44 Bikes owner Kristofer Henry grew up near the Lehigh Valley Velodrome in Trexlertown, Pennsylvania, but didn’t yearn to hit the boards with his first bike. Instead, his dad took him to local shop T-Town Cycles, where he picked out a splatter-paint Trek 830 Antelope mountain bike.
“The hook was set,” Henry writes. He splits time now between running two endeavors: 44 Bikes and the Department of Shred, which is a small design agency specializing in Product and Graphic Design.
“At DOS, I don’t always have the ability to design the way I would prefer: design and build. Most projects have to stay in the virtual world where I sketch, formalize and oversee production. 44 Bikes allows me to draw on years of experience and enable me to channel that into building bicycles. It really lets my mind relax and realize something completely different. My grand father was a TIG welder so it’s in my blood. I absolutely love working with metal. It’s a demanding medium that commands your attention and puts your process to the test. 44 Bikes represents that chance to realize ambitions, experiment with materials and put talent to good use. Its an outlet for creativity, aspirations and craft. Form and function converge as one,” says Henry.
Based in rural New Hampshire, 44 Bikes are built-to-order from steel, and soon, titanium tubesets. Henry welcomes conversation and collaboration about the bike of your dreams. He offers road, mountain, gravel and fat bike options, but for Henry, like his fellow New Englander, poet Robert Frost, the appeal is in the road (or path) less traveled.
“People ask me often what is my specialty and I typically state: ‘Anything with knobs that touches dirt.’ My heart is in the woods and out on the trail. That's where I gain insight and balance. The proverbial drawing board if you will. I offer a full range of bikes in mountain bikes, bikepacking rigs, fat bikes, road bikes and everything in between.
One of my special bikes is the Huntsman which was born out of the necessity to ride roads less traveled, and it just happens to coincide with the trend towards more riders to seek out dirt roads vs pavement. There's a vast network of dirt roads in NH (over 10,000 miles of dirt roads) which was a perfect test bed to hone the Huntsman to excel in just about every condition and terrain.”
It’s this pull to explore that keeps Henry in the game, and he wants to share the experience with you. He exhorts potential customers to keep riding their bikes and experiencing the pure joy of cycling.
“You never know what lies for you just around the bend or at the top of the next hill. Hopefully in the near future, you and I will be able to share that experience or that grind to the top. Bicycles certainly bring us all together.”