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Best In Show: Year’s Hottest Handmade Bikes

The North American Handmade Bicycle Show wrapped up in Salt Lake City this week. Here are the judges’ top picks (and a few of our favorites).

Winner: ‘Best In Show’

Minneapolis’ Erik Noren took home the coveted ‘Best In Show’ award for his high-end Peacock Groove entry. Noren’s bikes are often themed, with some standouts like a Voltron bike and this year’s Prince tribute ride.

People’s Choice

It’s hard to top the spectacle of a pennyfarthing. This big wheel was crafted in Northern California by Jon Tallerico and Tallerico Cycles.

Carbon-Wood Composite

A beautiful white ash and carbon layup did not take home top honors. But we thought it was striking enough to include. You won’t find this on many U.S. roads, however; Cio Cycles hails from Brisbane, Australia.

Best Finish

There are a lot of great rides out there, custom builds and aftermarket improvements. But at a certain point you just want a killer paint job. You can’t go wrong with Portland’s Black Magic Paint.

Best Experimental Build

More beer, please. Rock West Composites figures there should probably be a bike designed to carry a six pack (or five six-packs). And Rock West built this rig out of carbon to counter all that heavy beer weight. Smart.

Component Porn

Another of our honorable mentions, this chainring and drivetrain by South Korea’s Rookey Bikes shows the exquisite attention to detail handmade bike builders demand.

Swoopy Commuter

Just because we love the lines of this daily commuter bike. Another one from the Peacock Groove stable, this bike shows that rules, like tubes, were made to be bent.

President’s Choice Award

Don Walker, founder and president of NAHBS, makes his own selection for best build at each year’s show. Titanium-specialists Enigma Cycles won Walker’s top honors with the Exemplar road bike. The bespoke build has a Chris King headset and hubs and a Campagnolo Super Record groupset.

Best Campy Build

The Campy Award goes to the overall best Campagnolo-equipped bicycle at the show. New York’s No. 22 Cycles titanium road ride nabbed it this time around.

Best Columbus Build

In an era when more cyclists seek the light weight of carbon fiber and titanium, a bike made from good old steel still has a place. The king of bike steel remains Columbus, and for those who persist in the art of steel frame-building, NAHBS has as special award just for Columbus-steel bikes. This year’s recipient was the classy Breadwinner road ride, complete with fenders and leather saddle.

Best Road Bike

You might not think of Bozeman, Mont., as being home to great bicycles. But David Kirk, owner of Kirk Frameworks, puts together outstanding builds. His stainless steel Onesto was judged this year’s best bike for the open road.

Best Track Bike

There’s still room in the handmade bicycle arena for aluminum frames. San Francisco-based Low Bicycles proved this by taking home honors for the best track frame.

Best Gravel Bike

Looking for the ideal rig to take a long roll over gravel? This year’s gravel ride winner was the Mosaic GT-1. A carbon cockpit, Shimano Dura Ace 970 groupset, and Enve wheelset sealed the deal.

Awesome Kids Bike

Another one that caught our attention, even though it didn’t take home an award. We didn’t think there were youth bikes made out of titanium, and we certainly didn’t think they were made in Russia either. This children’s bike from Triton proves us wrong on both points.

Best Tandem Bike

Looking to turn heads while pedaling with a partner? This show-stopping tandem from California’s Santana Cycles will do the trick.

Wood Fatty

Connor specializes in wood bicycles and this 5″-fat-tire-friendly frame won our acclaim. The 29-pound frame is reinforced with carbon and kevlar.

Fat Tire And Whiskey

This monster from Moonmen was too fun to pass up. It is as burly as it is beautiful. (Bonus: A custom flask holder makes it maybe the classiest ride from the show.)

Best Cyclocross Bike

For everyone who loves the muck, speed, and grueling effort of cylocross, Donhou Bicycles out of England currently make the best, according to NAHBS judges anyway.

Best Artisan Bike

Wine, cheese, and bikes. The most artisanal build at this year’s show was Blacksheep Bicycles‘ mammoth rig. It has racks on front and rear, fork mounts, and enough muscle to haul everything you got.

Best Mountain Bike

Dialed design and components and unique geometry won Sklar Bikes 27.5 hardtail best mountain bike honors.

Best City-Utility Bike

For the ideal blend of cargo utility and everyday comfort, look no further than Shamrock Cycles. Fenders, mounts for anything, and relaxed geometry are designed for the common rider.

Best New Builder

This year’s brightest newcomer goes to SaltAir Cycles.

Most Intimidating?

Our final personal pick from the show: Proudfoot Cycles. This full-suspension beast looks like maybe the most capable ride from the entire lineup.

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