NAHBS Highlights 1: Starring Cinelli, Cherubim and Alchemy

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With 171 exhibitors – just a few shy of last year’s record 176 – and a hall-busting 8,100 visitors, this year’s North American Handmade Bicycle Show can justifiably claim to be the biggest ever. Here’s a few things that caught road.cc’s eye.

Tokyo’s Cherubim Cycles came to NAHBS last year with an outrageous design (see below); this year’s was no more conventional, and stole the Best in Show prize.

Its graceful arched top tube and lack of seat tube make you wonder how the bike would ride; but the build and execution are flawless. Shin-Ichi Konno comes from a framebuilding family: his father created the Cherubim name, and his uncle was the builder behind 3Rensho, the classic keirin frames. Konno’s mission, he says, is to prove that, when freed from the strict NJS rules governing keirin, Japanese framebuilding can be progressive. If by progressive he means space age, then he’s on the right track.

He has, though, been known to produce more normal-looking frames, and he can be commissioned through London’s Tokyo Fixed. http://www.tokyofixedgear.com

Alchemy Handmade Bicycle Company won the Best Carbon award at the show with this rather slippery looking aero road frame. Alchemy says it has a close working relationship with Enve Composites, from whom it gets its tubes, which means that it can get involved in the lay-up of each set, making each one unique to each rider’s style, needs and, yes, weight. This means the company can claim a target frame weight, for skinny climbers, of just 875g – even with all that aero trickery. Sprinters and larger folk, obviously, will need something beefier, but they’re still getting a one-off frame built for them. The biggest difficulty is, says the company’s sales manager, Dave Ryther, getting roadies to understand that this bike is as good an all-rounder as it is at time-trialling.

A round seat tube is optional: Alchemy sponsors a local amateur team (lucky amateurs), some of who go for that rather than the deep aero scoop, but Ryther reckons this