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North American Handmade Bicycle Show 2010 - Part two

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SyCip also showed off this gorgeous green and white fixie.

SyCip also showed off this gorgeous green and white fixie. (Image credit: James Huang)
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A small loop added on the dropout helps guide the Di2 wire.

A small loop added on the dropout helps guide the Di2 wire. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Underneath the ornate paint and polish jobs is this impeccable brazing.

Underneath the ornate paint and polish jobs is this impeccable brazing. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The battery is mounted beneath the chain stay to dedicated braze-ons.

The battery is mounted beneath the chain stay to dedicated braze-ons. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This supposedly says, 'Dr. Tea', in reference to the bike's owner.

This supposedly says, 'Dr. Tea', in reference to the bike's owner. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The lugged stem matches perfectly.

The lugged stem matches perfectly. (Image credit: James Huang)
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In contrast to the internally concealed Di2 setup, the external cables on this Ellis are almost intentionally put on display.

In contrast to the internally concealed Di2 setup, the external cables on this Ellis are almost intentionally put on display. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The masked and blasted logo is beautifully subtle - and permanent.

The masked and blasted logo is beautifully subtle - and permanent. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Barrel adjusters are integrated into the lower head tube lug.

Barrel adjusters are integrated into the lower head tube lug. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This beautiful polished Ellis frame was built with Reynolds 953 stainless steel tubing.

This beautiful polished Ellis frame was built with Reynolds 953 stainless steel tubing. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Dave Wages built this Ellis bicycle with a mix of Dedacciai steel tubing.

Dave Wages built this Ellis bicycle with a mix of Dedacciai steel tubing. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Di2 wire enters the frame just aft of the head tube at this neat brazed-on port.

The Di2 wire enters the frame just aft of the head tube at this neat brazed-on port. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The rear brake cable is routed internally, too.

The rear brake cable is routed internally, too. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The branding is even more apparent on this white leather handlebar covering.

The branding is even more apparent on this white leather handlebar covering. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The leather saddle gets the same treatment.

The leather saddle gets the same treatment. (Image credit: James Huang)
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We can expect to see more of this type of routing in the future as Di2 continues to gain acceptance among small builders.

We can expect to see more of this type of routing in the future as Di2 continues to gain acceptance among small builders. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The rear derailleur wire exits neatly just ahead of the polished dropout.

The rear derailleur wire exits neatly just ahead of the polished dropout. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Carefully applied paint adorns the front end.

Carefully applied paint adorns the front end. (Image credit: James Huang)
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SyCip was another builder at NAHBS who chose to build a bike with Shimano's new Dura-Ace Di2 electronic group.

SyCip was another builder at NAHBS who chose to build a bike with Shimano's new Dura-Ace Di2 electronic group. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Peeking through the SyCip logo is a strip of polished stainless steel.

Peeking through the SyCip logo is a strip of polished stainless steel. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Rather than hide the battery away, SyCip mounts it right up top and even embellishes it with a custom stitched and branded leather cover.

Rather than hide the battery away, SyCip mounts it right up top and even embellishes it with a custom stitched and branded leather cover. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The stitched-on leather bar wrap was custom branded witih the SyCip logo.

The stitched-on leather bar wrap was custom branded witih the SyCip logo. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The chain stay end is cleanly filled in.

The chain stay end is cleanly filled in. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Ellis's dropout design is open and airy.

Ellis's dropout design is open and airy. (Image credit: James Huang)
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We're not sure these eye-catching custom brake levers can pull enough cable to function well but they certainly look fantastic.

We're not sure these eye-catching custom brake levers can pull enough cable to function well but they certainly look fantastic. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Mounted up high is a highly polished and chromed stem.

Mounted up high is a highly polished and chromed stem. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Ornate entry ports for the Di2 wire and rear brake cable are brazed to the underside of the down tube.

Ornate entry ports for the Di2 wire and rear brake cable are brazed to the underside of the down tube. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Rather than keep the wire entry and exit points quiet and unobtrusive, Cherubim chose to make them a design feature.

Rather than keep the wire entry and exit points quiet and unobtrusive, Cherubim chose to make them a design feature. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The integrated headset and fillet brazed joints make for a smooth look.

The integrated headset and fillet brazed joints make for a smooth look. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Cherubim's steel road racer was as much fine art as it was high-tech.

Cherubim's steel road racer was as much fine art as it was high-tech. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The rear derailleur wire exits just ahead of the chromed dropout.

The rear derailleur wire exits just ahead of the chromed dropout. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Since the rear brake is moved down near the bottom bracket, the seat stay bridge can be smaller and more elegant.

Since the rear brake is moved down near the bottom bracket, the seat stay bridge can be smaller and more elegant. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Cherubim keeps the battery cable inside the frame all the way to the mount.

Cherubim keeps the battery cable inside the frame all the way to the mount. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Interestingly enough, this wasn't the only three-arm Campagnolo crank on the floor at NAHBS.

