Last week the North American Handmade Bicycle Show was on in Charlotte, North Carolina. Team 50 BUILT took a roadtrip and met some super amazing people equally as passionate about all things made in the USA as we are. The theme of the trip was beautiful bicycles & awesome people.
Steve Potts Custom Titanium Bikes was a great booth to visit. Mr. Potts was remarkably entertaining and after sharing dog photos and taking lots of pictures of his amazing bikes, we were honored to have met him. All of his bikes are handmade in Point Reyes, CA by the man himself. Very cool!
Josh Culbertson from Avery County Cycles out of Denver, CO is doing some amazingly creative things. Remember 50 BUILT’s pal, Eli Cox from Berkeley Supply Co (pictured above, with me)? Josh and Eli are good friends and share some space in Denver. The excellent work coming out of that space abounds and we are lucky to have rubbed elbows with them!
We had the pleasure of meeting Jevin and Sam, the duo behind Tanner Goods from Portland, OR. These two have a line of beautifully crafted bicycle-related accessories as well as leather keychains, wallets, and so much more. They’re a couple of rad dudes with great hearts who are doing what they love, loving what they do. You can bet a Tanner Goods feature will be on 50 BUILT in the coming months.
Since 1989, PAUL has been machining components for bikes in Chico, CA. These guys are passionate about ‘Made In the USA’ and love what they do! They were super awesome to talk to and encourage you to check out their website and read their story!
We met the team from Holland Cycles out of San Diego, CA. These guys are up to some really cool things. They take titanium and carbon fiber and using a patented method they line the titanium tube with the carbon fiber creating a lightweight ride with the proper amount of torsion stiffness, allowing for a comfort and control.
True Temper manufactures tubes (for bicycles, but further research taught us that they also manufacture shafts for golf clubs, too! Another 50 BUILT passion…). Their manufacturing facility is in Northern Mississippi, though the company is headquartered in Memphis, TN.
Henry James manufactures custom stainless steel bicycle parts. For thirty-six years, all their parts have been made in the USA.
Okay, so I admit that team Geekhouse caught my attention because I noticed that they had Cuppow lids on their mason jar drinking receptacles. But after we discussed the Cuppow connection and introduced ourselves, we took a closer gander at their wonderful bikes! What beautiful, and uber creative, paint schemes they have on their bikes. Love what they’re up to out east in Boston.
Dwan Shepard from Co-Motion Cycles out of Eugene, OR is super passionate about all things Made in USA. They are making amazing things and handbuild every bicycle that comes out of their shop. We can’t wait to get to know Dwan better in the months to come!
Rolf Prima Wheel Systems was very welcoming to us. Brooke Bauer gave us the skinny that Rolf is one of only two bicycle rim companies who have their complete production in the USA. They are based in Eugene, OR.
We met Billy Sinkford representing Argonaut. These carbon fiber bikes will knock your socks off. They are elegantly simple, but stunningly sexy all at the same time. Taking detail to the maximum, paying so much attention not only to the functionality of carbon fiber layup, but the aesthetics as well. Most excellent work coming out of the Portland, OR Argonaut workshop. We will be in touch…
Most of the bicycle companies we met were small, outfits with amazing creative capabilities whose client is the bicycle enthusiast who wants a completely custom, Made In the USA bike. Moots hand-makes every titanium bike that comes out of their factory, but they are a bigger company, employing 23-24 skilled bike enthusiasts. They love what they do, but they do it on a bigger scale than many of the other companies we had the pleasure of meeting at this show. Founded in 1981, Moots is still going strong and guarantees every single bike for life. They are doing wonderful things in Steamboat Springs, CO.
