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On show: North American Handmade Bicycle Show, Part 4

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This beautiful Kish titanium townie features a Wound-Up fork, White Industries cranks, and an internally geared rear hub.

This beautiful Kish titanium townie features a Wound-Up fork, White Industries cranks, and an internally geared rear hub. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Michigan-based Quiring Cycles offers titanium head tubes in a wide range of sizes, including standard 1 1/8", 44mm for straight or tapered steerers (or even 1.5"), and also Lefty-specific ones with integrated bearings.

Michigan-based Quiring Cycles offers titanium head tubes in a wide range of sizes, including standard 1 1/8", 44mm for straight or tapered steerers (or even 1.5"), and also Lefty-specific ones with integrated bearings. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Quiring showed off this bright titanium full-suspension bike using a Ventana rear end.

Quiring showed off this bright titanium full-suspension bike using a Ventana rear end. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Quiring was one of few titanium builders at NAHBS to use a proper BB30 bottom bracket shell.

Quiring was one of few titanium builders at NAHBS to use a proper BB30 bottom bracket shell. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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NAHBS could easily have been called the "Paragon Machine Works Show" judging by how often its bits were seen on frames like this Quiring titanium hardtail.

NAHBS could easily have been called the "Paragon Machine Works Show" judging by how often its bits were seen on frames like this Quiring titanium hardtail. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This Quiring titanium hardtail makes liberal use of Cannondale technologies, including the Lefty fork and BB30 bottom bracket.

This Quiring titanium hardtail makes liberal use of Cannondale technologies, including the Lefty fork and BB30 bottom bracket. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Quiring's Lefty-specific titanium head tube also uses Cannondale's ultra-simple press-fit headset.

Quiring's Lefty-specific titanium head tube also uses Cannondale's ultra-simple press-fit headset. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Gates' thick belt-drive chainring requires a small dimple on this Ti Cycles chain stay.

Gates' thick belt-drive chainring requires a small dimple on this Ti Cycles chain stay. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Ti Cycles put the split in the chain stay instead of the seat stay to pass through the Gate carbon belt and an internal cone keeps everything aligned. The design - developed by Ti Cycles' own Dave Levy - is also used by Sean Chaney of Vertigo.

Ti Cycles put the split in the chain stay instead of the seat stay to pass through the Gate carbon belt and an internal cone keeps everything aligned. The design - developed by Ti Cycles' own Dave Levy - is also used by Sean Chaney of Vertigo. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Ti Cycles' triangulated rigid fork reminds us of a certain old-school suspension design

Ti Cycles' triangulated rigid fork reminds us of a certain old-school suspension design (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Ti Cycles showed off this striking 69er.

Ti Cycles showed off this striking 69er. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Integrated seatmasts in metallic form were fairly common at NAHBS as seen on this Ti Cycles hardtail.

Integrated seatmasts in metallic form were fairly common at NAHBS as seen on this Ti Cycles hardtail. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Naturally, Moots fits the Vamoots RSL with its own Open Road titanium stem.

Naturally, Moots fits the Vamoots RSL with its own Open Road titanium stem. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Pencil-thin seat stays are included on Moots' Vamoots RSL.

Pencil-thin seat stays are included on Moots' Vamoots RSL. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Moots includes a PressFit 30 bottom bracket in its new Mooto X RSL titanium 29er.

Moots includes a PressFit 30 bottom bracket in its new Mooto X RSL titanium 29er. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Moots showed off its new Mooto X RSL titanium 29er at this year's NAHBS.

Moots showed off its new Mooto X RSL titanium 29er at this year's NAHBS. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The 44mm-diameter head tube as seen on this Moots frame allows for bigger down tubes and top tubes for extra front-end rigidity but also the use of either straight 1 1/8" or tapered steerers depending on which lower headset cup is used.

The 44mm-diameter head tube as seen on this Moots frame allows for bigger down tubes and top tubes for extra front-end rigidity but also the use of either straight 1 1/8" or tapered steerers depending on which lower headset cup is used. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Moots uses wishbone-style seat stays for its new Mooto X RSL.

Moots uses wishbone-style seat stays for its new Mooto X RSL. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Moots showed off its Mooto X in full-blown 'adventure' form.

