Saturday, March 5, 2011

NAHBS 2011 - Austin, Texas!

On Feb. 27th, I went to Austin to check out the NAHBS. It was a great treat to me. I loved the show as well as the city of Austin.

I saw lots of bikes, both at the NAHBS and out on the streets of Austin. I took a ton of photos, just get a good sampling of the variety of bikes I had the pleasure of drooling at. These photos have been presented in this post.

I need to grow another foot or so to ride this bike!
Scene outside the Austin Convention Center - lots of bicycles! And, most importantly, most of the bicycles I saw were commuter bicycles, not just the fancy racing bikes.
A fine bamboo bike! I had only seen these in magazines before!!
I stopped at the Rohloff booth. They had a dissected Rohloff to look at. The Rohloff is a marvelous thing. You gotta try it to see how well it works!
Another view of the Rohloff Speedhub! What a beauty!!
A Schlumpf speed drive! This in conjunction with a Rohloff on a trike, would be quite the ride!
The first booth where I spent substantial amount of time was, you guessed right, the Co-Motion booth! It was a real treat to check out the new bikes. Here is the Co-Motion CityView! This one was well equipped, with even classy panniers!
More Co-Motion bikes, the one on the right had drop-bars + an IGH!
A close-up of the bar-end IGH shifter! Nicely setup!!
A Co-Motion Americano with disc brakes and an IGH! Quite the bike!!
I met Dwan Shepherd when I visited the Co-Motion booth. Dwan actually knew about my blog - go figure! I was thrilled to find out about that.

One of the bikes I had really wanted to check out was the Brompton! I got quite the opportunity to check'em out at the show. They had all the Brompton models at the booth. I was particularly interested in three aspects of the Brompton: 1) how easy were they to fold and unfold, 2) how easy were they to carry in their carrying case and 3) how nice are they to ride. I got all my questions answered at the Brompton booth. In addition to the Brompton company reps, one of my acquaintances, Russ Cooper, from Houston (the only Brompton dealer in TX) brought a M-Type Brompton for me to test ride. Thanks, Russ!

Brompton makes 3 main models: 1) M-Type, 2) P-Type (their touring model) and 3) S-Type (the speedier Brompton), perhaps! The M-Type has handlebars that are similar to the one on my Raleigh Twenty! The P-Type has butterfly handlebars, which permit multiple hand positions and the S-Type has a flat bar. There are other differences, which you can learn about from Brompton. Bromptons can be bought as single-speed, 3-speed or 6-speed bikes. Brompton makes a whole bunch of accessories for their bikes, many of which are custom designed for Brompton by many top notch manufacturers like SON.

The Brompton is the most compactly folding folder that I know of. Here is a M-Type folded and put away in the B-Bag. What a nice, compact fold!
Brompton offers a lot of different options for paint. One of them is the Raw Lacquer option, which I personally love. Here is what it looks like! The rubber piece that you see above the chainstay is the suspension. There are two options for suspension: a) regular, b) firm.
Close-up of the brazing!
Feast your eyes on the Brompton A-Bag! Very beautiful bag! Perhaps not the best choice for someone like me who gets mistaken for a hobo :)
A folded M-Type in Claret color! The orange in the background is a nice color too!!
Pictured below is a P-Type Brompton with the T-Bag in the front! The P-Type has the butterfly handlebars. I did not test ride this one because the NAHBS organizers did not permit anyone to take a bike in or out of the show. Brompton people basically told me that I could test ride it as long as I can get past the NAHBS folks. But, alas...
A close-up of the SON dynamo on a Brompton! The only color that Brompton offers for the SON is the polished steel color. But it works just as splendidly as its other colored cousins!
The next stop was at the Brooks booth! I spent a lot of time at the Brooks booth as well. The reps at the Brooks booth were exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable. The gentleman I interacted with at the Brooks booth knew about the model of the old English roadster that my dad had ridden. I told him about the saddle on that bike, which was a B-33, very similar to the one pictured below. These saddles last a lifetime, plus more. I think my dad's saddle is quite possibly 60 something years old.
Brooks also had some fine bags to drool at. Their leather bags as well as the water-proof duck ones were exceptionally well-made and very stylish.
Brooks handlebar bag! Very nice looking!! Some of the Brooks bags are not made in the UK, but made in China. But, I believe the saddles are still made in the UK.
Another beautiful Brooks bag!
Another tall-tall-tall, really tall bike!
A random-bike with humongous >=29" wheels.
Bamboo-licious frame!
A classy looking bike from Shamrock Bicycles! I visually checked-out this bike, but did not take any close-up photos.
A frame that was for sale at the Strawberry bicycles booth. Apparently, this bike was stolen, then recovered. The frame was for sale for a relatively decent price.
Lug from Strawberry bicycles.
A dissected fork crown?
This bike caught my eye, as it was not just stylish, but had some fine accessories on it.
Checkout the Alfine IGH. That looks like a cool hub to have.
Violet Crown bicycles, made in Austin, TX! This was a very well-equipped bike that reminded me of Chris' fine bikes.
I never thought I would run into King Cage folks at the show, but I did. I was wanting to get a couple more of their Iris cages and this guy pictured below, made me a couple, right on the stop. I ain't kidding! It was like getting a fresh loaf of bread right off the oven or something really nice like that.
King Cages being made!
Nice and bright randonneuse!
The racks and the light on this bike caught my eye. Check out the close-up of the light in the next picture!!
Supernova E3 --- one of the brightest lights made. Very beautiful light. I wonder though if it might be a little bit of an overkill for a randonneuse.
Talk about a Monet!

Nice ride from Retrotec!

The bikes at the ANT booth were not just utilitarian bikes, but very pretty as well!

Another ANT!
I brought home lots of freebies, literature and some good buys! Here are some pics of the loot!
More loot! Bumper stickers - yay!
Brompton brochure --- for drooling some more at those fine folders and even a Brompton poster!
A fine souvenir from the show!
Thanks, Dwan --- for this very nice TShirt. Now, I can wear this one proudly!!
Courtesy of the the fine gentleman at the Brooks booth!
Close-up of the Brompton poster! Those are really cool bikes.

Summary:
  1. I had a great time at the NAHBS. I wanted to see the Bromptons and I did that. 
  2. The Brooks, Co-Motion, ANT were very nice places to hangout as well. 
  3. There were other booths from nice makers like Bilenky. I ran out of time to check'em out.
  4. If I go to this show again in the future, I would want to go at least a couple days. One day wasn't long enough to check out all the fine bicycles.
  5. I wanted to learn a bit more about the Shimano Alfine IGH. I was most disappointed when the Shimano people did not know the weight difference between a Rohloff and their new Alfine 11. They simply gave me a brochure and said that the information is "in there". I guess the internet is a better resource sometimes.
Hope your day was great! Have a Nice Weekend!!

Peace :)

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