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 03 of our coverage showcases 15 unique builds from the show, so read on for more!
Chris Morgan of Mooro cycles was absent for the 2019 show due to border closures, and returned in style – this ‘Karang’ the chosen bike to feature. Karang is the Noongar word for passion, and this modern road bike shares a similar aesthetic to Moots using anodosing, paint and in-house components to great effect. The indigenous artwork is designed and executed by local Noongar artist, Rohin Kickett.
The unpainted frames put the welds on a podium for examination, and Mooro can definitely hold their own. Mooro uses Reynolds 3Al/2.5V internally double-butted titanium tubing, a 44 mm head tube, and an oversized T47 threaded bottom bracket which is 3D printed, like the dropouts and other small parts by RAM in New Zealand. The Wagyl (Rainbow Serpent) adorns the rear dropouts and is a beautiful dreamtime story I remember from my youth. The execution from head to tail is flawless on this modern road bike what will accommodate up to a 34mm tyre with flat mount discs front and rear. A truly unique Australian ride experience.
Joe Arblaster of Monday Cycles launched mere months prior, and brought two gravel bikes to the show. Nestled in Beechworth, prime territory for gravel rides and bikepacking adventures, Monday has 2 models in its line up – the Pilot+ shown here. The frames are made by Shane Flint of Tor Bikes, and is a great partnership with distinct recreational offerings.
The Pilot + is designed for multi-day rides that snake through the region like the Vic Divide 550, and Hunt 1000. Capable of up to a 29×3.0 tyre, and split rear drive side seat stay for those wanting belt-drive. Boost spacing increases clearance front and rear, and open components choice from the MTB world. Mounting points for all the obvious bolt-ons are on hand – what you choose is up to you. Joe and his local Gravel Mob are always out exploring, with their regular ‘Monday’ ride being the inspiration for the brand name.
Ian Michelson of The Lost Workshop continues to impress each year he exhibits. The softly-spoken giant would prefer he work do the talking and there is much to admire about his creative output. Ian brought a gravel, track and mountain bike to the show and asked me which one I wanted to shoot. The magenta pink called me. It’s lush, loud and shows how much care Ian takes with his builds, which extends to his precision work in design and frame preparation for Velocraft. A qualified electrician, I can picture how neat his cabling would be though it is often a detail hidden by plasterboard. His machined headset spacers are available to order and a simple touch that elevates the build.
The particular bike is his own new trail toy. Capable of both geared and singlespeed setups, the latter is a nod to his dirt jumping roots. Assembly was done under the new Velocraft roof in Boronia by James Maebus (@ozridersstudio). Another asset to the growing family of bicycle related products and services there.
Columbus tubing, TIG welded construction, Schmolke carbon wheels, Good Year rubber and a fine selection of PNW components chosen – because they are awesome, and/or it’s where Ian’s wife, Natalee comes from. You decide. Look forwarding to showing Ian the best of Plenty Gorge later in the year, with him piloting this fun maker. Thanks Natalee for the home baked treats that kept me and many others going during the weekend.
The end of the line is approaching for a true maestro of the torch. Darrell McCulloch has more than 500 bikes under his belt – and when you consider that one Lucentezza model takes the time it would to make 4 standard road bikes, that’s a lifetime of mastery with metal that began in 1979. With retirement a more frequently recurring subject, I wonder who will be the last Llewellyn owners to treasure a work of this master – not that Darrell plans on halting his creativity. His passion bubbles when talking about full scale steam locomotive restorations, as well as his own scale model project that swells each year in his tiered backyard.
On show is a Llewellyn ‘classic road’ bike, with the modern moniker attributed to disc brake models. The lavender paint is luxurious, and painted by long-term collaborator – Joe Cosgrove. The shiny frame details are polished stainless – not chrome which pits and flakes. The fork, though it resembles the early Columbus Max crown and blades, is a Pegoretti-designed FALZ. The mechanical Dura-Ace ensemble put the emphasis on the frame as the hero as it should be. Follow the rear seat stays and you’ll notice a shift in shape though it’s only noticeable in the light or by touch. Darrell assembles and packs all his completed bikes – something he has done at the highest level for the most demanding athletes during his time with Australian Institute of Sport at World Championships, Commonwealth and Olympic Games.
Always been a fan – always will be. Darrell’s support of the frame building community is just one of his great legacies.
Hayden Francis of H Tech Bikes was also locked out of the 2019 show, but returned with more amazing examples of his timber-crafted bikes made in Perth, Western Australia.
