Monday, March 17, 2014

NAHBS: Niches All Have Been Sold


(A misshapen lump at this year's NAHBS, via Friday's comments.)

Back in 2005 or thereabouts, a man with a kilt and a dream launched a custom bicycle show.  He called it the "North American Handmade Bicycle Show." Thanks to the Internet, pictures of these bicycles went "viral," and they worked desk-bound Freds and other bike dorks up into a frothy lather.  Orders were placed, queues for the top builders formed, and within a few years we were in the throes of a custom bike boom and the NAHBS grew into the builders' pimp and the world's most preeminent bike show in the entire universe.

So what happened?

This past weekend, in Charlotte (it's in one of the Carolinas or something) hosted the [insert number here]th NAHBS, and from what I can tell nobody really paid any attention.  Well, okay, the usual nerds got media passes and took pictures (I'm looking at you, James Huang), but whither the ripples through the bike world you used to feel around showtime?  Were you hovering over your keyboard for the those first bike nerd media updates?  At its peak, the NAHBS truly captured the cycling zeitgeist.  Remember when "townies" were a big thing, and it was all over-wrought city bikes?  Remember when the fixie craze hit, and builders all reminded you what a proper track racing bike looked like?  29er, 650b, the resurgence of steel...all the cycling trends of the past ten years that we now take for granted can arguably trace their coalescence to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

Alas, those days are behind us.  Granted, I didn't go to this year's show, and in fact I've only ever been to one (1) NAHBS, and that was Austin 2011.  Even so, I'd argue that those of us who don't go have the most insight, since we're the regular schmucks to whom all this stuff ultimately trickles down.  When the NAHBS began I was absolutely one of those desk-bound bike dorks, drooling all over stacks of work I wasn't doing and dreaming of one day owning some gaudy lugged overpainted Fred Chariot or some city bike I'd never lock up ever ever ever because it was way too fancy.  In short, I'm Every Bike Dork, and I want to know where the magic went, goddamn it!

I blame the bike industry.  When NAHBS started you couldn't walk into a bike shop and buy, say, a classy townie or an urban fixie.  Now, though, the big companies are ON IT and there's no type of bicycle so arcane you can't check a box and order it through QBP.  There are no niches left for the custom builders to fill!  I mean, gravel bikes, for fuck's sake!  It's a niche within a niche within a niche, yet there are 20 off-the-rack models you've got to wade through before you'd even think of ordering one from a builder--and if you do, by the time it's finished half the shit on it is going to be obsolete.

If anything, NAHBS now seems to be the place where the crabon companies unveil their new bits, and where the mainstream companies can go to get ideas for creative electronic shifter cable routing.

Also, it was in Charlotte, so there's that.*

*[Disclaimer: I have never been to Charlotte.]

Meanwhile, all the entrepreneurship seems to have shifted over to Kickstarter--which is not necessarily a good thing.  At least NAHBS is still full of bikes you'd give your left nut or labia to ride, whereas Kickstarter is rancid with this sort of nonsense:

Dear Bike Snob,

We are a team of young architects and avid cyclists keen on alternative transport systems. We are excited to present you our latest project - Halfbike, a very compact and light vehicle that may redefine the way we move around the city.

Behold...this piece of shit!

 

This stupid idiotic remedial adult tricycle proves two things: 1) Humankind will stop at nothing to fuck up and unravel the nearly perfect piece of engineering that is the safety bicycle; and 2) Humankind is disgusting and selfish, because people all over the world are starving, yet we've given the people responsible for this moronic exercise almost $25 thousand so far:


They should change the name from "Halfbike" to "Hopeless Symbol of Misanthropy and Despair Bike."

Penultimately, Honda has recalled almost a million minivans:


From my admittedly non-scientific observations over the years, I have determined that Ultra-Orthodox Jews freaking love Honda Odysseys, which means this recall will be the biggest blow to their freedom to drive since the invention of Shabbat.

