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VIDEO

Makers: North Shore Billet

Words Pete Roggeman
Photos Hailey Elise
Video Ollie Jones
Date Jun 13, 2022

Like the story of Chromag, part of the key to North Shore Billet's success has been the symbiotic relationship between the two. Chris Allen and Peter Hammons, North Billet* co-founders, met while working at another machine shop in North Vancouver in the early 00s. Through a circuitous turn of events, Peter and Chris' first client was Ian Ritz, who Peter had met when Ian's fledgling Chromag operation was looking for dropouts for the first 10 bikes they were producing. Those 10 dropouts turned into a 20-year working relationship and partnership that has seen Chromag and North Shore Billet grow and thrive. North Shore Billet began on Vancouver's North Shore but eventually moved to Whistler. They now share a building with Chromag.

*North Shore Billet is brand within the larger organization known as Paradise Machine. In the bike world we all know them as NSB.

North Shore Billet 1

Chris Allen (l) and Peter Hammons (r), North Shore Billet's owners, have the kind of smiles that come from having a stable business in Whistler that allows for a lifestyle full of work, riding, and skiing (not necessarily in that order).


"I don't want to be a boss, Chris can be the boss." -North Shore Billet co-founder Peter Hammons

Over the years, North Shore Billet's percentage of bike industry contracts has varied between about 40 and 80%. They were really hitting their stride before Covid hit, but after closing down for a brief period in the early days of the pandemic, they've come roaring back to life and the bike boom has fueled growth at the company. It also provided a bit of down time and an opportunity to focus a bit on the NSB brand and develop a few of their own parts, like the Overlord stem and Daemon pedal.

Talking to Chris and Peter, it's easy to understand that their easy going nature has set them up for a life as business owners whose complementary skills and demeanours lent themselves well to a philosophy of 'slow and steady'. It's refreshing to feel that kind of contentedness (certainly not to be confused with complacency) in a world that often seems obsessed with profit and growth at all costs. The vibe in the North Shore Billet offices is certainly humming, but everyone working there seemed happy to be where they were, and proud of what they were doing.

North Shore Billet dropouts

North Shore Billet's first customer was Ian Ritz, who needed dropouts for his first 10 hardtails. They still make lots of hardware for frame builders (and the aftermarket), like these derailleur hangers.

North Shore Billet 3

Sharing a building with Chromag means it's easy for Ian Ritz to walk next door and check on their latest design over at NSB as it's being produced and tweak as necessary. North Shore Billet also makes their own stem called the Overlord. Chromag or NSB, either way you can't go wrong.

North Shore Billet 4

Where the magic happens.

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Comments

rwalters
Ryan Walters
2 weeks, 2 days ago
+6 Pete Roggeman Andrew Major gmacbike@gmail.com silverbansheebike Martin Endur-Bro

Finally! Was wondering when NSB was gonna get featured. I don't really need a new 35mm stem, but now maybe I do.....

Nice one Chris and Peter.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 2 days ago
+6 silverbansheebike Pete Roggeman mrbrett Martin Todd Hellinga AlanB

It’s funny, I haven’t talked to Pete in at least a decade. Probably longer. But I still hear his voice whenever I’m looking at machined products. His tone is so chill, nonchalant, but they should put out a recording of him explaining why every millimetre of the Overlord stem is exactly the way it is from this curve to that bolt spacing and I think a lot of folks would be surprised how much quiet-passion and thought is carved out of that block of aluminum. 

I’m an old nerd so I would have enjoyed it if they’d touched on some of the old, original, solutions that carried the NSB brand. Their hex-key axle nuts from when everyone was switching their Shimano hubs to solid axles but didn’t want to carry a wrench to change flats. Their Hanger-Banger solution as we all tried to balance derailleur vs. hanger resilience. I still use their tidy rack/fender blocks on my cargo rig.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 weeks, 2 days ago
+2 Andrew Major Martin

That would be going DEEEP into storytelling but I get your point about the kind of ingenious solutions that are memorable.

Peter and Chris have such a great vibe and it can be felt throughout the building. It was really cool to spend the day with them.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 2 days ago
+3 Joseph Crabtree Martin Todd Hellinga

Didn't want to take away from the piece, and I think it was probably the perfect length in terms of introducing someone to the gents behind North Shore Billet. 

I'm just a nerd about the stories of one individual widget or another and NSB has made some interesting simple solutions.

Reply

joseph-crabtree
Joseph Crabtree
2 weeks, 1 day ago
+2 Martin Cam McRae

Yes, I love my little NSB fork cable guide and brake adapter.

Reply

leverfingers
leverfingers
2 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Todd Hellinga

I had known Ian for several years prior to our companies’ inceptions. He wasn’t walking into Maurice’s shop cold. The bike industry is a small world indeed.

Reply

martin
Martin
2 weeks, 1 day ago
+2 Pete Roggeman Cam McRae

Thanks for another great Makers story! 

It's so nice to have a behind the scenes view of those small companies. Knowing how they operate and their good vibes reinforces my desire to support smaller businesses as much as I can afford to. When we appreciate the workmanship in the product we use, I think we take more care of those products too, which makes them last longer and in turn helps to slow consumerism. 

I love my NSB 28t chainring and will get more NSB parts as mine eventually wear out!

Reply

kekoa
kekoa
2 weeks, 1 day ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Always liked the small guys. Nice video.

Reply

FlipFantasia
Todd Hellinga
2 weeks, 1 day ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

great guys, great company! continue to have a number of items they've made, both NSB and Chromag, on all my bikes, and after years and years of use they all still look and perform amazing.

Reply

trumpstinyhands
trumpstinyhands
2 weeks ago
+1 Pete Roggeman

Another great episode. Always interesting hearing of some of the old connections, such as Maurice Lavoie who made at least some of the GT Xizang frames back in the day. I wonder where my NSB Flip Flaps are now :D

Reply

Endur-Bro
Endur-Bro
1 week, 3 days ago
0

Started to read headline and panic ensued.  Finished reading and phew. 

Quality parts that I hope I can continue to support in the future.

Reply

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