Paul Skilbeck, the British journalist and now US-based PR officer for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, said:
"The bicycle-friendly city of Austin will see the largest assembly of handmade bicycle manufacturers in the modern history of the bicycle."
The North American Handmade Bicycle Show – NAHBS for short – will be staged 25-27th February in the Austin Convention Center. It’s the seventh annual staging of the show, and now has more exhibitors than ever before.
The show, said Skilbeck, is a "showcase for artisans who practice the craft of bicycle design and precision manufacturing, which they combine at the level of a functional art form."
Don Walker, the founder of NAHBS, said: "After all the hard work over the years it is rewarding to see the show continue to hit new highs. And being a former resident of Texas, I am deeply pleased to bring the show back here, to the state where it began. Six years later, there is not a bicycle show on the planet that matches NAHBS for sheer quality, and precious few shows of any type present such a smooth interface between art and engineering.
"This is the largest presentation of the best in the custom bicycles industry anywhere."
150+ exhibitors have signed up for a stand at this year’s convention, and at least 160 are expected to have signed on the dotted line by the time the show opens. International exhibitors are traveling mainly from Italy, Japan, and the UK.
The event will attract 7,000 members of the public and 100+ journalists, who will have an opportunity to talk face to face with the builders.
The bikes on display rarely retail for less than $2,000; some retail for $15,000 and above.
Exhibitors at NAHBS must pass a test to ensure professional standards but each year new builders are allowed to exhibit in a section of their own.
"In this way the show upholds high professional standards as well as encouraging new talent," said Walker.
NAHBS started in 2005, in Houston, Texas, when Walker organised a convention for fellow frame builders. That year, 23 exhibitors displayed their bicycles and a total of 700 people attended.
Each year NAHBS moves to a new location in the US.
Richard Sachs, one of America’s leading frame builders, said:
"Not since the 1970s has there been such an interest in the handmade bicycle frame. There was a time that framebuilders were at the vanguard, and the industry often looked to them as the trendsetters and laboratories for all things innovative.
"The NAHBS weekend is a way for consumers, media, and framebuilders too, to judge for themselves whether the 21st century iteration of this segment is about ye old, or quaint, or, as I suspect, more innovative and technologically relevant than ever.
"Framebuilding today has never been more viable, and the show in Austin shines a bright light on all the pioneers as well as the next wave of framebuilders who will set trends and make markets for generations to come."