Lastly, in the comments on Friday's post, someone left this:


Hmm, no women's leaderboard:


Musta been a real sausage fest.

113 comments:

yeah Cleveland! said...

Yeah Cleveland

Anonymous said...

Texas Scranus

Bryan said...

first!

Anonymous said...

Podium

Anonymous said...

andbuicktyi

DB said...

Erin go Bragh-less.

Bryan said...

Well, almost. 3rd by the time I typity typed. scranus

Flyover BC said...

top ten

Anonymous said...

Top Ten!

samh said...

AYNAHBSSMB

Anonymous said...

Anus top 10

babble on said...

Hello!! Happy Monday, peeps. :)

Anonymous said...

Was busy reading Friday's comments . . .


vsk

DB said...

Oh, Happy Benito Juarez's Birthday.
Do I hit the Irish bar tonight or the Mexican restaurant?
I believe there is time for both.

Regular guy said...

I'd like to try that Half-Bike endomachine, but looks like a real thigh-burner. No sitting and coasting. Might be good training for telemark skiing.

Anonymous said...

reminds me of the MTV LeRun Skate Bike

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT1E-yqK2pY

streepo said...

re: the Halfwit bike
When I turned the sound down it felt like I was watching a DEVO video without the sound.

Anonymous said...

Whomever shall pull this Half-Bike from yon man's chest shall be deemed rightful king of Dorkania.

Anonymous said...

Charlotte's in East Carolina.

I've never been in Charlotte either. But only because she had a mean streak and I wasn't willing to risk any of ego-damaging ridicule she loved dish out.

shall ervedeu

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...NAHHHH B.S. only top 20!

Regular guy said...

About the demise of NAHMBS hype, or whatever it is. Isn't it a bummer when publicity does what it's meant to do?

Buffalo Bill said...

Sweet fixie bro. What's it made of? Crabon?

Bryan said...

Now that I have read the post -
NAHMBS: I ALMOST went. it was only an hour and a half away, alas I had to be a desk bound Fred all weekend. My friend went and he had a great time.
Charlotte isn't half bad a city - they have a bike share program and decent public transit. I have enjoyed each visit.
Guess I'll have to go read up on Friday's comments now

mikeweb said...

Gave up a top 10 to read it first.

The half bike:

Yet another reason for pedestrians to hate anything human powered with wheels on it.

babble on said...

Half baked half bike...

I'm already familiar with the pure joy of riding a bike!

To half or half not...

and to all those half-nots who still don't get it, here's a gentle nudge.

CommieCanuck said...

The halfbike halfwit kickstarter is worth watching. The main selling points are:
1. People will stare at you.
2. People will initiate conversation with you, i.e. "..who was stupid enough to pay money for this....?"
3. The designer wore a lab coat and safety glasses, in case someone through hot acid on him.
4. The ride is "zen-like".
5. This bike will free your scranus.

mikeweb said...

Also, since my bike is locked up outside my work building which is but a block from the NY St. Patty's day parade, I thoroughly expect my saddle to be covered in vomit when I leave to go home.

crosspalms said...

Ooh, maybe the pedal Segway is next!

CommieCanuck said...

Charlotte rocks. If you like big box stores in primary colors, and NASCAR, it rocks.
They have a Woemart there you can see the curvature of the earth down the pharmacy aisle.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

... NAHBS happened? seriously? this is the first i'm hearing about it.

...oh, well. guess snot's right. who wants to buy my custom bike?

Roille Figners said...

Hey! I wore green by accident. This shirt just happened to be next up in the rotation. In my quiver/stable/fleet/murder of shirts.

McFly said...

Babble could you beat 3:10 on a vigorous cock ride? Maybe if you carried alot of speed around the balls......maybe......

Pistolero is back baby! Who wants a fingerbanging?

CommieCanuck said...

Weiner Mortis should see a doctor about that bump on his schlong.

BamaPhred said...

I'm wearing ironic murdered out green

CommieCanuck said...

Fingerbang! Whoo000....

