Handbuilt Bicycle News

Shows & Events

New England Builders Ball

Matt Butterman

Monday 15 October 2018

New England Builders Ball, part 2

Our coverage of the New England Builders Ball continues with part 2.

New England Builders Ball, part 2
New England Builders Ball

Our coverage of the New England Builders Ball continues with a look at four more custom builders in part 2.

Galaxy Gearworks

 Photo: New England Builder's Ball

Among the bikes put on display by Galaxy Gearworks’ Ryan Johnson was his personal gravel bike, which had jaws dropping. At first glance what catches your eye are what Ryan calls the “Flyby Seatstays”. They don’t connect to the seat tube at all; there is about 1/4” of clearance and the seat stays connect directly to the top tube. Right behind that junction, the top tube itself transitions into a smaller-diameter section of curbed tube. These features combine to create a small degree of deflection in the tube, but detectable and positively affecting both performance and comfort. The tubing on the front triangle is from True Temper and the rear is 4130 straight gauge chromoly, with bits from Paragon Machine Works and Bike Fab Supply. Joints are TIG welded. Ryan’s design philosophy is to focus on performance. In the case of this bike, aesthetics are a big win as well. https://www.galaxygearworks.com/

 Porter Cycles

 Photo: New England Builders Ball

Tom Porter has devoted quite a few Instagram posts this year to the process of creating this bike, named “Winged Victory”. Those posts succeeded in generating significant interest in the bike, which had eyeballs (and fingers) on it all day and evening at the Ball. The client wanted a piece of kinetic art, and Tom delivered! Some specs: Frame and fork are a mix of Columbus and Nova tubing with silver filler. The stem, chain guard and rack are likewise steel, as are the lugs, which were made from 4130 with bronze filler. Frame, fork, chain guard, and stem were locally nickel-plated, and the in-house paint (8 layers deep) includes brass and bronze mica powder leading to a near-gold appearance. Components and accessories include a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed (with polished vintage shifter), custom-painted Velo Orange “Zeppelin” fenders, Nitto “Promenade” bars, Grand Cru headset, and Brooks Imperial B17 saddle. http://www.portercycles.com/

Bilenky Cycle Works


Photo: New England Builders Ball

Stephen Bilenky, now one of the deans of American framebuilding, has been making award-winning highly desirable bicycle frames of all sorts since 1983. In a year when the Ball was heavy on gravel, cx, touring, and randonneuring rigs, this Bilenky track frame attracted a lot of lingering gazes at the show. Build specs: True Temper “S-Bend” seat tube, joined to a variety of Columbus tubes: UltraFoco downtube, Nivachrome oval chainstays, Neuron seatstays, and Zona head tube. The frame is fillet brazed (Stephen says this is his favorite joining technique), and being designed for racing, the focus was on shape, performance, and smooth finish, with less regard for elaborate paint or other details. Ironically, that “spare” aesthetic probably makes it more beautiful. http://www.bilenky.com/

 Fluent Frameworks


Photo: Sarah Simpson, © Fluent Frameworks

First-time Builders’ Ball exhibitor Fluent Frameworks brought a trio of impressive rigs down from Nova Scotia, including this gravel bike. Built primarily from Columbus Zona and with a tapered head tube from Nova Cycles Supply, this (and all of the bikes from Fluent’s Matt Manuel) is fillet brazed and while pictured here with 38s, has capacity for 700 x 42 tires. Strength, function, clean lines, and overall aesthetics really came together on this bike, with seat stays wrapping around the wheel like a glove. All Fluent Frameworks bikes are painted in-house, for complete control over the process. https://www.fluentframeworks.com/


Part One | Part Three