum-restored Hetchins wasn't the only one at NAHBS.

Interestingly, the three-armed Campagnolo crank on this Spectrum-restored Hetchins wasn't the only one at NAHBS. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Tom Kellogg of Spectrum Cycles says this Hetchins restoration took five months from start to finish.

Tom Kellogg of Spectrum Cycles says this Hetchins restoration took five months from start to finish. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Spectrum Cycles took an old Hetchins and immaculately restored it to show quality.

Spectrum Cycles took an old Hetchins and immaculately restored it to show quality. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Spectrum Cycles says this restoration was "particularly challenging."

Spectrum Cycles says this restoration was "particularly challenging." (Image credit: James Huang)
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Stellina Sport brings raw made-to-order Alan frames into the US and then covers them in fantastic custom paintjobs.

Stellina Sport brings raw made-to-order Alan frames into the US and then covers them in fantastic custom paintjobs. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Yup, that's gold leaf under the clearcoat of this Stellina Sport-painted Alan 29er.

Yup, that's gold leaf under the clearcoat of this Stellina Sport-painted Alan 29er. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Alan is probably best known for its 'cross frames and Stellina Sport is keeping the flame burning bright.

Alan is probably best known for its 'cross frames and Stellina Sport is keeping the flame burning bright. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A carbon rear end on this Alan helps soften the ride.

A carbon rear end on this Alan helps soften the ride. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Another example of Stellina Sport's beautiful custom paintwork.

Another example of Stellina Sport's beautiful custom paintwork. (Image credit: James Huang)
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By bringing in raw Alan frames, US importer Stellina Sport is able to keep costs reasonable while also offering custom paint.

By bringing in raw Alan frames, US importer Stellina Sport is able to keep costs reasonable while also offering custom paint. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A bit morbid, but we like it anyway.

A bit morbid, but we like it anyway. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A string of 'pearls' decorate the top tube of this VeloColour-finished Pinarello Prince.

A string of 'pearls' decorate the top tube of this VeloColour-finished Pinarello Prince. (Image credit: James Huang)
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VeloColour refinished this Pinarello Prince with a brilliant deep red and gold paint job.

VeloColour refinished this Pinarello Prince with a brilliant deep red and gold paint job. (Image credit: James Huang)
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VeloColour took a standard Specialized Transition and turned it into this.

VeloColour took a standard Specialized Transition and turned it into this. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Nope, no decals involved here on this VeloColour paint job. Just lots of careful masking work.

Nope, no decals involved here on this VeloColour paint job. Just lots of careful masking work. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Custom wheel graphics are more commonly done with decals but VeloColour has done this with nothing but paint.

Custom wheel graphics are more commonly done with decals but VeloColour has done this with nothing but paint. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Velo Orange caters specifically to builders and riders seeking the retro look.

Velo Orange caters specifically to builders and riders seeking the retro look. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A flower-shaped button adds a bit of whimsy to this Yipsan bike.

A flower-shaped button adds a bit of whimsy to this Yipsan bike. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Yipsan built a custom rack around this bag. Check out the spoke handle on the locking pin up top.

Yipsan built a custom rack around this bag. Check out the spoke handle on the locking pin up top. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Yipsan showed off this beautiful randonneur bike.

Yipsan showed off this beautiful randonneur bike. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Yipsan had to disassemble this lever to finish the blade.

Yipsan had to disassemble this lever to finish the blade. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Yipsan integrates the front light into a custom mount on the rack.

Yipsan integrates the front light into a custom mount on the rack. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Fenders on this Yipsan bike are finished to match.

Fenders on this Yipsan bike are finished to match. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Yipsan built this custom seatpost with a stainless steel shaft and a cast head from Engin Cycles.

Yipsan built this custom seatpost with a stainless steel shaft and a cast head from Engin Cycles. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Yipsan wrapped the down tube shifters with knit socks.

Yipsan wrapped the down tube shifters with knit socks. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A small leather washer is a nice way to keep parts from rubbing.

A small leather washer is a nice way to keep parts from rubbing. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Yipsan built this bike around the wicker basket this below.

Yipsan built this bike around the wicker basket this below. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The crank on this Yipsan townie was hand-polished, as was the AceCo chain guard.

The crank on this Yipsan townie was hand-polished, as was the AceCo chain guard. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Yipsan proudly displayed this sunflower-themed townie.

Yipsan proudly displayed this sunflower-themed townie. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Bamboo grips adorn this Yipsan townie.

Bamboo grips adorn this Yipsan townie. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A matching rear rack is fitted to the back of this Yipsan townie.

A matching rear rack is fitted to the back of this Yipsan townie. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Yipsan routed the cables through the frame for a clean look.

Yipsan routed the cables through the frame for a clean look. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The internally routed cables on this Yipsan townie exit back near the dropouts.

The internally routed cables on this Yipsan townie exit back near the dropouts. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Yipsan used custom seatposts like this on at least two bikes in its booth.

Yipsan used custom seatposts like this on at least two bikes in its booth. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The side of the front rack on this Yipsan townie included a built-in U-lock holder.

The side of the front rack on this Yipsan townie included a built-in U-lock holder. (Image credit: James Huang)

Free from the usual constraints of mass production and cost cutting, creations shown at NAHBS exhibited a level of craftsmanship and detail that you'll very rarely see on a showroom floor. Bikes here generally aren't judged on weight, stiffness or aerodynamics but rather their aesthetics, their artistry, their creativity and most importantly how well the finished product reflects the desires and personality of its end user – price be damned in some cases.

By definition, there is no economy of scale with a bespoke bicycle and many of the features and details seen at NAHBS are in no ways functional – nor are they necessarily easy to construct so the builder often has to devote an unpredictable amount of time and expense to figure out a problem. But it all adds up in the end and there was no shortage of showstoppers at this year's event in Richmond, Virginia.

Case in point is the 'sunflower bike' by Fort Collins, Colorado builder Renald Yip of Yipsan Bicycles. Yip says his customer (many of the bikes at NAHBS were customer-owned, not dedicated showpieces) asked him to build a townie for short errands and also to equip it with a front rack to fit a specific wicker basket.

The result was a gleaming yellow and cream flower-themed mixte machine with a painstakingly crafted front and rear racks, a hand polished crank and chainring guard, cleverly integrated internal cable routing, a polished stainless steel seatpost with cast lugged head, a Shimano Alfine internally geared drivetrain, and beautiful color matching throughout. The total cost? About US$6000. And the final weight? We've no idea and didn't feel the need to ask, nor is it likely that the buyer cared much after laying eyes on it.

Like the Yipsan townie, Ahren Rogers' Banjo Cycles S&S tourer wasn't built specifically for show, though in this case it was something the former Seven Cycles employee made for himself and not a paycheck but with a similarly exorbitant level of meticulous detail. Rogers' was fitted with front and rear racks like any proper touring bike but his custom leaf-themed stainless steel examples were also designed to be easily disassembled to tuck into a travel case along with the rest of the bike (many racks won't fit).

Custom walnut fenders made from four layers of veneer were fitted to both ends to protect from road spray and dynamo-powered lights with concealed wiring were also included. Rounding things out were a painted-to-match full-length frame pump mounted behind the seat tube, lacquered cloth handlebar tape finished with hand-wrapped jute twine, custom walnut-and-carbon fiber bottle cages, and a leather saddle and fender flaps custom decorated by Kara Ginther.

Naturally, some bikes at NAHBS were notable for their incredible paint jobs and finish work such as the stunning Hetchins restoration done by Tom Kellogg of Spectrum Cycles. Kellogg says this customer restoration is one of just twelve known remaining samples out of 150 produced and the "particularly challenging" project took five months to complete from start to finish.

In addition to the tedious paintwork, Kellogg says he also had to replace the fork blades, fill in numerous deep rust pits and rechrome all the requisite sections. The finished product is astounding in its thoroughness, though, and it's a veritable certainty that the current owner will take better care of it than the previous one.

Other shining examples of finish work came from dedicated paint shop VéloColour, whose showpieces included a blue-and-white Specialized Transition with ornate masking work and "porcelain motifs…fusing the historical output of Taiwan and the surrounding areas of China" plus hand-painted (not decaled) aero wheels. Sitting behind was a striking Pinarello Prince using "imagery from the Italian coat of arms topped with a deep red and gold crown and layered with pearls." While neither paint job will make the bikes faster, they undoubtedly make them more distinctive.

Then again, there's always gold – not paint, but rather the precious metal which Peacock Groove used to completely coat their 29er hardtail to go along with the highly polished crankarms and headset. Practical? Perhaps not but it definitely brings new meaning to the term, 'bling'.

Among our perennial favorites, however, are Darrell McCulloch's Llewellyn steel frames. Though not necessarily as flashy or overtly ornate as some other bikes on the floor, the dark red metallic and polished stainless steel finish on one road frame in particular was among the most utterly perfect and understatedly brilliant as any we've seen. Highly regarded in framebuilding circles, McCulloch made the trip to Richmond all the way from Australia and we certainly hope he makes a return visit to next year's show in Austin, Texas.

To see the full gallery click here.