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The Bikes of NAHBS 2020 Part 5

From Issue 94

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The North American Handmade Bicycle Show is an annual showcase of the most beautiful and creative bespoke bicycles. Originally planned for the spring, the show has had to be canceled this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But it would be a shame not to be able to show off all the bikes in one form or another, so we’re bringing the show that would have been online. 



Having started building bikes in 1925 in Verona, Italy, where it’s still based, Chesini is among the oldest companies represented at NAHBS. Continuing a proud tradition, all of its bikes are still made by hand, and all bikes are built custom to each customer’s specifications. Combining stunning designs with perfect handcrafted details, Chesini makes road and gravel bikes that are built to last. The STRABIA X is the “eXtreme” evolution of Chesini’s gravel bike, the STRABIA. Updates include a more-reactive response thanks to shortened chainstays, a curved seat tube and a T47 bottom bracket. It can accept tire sizes up to 700×52mm or 650×2.3-inch. 

$2,450 custom frame and fork, $ 5,000 (as shown);


Over the last decade, many things have changed in Tokyo. But not so much for Helavna. In a world where the prevailing thinking is that the latest is always the best, this Japanese brand traffics in tradition, and believes in heritage that is worth passing down through generations. Helavna works with customers to get the details right on custom frames or complete bikes built with the latest parts. As the world keeps moving, we all change little by little, but the essence of a classic never does. 

Frame and fork with basic color coat starts from 250,000 JPY (approx. $2,500);


With Bixxis, their new company, Doriano De Rosa and his daughter Martina wanted to get back to the basics—making bikes by hand, in house. The brand’s new Fronda gravel frame uses Columbus Spirit tubing and fits a 700×38c tire in its custom-shaped stays. An ENVE AR carbon fork keeps the bike planted with solid handling. It’s available with stock and custom geometry and finishes, and the frame, fork, headset and seat post cost $3,000. Among its road frames, the steel-tubed Prima sports a beautiful hourglass headtube for its integrated headset. A Falz carbon fork by Pegoretti keeps the handling smooth and controlled. The Prima is available in stock and custom geometry and finishes as well as a traditional or sloping top tube. The frame, fork, headset and seat post cost $2,750., available via Velocipede Imports: / 440-385-6790


Having built made-to-measure bicycle frames for all cycling disciplines in Sacramento, California, since 1987, Steve Rex is no stranger to the world of custom bicycles. And he’s no stranger to NAHBS either, where he has won several awards over the years, including for best fillet-brazed frame, one of his specialties, in 2016. Whether it’s an ultra-smooth fillet-brazed frame or one made with beautifully detailed lugs, Rex Cycles can bring your dream bike to reality. Frames start at $2,300; 916-397-1717,


Founded in Moscow in 2005, Dmitry Nechaev’s Triton Bikes crafts titanium frames with a flair only the Russians can offer. The Groont gravel frame is made with straight- and double-butted 3/2.5 titanium tubing. And while other builders outsource dropouts to Paragon, Triton makes most of its own parts in house. Its CNC-machined chainstay yokes allow the Groont to handle a 700×45c or 650×50c tire. Options abound with the choice of dropouts, bottom-bracket style, disc-brake mounts, electric or mechanical shifting and cable-routing type. Options for traditional or sloping top tube, stock or custom geometry and numerous finishes can make the Groont a forever bike.

$2,800 (frame, fork and headset);, available via Velocipede Imports: / 440-385-6790


AR Cycles builds custom, made-tomeasure steel frames and offers individualized frame-building courses in Sacramento, California. Working with high-end steels from Columbus, Reynolds, Dedacciai and KVA, AR Cycles joins frames together with lugs or fillets to produce one-of-a- kind bikes built for each rider’s needs. Each frame is constructed and painted in house using top-quality automotive paints. AR Cycles is currently building road, gravel, randonneur and track bikes. And if you have always wanted to build a frame for yourself (it doesn’t get much more personal than that!), individualized frame-building courses are offered throughout the year. Students learn traditional building techniques and can build their own custom frame. 

Frames start at $1,800, frame-building courses start at $1,300;


Image: Ian Matteson

SaltAir is an independent steel-frame manufacturer in Salt Lake City, Utah, founded by builder Matthew Nelson in 2014. He builds made-to-order bespoke filletbrazed, lugged or bi-laminated frames for all disciplines of cycling, from road racing to hardtail mountain biking. This disc road machine was commissioned by a local who wanted a modern road geometry with stiff tubing and dropped seatstays that would accommodate up to 700×35c tires. A Columbus integrated headtube and ENVE AR Disc carbon fork were selected to provide confidence on fast, winding mountain descents. A tapered Reynolds 853 seat tube provides additional stiffness at the T47 bottom bracket, while still enabling the fit of a 27.2 seat post. And a Rotor 1×13 hydraulic groupset completes the build. Dark Matter Finishing provided the custom powder-coat finish.

A version of this article originally appeared in issue 94. Get your copy here.