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

At Halloween time the half bike will go great with your witch costume.

grog said...

Yes, Recumbabe would look good in green shoes.

CommieCanuck said...

St. Paddy's Day + Robs Fords = Meet my new Mayor's aide, Ralph Buick.

Half Bike said...

Clutch my shaft!

Anonymous said...

On my ride in today I came across three people on those elliptical bike things in central park. what is the deal with those? They are like 10 feet long and look like they weigh 100lbs and have a top speed of like 10mph. Nearly as ridiculous as spike boarding.

ken e. said...

catching up... almost like lenny bruce.

"BTS ASS"

1/2 Wit said...

I've got half a mind to get me one of those wacky bikes... mind you if I had a whole mind then I'd probably not.

Scott Goode said...

Never been to Charlotte, eh? Good for you. I am from there and can testify to the fact that the city up and steals your soul. It is an evil city full of bankers and Baptists whose one redeeming characteristic is that it isn't in South Carolina.

Anonymous said...

A few things were "got right" the first time and thus, do not really need alot of improvement.

1) Open end/closed end combination wrench

2) Self-lubricating vagina

3) Safety bicycle

ge said...

NAHBS and Kickstarter, I can ignore. There's getting to be way too much bike racing on North American TV now. I get these brief lapses in my sanity where I think I should get a plastic bike. So far, I'm able to snap out of it, but if it gets worse, I may have to stop watching.

Anonymous said...

"......all the cycling trends of the past ten years that we now take for granted can arguably trace their coalescence to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show."

but if the show started in 2005 ... nevermind...

Anonymous said...

linky?

Anonymous said...

lick my verde canoe day

pleasegodmakeitstop said...

Half Wit

balls™ said...

Yea, NAHBS was only a couple hours down the road this year, and yet I didn't bother to get off the couch.

I guess I'm just not that interested in the latest trends in bamboo bicycles.


Green panties for everyone!

JB said...

But my fundamentalist-y Christian cousins also had to get a Toyota Odyssey. But they were so fundamentalist-y that they considered Saturday the Sabbath, so --> Jew-y. M i n d b l o w n .

db said...

I always run the Kickstarter videos without the sound, because I'm douche-intolerant. But instead of Devo or Talking Heads, my streaming service of choice served up Depeche Mode's "Never Let Me Down" (..."I'm taking a ride with my best friend"...). That worked better than any intentional voice-over could have. Disappointment is a very human product.

Note to the Halfbike developers: you'll never even have a chance to sell that thing in America until it has a seat and a safety harness. And color-coordinated accessories.
.

ubercurmudgeon said...

Finally, the crossover point has arrived, where the Segway has been de-motorized, thus becoming the healthier choice compared to bicycles, which have now sprouted motors to save the riders the terrible energy expenditure of changing gears.

weiner dog said...

do those 1/2 bikes come with the muzik?

CommieCanuck said...

There's getting to be way too much bike racing on North American TV now.

That's because the TV rights are free, because guess what, no one wants to pay the UCI to watch a bunch of doped up bullshit artists "win" then show their best poker faces when the doping questions start.
Been there, done that, got the stinky chamois.

CAPTAIN STUDDRO

Sam C said...

Re: Friday's post, "murder machines kill 30,000 americans every year"

So why the fork are all the libtards worried about guns?

Anonymous said...

I want to lay this bike on its side and shit through its rims.

ge said...

CC, I just enjoy the armchair cycle tours through Europe. Don't bother with the podium bullshit, well unless the presenters are hot.

Anonymous said...

It redefined how ten year olds moved around at one point in the 80's ...for like one summer:
http://skateandannoy.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/skate-bike-print.jpg

QM Graves said...

Follow former Olympian Clara Hughes as she is undertaking a major biking challenge of her own. She set out this past Friday on a 12,000 km mission to bike around Canada for the next 110 days of grueling stretches including some of the most remote areas such as the Canadian Arctic. Here’s more information about it here: https://livingalpha.com/journal/clara-s-big-ride-day-1-toronto

Anonymous said...