Moots showed off its Mooto X in full-blown 'adventure' form. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Check out the sculpted titanium headset spacer on this Moots.

Check out the sculpted titanium headset spacer on this Moots. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Moots' long-running YBB pivotless rear suspension still provides the same benefits as it did years ago.

Moots' long-running YBB pivotless rear suspension still provides the same benefits as it did years ago. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Moots offers optional stem faceplates for mounting a front light.

Moots offers optional stem faceplates for mounting a front light. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Moots milled out the dropouts on the Vamoots RSL to shave a few extra grams.

Moots milled out the dropouts on the Vamoots RSL to shave a few extra grams. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The Moots Vamoots RSL is the company's lightest road frame.

The Moots Vamoots RSL is the company's lightest road frame. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Lots of builders at NAHBS had their own solutions on how to split the seat stay for a belt but few were cleaner looking that this setup from Vertigo - a design originally developed by Dave Levy of Ti Cycles. A bolt is fed in from the bottom and tightens the two tubes over an alignment cone. Brilliant and beautiful.

Lots of builders at NAHBS had their own solutions on how to split the seat stay for a belt but few were cleaner looking that this setup from Vertigo - a design originally developed by Dave Levy of Ti Cycles. A bolt is fed in from the bottom and tightens the two tubes over an alignment cone. Brilliant and beautiful. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This Vertigo singlespeed 'cross bike is designed around linear-pull rim brakes with no rear cantilever hanger.

This Vertigo singlespeed 'cross bike is designed around linear-pull rim brakes with no rear cantilever hanger. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This Vertigo Cycles 29" titanium hardtail looks to have just the right amount of curves.

This Vertigo Cycles 29" titanium hardtail looks to have just the right amount of curves. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The 44mm-bore head tube on this Vertigo Cycles allows for a tapered steerer tube to fit with the new Chris King headset. But wait, where's that hydraulic fitting going?

The 44mm-bore head tube on this Vertigo Cycles allows for a tapered steerer tube to fit with the new Chris King headset. But wait, where's that hydraulic fitting going? (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Vertigo Cycles principal Sean Chaney fed a titanium hydraulic tube all the way through the frame, starting at the front of the down tube and finishing back on the chain stay.

Vertigo Cycles principal Sean Chaney fed a titanium hydraulic tube all the way through the frame, starting at the front of the down tube and finishing back on the chain stay. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The curved seat stays are a nice touch on this Vertigo titanium hardtail.

The curved seat stays are a nice touch on this Vertigo titanium hardtail. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The front end of this Vertigo townie gets a lift courtesy of a head tube extension and a tall stem.

The front end of this Vertigo townie gets a lift courtesy of a head tube extension and a tall stem. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Naturally, the front rack on this Vertigo townie is titanium, too.

Naturally, the front rack on this Vertigo townie is titanium, too. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Vertigo showed off this beautiful titanium town bike.

Vertigo showed off this beautiful titanium town bike. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The rear rack on this Vertigo townie doesn't seem to serve much purpose aside from holding the mini U-lock in the dedicated cradle.

The rear rack on this Vertigo townie doesn't seem to serve much purpose aside from holding the mini U-lock in the dedicated cradle. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Cannondale historically has gone up against a lot of resistance in the bike industry for its forward thinking but smaller builders like the ones at NAHBS are far more embracing of non-standard designs. There were lots of Hollowgram cranks spotted on the show floor including on this Vertigo Cycles titanium bike.

Cannondale historically has gone up against a lot of resistance in the bike industry for its forward thinking but smaller builders like the ones at NAHBS are far more embracing of non-standard designs. There were lots of Hollowgram cranks spotted on the show floor including on this Vertigo Cycles titanium bike. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Vertigo Cycles principal Sean Chaney says this titanium plate-style chain stay section is the best way to get all the tire and chainring clearance he was looking for.

Vertigo Cycles principal Sean Chaney says this titanium plate-style chain stay section is the best way to get all the tire and chainring clearance he was looking for. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Vertigo's Sean Chaney came up with the idea of plugging a tapered steerer into a 44mm-bore head tube so it's no surprise to see one here.

Vertigo's Sean Chaney came up with the idea of plugging a tapered steerer into a 44mm-bore head tube so it's no surprise to see one here. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The tapered seat tube top on this Vertigo frame blends elegantly into the Moots seatpost.

