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Belted Blog

Belted in Sacramento: The 2016 North American Handmade Bike Show

  March 3, 2016

Rob English of English Cycles was among the custom bicycle builders who gathered in Sacramento, California, for the North American Handmade Bike Show in late February. English presented two of the show’s most intriguing belt drive bikes, including this winter commuter for a customer in New Zealand. It features an integrated rack, custom fenders, electronic shifting, a pump mount and a stunning blue finish.

English Cycles closeup

English Cycles blue bike

English cycles blue belt

This post includes a selection of some of the show’s most intriguing belt drive bikes, as shot by Gates engineer and photographer Tim Lucking. In addition to the blue bike, English presented the Right 29 singlespeed mountain bike, created for a customer in Seattle. With its single belt stay and single right fork the bike’s appearance beguiles the eyes as the wheels appear to float freely from the frame. This bike is based on the Right Bike that English presented at a previous NAHBS. To keep the frame stiff, he mounted the Gates Carbon Drive on the outside of the stay–eliminating the need for a split in the rear triangle. Rob’s wife, Misha, showed the bike with some rocking socks.

English Cycles Right 29

English Cycles Right 29 headtube

English Cycles Right 29 no split required

English Cycles Right 29 Misha

REEB Cycles presented multiple Gates belted bikes including the Dikyelous Boost with 27.5-plus wheels. We convinced fabricator Chris “Soultrain” Sulfrian to ham for the camera and test the bike’s wall-riding capabilities.

REEB headbadge

REEB Soultrain wall stand

REEB profile

Gates shared a booth with both REEB and Cycle Monkey, the U.S. distributor for Rohloff hubs. Cycle Monkey showed multiple bikes pairing Gates belts with Rohloff hubs, including the titanium Black Sheep below. The red anodized hubs and sprocket really pop. Check out Black Sheep’s red belted rig from last year.

Black Sheep Rohloff

Black Sheep drive

Craig Calfee of Calfee Design is best known for his carbon frames but he also pioneered some of the first bamboo bikes. Calfee showed this bamboo fixie at NAHBS, and in June he will travel to Africa as part of an effort to develop locally built transport bikes in the Congo. Calfee plans to test Gates Carbon Drive belts on the Congo bikes due to their longevity and strength versus chains. Learn more about the Africa project on theCongoTransporttoMarketBicycleProject Facebook page. And check out the crazy wood shop eBike he created for a previous NAHBS.

Calfee bamboo fixie

Calfee bamboo fixie stays

Calfee bamboo fixie toptube

Co-Motion, a leading touring bike brand that uses Carbon Drive on many of its models, presented this off-road touring rig featuring the Pinion gearbox. Pinion is a German company whose low-maintenance gearboxes are highly popular in Europe, and which may soon be more widely available in North America.

Co-Motion Pinion

Co-Motion Pinion drop

Fans of endurance racing may remember Ventana from the record-smashing victory that a Kiwi rider had on one of their bikes in the Tour Divide. Like Co-Motion and REEB, Ventana presented a Pinion bike at NAHBS–the Wolfram with 27.5-plus sized tires. The Pinion system, mounted at the bottom bracket, pairs well with the Gates Carbon Drive system to create a low-maintenance adventure rig.

Ventana Wolfram

Ventana Wolfram pinion

Chris Connor of Connor Wood Bicycles is a Denver-area builder and former guitar maker who specializes in wooden frames made of ash and walnut. You may remember him from the Louisville Slugger baseball bat bike he created last year for NAHBS in Louisville, Kentucky. One of his wooden bikes was even raced in the Leadville 100.

Connor Wood walnut

Connor Wood bars

Connor Wood junction

Connor Wood scorcher complete

Ti Cycles of Portland showed several Gates belted rigs including this titanium electric bike with a Zehus hub, a sleek technology developed in Italy that packs the batteries, brains and drive motor into a hub controlled by a smartphone app. This is one of the lightest e-Bikes we have ever seen. Ti Cycles is the US contact for Zehus.

Ti Cycles Zehus

Ti Cycles Zehus closeup

Ti Cycles also showed another new invention at the show, the RockerBone, which can be installed on the Rocker Drops from Paragon Machine Works to easily lock in belt tension. It’s an elegant solution and we will share more info on social media in the coming weeks.

TRed is an Italian brand making its first appearance at NAHBS. They presented several Gates rigs including this steel Camobeast.


TRed headtube logo

Santana specializes in high-end tandems. The brand uses Gates Carbon Drive timing belts to shave weight and provide a low-maintenance and high-mileage solution. Santana also offers tandem bike tours in the United States and Europe.

Santana tandem

Santana tandem timing belt

Journey Cycles exhibited in the New Builder aisle and showed this custom carbon rig with aero rims. Founder Matt Conrad did carbon frame repairs for many years before recently launching his own bike line. We dig the elevated stays on this bike.

Journey Cycles carbon

Want to see more photos from NAHBS 2016? Check out our Flickr gallery from previous NAHBS thanks to Tim Lucking for his artistic photography. Come see us next year when NAHBS moves to Salt Lake City, where Gates plans to belt Utah and cook up something even bigger and better. And now we’ll let Soultrain ride us outta here.

REEB Soultrain manly