This year brought about the return of the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia, and we had our mate Andy White from FYXO on the ground documenting some of Australia’s finest handmade bikes. Part 02 of our coverage showcases 12 unique builds from the show, so read on for more!
Over the course of the weekend, thousands of eyeballs had the opportunity to examine the bikes on display at Seaworks in close detail and admire in awe the output of a predominantly Australian representation of manufacturers. With the world reopening, I’m excited to see more builders visit these shores in 2023 to be part of what is becoming the marquee event for handmade items of two-wheeled recreation.
I’d also like to thank our mates at Firefly for the new show tagline ‘this kicks NAHBS ass.’ Hope they and others can make it across the water shortly, and I’ll extend an invite to Friday Night Pizza at FYXO HQ for anyone (builder) who does make the trip.
Enough small talk, buckle up for some hi-res entertainment in reverse alphabetical order…
Woods Bicycle Co – @woodsbicycleco
The Woods brothers were back, and builder Zac chose his new MTB to have highlighted. This single pivot trail slayer bike draws on his BMX roots and is the first Woods mountain bike. Chromoly construction, gussets for reinforcement where needed, and a beautifully machined ‘X’ brace are just some of the details. 145mm of travel is available through the coil rear shock, and profile cranks, ‘because you can’ all reinforce the concept that this bike is designed for going down.
Zac has been extremely late, building bikes and helping raise his twins which were born around the time of the last show. Sleep deprivation hasn’t affected his ability to build sublime bikes. It was definitely a hard decision to shoot this bike or their new road machine.
The ‘claypot’ paint tone contrasted with black paint, and the gorgeous brass head badge looks great. Spy closer, and you will see evidence that this builder has already been enjoying the bike on his local trails of the Northern Rivers region of NSW.
Velocraft – @velo_craft
It was only 5 years ago that Steve Gardner was painting bikes out of his garage. The Velocraft progression and obsession with perfection have been rising ever since, but don’t take my word for it. In the space of 48 hours, both Darren Baum and Darrell McCulloch told me his work is ‘world class’. Of the many bikes finished with Velocraft paint, Steve chose this SUPERBE steel monster cross to feature – a bike with a rich history that is edging 20 years. Made by the late Ewen Gellie of Gellie Custom Frames, this is not the first respray, but it is by far the most spectacular.
John documented this wonderful bike back in 2012.
The simplicity of a singlespeed, a nod to 90s MTB in paint inspiration, and the now unobtainable Ritchey Carbon Bullmoose bars, this bike invites you to look longer, closer.
Use all the curse words under the Australian sun to describe this incredible work of art from masters of their respective crafts – frame construction, paint execution, and final assembly.
Vechter Bikes – @vechterbikes
Saving the track bike – one fixed gear at a time. Vechter is the passion project of Derek Rebel, who has deep roots in urban cycling. While once there was a time when custom shows were dominated by singlespeed and fixed wheels, Vechter stood out at Seaworks in 2022.
The glossy teal Genesis alloy track frame featured a street aesthetic, with the latest Vechter rack installed, Skingrowsback Plan B saddle bag, Vechter’s own cranks wheels, and matching FTW toe straps inviting you to ‘rip a skid’!
Available in stock sizes from 52cm – 58cm in 2cm increments, with a full carbon fork – ‘Ride the most efficient and low-maintenance transport on the planet’.
Trinity MTB – @trinity_mtb
Three wizards walk into a bar and get chatting – about mountain bikes. That’s the genesis of Trinity MTB, a collaborative project between designer Chase Warner, builder Nigel Petrie, and engineer Mic Williams.
The second prototype was on display over the weekend, with Nigel visibly anxious to pull it off the stand and head straight to the top of Mystic MTB park in Bright to put it to the test. Chromoly 4130 front triangle, 7140 alloy rear triangle, 3D printed headtube and other junctions from a special steel alloy. Rather than me mangle a description of the magic contained in this cauldron, I interviewed Nigel to get it directly from the wizard’s mouth.
Watch here – https://www.instagram.com/
The intent of the Trinitarians is clear – go big, go fast, and go down!
Tor Bikes – @tor_bikes
Shane Flint hails from Beechworth and is the builder of Tor Bikes. Tor returned for the 4th year running to present a pair of mountain bikes and also the manufacturer of show first-timers – Monday Cycles.
The highlight bike was this steel hardtail, with a pinion gearbox at the heart of it, chosen for its low maintenance running no matter how muddy the trails get. My own experience of Beechworth trails happened to be on the filthiest edition of S.H.I.T.S. (Six Hours In The Saddle), also run by the Handmade event team of Nathan Lorkin / Michael Hands of Corporate Cycling.
All this to say that I can see why a Pinion gearbox would be a driving decision to get a custom Tor MTB. The finish is a two-tone Cerakote, super thin, durable, and looks great as a matte protective layer.
Not sure which came first, the limited edition Chris King headset or the frame, but it’s a winning combination that reinforces the high quality / low maintenance build brief.
Sugarloaf Cycles – @sugarloafcycles
Steve George of Sugarloaf brought two of his CRC (Classic Road Custom) machines to the show for 2022. The depth of Steve’s racing experience includes National Track titles, years abroad racing in the US, and representing Australia at the Para-Olympics in Beijing on the track, and it’s clear he likes a bike that looks AND goes fast.