The tapered seat tube top on this Vertigo frame blends elegantly into the Moots seatpost. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This Vertigo titanium singlespeed frame was also fitted with a trick rear skewer of the company's own design, featuring built-in tension adjusters.

This Vertigo titanium singlespeed frame was also fitted with a trick rear skewer of the company's own design, featuring built-in tension adjusters. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Vertigo adds another short section of titanium to reinforce the bottom bracket area.

Vertigo adds another short section of titanium to reinforce the bottom bracket area. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This Vertigo 'Dr. Jon' looks to be a beast of a 29" titanium hardtail - and we mean that in a good way.

This Vertigo 'Dr. Jon' looks to be a beast of a 29" titanium hardtail - and we mean that in a good way. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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If the image of B.A. Baracus doesn't conjure the idea of toughness, then we don't know what does.

If the image of B.A. Baracus doesn't conjure the idea of toughness, then we don't know what does. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Vertigo includes its own take on 'HTFU' on the top tube of this custom bike. Squint just right and you can almost hear Mr. T yelling.

Vertigo includes its own take on 'HTFU' on the top tube of this custom bike. Squint just right and you can almost hear Mr. T yelling. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Offsetting the seat tube at the bottom bracket on this Vertigo titanium frame allows for shorter chain stays just like a curved seat tube.

Offsetting the seat tube at the bottom bracket on this Vertigo titanium frame allows for shorter chain stays just like a curved seat tube. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Gates' new Centertrack belt was found on several bikes at NAHBS, including this Vertigo 'cross singlespeed.

Gates' new Centertrack belt was found on several bikes at NAHBS, including this Vertigo 'cross singlespeed. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Oh, but wait - hidden inside the Vertigo townie's rear rack are three LEDs. The wire runs through the fender.

Oh, but wait - hidden inside the Vertigo townie's rear rack are three LEDs. The wire runs through the fender. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Vertigo Cycles' Sean Chaney discovered the stock bracket for his child trailer didn't fit on socketed dropouts - so he milled his own out of a block of aluminum.

Vertigo Cycles' Sean Chaney discovered the stock bracket for his child trailer didn't fit on socketed dropouts - so he milled his own out of a block of aluminum. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Even the rear rack on this Black Sheep barely uses two straight tubes.

Even the rear rack on this Black Sheep barely uses two straight tubes. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Proper BB30 bottom bracket shells like on this Dean road bike were almost completely replaced by PressFit 30 systems at this year's NAHBS.

Proper BB30 bottom bracket shells like on this Dean road bike were almost completely replaced by PressFit 30 systems at this year's NAHBS. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Exogrid's molding process yields a tube with utterly perfect external walls - run your finger over it and there's no noticeable seam at all.

Exogrid's molding process yields a tube with utterly perfect external walls - run your finger over it and there's no noticeable seam at all. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Exogrid is back! By replacing strategic chunks with a co-molded internal carbon fiber sleeve, the claim is that an Exogrid tube can deliver the same ride quality as titanium but with a lower weight.

Exogrid is back! By replacing strategic chunks with a co-molded internal carbon fiber sleeve, the claim is that an Exogrid tube can deliver the same ride quality as titanium but with a lower weight. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Exogrid panels are also visible on the seat stays of this Dean road bike.

Exogrid panels are also visible on the seat stays of this Dean road bike. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Builders at NAHBS showed a number of different ways of splitting the driveside seat stay to allow for a belt drive. Here's Dean's approach.

Builders at NAHBS showed a number of different ways of splitting the driveside seat stay to allow for a belt drive. Here's Dean's approach. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This Dean full-suspension titanium frame features sliding rear dropouts, a 44mm head tube (for straight or tapered steerers), and flex built into the chain stays in lieu of conventional pivots.

This Dean full-suspension titanium frame features sliding rear dropouts, a 44mm head tube (for straight or tapered steerers), and flex built into the chain stays in lieu of conventional pivots. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The short aluminum links help keep the rear end in check on this Dean full-suspension frame.

The short aluminum links help keep the rear end in check on this Dean full-suspension frame. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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One Dean townie was fitted with a special pink Gates belt, designed to help raise funds for the Pablove Foundation.

