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Builders, crowds impress at handmade bicycle show

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on November 12th, 2007 at 12:58 pm

Oregon-Handmade-Bike-Show07-60.jpg
Crowds were thick all day.
View slideshow below
(Photos © Jonathan Maus)

I still can't decide what was more impressive at yesterday's Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show; the crowds or the builders.

One of the event organizers, Austin Ramsland, says that over 1,800 people attended the show. They were treated to an unprecedented display of building prowess from well over 20 Oregon-based builders. It was a show of talent and enthusiasm for bikes that many of us knew existed, but to see and feel it all in one room was simply breathtaking.

Much like our state is known for spawning the craft beer industry -- which is now headlined by several major, nationally known brewers and has a major impact on Oregon's economy -- the art, craft, and industry of bike building looks to be following a similar trajectory.

Sweetpea Bicycles
The latest from Sweetpea.

From veterans like Andy Newlands and Jeff Lyon to fresh faces like Portland's Jordan Hufnagel and Ira Ryan, the diverse displays had something for everyone. There were even two exhibitors that you wouldn't see at any other bike show on earth: the Zoobombers and the Dropouts.

Yesterday's show solidified what many have felt for a while now; Oregon's bike building industry is on the verge of something big.

Here's a closer look at what a few of the builders were showing off (view all my images in the slideshow below)...

Jordan Hufnagel / Hufnagel Cycles / Portland, OR

Mr. Jordan Hufnagel
Jordan Hufnagel

Likely Portland's newest builder, Jordan Hufnagel seized this show as a golden opportunity to introduce himself to the world. The 26 year-old from Indianapolis has only been in Portland three years and I hadn't heard much about him before we met at a coffee shop a few weeks ago.

Jordan builds fillet brazed and lugged steel bikes from a small shop in inner southeast Portland. Judging from the look of his bikes (and his snazzy new website) I have feeling we'll be seeing a lot more from him in the future.

At the show, Jordan displayed a few track bikes and a silver and black, lugged touring rig.

Hufnagel Cycles Hufnagel Cycles Hufnagel track bike Hufnagel

Fred Cuthbert / Wolfhound Cycles / Talent, OR
The first thing I noticed in Fred's booth were diamond-encrusted headset spacers. Turns out they're cubic zirconia, but the effect is the same. Fred also displayed a very distinctive, burnt orange metallic painted mountain bike with tubes curved in ways I'd never seen before.

Wolfhound Cycles Wolfhound Cycles Wolfhound Cycles

Dropout Bike Club / Portland, OR

The Dropout crew
Chops, Deadbunny, Skidmark, and Melissa

The Dropouts added a freak-bike flavor to the show. Their swing-bike, lowrider, and various tall-bikes formed a welcome juxtaposition to the more traditional bikes.

Dropout Bike Club Melissa from Dropout Bike Club Dropout handlebars Skidmark from Dropout Bike Club

Ira Ryan / Ira Ryan Cycles / Portland, OR

Mr. Ira Ryan
Ira Ryan

Just two years into his full-time framebuilding career, Ira Ryan has found his place. Drawing from his personal passion for long-distance rides, he's winning fans for his well thought-out and classy randonneuring bikes.

His bikes mix modern and retro components and stylistic touches into a complete package that makes you want to hit the open road for an all-day ride.

The centerpiece of his booth was a lugged randonneuring bike with two oversized, stainless-steel canteens, dimpled Honjo fenders, and old-school Campy track pedals (with straps of course) on a set of new Dura-Ace cranks.

Oh, and Ira was also serving up fresh-baked and iced sugar cookies in the shape of his flying swallow logo.

Ira Ryan rando (classy) Ira Ryan Cycles Ira Ryan Cycles Ira Ryan Cycles

(See more of Ira's booth in the slideshow below.)


Jeff Jones / Jones Bikes / Medford, OR

The man the myth, Jeff Jones
Jeff Jones

There are few people in the bike industry that have been as stubbornly innovative as Jeff Jones. Jones has built his reputation, and a very successful business, by smashing conventional logic and doing things his way.

Case in point: Jeff displayed his first-ever road bike; but of course it's not your usual road bike.

Jeff told me he doesn't really enjoy riding conventional road bikes: "I like a little fatter tire, I like the geometry of my mountain bike, but I don't want to change my bike, I want to ride the same thing...just go a little faster."