I would try most any bike except prone bike. Can a half-bike compete at the same price point as the cheapest folding though?

3G said...

Weiner mortis has an average grade of 0%. Obviously it's not very vertically complilant, and, it's an "outtey".

leroy said...

My dog wishes to point out that no one makes a canine specific bicycle.

Now that I think about it, you hear about running dogs, but you never hear about cycling dogs.

BamaPhred said...

Cycling Dog

BamaPhred said...

Actually, this is the one I was looking for. Norman the bike riding dog

JB said...

Will the half-bike take a Le-N-Lo?

Crocodile Dundee said...

What a half-biked idea

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI...that starva segment is in a cemetary

Anonymous said...

the joy of cycling

Anonymous said...

Some uncharacteristic bigotry from Snobby today.

If the half bike had been called an "extended unicycle" I doubt Snobby woulda been so aggrieved.

But one of the joys of attending to this blog is bopping along with Snobby's mood swings and he sure is crabby today; he takes issue with everything. Even Weiner Mortis's delightfully whimsical endeavours are presented in a clinical, cursory, cold manner; not even a hint of the usual infantile approval.

Cheer up Snobby, there's too much beauty* in the world to focus on the negative.

*Can't actually think of anything just at the moment, but as a fallback there's always that recumbent babe.

Anonymous said...

BIKE SNOB IS A LOSER BIKING GIVES LOWERS YOUR SPERM COUNT AND GIVES YOU BALL CANCER

Freddy Murcks said...

I still kind of like NAHMBS. It's good bike porn.

Custom bikes are great, but if you want one, stay away from the Richard Sachs and the Sacha Whites of the world. I am sure they they make great bikes, but they are hyper-expensive and the wait times are ridiculous. Instead, go with a well-respected local builder. Just about any reasonably sized American city has at least one good builder who can make EXACTLY the bike that you want and turn your order around in a couple of months.

If Dick Sachs is the only thing that excites you, then very delayed gratification may be in store for you.



Thefe icsfur

ge said...

Yeah, if I wanted to stand up, I'd get a scooter. Probably way cheaper than a halfbake too. Or if you're going to dork out may as well commit to it and get one of those elliptical bikes (elliptigo?).

ge said...

Anon 4:31 - nice try halfbike guy. Still not buying it.

RoadQueen said...

Not all Charlotte's are created equal.

Just Sayin'.

Dooth said...

That Halfbike has a woody...like it's looking for its mate...the Halfassed.

Freddy Murcks said...

The Velo Snooze's Editor's Pick for best in show at the NAHMBS is very 2007. http://tinyurl.com/p99azun Would any self-respecting cyclist in 2014 be caught dead on a stupid short wheelbase fixie with six-inch handlebars? Not that any self-respecting cyclists "rubbed" those stupid fucking things in the first place, but you get my point.




followe esigete

babble on said...

McFly - You know I'll give it my best go, though gently does it round those particular curves.

Clara Hughes rock-a-doodle-doos. I was thinking of cycling the 1200 km to my 30 year high school reunion in a couple of months. Only think is there will still be a lot of snow a-top the Rockies, so I dunno...

You've gotta love that Joy of Cycling advert. I still miss the UK some days...

McFly said...

Can you imagine how the penny farthing die hards reacted when they intoduced the safety bicycle? "A disk on the crank WITH TEETH? Have fun slicing your jugular......."

Rob Ford, Gaining a Pound a Day and Counting said...

Bikes made of glued together matchsticks are going to be the next craze. On the Rocky and Bullwinkle show the announcement would say "Tune in next time, a hot scranus it will be. Or, your scranus will go up in smoke."

Leroy, I saw a dog surfing once. He was one of those dogs that look just like Winston Churchill.

Roille Figners said...

That Best in Show bike seeks to answer the question "What is the opposite of a top-tube pad?"

BALL CNCR

Roille Figners said...