One Dean townie was fitted with a special pink Gates belt, designed to help raise funds for the Pablove Foundation. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This Dean townie comes equipped with S&S couplers so you can always be sure to have a bike with you when you're on the road.

This Dean townie comes equipped with S&S couplers so you can always be sure to have a bike with you when you're on the road. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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As always, Kent Eriksen's welds are impeccable as seen on this 'cross bike.

As always, Kent Eriksen's welds are impeccable as seen on this 'cross bike. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The front rack on this Black Sheep townie is a bit small to be genuinely useful but hey, it looks spectacular.

The front rack on this Black Sheep townie is a bit small to be genuinely useful but hey, it looks spectacular. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Black Sheep brought out this usual array of curved-tube titanium creations including this wild townie.

Black Sheep brought out this usual array of curved-tube titanium creations including this wild townie. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Black Sheep uses telescoping chain stays to adjust chain tension on singlespeed setups.

Black Sheep uses telescoping chain stays to adjust chain tension on singlespeed setups. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Much like Jeff Jones' designs, the Black Sheep truss-style front end is claimed to offer both superb steering accuracy as well as a measure of vertical flex.

Much like Jeff Jones' designs, the Black Sheep truss-style front end is claimed to offer both superb steering accuracy as well as a measure of vertical flex. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Black Sheep showed off this swoopy 36er at this year's NAHBS.

Black Sheep showed off this swoopy 36er at this year's NAHBS. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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A wolf in sheep's clothing? How about a Black Sheep in wolf's clothing!

A wolf in sheep's clothing? How about a Black Sheep in wolf's clothing! (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Wildly curved bars such as Black Sheep's titanium set were quite popular at NAHBS.

Wildly curved bars such as Black Sheep's titanium set were quite popular at NAHBS. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Black Sheep's full-suspension design uses a flat chain stay yoke instead of a conventional pivot.

Black Sheep's full-suspension design uses a flat chain stay yoke instead of a conventional pivot. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Geared or singlespeed setups are easily accommodated on this Black Sheep titanium frame just by swapping hangers.

Geared or singlespeed setups are easily accommodated on this Black Sheep titanium frame just by swapping hangers. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Black Sheep has on display this curvaceous full-suspension titanium machine, complete with a Cannondale Lefty fork.

Black Sheep has on display this curvaceous full-suspension titanium machine, complete with a Cannondale Lefty fork. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Black Sheep uses an aluminum link that stiffens up the rear triangle and also helps more closely control the rear shock rate.

Black Sheep uses an aluminum link that stiffens up the rear triangle and also helps more closely control the rear shock rate. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Smaller bolted joints are used on chain and seat stays of this Black Sheep townie instead of conventional S&S couplers for easier packing and travel.

Smaller bolted joints are used on chain and seat stays of this Black Sheep townie instead of conventional S&S couplers for easier packing and travel. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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The steerer is the only straight tube on the front end of this Black Sheep townie.

The steerer is the only straight tube on the front end of this Black Sheep townie. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Clean, purposeful, perfect - behold the rear dropout on this Eriksen disc-equipped 'cross bike.

Clean, purposeful, perfect - behold the rear dropout on this Eriksen disc-equipped 'cross bike. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Form Cycles also works with aluminum, steel, and now stainless steel such as on this ultralight Revel road bike with its sub-14lb claimed weight.

Form Cycles also works with aluminum, steel, and now stainless steel such as on this ultralight Revel road bike with its sub-14lb claimed weight. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Once again, the 44mm head tube. Form Cycles pairs it here with a straight 1 1/8" fork.

Once again, the 44mm head tube. Form Cycles pairs it here with a straight 1 1/8" fork. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Stainless steel's inherent corrosion resistance allows Form Cycles to leave the back end raw.

Stainless steel's inherent corrosion resistance allows Form Cycles to leave the back end raw. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Extended seat tubes as seen on this Form Cycles road bike seem to be gaining in popularity.

Extended seat tubes as seen on this Form Cycles road bike seem to be gaining in popularity. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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S&S couplers on this Form Cycles titanium bike allow for easier traveling.

S&S couplers on this Form Cycles titanium bike allow for easier traveling. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Another hot trend at this year's NAHBS were adventure bikes, or 'monster crossers' - otherwise known as highly versatile rigs with drop bars, 29" wheels and fat tires.

