Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One Saturday Morning at the Show

Broakland’s Twin Drive Bike: The whole point of Broakland Bicycle’s twin drive bike is simple: riding it is fun.

The Oakland builders of three years created the bike’s unique crankset as a challenge to themselves and to add an aesthetic component to their riding. With creative input from a group of Bay Area graffiti artists and a breadth of fifteen years welding experience, these builders work to create something unexpected and exhilarating.

In addition to being eye catching, the second chain provides a back up in case riding strapless and fixed snaps one. Two previous NAHBS showings find the guys from Brookline here in Indianapolis to connect with the rest of the hand-built community and visit with old friends.

Renova’s Belt-Driven Crank set: The Italians at Renova have an interesting entry for their first showing in the United States.

Their city ride-ready custom model comes equipped with numerous personal touches, but the stand out has to be the belt-driven crank set. The idea stemmed from wanting an older style of frame to be updated and different than most bikes on the road.

Renova decided one way to accomplish this would be to alter the crank set, have a smaller chain ring attached to the bottom bracket, and switch out standard brake levers for ones from a motorbike. All this creates a quieter and more comfortable riding experience, and eliminates the need to roll up the right leg of your pants.

The Waterford Joust: Innovations in Bike Polo The Schwinn family has a dedicated history of hand-building all ranges of steel bicycle frames full of heart.

Based in Waterford, Wisconsin, they have been a part of the Schwinn Paramount factory since the 1970’s and eventually went on to found Waterford Precision Cycles in 1993. Although well known for their reputation within custom road frame circles, their newest bike polo frame, The Joust, has been drawing a sizable crowd to their booth at this year’s NAHBS.

The Joust was designed specifically for a rider looking for an advantage in the burgeoning sport of bike polo. Tucker Schwinn, a seasoned polo player himself, and Waterford co-founder Marc Muller looked at different frame specs when deciding how to build their Joust. “It definitely has to have quick handling and be incredibly durable,” Schwinn said. “I wanted something with comfortable geometry, like a track bike, but also needed it to be really nimble like a circus bike.” He added, “Another question you have to ask is, ‘What’s going to last the longest on the court?’”

Anna Schwinn commented further on the detailed advancements made on the newest Joust model. “We wanted a 700cc bike with 26in. wheels, but that doesn’t leave any pedal clearance,” she said. To adjust for that, the Joust’s bottom bracket has been brought up to form a nearly horizontal line with a smaller rear triangle, in addition to a longer, reinforced head tube connection to the down tube. A bash guard has also been implemented onto the crank set to keep players moving during the tough beatings the frame and components endure during a typical match.

Since these bikes are part of the Fleet Velo brand, that allows Waterford another great advantage she added: “The private label lets us create a frame for a special community, and that’s a very meaningful part of [the job].”

words & images Doug Fellegy

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