10 November, 2014

Cool Stuff From the Philly Bike Expo

by Igor

We had an absolute blast at this year's Philly Bike Expo. It was great putting faces to names, chatting with long time customers and builders, showing our new products, and checking out all the eye candy. If you've never been to the show, it's really time you cleared your schedule to go.

The expo started out as a small, intimate event with local builders and vendors, but it has grown exponentially in just a few years. It's still a small affair compared to Interbike or big industry shows, but the focus is much more in tune with our customer base and the type of bikes and riding we enjoy and admire. Everyone was in high spirits and enjoyed the bigger space, area to demo, good light, and proximity to good eats. Can't wait until next year!

Here are some of my favorite shots from this weekend. The entire album can be found on my Flickr.

Belladonna Cycles had a number of VO components on the bikes they brought and this subtle detail really stood out to me. This particular touring frame was very well thought out and sported a fantastic paintjob. The ornamentation on the spacer is actually a fancy spoon that was machined into what you see above. Very cool and clever!
Stephen and the team at Bilenky Cycles always brings in the coolest builds and paintjobs. This hammered pattern on the rack stood out to me. The bike had a matched front as well.
Royal H Cycles brought in a rad road bike with a full NOS Mavic Mectronic drivetrain, Spinergy wheels, and Starfish crankset. Bryan reported flawless shifting and performance. Alas, the world wasn't ready for the French's wireless shifting.
Eric of Winter Bicycles had a great road bike. I was particularly intrigued by the nicely tapered fork. He described that depending on where the tube is cut and connected to the fork crown and dropouts, you can tune the stiffness and ride quality of the front end. Very well thought out.
One of my all time favorite builders, Peter Weigle, displayed a few super nice touring and rando bikes. His use of hellenic seat stays is a fresh change to the standard of fastback or monostays. I'd love to see them catch on more without the stigma attached to a certain company. Remember, this type of seat cluster and stay arrangement was first introduced in the early 1920's by a chap of the name Fred Hellens!
Calfee Designs had a gorgeous paintjob on a tandem. It was deep, rich, and different from every angle. An amber laquer and clearcoat achieved the look.
Chris Bishop's new frameset had a super clean disc brake mount leading into internal cable routing.
Groovy Cycleworks had bikes on display with outrageous and original paintjobs.
Scott presented a really enjoyable lecture about Lightpacking in relation to his recent trip to Iceland.

We had a great time and look forward to next year. What were some of your favorite parts of the expo?


Mark Holm said...

Making bikes look good is great, but doing it at the expense of function, is a poor, compromise. Hellenic seat stays have tow problems. 1. They interfere with mounting a pump under the top tube. I know some classic bikes mount pumps along a seat stay, but that is a really stupid idea. You really don't want a pump next to a wheel full of spokes. Pumps do come loose. 2. The seat stay connection to the seat and top tubes violates the principle of triangular structure. The stays are not connecting at the point of the triangle. It's not a big violation, but it's still there.

Internal cable routing looks slick, but it's makes maintenance more difficult, adds water entry points to the tubes and, pokes holes in tubes that depend on their physical integrity for structural integrity. Poking a hole at the skinny end of an already skinny tube is asking for trouble. I know bike esthetes generally are totally ignorant of structural engineering, but that doesn't change the validity of structural engineering. Just because you can make something, doesn't mean it is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the chances of a pump falling from the seat stay pegs into the rear wheel is less likely than a derailleur breaking off in the spokes.

Anonymous said...

regarding comments posted at 2:39 pm regarding the seat stay configuration: many would agree with the issue of interference with mounting a pump, either along the top tube or along the seat tube. Many riders have abandoned the use of framefit pumps altogether, substituting CO2 inflators. Although inflators are relatively expensive and wasteful, they are easier. Alternatively, there are several good pumps that can be mounted unobtrusively alongside a water bottle cage with the provided mounting brackets. Pumps can be mounted along seatstays in some cases, and secured with Velcro straps if there is concern for it falling off or into spokes. Seatstay mounting is generally less attractive, but it is usually feasible. Some frames with long chainstays are designed to allow pump placement behind the seat tube. Structurally, some would argue that attaching the seatstays to both the seat tube and top tube effectively shortens the top tube, the seat tube, and the seat stays, thereby increasing rigidity or 'stiffness' of the frame. Two bigger triangles have been changed to three smaller triangles by moving the seatstay attachment points, with a minimal penalty in weight from the tiny additional seatstay lengths. Whether that change is rigidity is perceptible or desirable is up to debate and personal preference. Some riders with large thigh diameters and average saddle setback positions will notice significant 'thigh rub' against this seatstay arrangement, leading to premature wear of garments, paint being abraded off the top end of the stays, and the annoyance factor of feeling the rub on every pedal stroke. Regarding internal cable routing, I have never heard a convincing argument in its favor other than the appearance factor. Otherwise, it just tends to add difficulty in buildup, friction, noise, and potential for internal rust in steel frames, no matter how the internal routing is executed. There are many ways to route cables internally but no genuine benefit to it.

Grego said...

That spoon is awesome. My mind has been opened. Thanks for sharing the photo.

Anonymous said...

wow. I stared at that calfee for like 5 minutes. I thought it was some weird clear carbon or plastic or something. it looked like clear tortoise shell to me. had no idea it was "just" a paint job. That's amazing.

Matthew J said...

Mark - Peter Weigle frequently places pumps along the seat stay. Never once heard a Weigle owner complain his pump jammed in the wheel spokes. In any event, given the quality of mini-pumps these days, frame pumps themselves are more decoration than anything.

As for internal cable routing, both my customs have stainless steel sleeves inside the tubes. Water infiltration is not possible. I have about 10,000 miles on one of them and have not experienced any 'trouble' you suggest I am asking for, Get back to me in a few years eh?