Another hot trend at this year's NAHBS were adventure bikes, or 'monster crossers' - otherwise known as highly versatile rigs with drop bars, 29" wheels and fat tires. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Funk Cycles' La Ruta full-suspension titanium frame features a flexible titanium plate behind the bottom bracket shell instead of a conventional main pivot.

Funk Cycles' La Ruta full-suspension titanium frame features a flexible titanium plate behind the bottom bracket shell instead of a conventional main pivot. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Funk Cycles' lightweight La Ruta full-suspension design has undergone multiple changes since it was first introduced several years ago.

Funk Cycles' lightweight La Ruta full-suspension design has undergone multiple changes since it was first introduced several years ago. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Daryl Funk says his suspension design is stiff enough without an additional swing link but even so, his next move is to box in the forward shock mounts to eliminate flex in that area.

Daryl Funk says his suspension design is stiff enough without an additional swing link but even so, his next move is to box in the forward shock mounts to eliminate flex in that area. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Yep, you guessed it - another 44mm head tube.

Yep, you guessed it - another 44mm head tube. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Jim Kish has been building titanium bikes since 1992 and the experience shows.

Jim Kish has been building titanium bikes since 1992 and the experience shows. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Form Cycles used 5/8"-diameter seat stays and 3/4"-diameter chain stays on this titanium hardtail.

Form Cycles used 5/8"-diameter seat stays and 3/4"-diameter chain stays on this titanium hardtail. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This is one trend that will be here for a while: 44mm-bore (more commonly known as zero stack) head tube now accept a wide range of steerer sizes including tapered as seen on this Form Cycles hardtail.

This is one trend that will be here for a while: 44mm-bore (more commonly known as zero stack) head tube now accept a wide range of steerer sizes including tapered as seen on this Form Cycles hardtail. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Ritchey is still one of very few companies to offer a 'cross-compatible disc fork and there were several in use at NAHBS.

Ritchey is still one of very few companies to offer a 'cross-compatible disc fork and there were several in use at NAHBS. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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No surprises here - small builders at NAHBS have quickly jumped at the opportunity to equip their 'cross bikes with disc brakes front and rear.

No surprises here - small builders at NAHBS have quickly jumped at the opportunity to equip their 'cross bikes with disc brakes front and rear. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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44mm-diameter head tubes were widespread at NAHBS such as on the front end of this Eriksen 'cross bike. Once solely used for zero stack fitments on straight 1 1/8" forks, new headsets from Cane Creek and now Chris King also allow for tapered forks to fit, too.

44mm-diameter head tubes were widespread at NAHBS such as on the front end of this Eriksen 'cross bike. Once solely used for zero stack fitments on straight 1 1/8" forks, new headsets from Cane Creek and now Chris King also allow for tapered forks to fit, too. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Eriksen built this full-suspension frame with a Ventana rear end and ISCG tabs around the bottom bracket shell.

Eriksen built this full-suspension frame with a Ventana rear end and ISCG tabs around the bottom bracket shell. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This Eriksen full-suspension bike uses another Ventana rear end - a popular option among smaller builders for its wide range of fitment and travel options.

This Eriksen full-suspension bike uses another Ventana rear end - a popular option among smaller builders for its wide range of fitment and travel options. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Eriksen uses titanium seat stays on the Ventana rear end instead of the standard aluminum ones.

Eriksen uses titanium seat stays on the Ventana rear end instead of the standard aluminum ones. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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This Eriksen titanium road bike weighed just 5.85kg (12.9lb).

This Eriksen titanium road bike weighed just 5.85kg (12.9lb). (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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(Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Better hope the saddle height is right on this Eriksen road bike!

Better hope the saddle height is right on this Eriksen road bike! (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Arizona-based Form Cycles built this sleek 29" titanium hardtail with butted tubing and an oversized 44mm head tube.

Arizona-based Form Cycles built this sleek 29" titanium hardtail with butted tubing and an oversized 44mm head tube. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)
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Kish also offers titanium stems.

Kish also offers titanium stems. (Image credit: Jonny Irick)

Vertigo Cycles – the best titanium builder you've never heard of

You could be forgiven if "Vertigo Cycles" hasn't made it on to your short list of titanium bikes you'd like to own as the Portland, Oregon shop does no marketing and the one-man operation of Sean Chaney currently only builds frames for a few weeks a year.