One of my favorite aftermarket parts on my bike is my pink Chris King headset. I was so excited to buy that part and still marvel at its function and beauty. Kyle was kind enough to walk us through their booth and showed us what they were up to. Chris King started his machining career in the aerospace industry in the 1970s. In 1976 he decided to mix the knowledge of his craft and his passion for bicycles into one business. Chris King makes hubs, headsets and other brilliant aftermarket bike parts. The bearing-parts like the hub and headset actually improve their function with age. Not only that, they domestically source all their materials and they do what they can to further the ‘green’ initiatives by adopting green practices along the way. In 2007, they began handmaking production bikes: Cielo Bicycle. All Cielo and Chris King products are made in Portland, OR. They currently employ 120-130 people. Their booth design was fantastic, highlighting the real humans who manufacture each of their components. That relationship between builder and consumer is so damn important. We can’t wait to learn more about them.
Alchemy Bicycle Company based in Denver, CO makes gorgeous bikes that are all handmade. One thing that caught our eyes was the navy blue/black flip paint bicycle featured at the show. It is such a thing of beauty. And if it was beautiful inside the convention center, can you imagine what it would look like outside in the sun? Alchemy also roasts their own coffee. Gorgeous bikes and coffee? Sounds like heaven on Earth to me.
We met Brad Harper from Riivo – Custom Cycling Footwear. They are based in Willis, TX. Having got his start in the speed skating world, he transitioned to custom cycling shoes. They’re beautiful shoes, but you’ll have to take our word for it because we BLEW it and failed to go back to take photos of them after our camera memory card was full! Please forgive us Riivo!
Andy Hosmer from Selle Anatomica makes their patented saddles in the USA from US sourced leather and metals. They have a patented ‘slit’ in the middle of the saddle allowing your sits bones to move independently of each other when you pedal. Seems so logical, but not many other companies are doing what Selle Anatomica are doing. Especially not making them in the USA. We love the small, family company feel of what they’re up to and simply cannot wait to get to know them better!
The guys from Broakland were great. Coming straight out of Oakland, CA and making some beautiful bikes and a memorable headbadge design. They have connections to the aerospace industry and manufacture some exciting components like the solid machined bottom bracket that was showcased on the bike above.
Don Walker Cycles are made in Kentucky by the man behind NAHBS, who we featured two weeks ago before the show began. He has created inventive bikes with fun paint schemes.
We met Mark Norstad from Paragon Machine Works out of Richmond, CA. Mark and his team are machining titanium parts for bicycle making. They have been going strong since 1983. They now employ 7 full time employees and are super passionate about bringing manufacturing back to the USA. Check out that bedazzled spacer above with matching pink jewels. Expect to hear more from Mr. Norstad on 50 BUILT in the future.
We met Jennifer Simmons from Simmons Racing. They have been making completely custom footwear (also coming from the speed skating industry) for a long time. For every pair of shoes they make, they cast the foot of the wearer. Then the shoe is built completely around the cast that was made. Every pair of custom cycling shoes is handmade in Cape Coral, FL.
Shamrock Cycles was a great booth to visit. Their tongue-in-cheek humor and fun bicycle designs and paint schemes made for a fun spot to be. Their tag line of ‘Hand Built frames from the Mountains of Indiana’ stopped me dead in my tracks. I had to walk in and see what they were all about. I really like the head badge they put on their bikes.
We met Jake Toepfer from White Industries. These folks are keeping it real in Petaluma, CA, manufacturing aftermarket bicycle parts. Doug White, the founder of White Industries, worked for United Airlines and in the 1970s decided to transition to the bicycle industry and start his own company. He now employs 14 people! That, to me, sounds like the American Dream come true.
NAHBS offered a wide array of American-made products and passionate builders. We loved seeing so many integral parts of the bicycle-making world being made in the USA. Knowing that this tight-knit community is so passionate about the American-made cause makes 50 BUILT just that much more passionate about the handmade bicycle community. Keep up the amazing work, everybody! A huge shout out to the NAHBS team (BIG thanks to Mr. Shawn Moseley!) for putting on an amazing event and for bringing so many wonderful and passionate humans together.
Next year NAHBS 2015 will be in Louisville, KY. Be there.