INDIANAPOLIS--While bicycling continues to ride a wave of popularity across the USA, the bicycle-friendly city of Austin will see the largest assembly of handmade bicycle manufacturers in the modern history of the bicycle, February 25-27, at the seventh annual North American Handmade Bicycle Show, in the Austin Convention Center.
Widely acknowledged as the world’s most significant handmade bicycle event, NAHBS is a showcase for artisans who practice the craft of bicycle design and precision manufacturing, which they combine at the level of a functional art form.
The founder and director of the roving annual bicycle show, Don Walker, said, "After all the hard work over the years it is rewarding to see the show continue to hit new highs. And Being a former resident of Texas, I am deeply pleased to bring the show back here, to the state where it began. Six years later, there is not a bicycle show on the planet that matches NAHBS for sheer quality, and precious few shows of any type present such a smooth interface between art and engineering. This is the largest presentation of the best in the custom bicycles industry anywhere, period. In the cycling world, it's worldwide news. In Austin, we see great potential for this show to bring together the sporting, artistic, health, transport, and engineering communities."
A total of 172 exhibitors from more than 20 US states and four continents have signed up for a booth at this year’s convention, and still more are expected. International exhibitors are traveling mainly from Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom.
The finest examples of manufacture, design and style in the bicycle world, will attract an expected 7,000 members of the public and 100+ journalists, who will have an opportunity to talk face to face with the builders.
The previous show record was set in Portland, Oregon, with 150 exhibitors and 7200 attendees. This year more than 160 exhibitors are expected.
City bike by ANT.
All kinds of bicycle will be on display, from racing and touring machines, to cargo and commuter bicycles, many of which are in the price range $2,000-$15,000. NAHBS has become a ‘must attend’ event for the nation’s cycling society and style leaders.
"So many people come from outlying regions for the show, it just makes good sense to conduct related business during the weekend that the show takes place, and we will do what we can to encourage any such gatherings," said Walker.
The array of fabrication materials is almost as wide as the range of bicycle types. While steel remains the most popular all-round choice of frame material, other materials include carbon fiber, aluminum, bamboo, and wood.
Exhibitors are not restricted to bicycles. Manufacturers of wheels, components, accessories, tools, clothing, shoes, cycling magazines and even beverages are displaying at the convention.
Track racer by Don Walker.
A range of seminars and workshops add to the feast of bicycles, components, services, accessories and literature available at the show. Three days of talks address subjects as diverse as bike fit, materials technology, lug filing, and marketing. Presenting these seminars and panel discussions is an array of the world's leading experts.
While the exhibitors at NAHBS must pass a rigorous test to ensure professional standards are met, each year new builders are allowed to exhibit at a table. In this way the show upholds high professional standards as well as encouraging new talent.
NAHBS started out six years ago, 2005, in Houston, Texas, when Don Walker-a practising frame builder-decided to organize a convention for the nation’s frame builders. That year, 23 exhibitors displayed their bicycles and a total of 700 people attended.
Each year NAHBS moves to a new location in the USA, with the intention of exposing the handmade bicycles industry to as much of the nation as possible.
The mission of the event has not changed since its outset. Then as now, NAHBS was intended to serve as a showcase of North America’s finest builders and as a forum for builders to meet and share ideas with each other and members of the public.
2010 Best of Show by Ellis.
Such is the excitement that NAHBS generates among the cycling communities of its host cities, it has become the norm to organize parties and rides around the event.
The official NAHBS party this year is sponsored by Mellow Johnny’s bicycle store, and will be held on Friday night, 25th February, at La Zona Rosa.
The grand finale of NAHBS each year is the show awards, in which exhibitors and the public vote on the best bicycles in 17 different categories, the most coveted of which is the "best of show" award. At the conclusion of the awards, in a final flourish, Don Walker announces the venue for the following year's show.
What They’re Saying
Nick Crumpton, one of America’s leading frame builders, Austin, TX:
"The buzz around Austin is intense. People are genuinely excited here. Actually, I'd venture to say the excitement is state wide. I've been to all six previous NAHBS’s, starting just down the road in Houston, and I am continually amazed at the progress and development. It's really cool to be a resident in the host city for what is to be the best yet."
Cyclo-cross bike by Richard Sachs.
Richard Sachs, one of America’s leading frame builders, Warwick, MA:
"Not since the 1970s has there been such an interest in the handmade bicycle frame. There was a time that framebuilders were at the vanguard, and industry often looked to them as the trendsetters and laboratories for all things innovative. The NAHBS weekend is a way for consumers, media, and framebuilders too, to judge for themselves whether the 21st century iteration of this segment is about ye old, or quaint, or, as I suspect, more innovative and technologically relevant than ever. Framebuilding today has never been more viable, and the show in Austin shines a bright light on all the pioneers as well as the next wave of framebuilders who will set trends and make markets for generations to come."
Craig Staley of Mellow Johnny’s bicycle shop, Austin:
"Mellow Johnny’s is very excited to see the Handmade Show coming to Austin in February. The show has become one of the most important events in the national calendar, and has everyone from fixie kids to CEO’s of major bike companies looking at it to see what is next. Everyone we talk to in the industry is buzzing about the Austin show, we have no doubts that it will be the biggest show to date."
Hill Abell of the Bicycle Sport Shop, Austin:
"The Austin cycling community is thrilled to play host to the Hand-Built show this February and keen to show our visitors what Texas Friendly is all about. The show's reputation for the best in cutting edge, innovative bike building precedes it, and everyone here looks forward to checking out the latest and greatest in our own back-yard. We think Austin is one of the most unique American cities with the best music, food and drink, and great places to ride a bike, and we are confident our visitors will go home with a big smile after having a big time in Texas."
Who: The top bicycle frame builders from across the world
What: North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) - the world’s number one custom bicycle show
Why: Annual convention, open to the public
Where: Austin Convention Center, Austin, Texas
When: February 25-27, 2011
How: Tickets cost $22 at the door or $18 online in advance at www.handmadebicycleshow.com.
29er Mountain Bike by Engin.
The world's number one custom bicycle show, the North American Handmade Bicycle Show moves from city to city each year. In 2011 it is scheduled for February 25-27, in Austin, Texas. The show is dedicated to showcasing the talents of individuals around the world whose art form is the bicycle. It aims to be a meeting point--both online and in person--for frame builders and consumers looking for custom-made bikes, for the sharing of ideas, and the promotion of a special industry with a rich history dating back to 1819. Since its first year in 2005, NAHBS has grown from a show with 23 exhibitors and 700 attendees, to 150 exhibitors and 7200 attendees (2008).