But judging by the quality and creativity of his work on display at NAHBS this year, that's likely set to change.

Case in point is the belt-driven singlespeed 'cross bike with the cleanest - and virtually invisible - method of splitting a seat stay that we've seen using a design originally developed by Dave Levy of Ti Cycles. The two ends are butted against each other and kept in alignment via an internal cone and the single bolt that holds it all together feeds in from inside the socket-style dropout. Up top there's just the slightest chamfer cut into the top of the seat tube but it yields a beautifully subtle transition into the seatpost.

His 29" hardtail sports an offset seat tube for shorter chain stays plus some - ahem - motivational imagery and words etched in-house with a little baking soda solution and just the right voltage. Meanwhile, a second 29" hardtail on display is built with gracefully arced seat stays and the driveside chain stay comprises a thin plate just behind the bottom bracket for extra tire and chainring clearance on the BB30 shell. The internal routing is especially trick for the rear brake, which uses threaded fittings at the front of the down tube and back of the chain stay with a length of titanium hydraulic tubing welded in between.

Not to go unnoticed, either, was Chaney's titanium townie. The matching titanium front and rear racks were elegant enough on their own but Chaney also gutted an LED rear light and embedded the emitters themselves directly into the structure with the power wires being run through the fenders.

Save for the townie, the other bikes were all fitted with 44mm-bore head tubes and mixed-tapered headsets with 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" steerers – no surprise there given that he was the man who came to Cane Creek with the idea more than a year ago.

If you're interested in a Vertigo, you'd best get in quickly – Chaney says he has but four slots remaining for this year's production.

Eriksen moves quickly on disc-equipped 'cross bikes

Not surprisingly, small builders at NAHBS with their shorter build cycles and more flexible production were quick to jump on the new rules surrounding disc brakes on 'cross bikes, with Kent Eriksen showing off a beautifully finished example in titanium.

Though admittedly nothing groundbreaking – what with its Ritchey WCS rigid carbon fibre mountain bike fork and Paragon rear dropouts – we still take this as yet another sign of things to come.

Eriksen also proved that despite all the focus on carbon fibre, titanium bikes still aren't heavy. His one-off ultralight show bike weighed just 5.85kg (12.9lb) though there was one major caveat: the oval-profile seat tube and integrated mast was wholly non-adjustable for height.

As in years past, Eriksen continues to offer full-suspension titanium bikes with Ventana or Yeti rear ends. Options include – but aren't limited to – titanium seat stays and ISCG tabs, not to mention a variety of head tube fitments.

A wolf in sheep's clothing or vice versa?

Fort Collins titanium specialists Black Sheep arrived in Austin with yet another array of wildly curved creations as builder James Bleakly seems almost averse to building with straight tubes.

Highlighting the range was his latest 36" with the giant wheels held together with a swoopy cruiser-style frame, his now-signature truss-style fork, and even a curved seatpost that neatly continues the arc of the seat tube. Are 36" wheels the next big thing? While we'd imagine they would roll over obstacles even easier than 29" ones, our guess is that these massive hoops will remain just a niche market.

Black Sheep also showed off a more conventional full-suspension design with a flex-plate located behind the bottom bracket shell and an aluminum link driving a Fox Racing Shox RP23 rear shock. Bleakly naturally went for suspension up front on this rig, too, via Cannondale's Lefty and 1 1/8" conversion kit.

Perhaps the best display of Black Sheep's creativity, though, was the titanium townie, which again used a curved cruiser-style frame but with a bolt-on rear end – presumably for easier packing and traveling – Bleakly's trick telescoping chain stays to adjust the belt tension, another truss fork, and titanium front and rear racks. Not a bad way to fetch your groceries.

Dean goes for a mix of carbon and titanium

Fellow Colorado builder Dean continues to sing the praises of its new Exogrid road bikes, which are essentially titanium bikes with strategic sections of the tube walls removed and replaced with co-moulded carbon fibre (pictured above).

As was the case with the old Titus bikes that first used the technology, the theory is that an Exogrid frame will provide the same resilient ride quality and springiness of a titanium frame but with less weight and more vibration damping.

