‘Aurora’ wins Best in Show

No. 22 Bicycle Company wins Best in Show Award at North American Handmade Bicycle Show

No. 22 Bicycle Company’s Director of Operations, Scott Hock, poses with the NAHBS Best in Show trophy Tuesday afternoon at the company’s workshop in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee)

JOHNSTOWN — When owners and crew members of No. 22 Bicycle Company — a high-end bike company specializing in titanium frame bikes manufactured in Johnstown — arrived in Sacramento, California this March for the 2019 North American Handmade Bicycle Show, they knew they had brought along some “pretty good stuff” to present to the judges. Yet nothing could prepare them for walking away with the coveted honor of winning “Best in Show” at the national award ceremony, placing their product first among a selection of more than 200 of the world’s best hand-crafted bicycles.

“Everybody is gathered [at NAHBS] to show the best stuff that they can. There’s nothing that’s sub par at the show,” No.22 Bicycle Co. Operations Director Scott Hock said Tuesday at the Johnstown workshop. “We know [what we have is] good stuff but we don’t expect to win, so it was pretty cool.”

All told, No. 22 Bicycle Co. left the NAHBS bike show this year with three awards including the top honor of Best in Show for a customized “Aurora” disk break road bike. No. 22 also won the Campagnolo Best in Show Award and the Silca Incorporated Build Award, and was named a finalist in three additional categories.

The Best in Show winning custom “Aurora” road bike features Campagnolo 12-speed, electronic shifting gears, disc breaks, a carbon seat tube and titanium fenders, and features a purple and gold anodized finish. The bike was also presented with a matching custom-built titanium bicycle pump.

One of the most unique aspects of No. 22 Bicycle Co.’s process has to do with its anodizing coloring technique.

From left to right No. 22 Production Manager Kevin Chamberlain, co-owner Bryce Gracey, co-owner Mike Smith, and Director of Operations Scott Hock pose with the North American Handmade Bicycle Show’s Best in Show trophy and the winning customized “Aurora” Bicycle. (Photos courtesy of Brad Quartuccio/NAHBS)

It’s an electrical process so it’s done with a positive and negative charge, and then it changes the light like a prism. So the way it does that, when you change the voltage, it adds layers of oxide,” said Production Manager Kevin Chamberlain. “It’s kind of a secret thing that we do because there aren’t many people that can do it, and if they are doing it, it’s often a small amount. [We are doing] the whole bike basically, so it’s kind of a showstopper, for sure.”

“[The ‘Aurora’] is unique because it’s really pushing the limits of what a road bike can be,” Hock said. “I think it was very current to what people are looking for right now. We’re doing something special. We get to touch nice stuff all the time but this was like really nice stuff. It was like a whole other step. And it’s all stuff that we can do again. It’s a lot of work, and it’s a lot of money too, but if a customer said I want this exact bike, we could do it again.”

Hock began working for the Toronto-based No. 22 Bicycle Company, co-owned by Mike Smith and Bryce Gracey, in 2014, shortly after the closure of the Saratoga-based Serotta bicycle company which he worked for prior. Since then, Hock and his crew — which includes Chamberlain, Frank Cenchitz, Bryar Sesselman, Sam Dries, Josh Mock, and Owais Husain — has been working to not only create more perfect titanium-framed bikes but to become more efficient while doing so. The seven-man crew at No.22 Bicycle Co. currently capable of producing about seven bikes a week. The plan, according to Hock, is to find ways to maximize efficiency to cut down on production time without adding more crew members or sacrificing quality.

“It’s never a perfect process, you’re always trying to make things better and faster,” Hock said. “We don’t want to ever lose quality, that’s the biggest thing. If we can keep the quality that we are and ship an extra two bikes a week, that would be awesome, but that’s really hard.”

While Hock and his crew work out the production logistics in the shop, the prestige of winning Best in Show at this year’s NAHBS is already working to their favor on the demand side of the process. Since the NAHBS show in March, the company has seen a tremendous increase in traffic to its webpage.

The customize No. 22 “Aurora” bicycle which won Best in Show. (Photos courtesy of Brad Quartuccio/NAHBS)

“The website traffic went up just monumentally,” Hock said. “Data-wise our biggest day in the 30-day section before NAHBS was 300-something unique visitors to the site. I think the Monday after NAHBS it was like 1,300, which that’s a huge jump.”

The increase in interest in the No. 22 brand is just what they are looking for,

“We want to see the brand grow and we want people when they think of titanium frame bikes to think of No. 22 first. The goal is to be a bicycle company, not just a couple frame builders in a shop,” Hock said.

They’re seeing their way to that goal by putting out a product of superior quality with every bike that they produce.

“With every bike that ships, it’s important that it’s perfect. We don’t want any issues,” Hock said. “For the most part, people are coming to us because they want to and they feel close to what we’re doing. There are a lot of options out there in the bike industry. There’s not a lot of fluff in our bikes. Some of the finishes are really extravagant and stuff like that but it’s still a drifter that you can go out and thrash on. I don’t want to walk in somebody’s house and see a bike of ours on a wall.”

Production Manager Kevin Chamberlain details a bike Tuesday at the Johnstown workshop.

“Well, the Best in Show bike — yeah, maybe don’t ride that bike right away,” Hock joked. “But [for the most part] these bikes should be dirty.”

Sam Dries of No. 22 Bicycle Company does work on a piece of titanium tubing in the company’s Johnstown workshop on Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee)

Frank Cenchitz welds pieces of titanium tubing in Tuesday. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee)

Scott Hock displays a customized tool kit presented to him and his crew for winning the Silca Incorporated Build Award at the 2019 NAHBS for a customized Titanium bicycle wheel pump. (The Leader-Herald/Josh Bovee)

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