Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Only Cool Shit At The Oregon Handmade Bike Show

Vulture Cycles

Tallbike loosely based on that one that was just auctioned at Sotheby's.

Vulture, AKA Wade Beauchamp said that his inspiration for building a tallbike was meeting members of DropOut Bicycle Club at the first Oregon Handmade Bike Show. Thanks Wade. As it happens you are one of my main inspirations for building "real" bike frames. Vulture is once again making frames after a short hiatus.

Wade has a sense of humor, only one in the building that day. Someone said his helmet looked Steampunk, to which Wade said "What's Steampunk?" Truly inspired.

This is Eugene. The unicycle has 2 gear ratios, uses a front disc hub, and is _____? OK Eugene, you've got me. "It's left-side-drive!" Well, it sure is. He used tandem cranks to pull it off right. In fact it uses all regular bicycle parts, no special unicycle parts other than the seat. He will make one for you if you want one.

This was the only other builder that impressed me. Keith Anderson. What a kickass little 24" cruiser. The fenders are wood and laminated following the curve of the tire. Keith had to create some special tooling to pull this off, by modifying a router to give him access as he guided his fender by hand to cut the inner recess. Then he shaped the outer fender by hand. No CNC, just mad hand skills, a true craftsman.

What drew me over to his booth was this rad old-school Pursuit Bike. The oversized tubing came pre-ovalized vertically at the head tube, and horizontally at the seat tube and bottom bracket. Carbon fiber bikes wish they had tube junctures that flowed as smoothly at these fillet-brazed joints do, and the seat tube/bottom bracket/chainstay gussets are the finishing touch. This is my favorite kind of bike, eye-catching but understated, and then the construction of it just sucks you in.

All the usual suspects were there with their entries in the Oregon Manifest Constructor's Design Challenge, which I had already seen. The design challenge was to build a (snore) commuter bike. Welcome to Portland. The results were some bicycles that were like Cadillac Escalades: utility in name only. Well, except for Tony Pereira's winning bike, and Vertigo's urban assualt bike, which didn't have fenders. Hey, we're talking about commuting in Portland, it's fenders or the dreaded skunk stripe.

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