Cyclocross

NAHBS 2019: McGovern Cycles’ Best Cyclocross Bike Winner – Cyclocross Magazine

“Which bike did you enter into Best Cyclocross Bike?” we asked Chris McGovern.

McGovern brought four eye-catching custom drop bar dirt bikes to the show this year.

“Caitlin’s bike, but it won’t win,” McGovern said as he pointed to Caitlin Bernstein’s cyclocross race bike from last season. The bike has won plenty of races, but hadn’t yet taken a crown in a judging contest.

Chris McGovern Cycles’ entry to the best cyclocross bike was Caitlin Bernstein’s used race bike. “I won’t win,” McGovern said before learning he won. 2019 NAHBS Sacramento. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

On Saturday in Sacramento, according to the NAHBS judges, much to McGovern’s surprise, his bike crossed the line first.

Building for Himself

Arguably Chris McGovern’s bike building career started at the age of 15 when he rode a Della Santa road bike built by Roland Della Santa in Reno, near McGovern’s hometown of Nevada City. McGovern said that bike changed his life when he realized what a great bike could ride like.

To McGovern, it was serendipitous that his booth was adjacent to Della Santa’s. Just like Della Santa’s, his riding background is in racing. McGovern raced professionally with pro teams such as Zaxby’s, Jelly Belly, Health Net, and Sierra Nevada. He realized he disliked his sponsor’s bike and wanted to make and ride something better.

After college, he raced with Paul Sadoff’s Rock Lobster team, and learned bike fabrication when Sadoff encouraged him to take a UBI course in titanium.

He came back and over a few years gravitated to carbon bike fabrication with the help of David Bohm of Bohemian Bicycles.

Building for Others, and the Market

McGovern has won races on each category of bike he built, including titanium, then fillet brazed steel and lastly carbon.

Chris McGovern Cycles’ carbon cyclocross bike, raced by Caitlin Bernstein. 2019 NAHBS Sacramento. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

After offering titanium, then steel, then carbon bikes to the market, he found his custom carbon creations to have the best chance to break away from the pack and capture potential customers’ attention.

Internal routing for hoses and cables keeps things clean. Chris McGovern Cycles’ carbon cyclocross bike. 2019 NAHBS Sacramento. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

He surprisingly doesn’t ride as much now, but competes in long-distance running and concentrates on making beautiful carbon bespoke bikes and supporting bike racing with Cycleution Coaching, coaching athletes like Tobin Ortenblad and Rebecca Fahringer. He is also the force behind such events as the Lost and Found Gravel race.

No seatstay bridge allows for tire and mud clearance. Chris McGovern Cycles’ carbon cyclocross bike. 2019 NAHBS Sacramento. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

McGovern fabricates every element of his carbon creations including some tubes, which are either wound or bladder molded depending on the application. He still builds in titanium and steel and even combines materials.

Each bike is made to order. Carbon frames start at $4800. Fillet brazed steel is $1900 and a combination of fillet brazed steel with carbon is $2500.

A hollow yoke offers plenty of gravel tire clearance. Chris McGovern Cycles’ carbon gravel bike. 2019 NAHBS Sacramento. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

McGovern thanks NAHBS for bringing his fabrication into the spotlight. His bikes are often sought out by industry veteran’s as personal rides, and we saw a bike he made for HiFi Wheels co-owner Robbie Douanpanya with a unique New Mexico turquoise paint job by John Slawata of Land Shark Bicycles.

Chris McGovern Cycles also brought this custom carbon gravel bike to the show. 2019 NAHBS Sacramento. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Enjoy a look at McGovern’s creations below, and stay tuned for plenty more from NAHBS 2019.

McGovern Cycles NAHBS 2019 Winner Best Cyclocross Bike Photo Gallery: