Wednesday, March 08, 2006
More Handmade Bikes
The Cycling News has posted its photos from Day 3 of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show which was held in San Jose last weekend. The text of the article discusses how steel is making something of a resurgence fueled in part by the tubing manufacturers' innovations. Reynolds has their air-hardened 853 tube set and the new 953 tube set which is a stainless steel alloy, light and strong, rustproof and not even requiring painting. True Temper has a new light, strong S3 steel tube set available and Columbus has theirs, called Spirit. There are other materials in evidence, of course, including my favorite of the day, a titanium single-speed road bike with (if I read this right) titanium S and S Machine torque couplings, apparently designed for the heretofore underserved wealthy weight-conscious world-travelling bike messenger market. There are carbon/titanium and carbon/steel frame mixes, more cool lugs, nifty brazing jobs and innovative disc brake mounts. No more titanium streamlined bike baskets, sadly. In a lot of ways, these bikes are like the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of the bike world, flashy and sexy (although no matter how flashy your bicycle, it's unlikely to attract bimbos like a Ferrari, if that's your goal) but I don't know if I'd ride one to work and leave it in the bike rack all day. Still, it's fun to see what's happening on the outer edges of materials, techniques and craftsmanship.