Dean's approach uses a less aggressive machining pattern on the treated top tube, down tube, and seat stays but the visual appeal is no less striking.

Sitting on a nearby table was an unbuilt full-suspension design, using a similar pivotless short-travel configuration to the Black Sheep but with conventional tubular chain stays. Also, while Black Sheep's seat tube-mounted linkage is intended to help control the shock rate, Dean's link is solely used to stiffen up the rear end.

Quiring's 29er borrows technology from Cannondale's bag of tricks

Michigan-based builder Scott Quiring's booth highlight was a 29" hardtail cross-country racer that borrowed two key components from Cannondale's feature set. The Lefty fork was found on other bikes at NAHBS but Quiring was one of few to use the matching dedicated head tube for maximal benefit, including the same large-diameter tube for generous weld surface area, directly pressed-in oversized bearings, and even Cannondale's ultralight one-piece stem and steerer.

PressFit 30-compatible bottom bracket shells were also common at NAHBS but Quiring continues to use proper BB30 shells, along with the tighter tolerances and machined-in grooves required to directly install the bearings into the frame.

Moots's Mooto X RSL offers a slimmed-down, race-ready 29er hardtail

According to Moots' Jon Cariveau, the company could have built its lighter-weight Mooto X RSL 29er titanium hardtail with butted tubing to save even more weight but opted for more durable straight-gauge tubing for its greater impact resistance.

Moots did go with thinner walls and larger diameter tubing relative to the standard Mooto X, though, plus a PressFit 30 bottom bracket and 44mm-bore oversized head tube for front-end strength and good steerer tube versatility.

The company also showed off its own interpretation of the monster cross genre with an 'adventure' build of its Mooto X YBB. The go-anywhere, do-anything bike used a standard Mooto X YBB frame – complete with Moots' trademark softail rear end – but matched to flared drop bars, heavily loaded front and rear racks, a rigid carbon fork, a Brooks leather saddle and handlebar tape, a full-length frame pump, and a SRAM X0 2x10 drivetrain paired with Force DoubleTap levers.

Form offers its own take on the 29" titanium hardtail racer

Arizona-based Form Cycles brought a wide range of machines to NAHBS though its Prevail Ti 29er hardtail was perhaps the most interesting. Seeking to shave as much weight as possible, Form went with double-butted tubing, 5/8"-diameter seat stays and 3/4" chain stays, and a 44mm-bore head tube filled out with a tapered-steerer RockShox Reba fork.

Further building on the monster cross trend at NAHBS was the Titanium Viaje, finished off with S&S couplers, a Niner carbon fork, flared drop bars, and an Old Man Mountain rear rack.

La Ruta gets Funky

Daryl Funk's novel La Ruta full-suspension titanium frame carries on into 2011 with several years of refinement under its belt (pictured below). Funk designed the frame specifically for lightweight cross-country racing and as such features a flat titanium plate behind the chain stays in lieu of traditional pivots and a MacPherson strut-style configuration with no extra link at either the top tube or seat tube.

According to Funk, the current design is "stiff enough" though he still plans to box in the forward shock tabs to bolster what he sees is the main source of any lateral movement in the back end.

Ti Cycles carries the 69er torch

Just when you thought mismatched wheel sizes were done for good, Ti Cycles showed off its own interpretation with a burly triangulated fork along with an unusual rear end treatment complete an extended top tube that's capped off just before coming into contact with the rear wheel.

The singlespeed setup allows for chain or belt drive use courtesy of a neatly split driveside chain stay and there's even an integrated seatmast to finish off the truly unique look.

Kish Titanium takes home the prize

Not to go unmentioned is long-time titanium builder Jim Kish, who has been working with the stubborn material since 1992.

The California builder brought three bikes to the show: a fairly traditional 26" singlespeed hardtail with his own segmented rigid steel fork, Paragon sliding dropouts, and a titanium stem; a subtle 700c runabout with an internally geared rear hub, sparkling White Industries aluminum crank, Wound-Up carbon fiber fork, and Paul Components center-pull brakes; and even a 24" BMX cruiser.

Though perhaps lacking some of the flair of other titanium bikes at the show, Kish ultimately won the show judges over at the end of the day, taking home the prize for Best Titanium bike of NAHBS 2011.