The dedication and discipline required to race at the highest level have transferred to his bikes which use a combination of twill and uni-directional carbon fibres, and 3D printed titanium hardware to make a rider-specific frame. The finish is incredible, and the unpainted sections beckon you to marvel at the seamless layers of woven carbon.
Cerakote has been used to offer pops of colour in a classy manner for the stem, cages, titanium seat topper, and dropouts. Magnifique!
Serk – @serktitaniun
What better way to enjoy your new bike than giving it its first test in the frontier lands and incredible mountains that surround its birthplace. Shannon Bufton – Serk founder, is an architect by trade with a focus on urban planning, bringing him to Beijing. Since 2009, Serk has worked with local manufacturers to produce a range of titanium road and adventure bikes and the Dissident is a great example the Serk offering.
Tig welded Titanium frame, Serk carbon adventure fork, internal cable routing, and access port below the bottom bracket – ticks all the boxes of a well-thought-out model with mounts, ports and routing for all the obvious ensemble upgrades. The muted Campagnolo Ekar lets the frame be the hero and with the fine execution of the cerakote scheme, it certainly is. Pairs beautifully with the Skingrowsback accessories. Head to Serk for an adventure of a lifetime.
Prova Cycles – @provacycles
When describing Mark Hester’s work, I have the same feeling I get when I eat something delicious, hear something amazing, see something incredible. A world-class engineered product that consistently pushes the desire button with flowing lines and visual design.
The PROVA Specialé Integrale is a modern road racing bike that seamlessly blends an enve fork and cockpit into the frame, with Velocraft paint used to delineate this visual feast, like flipping to Side B of your favourite album – polished titanium, handmade custom carbon seat tube, finishing with matte titanium into custom printed dropouts.
An in-house test jig allows Mark to put a frame through the equivalent stresses of a lifetime’s use, an exhaustive process to ensure a new design is fit for market.
Since the last Handmade show, Kelly Hester (sister) has had increasing involvement in frame production, making the gorgeous carbon seatube seen here, doing the bulk the laborious frame polishing. Now in a full-time capacity she is also involved in customer experience, inventory management and ordering. It’s a great family story that began when they were kids helping their Dad in his workshop. #startsaving
Penny Farthing Dan – @pennyfarthingdan
Dan Bolwell returned to the show with a trio of bespoke ‘big wheels’ on show. I’ll say it again, if you’ve never ridden a Penny Farthing, you haven’t lived. It’s a unique cycling experience and Dan offers a customised product – not a compromise.
From the long curved Chromoly tubes that make the frame, the hub shell, the saddle, turned timber handles, and custom sweep bars, all made in his new workshop in Bacchus Marsh, a short drive out of Melbourne.
From racing Pennies to long-distance tourers, Dan has a wealth of knowledge of the dynamics and fit to make the perfect bike for you. You can also be sure it will be visually amazing thanks again to the team at Velocraft.
Parlee Cycles – @parleecycles
Cycling’s carbon-fibre pioneers, Parlee had their new RZ7 in a dazzling gloss orange on show thanks to Australian distributor Kaos Kustoms – who also built the incredible wheelset that this one is rolling on.
Innovative ‘Speedshields’ covering the disc brakes are just one of the visual standouts of their aerodynamic throughbred. The front end is also striking, like the foil of an aircraft. A Campagnolo Ekar 1X makes for a clean build kit, with all cables neatly integrated into the cockpit. A medium sized frame tips the scales at a measly 870g making it the ‘lightest performance Aero bike’ on the market according to Parlee.
The Parlee definitely has a distinct look, reminiscent of the waterborne craft Bob Parlee was famous for.
Paradigm Bikes – @danedesigncomponents
Dane Anderson launched the ‘Alleycat’ at the show as the sole BMX on display. Paradigm Bikes is a project with Paul Morcraft as fabricator, putting Dane’s concept into a living, breathing race bike. ‘This frame would be built to tackle primarily BMX race tracks, but also handle the rigors of the local dirt jumps/trails and pump tracks’ using the fan favourite 4130 chromoly. Dane has years of racing experience in Australia and in the US, is a sponsored rider and talented designer.
Minor tweaks in geometry have significant impacts on handling characteristics, and in a fast explosive sport, confidence is key. With the fixed chain stay length from bottom bracket to axle, chain slack is resolved with a tension device fixed at the bottom bracket, so regardless of the gearing for the race, or as the chain stretches, the handling characteristics remain constant. WIth only a single brake to slow the bike, a small rotor and cable actuated disc gives a level of modulation and power for the race environment.
Dane also designs his own stems with a wider face plate to increase the stiffness, and due to the precise machining, the bars will not drop out with the face place removed.
Moots Cycles – @mootscycles
A name synonymous with titanium frames, the Vamoots RCS is a perfect example of the brand’s ethos. Precision welds, understated aesthetics with anodized graphics make for a classic statement – with one of the coolest head badges rocking around.
The Vamoots RCS (Routt County Special) comes with a model-specific fork that is designed around a 32mm rubber tread. ‘Newly designed fast back seat stays, updated 3D printed dropouts, and our double butted RSL tubeset make this a formidable performer’ according to Moots. The Vamoots RCS also uses Moots own titanium seat pillar and stem to wonderful effect.
Thanks to the wireless AXS groupset, only a single hydraulic disc cable travels from the cockpit and internally to the rear of the frame, reinforcing the elegance of the Moots marque.
Many thanks to Andy White and the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia for this coverage! Our third and final Reportage from the event will be live tomorrow morning!