Editor’s Note: Our European correspondent, c_g, has been to the Riva Bike Festival, and now files this report on a handmade bicycle show and festival featuring many 29″ers. Read on and take a look at what bicycles caught his attention there.
Euro News: 29″er bikes at Freiburg Collective- by c_g
It is the time of season opening events – after having been at Riva Bike Festival (see short report here), the Freiburg Collective was next in line to be visited. This brand new event in the city Freiburg (which often is referred to as “the capital of biking in Germany”) carries the theme to “Celebrate the bicycle” and “Handmade Bicycle Expo” a combination that promises sweet things to be seen. Despite its young age the event had already been sporting a good selection of 29″er goodies as well.
So without further adieu, here comes an assortment of nice 29″er bikes that were shown there.
The initial spot is reserved to CREMA CYCLES (www.cremacycles.com), who besides showing their brand new 29er prototype frames were the organizers of the event. The new frames will be featuring a 44 mm head tube, a fine selection of brand name tubing (joined together by a well known frame builder in Canada … or was it USA?). There will be two frames one for XC (shown in green) and the other more AM oriented for long travel forks (shown in black). Here are a few shots – Note that these are only samples with lots of details (e.g the dropouts) to be changed for production.
Next up is MAWIS BIKES (www.mawis-bikes.com), a one man Ti-Custom frame shop by Matthias Scherer, who was fed up with waiting for his dream bike to be built and decided to take up the task himself. Sounds like a lot of trial and error? No, this guy really knows what he is doing and he will build you a One-Of-A-Kind Ti hard tail tailored to your needs in every little detail (for a price, you´ll probably find too good to be true). I had a chance to throw a leg over this bike, he built for a friend (which almost fit me) and I could tell that despite the minimal weight of only 1,4 kg (claimed) this frame was mightily stiff – more than you’d expect from a titanium frame.
But despite all the Big Wheeled beauty, the real star of his display has been the blinged up kid´s bike he built for his son, because he would´t take the extraordinary weight regular kid´s bikes have. How come I never had a bike like this when I was young? Anyone have € 3500.- left for a dream bike eau minature?
Another very well known frame builder that was there doing a whole lot of barbecuing for everybody who stopped by was Florian Wiesmann of Wiesmann Bikes (www.wiesmann-bikes.de). This Swiss guy is highly innovative (e.g. he has been doing V-Brakes before they became big by the BIG S company) and so the Ti 29″er he showed was full of little details like the one piece stem-bar combo (Ti of course), the custom Ti fork and the unique rear end with rectangular tubing … all joined together with the immaculate welding that needs to be seen to be believed. The frame alone, which carries the name “Thurot” starts at € 3600.- but the waiting list already extends far into 2012.
Next up was NICOLAI (www.nicolai.net) who were showing a just finished 120 mm full suspension Helius 29″er (100 mm are available upon request as well). Typical for them, every single piece and detail has been built by Nicolai themselves, and so the beautiful machining all over has been a pleasure to look at (how about these drop outs?). But the bike doesn´t only look good … it also rides pretty well (for what the short parking lot run I could take on it is worth – more later in the season ;-)).
At the Nicolai booth I was also able to inspect the new Center Track belt drive system, which seemed to suffice with considerably less belt tension.
But the real highlight of the event was the Short Track Race (with pump track sections) – ever seen a 29er race head to head with a BMX racer? I had not either until then.
Guess who won :).
Ps: Wait to hear more from the CREMA and NICOLAI 29″er bikes here on Twenty Nine Inches later on this year.