The Svelter is his own personal bike, and is a ‘slender and elegant’ fully integrated performance aero road bike using Australian hardwood and carbon throughout for reinforcement where deemed necessary. Hayden is only 25 years young but displays competence with materials you’d expect from someone twice his age. The Svelter also has an integrated cockpit, with cable routing concealed through the frame and is equipped with a modern Di2 groupset.
CNC machined timbers allow him to cut precise ISO lock joins where the timbers meet, notably at the bottom bracket and seat post junctions. According to Hayden ‘Timber offers the equivalent stiffness of a carbon frame, with the inherent dampening properties associated with wood’. The execution of this modern road bike is galaxies away from the first safety bicycles – also constructed from this strong, sustainable material.
Jesse Geisler returned to this show with his personal race bike that he showed in his first show in 2019, now bearing the scars of 20,000km – countless long rides, raced in local criteriums, road races, and even one major crash – though you can barely tell. Equipped with Di2 Dura-Ace and another bicycle dedicated to ‘saving the rim brake’.
Known for his work as a machinist and speciality tool maker, Geisler frames is working towards producing more frames with TIG construction using Columbus XCR stainless.
Geoff Duke was back again to show a recent customer year-round commuter. Ready for the addition of racks, fenders and panniers, the simplified bar-end shifting of a 1X drivetrain lends itself to low-maintenance. The poppy ‘lemon’ yellow is vibrant and the MAVIC wheelset matches it nicely. The fastback seat stay cluster is another classic that speaks to Geoff’s timeless work.
Originally a toolmaker, he makes frames, stems, forks as well as repair work out of his Brunswick workshop only a short drive from the Seaworks venue. Using silver brazing as his primary construction method, Geoff uses a combination of Columbus, Reynolds and Dedacciai tubes for his builds. For Dr Who fans, check out his Gallifrey project on his website.
Luke Laffin made the drive down from the nation’s capital sporting only one bike – the biggest on show at Seaworks. Like all of his builds, there is a deliberate function to the finished product. The brief was a bike the owner could take ‘bush’ and into the mountains with his furry best friend for week-long adventures.
The copper hammertone powdercoat finish is the perfect statement to complete the bike. After taking my own dog, Sushi, in it for test ride I am confident the new owner is going to be thrilled with it. A Shimano steps motor assists when the load gets heavy and/or the road gets steep. The battery is housed under the storage area, and the braking, cranks and shifting are all from the Shimano family with a Nexus shifter / Alfine hub combination for the latter. A short travel suspension fork was used up front and Luke wasn’t sure if it was required – we will have to wait to get feedback from the owner and canine.
As a father I know you’re not supposed to play favourites, but after one short ride with my furry best friend, it’s safe to say this was mine from the show. The reactions from people seeing us enjoying it together support my choice.
Aiden Duff of FiftyOne bikes wasn’t able to travel from Dublin, Ireland, to the show, but I got the story of the ‘Assassin’ from the Sydney-based distributor, and it’s an epic tale of the Ventoux and a particularly ruthless road down the hill. The Rothmans colours are a bold statement, much like many of the brands bikes in design and philosophy.
The Assassin is a tailored fit, progressive gravel bike with adjustable geometry thanks to a flip-chip at the fork axle. Light, responsive and comfortable for long days in the saddle, or short sprints down cobbled lanes. Designed for use with either 700c or 650b wheelsets, the high volume tyre choice shown is sure to give a supple ride and high grip experience at low pressures.
The build is highlighted with Hope components throughout, another great long-standing brand from the UK associated with quality.
Sean Doyle of Devlin Custom has really stepped up his game from last year when he showed his prototype steel dual-suspension MTB. He brought two more to the show, and this stunning gravel bike, ready for adventures into deep space if the Wallis Paints scheme is anything to go by.
This was definitely a fan favourite if the banter from patrons was a gauge. Another bike that rewards further invesigation, subtle splashes in the paint that show in certain light, a tapered headtube, superb
A household name for adventure in Melbourne and abroad, Curve brought this beautiful Belgie to the show with an incredible integrated cockpit. The Belgie takes its name from the infamous weekly “Belgie Ride,” which might be mistaken for a race if it weren’t for the lack of numbers on the back of participants. This titanium road racer is available in stock sizing from a petite 48cm to the vertically gifted 60cm frame size.
Shown here with SRAM AXS, with the exception of THAT fork and cockpit, a Belgie can be visually very subtle, with minimal branding, extending to the choice of Curve wheelset which is muted on this build allowing the front end to REALLY shine.