The result is a 12-speed road bike based on the exact frame/fork as his mountain bikes. He's just added a dishless rear-wheel that has a "super strong" single-speed hub and a 6-speed XTR cassette. Jones says it's, "just a simple road bike that goes fast, rides well, and I can throw some knobbies on it when I want to go on the dirt."

Jones Bikes Jones Bikes by Jeff Jones A Jones and Jeff behind it Jones

Zoobomb / Portland, OR

Zoobomb exhibit
The Zoobomb display

The Zoobombers displayed at the entrance to the show. Much more than mini-bikes, the Zoobomb booth was more like a museum of one of Portland's most well-known cultural institutions.

Along with a re-creation of their famous Zoobomb Pyle (complete with an offical, blue PDOT staple rack), they displayed media clippings and zines from years past; including a very rare copy of the 2004 "Girls of Zoobomb" calendar. Wow.

Gabe Amadeus showed off his neon-and-white "Track Tall" and there was even a tall-bike with a dented up door from a Portland police car attached to it's frame.

In talking with Zoobomber Chuck, I heard the latest craze are gravity bikes. Chuck, and a few other regular 'bombers have taken to the sport with gusto. They compete in places like the legendary Maryhill Loops and they've got a fleet of "g-bikes" at their disposal.

tall bike Gravity Bike Zoobomb exhibit

Jonathon Sieber / Cascadia Cycles / Portland, OR

Jonathan Seber of Cascadia Cycles
Jonathon Sieber

Jonathon Sieber wants to go a different route with his fledgling Cascadia Cycles business.

Drawing on his experience as a welder and his work with large-scale production bike makers like Sapa and Kinesis, Sieber wants to make a more afforable, yet still 100% Portland-made frame.

Just started last summer, the plan is to make bikes (meaning standard sizing, not fully custom) in batches of 25-30 at a time. This will allow him to to keep prices down, while still building the bike by hand in Portland.

At the show, he had a prototype of a 700c, disc-brake commuter bike that he hopes can be built up for under $2,000. Watch for his bikes at your local shop soon...

Cascadia Cycles Cascadia Cycles

For all my photos from the show, including Tony Pereira's gorgeous mixte and more builder portraits, check out the full gallery or watch the slideshow below:


Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

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Comments
  • Austin Ramsland November 12, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    I think that I speak for a lot of the builders when I say that the response that we got from Portland was simply overwhelming. When we envisioned this show, we imagined it as a warm up lap for the national show in February and as a way to show the range of bikes built in Oregon: we were all building the same vehicle, but in hundreds of different ways. But none of us imagined that Portland would show up to share in the bike love like it did on Sunday.

    I would like to take a minute to thank all the volunteers that we had, especially Carl Larson who helped us from concept to clean up. Also, we couldn’t have done this without support from Sam Adams and Jennifer Nolfi (from the PDC). The show couldn’t have happened without them.

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  • SkidMark November 12, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    My favorite from out of town was Jones, all that curvy titanium tubing. Someday...

    It\'s a shame Wade (Vulture Cycles) won\'t build bikes for anyone else, he is super-creative.

    Thank you Austin, for inviting us. We spent the whole day being shocked that people were actually taking pictures of our bikes.

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  • Donald November 12, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Dag! Bummed I missed it. My Sunday spun into an out of control nap before I even knew what was happening.

    Is it just my imagination, or is almost every frame sporting some version of a Brooks saddle?

    I know when I run my non-descript mountain bike with its stock saddle, nobody notices it. But put my 25-year-old Brookie on it, and folks invariably give it a double take.

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  • SkidMark November 12, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    Suicycle has a cut and laced Brooks B-17

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  • Hanmade November 12, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    The show was fantastic! I really appreciated the builders, the way they would talk freely about their build ideas, methods, and techniques. It gave us amatuer builders great insight into how to do it right. To see that much creativity in one building was almost overwhelming. I hope this becomes an annual event!

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  • mmann November 12, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    Stunning eye candy. I especially appreciated seeing some of the builders I wasn\'t familiar with like Cascadia, Stewie, and Hufnagel - we\'ll be seeing more from these guys for sure. Other highlights were getting to finally meet Andy Newlands, Tony P\'s mixte (his 1st but I\'ll bet not his last!) and talking BOB-ish with a couple builders. Interesting how the RB-1 still exerts its influence...
    Almost made up for missing Estacada.

