Hotspur and Bikehugger

hotspur%2010.jpg Though Davidson Bicycles’ new Hotspur frame precipitated from Bill Davidson’s ideas on what a high performance bicycle should be, Bike Hugger provided the impetus to bring the idea to reality. Bike Hugger had previously worked with Bill on the Modal concept bike, based on some of my ideas about travel bikes. Setting aside the Modal’s unique features, Bill used Byron’s off-the-shelf race bike as starting point for the Modal’s geometry and then tweaked the geometry to improve the fit. Then a funny thing happened when Byron actually got to ride the bike. The Modal turned out to fit and perform better than Byron’s regular race bike.

Which begged the question: what would happen if Bill built Byron a bike designed for performance? This gave Bill the perfect opportunity to pull out some tricks that he’d been waiting to use … some subtle refinements on the titanium materials.

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New chainstays, new top and down tubes, and different machining for the head tube stock. Above all, Bill wanted to build a new bike, but still offer customers a custom fit, durability, high performance, and a reasonable delivery time. The idea had been simmering for some time, but he doesn’t believe anyone should have to wait more than a couple months for a custom bike.

For the Hotspur Byron wanted a bike optimized for the type of racing he does most often, criteriums and rolling road races. Something along the lines of what the Dutch call a kermesse bike. A bike like that is typically a bit more relaxed than what would be considered an America-style criterium bike; a little more stability makes for surer footing on circuit races on poor or cobbled roads. Also, the kermesse bike is better for all-day training rides. This isn’t really a bike designed for Le Tour’s high mountain stages; it’s a bike designed for the roads we really ride.



@ the NAHBS

[UPDATE - from Andrew: PHOTOS!]

I just missed Lance at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show on the first day, but got some photos, video for our Huggacast, and checked the Hotspur.

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Andrew is covering the show today and more posts are coming.

More coverage



Bilenky Cargo Bike

Cycle Monkey’s Bilenky Cargo Bike at the Handmade Bike Show … from the Bike Hugger Photostream.



Davidson Hotspur Debut

hotspur%2009.jpg Today in Portland, Davidson Handbuilt Bicycles debuts the Hotspur frameset. In an age of single-season-use carbon frames built built for some Pro Tour rider and amongst the surge in intricately crafted, lugged steel, Bill Davidson makes his own statement: a bike is a rider’s tool that should acknowledge age-old lessons while not ignoring new technology.

hotspur%2008.jpg The Hotspur is simply a bike designed to allow the owner to maximize his potential as a rider and to give an excellent service life. Though well established as a steel frame builder, Bill made the jump to include in-house titanium fabrication about a decade ago because he recognized the metal’s excellent qualities. Since then he’s kept an eye on carbon fibre, but to him it just hasn’t offered the durability and design flexibility of titanium. With the Hotspur, Bill has combined newly available titanium tube options and the best of the carbon fibre seat stays.

More on the Hotspur’s materials and design in later posts…



Brakes on a Keirin Bike

Five years ago few people knew the difference between Kirin and keirin. But the traditional, steel track bikes used in the Japanese professional racing circuit have become highly desirable. Rather than comment on the irony of the Japan’s handbuilt bike renaissance following the collapse of its large scale manufacturing and exports due to the so-called “yen shock” of the late Eighties and increasing costs of labour, I thought I’d stir up the brake/no-brake argument about riding those treasured track bikes on the road.

Who would put brakes on their keirin bike?….Professional keirin riders.

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Why would they? Because they go too fast when they train on the road (if they need to train on the road, since the velodromes there are open all year). No matter what, riding with brakes gives you more options for stopping, and you can stop in a shorter distance in more conditions than just using your legs to halt the fixed gear.

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Those pro keirin riders get paid pretty well, and they frequently race into their later thirties. Though crashes are frequent in actual racing, that’s just part of the job. Getting injured because of a crash on the road doesn’t pay the bills.

A lot of keirin builders also make “training” bikes: fixed gear bikes that are designed to accept brakes front and rear, sometimes with provision for fenders. These bikes do not meet regulations for the keirin circuit, but they are meant to give keirin riders an affordable and suitable training tool for the road.

If you really wanted to ride the certified keirin bike on the road with brakes, you could get something like this precision product made in Japan (photos courtesy of famed keirin rider Koh Annoura). The special mounts allow you to temporarily mount regular road brakes to the bike without altering the bike or even damaging the paint. Cheaper (and kinda cheesy) versions have been available for years in Japan, and I believe Soma will be debuting in this country something in between the two.



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