Frames for the NAHBS
In 2014, we began to focus on our ideal designs for the NAHBS frames. We wanted the frame design to be exceptional and to clearly display our work. Our first frame was the Reborn road bike. The frame itself is made of shaped Columbus Spirit HSS tubes with brazed joints, REPETE produced stainless steel dropouts, conical head tube, and integrated brake cable routing. The REBORN version we made for NAHBS is designed to fit the Campagnolo Super Record EPS electric kit, with the battery hidden in the saddle tube (the kit can be deactivated with magnetic tape, also located in the saddle tube).
The NAHBS setting went hand in hand with the bike’s aesthetic, including the paint job. It took several months of testing. We used Spray-on Chrome to achieve that perfect mirror shine. It is a chemical process that requires more than 20 steps to achieve the intended look. Unlike conventional galvanic plating, this process can also be applied to the coating of carbon components.
The second round presented at NAHBS was our Falcon track frame. We chose the racing model we made for our REPETE team rider, Jan Kraus. The manufacturing process was also challenging because Jan had a long-proven track record and, of course, this was reflected in the frame design. The design was based on the assumption that a compact frame with a horizontally positioned top tube, suitably shaped rear stays for greater stiffness, and a 1 ⅛ ”/ 1 1/2” conical head tube would best tolerate the extreme pressure of velodrome races. The Falcon is also made of Columbus Spirit HSS shaped tubes, but with a drop-shaped bottom frame tube, classic BSA center, and stainless steel track dropouts, all designed in house by REPETE.
Cyclocross has a long tradition in Central European countries. Cyclocross can take you through difficult terrain – mud, sand, or snow – and is often accompanied by bad weather. It requires both a durable rider and durable material. Our Grizzly model, specially designed for NAHBS, is made to endure the toughest conditions. The Grizzly meets all the demands of a maneuverable, fast frame, yet it is comfortable enough to tackle the most challenging terrain.
Our Grizzly frame utilizes Columbus Spirit HSS and Columbus Life tubes. The rear framework was designed with bent stays for increased tire clearance. The brakes are designed with the post mount standard and can accommodate disc brakes up to 160 mm. All of the cable guides are external for quick and easy service. The color scheme, matte bear brown, underlines the character of the bike and symbolically pays tribute to the category for which the frame is used.
Presentation and stand
The question was, how to present the REPETE brand to the NAHBS? We teamed up with Václav Mlynář and Jakub Pollag from Deform studio, who have successfully worked with large international brands such as Heineken, Nike, and Czech TON. The logistical parameters, i.e. US production and on-site assembly (ideally within 24 hours and preferably without complications), make it particularly difficult to enter this event. We had to take several other factors into account for the final design for our presentation, including deciding where to place the wheels on the backlit pedestals, which are able to carry the display stands with complete mounted frames. In principle, there are several interlocking boxes/containers with a visible wall displaying our logo and a deck made up of black OSB boards. The boxes serve practical purposes as well. They can be used to store materials and accessories during the exhibition and they also provide a convenient seating option for us.
We had a long journey to Louisville from Prague via Paris. Upon arrival, we encountered our first complication: a delayed transport box with one of our bikes for the show. We took a bit of a risk deciding to trust the airport service to deliver our delayed shipment directly to the site a few days later, but we went for it and relaxed.
Once in Louisville, we loaded our things into a rented caravan. We soon discovered that temperatures were set to drop to -20° C over the next few days, and thus our American dream of camping in the car drifted a little bit farther with the frosty winds. We opted to get a hotel room for the first night. But we weren’t going to just accept the unexpected snow, even though most Americans would probably prefer to stay at home. The next day we embraced the situation and found a surprising abundance of parking space in the city center, likely due to the extreme temperatures outside.
On the spot, NAHBS begins
Finally there. The gates would open the next day. The final preparations at the fair were well underway. The construction of the exhibition stand went smoothly. A big thank you to the contractors, Louisville Lumber Mill, and Louisville Lumber & Millwork. We managed to complete the final touches just before the gates opened and we began greeting our first visitors.
We were submitting our CX Grizzly and Reborn Road bikes for the annual competition. We soon discovered that the REborn was also nominated by the jury for another show category – the Campagnolo Builder Award. The awards are annually awarded by a jury of producers and industry leaders, headed by Dong Walker, the director and founder of NAHBS. To our great surprise, the loudspeakers announced: “The REPETE Reborn wins the Best Road Bike Award!” The news we had just heard slowly sank in…we won!
Indeed, the most positive aspects of our time at NAHBS was meeting with manufacturers, getting detailed tours of the exhibited products, discussing our experiences with industry colleagues, and last but not least, local Kentucky Bourbon. The positive feedback we received provided some great motivation for us to keep creating. Worrying about the competition really took a back seat. We felt that everyone was there for one reason – our shared passion for cycling. The North America Handmade Bicycle Show is all about meeting people, community, and craftsmanship, regardless of where we are from.
The following week, we extend your stay and headed out to explore North America. The weather improved and the plan started to come together. We had endless kilometers of wide highways, liters of coffee, tons of sandwiches and lots of country radio ahead of us – classic America. Kentucky, Ohio, Lake Erie, Detroit (the once flourishing automotive metropolis) could not be missed. Dazzled by the beauty of Lake Michigan though, we slowly gave up on our dream tour and ended our journey in Chicago, America’s third largest city, then home to a well-known Czech mayor. It was an incredible feeling. It was a journey none of us will ever forget.