Interestingly enough, this wasn't the only three-arm Campagnolo crank on the floor at NAHBS. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Simplex front derailleur is stunning in its simplicity.

The Simplex front derailleur is stunning in its simplicity. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Displayed right next to Cherubim's Di2-equipped roadster was this stunning blue creation with a retro spec.

Displayed right next to Cherubim's Di2-equipped roadster was this stunning blue creation with a retro spec. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The rear of the brake bridge is gently rounded

The rear of the brake bridge is gently rounded (Image credit: James Huang)
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But the front is more tightly pinched.

But the front is more tightly pinched. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Polished Reynolds 953 tubes mate to the painted bottom bracket shell.

Polished Reynolds 953 tubes mate to the painted bottom bracket shell. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Small chrome and paint details add to the appeal.

Small chrome and paint details add to the appeal. (Image credit: James Huang)
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This saddle clearly has no padding but perhaps its central 'cutout' makes it reasonable tolerable. Then again

This saddle clearly has no padding but perhaps its central 'cutout' makes it reasonable tolerable. Then again (Image credit: James Huang)
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The chain may be modern but the Simplex rear derailleur most certainly is not.

The chain may be modern but the Simplex rear derailleur most certainly is not. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Contrary to modern designs, the old Cinelli pedal used a manual release.

Contrary to modern designs, the old Cinelli pedal used a manual release. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Cherubim somehow found these old Cinelli clipless pedals, too.

Cherubim somehow found these old Cinelli clipless pedals, too. (Image credit: James Huang)
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Even the headset spacer is perfectly tapered to maintain the smooth lines.

Even the headset spacer is perfectly tapered to maintain the smooth lines. (Image credit: James Huang)
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The battery mounts to dedicated braze-ons and the cable is routed through the chain stay.

The battery mounts to dedicated braze-ons and the cable is routed through the chain stay. (Image credit: James Huang)

Shimano's revolutionary Dura-Ace Di2 electronic drivetrain has been highly – and rightfully – touted in racing circles for its remarkable shift performance but it's also been readily accepted among the mostly non-racing oriented handbuilt crowd here at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show – and not just because Shimano is now the show's title sponsor (technically making the official acronym now 'SNAHBS', not 'NAHBS').

Though a bit more complex to set up in some ways, Di2's more flexible wiring options as compared to conventional mechanical drivetrains otherwise has allowed builders to be more creative in routing those connections without the usual constraints of housing stops and smooth, large-radius cable runs. While some builders such as Vanilla Bicycles and Yipsan have stuck with more straightforward external setups, others such as Japanese builder Cherubim, California-based SyCip and Dave Wages of Ellis Cycles have opted for more elaborate internal routing – thus removing some of the usual mechanical distractions and leaving more of the observer's attention towards the frame itself.

"Some people will walk through here and see all of these really unusual and unique kinds of bikes and then there's Shimano, which seems like such a mainstream thing," said Shimano American press officer Devin Walton. "Interestingly enough, [our presence here] has actually created a really deep relationship in the sense that we're bringing technology to the table that's allowing these people that are really craftsmen and artisans to be creative with what they're doing – especially when you look at things like Dura-Ace electronic and the ability it gives them to integrate cables and hide things and really streamline a bike."

Wages' Di2-equipped Ellis was a study in elegant simplicity with the single control wire entering the frame through a sealed and brazed-on port on the down tube. The battery affixed to a dedicated mount on the non-driveside chain stay and its cable was fed through a large opening in the bottom bracket shell (which serves double duty as a drain port). Another exit point was positioned just below the front derailleur. Wages ran the rear derailleur wire through the normally sealed chain stay with an extra brazed-on loop on the dropout for support and the finished package overall was exceptionally clean.

SyCip's Di2-equipped creation used a similar routing configuration to the Ellis but instead of tucking the battery underneath the chain stay, Jeremy Sycip instead chose to highlight its location atop the bottom bracket area with a custom leather cover branded with the SyCip logo – making it an addition to the craftsmanship rather than something that might distract from it. Similar branding was also found on the custom stitched leather handlebar wrap and saddle.

Cherubim's Di2 installation was notably more elaborate with the brazed-on cable entry and exit points being more ornate both in terms of shape and coloring and a chain stay-mounted rear brake allowing for a more symmetrical internal routing arrangement overall.

Though each of the builders using Di2 at SNAHBS came up with their own routing solution, Shimano itself is also helping facilitate the creative process with specific installation kits.

"We have internal-specific cable kits right now with the biggest difference being they don't have the same kind of junction under the bottom bracket as far as the wiring goes and then they're also set up so that they don't clank around inside of the frame," Walton continued. "There have definitely been inquiries from builders about the ability to just plug something into the frame. It's a neat thought and obviously we listen to that sort of thing. It's just that we just have to see if there's enough uniformity to be able to move that way in the future."