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  • Cecil November 12, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    \"Is it just my imagination, or is almost every frame sporting some version of a Brooks saddle?\"

    That\'s how you know they\'re good :-)

    As someone whose idea of a short ride is 50 miles, I wouldn\'t put my rear on anything but a Brooks - it\'a nice to see that I am not alone . . . .

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  • Disco D November 12, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    I wasn\'t able to attend, but I hope to be around for the February show. I have been wanting a custom roadie frame for years now...I think I need to find a builder now.

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  • Tony Pereira November 12, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    The show was amazing. Thanks to all who came. I was blown away by how many people showed up.
    Great job everyone.

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  • Joe November 12, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    great job putting the sideshow together
    brings a whole new meaning to bike love.

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  • gabriel amadeus November 12, 2007 at 9:14 pm

    I\'ve been meaning to mention it for awhile, but dang Jonathan, your photos have been incredible lately. I love the arty cross stuff, and the people shots. I noticed how you\'ll nonchalantly snap a frame right after you ask a question to capture a person\'s initial reaction to the subject.

    You took so many good photos, of our stuff, and the pro builders. That was a crazy inspiring day! This show was insanely fun. I can\'t believe we had the opportunity to have a booth alongside builders who charge $$$$$ for complete bikes. And the fact that they were happy to see us there was awesome. And the CROWDS! Holy cow, this show was incredibly packed the entire day! My favorite moments were a 5 year old girl trying out the assaccre, and Mayor Adam\'s face when he saw the \"Pepper Door Prize\". Congrats all, that was great!

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  • Anonymous November 12, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    This show was insane, and I had a whole ton of fun. Like Gabe said, it was great to be invited to showcase our creations along with the meticulously crafted frames that balance out the whole of Oregon bike culture.

    I spent a lot of time talking to people about the gravity bikes this weekend, and it was great to have so many positive reactions from everyone who stopped to scratch their heads. We are planning on creating a Team Zoobomb to compete out at the Maryhill Festival of Speed this next year, and are in the process of finding some local sponsors. If you\'d like more information about the gravity bikes, or Team Zoobomb, you know where to meet us every Sunday night. :)

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  • Chuck November 12, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    This show was insane, and I had a whole ton of fun. Like Gabe said, it was great to be invited to showcase our creations along with the meticulously crafted frames that balance out the whole of Oregon bike culture.

    I spent a lot of time talking to people about the gravity bikes this weekend, and it was great to have so many positive reactions from everyone who stopped to scratch their heads. We are planning on creating a Team Zoobomb to compete out at the Maryhill Festival of Speed this next year, and are in the process of finding some local sponsors. If you\'d like more information about the gravity bikes, or Team Zoobomb, you know where to meet us every Sunday night. :)

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  • Metal Cowboy November 12, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    I was out of town for it but I loved having Jonathan\'s photos to see some of what I missed. For the record, pf the 120,000 miles of cycling around the globe, ( give or take a thousand) 99 percent has been done on a Brooks. Need I say more? Yes, I do, when I go out of town for events and shops and organizers lend me bikes to ride, I agee to ride anything they have as long as I have packed my Brooks saddle.
    Cheers,
    Joe Metal Cowboy Kurmaskie

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  • Spencer November 13, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Great show, great people.

    Just want to also remember the other builders their:

    Bike Friday, with their 15 pound pocket rocket and the incredible Tikit.

    Co-Motion, who has quietly been chugging away making incredible Oregon made bikes for over 20 years

    Strawberry, the grand-daddy

    and Sweetpea for beutiful, solid bikes idealized for people of shorter stature like my wife.

    Maybe not as much bling, but these unsung companies will easily do as much in affecting our bike future.

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  • Jean Reinhardt November 13, 2007 at 8:16 am

    Great show and a fascinating mix--from veteran builders like Lyon, Davidson, and Strawberry to newcomers like Stewie and iconoclasts like Jones and the Eugene cargo-bike people. It\'d be nice to see it expand to Northwestern regional show with builders from BC, WA, and Montana included.

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  • Ethan November 13, 2007 at 10:22 am

    My personal favorite was the desalvo retro messenger bike. I posted some shots at Flickr

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  • [...] doesn’t look like BikePortland had time to sleep this weekend with Oregon’s Handmade Bicycle Show running. It’s easy to [...]

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  • Tony Pereira November 14, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Here\'s my pictures from the show (taken by Lucy):
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/79122810@N00/sets/72157603173073935/

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  • [...] throwing up a link here, and sending you over to [...]

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