Attending the North American Handbuilt Bike Show (NAHBS) this year was really awesome. I got to travel there with friends, meet up with and hangout with more friends, and then there were the bikes. Oh the bikes.
There were just so many amazing bikes that it's simply not possible to say which one was the best. Sure there were lots of awards given out, but that still doesn't make it any easier to choose. Yet there was one which I purposefully omitted from my event coverage. That's because this one has a personal connection and I felt it really deserved some special attention. And that bike is the Firefly Road frame custom painted by Eric Bones.
This isn't the first time I've written about Eric's work. In fact I've written about both his kit designs and his own personal ride - another Firefly. This is however, the first time I've covered one of his commissioned projects… and this ones for sale - I'll get to that part later.
First, what's the background on this bike. Back in 2013, Boston's Firefly Bicycles did a small batch run of custom painted art bikes called "The Bones Project." Each of these Columbus Spirit steel tubed frames were hand crafted by Eric in a monochromatic treatment of his personal creative style. If you're wondering how special a steel Firefly is, they aren't offering them anymore so the rarity in this one high! But this is no rare relic because it was built with forethought, such as Di2 drilling for electric groupsets and assymetrical chainstays. It's very much a modern day dream machine.
One of the lucky and fortunate original buyers has since returned to Eric to have their original frame retreated. And the final product of that re-invisioning was on full display at NAHBS in the Hot Tubes booth. For the 2017 update, the design was followed by Jordan Low of Hot Tubes Paint who laid down a olive and neon green fades. Eric then treated the frame with bold shapes and lines hand painted in black, trident and other small details included. The frame was then brought back to Hot Tubes for multiple layers of clear coat to leave a glass-like finish.
The high contrast of the chartreuse on black (my second favorite combo) is hard to miss. But it's bold palette plays compliment to the balanced use of patterns, shading, imagery, and scale within Eric's creativity. From front to back some of the key treatments that set this bike off are the triton on the downtube, a custom skull above the bottom bracket, polka dots transitioning from crosses, and even a wishbone hiding under the brake bridge. If you've seen Eric's art work in other forums, you'll appreciate the font style of the "Firefly" on the downtube as well as inside the ENVE front fork. These are both done in Eric's typical font style which is inspired by his experience in hand painting typography for signs. And finally, as a nod to the origins and roots of the frame, there are various number 7s on the top tube and the chain stay. Seven is the serial number of its place in the original bones project.
Since the conclusion of NAHBS in, Hartford, the frame has returned to the Boston area, where it waited for its return to the original owner. In a turn of events, it's now for sale again. The owner is selling it complete with matching ENVE stem & straight post, Chris King ceramic Thread=Fit 24 BSA bottom bracket, and a Columbus headset. Thankfully this 55cm c-c top tube doesn't fit me or I'd be squeezing a space for another steelie. But if you're looking for a custom painted one of a kind steel frame from one of the best builders in the world (no arguments there) then get in touch with Eric and grab this one before it's gone.