2015 NAHBS – March 6-8 - The Kentucky International Convention Center
News from NAHBS: Exhibitor Voices

With a little more than two months to go before the official kickoff of the 2015 North American Handmade Bicycle Show (March 6-8 in Louisville, KY), we are busy making sure this year’s show will be one of the best so far. As of today, over 80 exhibitors have signed up to help themselves build their businesses and the list continues to grow. The team at NAHBS is working hard to get the word out to show attendees and the cycling media to ensure you the exposure you deserve while educational seminars are being scheduled to bring you information that will help you hone your craft and grow your business. This year’s show is not to be missed!


In this edition of the NAHBS eNewsletter, we are highlighting a couple of long time show attendees with a Q&A with Mike DeSalvo of DeSalvo Custom Cycles and an essay from Dwan Shepard of Co-Motion Cycles. Excerpts from both follow so please, read on!


“There are not too many of us in this line of work and we are spread out across the country and the world —  NAHBS brings us together to share and collaborate. As a small builder, NAHBS also allows me to get great exposure to a targeted audience.”

– Mike DeSalvo, DeSalvo Custom Cycles

“The North American Handmade Bicycle Show is a phenomenon. Don Walker has taken his dream of assembling a few bicycle framebuilders each year to demonstrate their talents to a level I’m sure he would not have dreamed of in 2005, when the first NAHBS show debuted in Houston, Texas. Before NAHBS, if you were a consumer interested in buying a handmade bicycle, you were really on your own.”

– Dwan Shepard, Co-Motion Cycles, Inc.



Exhibitor, attendee, and media registration is quick, easy, and available online. Just visit the NAHBS website and look for the 2015 Registration Link on the homepage. And while we will always have room for media and attendees wanting to walk the show, 10×10, 10×20, and 20×20 exhibitor spaces are filling up quick!


If you have any questions about registration, please email Robin Rinehart at  registration@handmadebicycleshow.com and she will assist you.


Media attendees can contact Scott Kaier at scott@smakstrategies.com for more information.



This week’s VIB is Mike DeSalvo from DeSalvo Custom Cycles. Based in Ashland, OR with over 15 years of frame building experience and many more as a mechanic and United Bicycle Institute instruction, Mike builds all manner of fully custom steel and titanium bikes. He will be attending NAHBS in March and would love it if you stopped on by to check out his latest creations.


Business Name: DeSalvo Custom Cycles

Person Name: Mike DeSalvo

Title/Position: Owner / Builder

Location: Ashland, Oregon

Year Founded: 1999

# of Employees: 1

Website: www.desalvocycles.com

Contact Info: mike@desalvocycles.com

How long have you been building bikes/frames? How did you get your start?

I’ve been working in the bicycle industry since 1986 after purchasing my first road bike.  I worked in a bike shop through high school and in 1991 I attended mechanic’s classes at United Bicycle Institute.  I continued to work in bicycle shops in California and Colorado while enjoying mountain biking, racing cross country and downhill.  In 1999 I returned to Oregon to work as an instructor at UBI.  It was at this point that I really got into building frames and had the opportunity to gain the skills to build frames.

Who do you most credit with getting you started in frame building?

It is hard to think of just one person to credit but I can remember being inspired by any bike that would come in for repair that was from a small builder. I would dream about owning a bike from a small builder and how amazing it was that they were made by somebody as opposed to a big factory. I suppose the bikes I coveted the most were the mountain bikes of the late ’80’s and early ’90’s from Bontrager, Breezer, Mountain Goat, and Ritchey.

As for those that helped me actually learn to build frames, that would be the guys at United Bicycle Institute when I started there, including Ron Sutphin, Jim Kish, and Gary Helfrich.


What was your proudest moment as a frame builder? Most humbling?

Other than building bikes for folks who appreciate them, winning the award a few times for the best TIG bike at NAHBS was definitely a highlight.

There have been many humbling moments when building bikes.  I suppose getting to the point when you realize that no matter how many frames you have built there will always be room for improvement can be humbling.

You build bikes out of both steel and titanium. Which is your favorite medium and which seems to resonate most with your customers? Why?   

I build lots of bikes out of steel and ti and I like both materials.  I like to be able to offer the different materials to customers as I think it allows them to choose the material that fits their criteria of ride quality, weight, price, etc.  Steel is a classic material that offers a great ride quality at an affordable price and ti builds a lighter frame that is appreciated by many enthusiasts.

I assume you’re an avid cyclist too. What got you into cycling?

I’m not sure exactly how I got into cycling but when I was a kid we all rode bikes to get around the neighborhood, from there we started building jumps and racing BMX.  I got my first road bike in high school and raced [both] road and MTB’s for many years. My life is a bit busier now than when I was younger but I still get out and ride as often as I can.

What is the most rewarding part of frame building? What is the most challenging?

For me I think one of the most rewarding parts of frame building is taking a pile of tubes and turning them into a frame that can be ridden and enjoyed.  I love bumping into people who have ridden my bikes and hearing about their rides or seeing photos of bikes posted online.  Making a product specifically for someone is very rewarding as it is not the norm these days.

The challenges of frame building come from running a small business with only one person to do everything from welding the bikes to sweeping the floor.  Although I would not have it any other way, it can be a bit of a balancing act at times.

How many times have you shown at NAHBS why is it important for you and your business to attend?