Without revealing the magic in execution by the master at Velocraft, many layers and shades of paint were fused, copper leaf used in the veins of the flowy structure to resemble the appearance of a marble benchtop. This really shows the incredible power of paint in the gun of creative and capable hands – transcending merely a protective finish to a work of rideable art.
James Bossi was back again with a trio of titanium bikes on show. The ‘Grit SX’ is the brand’s gravel machine available in stock sizing from 50-60cm in 2cm increments. All cabling is internal, with the now ubiquitous T47 bottom bracket shell giving a generous amount of room for routing. With mounts for all bidons you might want, rear rack, and more – it’s up to you how gritty your final build is – and thanks to the flip-chip in the Toray carbon fork, you can also tweak the geometry on the fly. It also has internal cable routing for those opting for dynamo-powered lighting.
Tyre choices available are up to 700c x 50cm / 27.5 x 2.2″ and clearance for up to a 46t chainring.
The Grit SX is pictured here with a 1X drivetrain, precision machined INGRID crankset and chainring, wide range SRAM AXS with 11-50 cassette, you should be able to cover any ground ahead of you. The Redshift suspension stem promises to reduce the fatigue of corrugations with 20mm of suspension available – as much as I got from my first Shogun Trailbreaker with Tioga elastomers, at a fraction of the weight.
Darren Baum and his team came to the show with guns and frames blazing. Though not my choice from nearly a dozen Baum’s at the show – this was Darren’s pick, ‘the green one’. When ‘I’ think of green, I think of grass green, kelly green, not this opulent deep rich shade, which, if that wasn’t enough, also has a subtle fade through it. You win, Darren. A great example of what the brand is world-famous for. Precision execution, consistently ‘perfect’ along the custom journey from fit through construction to finish and assembly.
The Orbis is the Baum’s modern road bike – optimised for 28-32mm tyres and capable of up to a 34mm measured. It echoes the precise nature of everything Baum – for bigger volumes you’ll need to explore the + an X versions of the line. The latest Shimano Di2 Dura-Ace blends seamlessly and with lightweight wheels adding another level of Gucci to the build. The paint scheme flows elegantly through to the cockpit and saddle with perforations revealing pops of gold like the text on the frame.
Bastion continues to roll to the beat of their own drum with this superb statement. A distinctive modern road bike, with a level of customisation available that extends beyond the frame, to a fully customisable carbon fork and integrated cockpit on all the ROAD models. Each time I visit Bastion, there are more hands-on machines to match the demand for these unique road bikes with their vision of the modern road riding experience continuing to take shape.
Beyond custom geometry, Bastion also offers variable flex options, from regular, stiff to eXtra stiff, adding weight for each tier based on the customer’s preference. The new 3D printed titanium Powermeter cranks were also unveiled at the show, with Industrial Designer Charlie Cranswick saying the form takes inspiration from a peregrine falcon. The hollow crank arms and crank interfaces are 3D printed, with a carbon spindle connecting each side and tip the scales at 390g. An amazing piece of engineering. Made to order and available in 2.5mm length increments – if you have to ask how much, you definitely can’t afford them.
William Young of Auren bikes bought a range of bikes, from road racers to bikepackers but it was this ebike that was a point of difference at the show. As the wave of mobility increases, aided by the assistance of motors, this is sure to be a popular choice for many suburbanites.
The Auren ebike has an Envolio hub with a Gates carbon belt for near maintenance-free and quiet drivetrain. A Bofeili 250w motor offers three levels of pedal-assist, powered by a 36V Panasonic battery sled concealed in the downtube. Range depends on rider weight and assistance mode, and of course, if the battery does run out of juice, there is good old-fashioned leg power to continue your journey. Though not shown, the future models will have options for fenders, integrated lighting, and portage options front and back.
One stand that had many mouths frothing was the works of Specht Design. Dan Schonknecht has been customising coffee machines under the Specht name for only 7 years. His addition to the show was a natural fit as his craftmanship and design bear many similarities to the two-wheeled luxury items on show at Seaworks.
A threesome of machines from La Marzocco, from the Linea to the GSC should open a can of creative worms for anyone who has wanted a machine – let alone one to match other desires in their life or their new kitchen. Using Australian timbers, machined brass, paint and more, they elevate each machine uniquely, including the internals, to really make them sing. Coffee’s up!
Many thanks to Andy White and the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia for this coverage! Let us know what your favorite bike from this showcase is in the comments!