Indianapolis’ Handbuilt Bicycles

Well, actually we all know the bikes weren’t specifically from Indianapolis, but rather all across the continent… no, wait. De Rosa was there, I know because I got a hat from their booth. That’s an Italian company, right? Beautiful bikes no doubt, but last I checked Italy was a part of the European Union, across the Atlantic, i.e. not a part of North America. No matter, I’m just a wrench in Louisville, Kentucky. Who, if for lack of any other reason to be glad of where I now live, am very happy to have been geographically close enough to visit NAHBS again. Last year in Portland was rad, this year in Indy was even more so!

I’m posting this nearly a full twenty-four hours since I was in Indiana, but I’ve been celebrating my birthday all day, so I’ve been “preoccupied”. The show was really a good time. I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to, but that wasn’t Don Walker’s fault or anyone else’s but my own. My own and all the other lunatics for bicycle polo that is. Our polo escapade was daunted a few times before we could actually take mallet to ball and as such, much show gawking was interrupted. Before the polo though, I certainly got much ogling in, a decently filled bag o’ schwag, and a really lousy lunch consumed. All was super good though!

I’m not sure what my favorite bike was, out of sympathy it was probably the one caging the cute bunny, with this Peacock Groove bike a good second—although I’m not sure it will last long enough. On the whole, I was surprised to see a smaller cargo contingent this year as compared to last. There were not was many sherpa-embarrassing cargo bikes as I was expecting. That being said, there were seemingly at least two porteur racks and potentially a rear rack in everyone’s booth though.

Cambio Corsa dropouts sans derailleur
Super Record 11-speed

The one thing that I noticed I kept being drawn to were the components. The fact that there existed such a polarity of components in the same room was really exciting! I was eager to lay eyes on the 11-speed Campy and was right in my assumption that the new Dura-Ace Di2 electric group would be available for fondling. And fondle I did, it was a pretty awesome stationary test ride—very cool, but in my opinion, very unnecessary, playing polo on the first-of-its-kind production polo bike was far cooler. Not to get distracted though, it was also really cool seeing a component manufacturer that I was wholly unfamiliar with: Sampson, keeping up with the 10-speed Jones’s, on a very nice looking Sadilah. I obviously have an appreciation for the old gear still though, and seeing the beautiful Naked bike with a vintage accent like it did was doubly valued.

Time to get Naked—nice branding, and nice Campy lock-out lever.

I like NAHBS because of its near intimacy with the craftsmanship and artisanship of the bicycle. This is only my second year, and I enjoyed it because again, it felt almost like a local community center event. I hope it never grows so big and disconnected that it no longer feels intimate.

Ending the night watching the Macaframa video was like icing on the cake. Cool people all around, watching some crazy bastards bombing brakeless hills and some intense technical tricks on the screen was a good way to end a trip up to Indianapolis.

The Macaframa banner at the Big Car Studio


Waterford’s The Joust. Cool polo bike—first of it’s kind from what I heard told, and I got to ride it for it’s virgin match. Pure awesomeness. Better awesomeness would have been able to play indoors next to the convention but we got kicked out. Tucker’s connections didn’t work too well with the shortsighted convention management that sent security on us. So out into the cold it was.


Back to the awesomeness. The Joust. To be fair, the dude Corey had dibs on it, but he was a southpaw and abandoned the Joust after a quick ten seconds, so I offered him my fixie and swapped him for the virginal ride. I scored a goal with it and everything.

Sweet looking bike. Nice high bottom bracket, comfy wheelbase, and stiff Zipp carbon stem which overshadowed the minor wheel misalignment. The immediate thing everyone seemed to agree on was the bar width—a good six inches too wide on each side I’d say. The Cane Creek brakes skidded nicely. And the cranks with one-piece chainring/bashguard looked hot and rode stiff, nice choice on the Odyssey pedals, it was nice to finally try those out.

It’s fixed wheel prototype was present and was a bit zippier in it’s handling. 650c wheels I think I overheard it equipped with. This Joust rode with Velocity CliffHanger 26ers. Evidently the Joust is currently available for sale as polo bikes.


I’ll write more about NAHBS perhaps tomorrow and probably upload more photos then too, for now, I just needed to get the Joust’s excitement off my chest. A big thanks to Tucker for letting us get to ride this bike, and getting people together for polo action in Indy.