This will be my 11th time attending NAHBS (I have not missed one yet!) — for me NAHBS is great not only to show my bikes and talk with those who attend the show, it is also a great time for me to connect with my friends in the industry. There are not too many of us in this line of work and we are spread out across the country and the world —  NAHBS brings us together to share and collaborate. As a small builder, NAHBS also allows me to get great exposure to a targeted audience.  I also appreciate that NAHBS moves to a different location each year so we get to meet new folks each year.


** Find Mike at NAHBS 2015, Booth # 311 **



Dwan Shepard, Co-owner Co-Motion Cycles, Inc.

The North American Handmade Bicycle Show is a phenomenon. Don Walker has taken his dream of assembling a few bicycle framebuilders each year to demonstrate their talents to a level I’m sure he would not have dreamed of in 2005, when the first NAHBS show debuted in Houston, Texas. Before NAHBS, if you were a consumer interested in buying a handmade bicycle, you were really on your own. You would have to do your research to find out who was building bicycles in the US and other parts of the world. To see the work of a framebuilder firsthand meant traveling to their shop, and even then, you may have faced the very real possibility that they would have no bicycles to show; perhaps just a glimpse of a few lugs being shaped for their next frame.

NAHBS created a target date, a mutual goal and a real showcase for American and (later) international framebuilders to show what is often a breathtaking level of craft. The builders who have the best success at NAHBS are those who welcome comparison to their peers at the show, and we are all peers. Although there is judging and awards are given, the most remarkable thing about NAHBS is its egalitarian stance: There is an equity there that places the fresh-faced new builder on par with the old masters for the observer to ruminate upon what distinguishes one from the other. For any bicycle lover, NAHBS is a feast for the senses that is unequalled by any other bicycle event.

The opportunity to see the work of the world’s best bicycle makers in one place is a bargain for a potential buyer. Taking the builders out of their workshops makes them accessible to show attendees, who can meet the legends they’ve read about, or maybe just shake the hand of the person who will build their next bike.

Having attended all but the first NAHBS show,  for Co-Motion Cycles, the greatest strength in NAHBS is its mobility. Since our bicycles are sold through bicycle dealers, the change in venue each year gives us the opportunity to connect with our local dealers and to say hello to old and new friends who already own Co-Motion bicycles, or are considering one for their future. For our dealers, the NAHBS show is a great opportunity to build clientele and add some cachet to their reputation while deepening their knowledge of our bicycles and building our friendship at the same time. It’s a winning situation for all involved. So, we will absolutely not miss NAHBS 2015 in Louisville. It’s not a city I know, but being within very reasonable driving distance from the largest population centers in the Midwest, I have no doubt it’ll get great turnout.

To those who have dipped a toe into NAHBS and are considering abandoning: All bike shows are in investment in the future. You can’t count the sales (or lack thereof) that occur within two weeks of a show and attribute them to the event you’ve just done. The impressions you make with people at bike shows are cumulative. I often meet people that I talked to at a bike show 10, 15, or 25 years ago. I don’t remember them all, but I do know that some people will ruminate on an idea you gave them decades ago, and buy a bicycle today as a result. So go to NAHBS, show your best work and treat everyone with kindness, honesty and respect, and maybe have a laugh together. It works.


Louisville is best known for bourbon, horse racing, and baseball bats, but did you know this city is also home to vibrant and growing restaurant scene that would impress even the most jaded foodies?


These week, we are highlighting three restaurants in the Nulu / East Market Street neighborhood. Check out the following and be sure to drop in for some great food and drink!


Feast BBQ: Low and slow BBQ is our passion. We strive to produce the best smoked meats possible. This takes time, dedication, and the constant pursuit of perfection. It takes a long time for us to make our BBQ and we hope you can taste our patience.


Please & Thank You: Looking for a hot cup of coffee, a quick breakfast, or something sweet? Then check out Please and Thank You. With a rotating menu, there is always something new to try out.


Garage Bar: Garage Bar serves up ice cold draft and bottled craft beers, Kentucky Bourbons, seasonal cocktails and wine. The casual neighborhood spot features pizzas from a wood-fired brick oven and Southern specialties, with an emphasis on fresh, local ingredients.



HOST HOTEL: Galt House

Just seven miles from the airport, with 1,300 guest rooms and 650 suites, the Galt House offers the best in convenience, comfort, and hospitality. The hotel features 9 restaurants & lounges, 24-hour on-site deli, on-site UPS Business Center, and many other amenities.  Special NAHBS rates are below:


RIVUE TOWER – Deluxe Guestroom

Single $ 135.00 / Double $ 135.00 / Triple $ 145.00 / Quad   $ 155.00


SUITE TOWER – Executive Suite

Single $ 155.00 / Double $ 155.00 / Triple $ 165.00 / Quad $ 175.00


Other Galt House Links

Photo & Video Gallery: click here

For Hotel Reservations, click here


Established in 2005, the North American Handmade Bicycle Show is the largest and most widely accessible destination for frame builders to share their passion with cycling enthusiasts and supporters. It aims to be a meeting point – both online and in person- for frame builders and consumers looking for custom-made bikes, for the sharing of ideas, and the promotion of a special industry with a rich history dating back to 1819. NAHBS moves from city to city each year. For more information on the 2015 show, please visit http://www.2015.handmadebicycleshow.com/
The NAHBS team is 100% focused on creating an exciting, impactful, and well-attended event in 2015 and hope you will be joining us for what we think will be the most successful show yet.


Thanks for your continued support of NAHBS. I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you in Louisville March 6th-8th!




Don Walker


Don Walker,  Founder and President