A: (a top-tube scranus-grinder)

Energy Baron said...

I am looking for an ass to buy or lease

M_Avina said...

I still want a credible off-the-rack porteur bike complete with a rack--not all the niches have been filled.I call it a pret-a-porteur; have yet to see it.

Anonymous said...

extreme penny farthing

ouabacher said...

I love that the half-bike company's logo is of a regular bike. They probably got sick of their friends saying, "Uh...huh huh. You know what that looks like? Huh huh."

babble on said...

Inquire within!

You will find what you are seeking in the Zen of Ass. The way to attain the ass you want is to BE the ass you want. As an energy baron you should have no problem with that whatsoever.

ouabacher said...

I think the zephyr sign was supposed to read, "Handmade in 5th period shop class....in Boulder"

Anonymous said...

Check out the builder's moustache

JLRB said...

Another snoooow day - this one sucked more than others because the semi-warm wet snow stuck to the cross country skis.

Now maybe if I would have used half-skis it would have been OK.

That half-bike looks just like a toy I see ids on. The Ad says it is good for short rides - limited range is not a feature.

JLRB said...

One nitche that has not been sold is the itch niche bike

JLRB said...

all the talk of custom bikes - I suppose I could find pleasure in going through that process and having someone build a bike just for my scranus, but I've got a bike herd - most picked up second (or 5th) hand - and most of them fit and feel great "off the rack" with little tweaking. So what's the point?

Anonymous said...

MTV LeRun skate-bike commercial

Dave said...

This forgotten Randy Newman classic could have been written just for the half-bikers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ejy1cWr2KFU

More ideas from the half-bakery! said...

So if the half bike is almost zen-like, maybe they should make a fixie model. The full-zen experience of a face plant is surely unique.

Anonymous said...

Half bike, half dork on a stick - with wheels...

Anonymous said...

Went to the NAPBS (paw made) and gotta get the new paw bars in graph fright. Forgive me Leroy, but this new bark checker is as rough as that stupid bike seat my owner insists on. If only I could get a half cycle.
Normy in the Dawg Suit

wishiwasmerckx said...

98th...

wishiwasmerckx said...

...99th...

wishiwasmerckx said...

...and 100th!

babble on said...

XX

canadas_scranus said...

The Rob Fords will wins the elections.

Canada's scranus 'merikuh would gladly have him running an arrondissement.

Guns too. Yeah guns!!!

ce said...

ONE LESS SEGWAY

Anonymous said...

BAHBS: Bitches All Have Been Sold

Anonymous said...

Inquire Within? I knocked but no one answered. So I stuck my head in. Nothing. Finally I checked the back door and it was small but I managed to squeeze in. Well worth the effort. Hated to come and go but I will be back.

Lorne said...

Halfbike, a pedal powered Segway that makes you look like you're masterbating while you ride it.

McFly said...

What do you mean "makes you look like....?"

Might as well be cause you ain't gettin' the nookie on that Birth-Control Contraption.

Anonymous said...

Snob has been receiving rejection letters for his short stories. Hence, the vitriol.
Blogging is a new art. Snob, you don't need the New Yorker's validation.

Capt. Acronym said...

N.A.H.B.S.=Nearly All Hand-jobs Blow Semen

Anonymous said...

N.A.H.B.S.=Naughty Anal Halts Baby Starting

Top said...

Went to Austin bike show, cool stuff, bamboo was represented big time

QM Graves said...

Another day in 6-time Olympic winner, Clara Hughes’ 12,000 km charity bike trek around Canada https://livingalpha.com/journal/clara-hughes-stops-in-sarnia-imperial-city-of-ontario

Anonymous said...

Ah, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus penis ride made news. Ethan will be so proud. It's his dick. The route, that is. Just glad to say I've not been on it. The route! Seriously. I mean, I've seen it, cause, you know, who hasn't? Half the campus has been on Ethan's penis. They just didn't know it. It's just lays there. You need a Garmin to find it.