Australia’s handmade bicycle scene is truly thriving. In addition to the proven and well-known masters, there are no shortage of newcomers and disrupters in the scene. While many of these fresh faces are ensuring classic methods and designs will continue into the future (as you’ll see in our next gallery), others are breaking the mould and merging sci-fi-like technology, fresh thinking and world-class craftsmanship.
It’s the latter that this gallery focuses on, and these builders are clearly making an impact on everyone else around them. See the photos below for new bikes from
Bastion, Prova, Mooro and Geisler. All masters in their own right, these are the builders of the next frontier.
Follow the link for all our coverage from the
Handmade Bicycle Show Australia, including last year’s galleries.
Listen: A chat with Silca’s CEO Josh Poertner in relation to HBSA and the Australian custom builders scene.
Bastion has gone groad. The Melbourne-based company has modified and enhanced its custom 3D-printed titanium lugs and woven carbon tubes to produce its latest model, the Cross Road.
The Cross Road uses newly designed lugs that are said to create a bond with the carbon tube that’s twice as strong as before. While Bastion didn’t have a cut-away to hand, the lug is effectively now slotted for the carbon tube, offering bonding on both the inner and outer surface of the tube.
Bastion was one of the first movers in the bicycle industry to use 3D titanium printing. Recently the company acquired its own printer, and now produces frame components for many other local builders.
See that joint after the dropped portion of the chainstay? That’s where the 3D titanium printed bottom bracket lug ends. This large piece of clever additive printing affords clearance for up to a 700x45c tyre.
Another angle of the bottom bracket lug. With Bastion’s lattice construction, it’s not at all heavy. The bike pictured is said to weigh 7.5kg.
First seen a year ago, the Bastion Road Disc SL is now available for order. Saving 100-150g over a regular Bastion Road Disc, the SL achieves the weight loss through smaller lugs and matched slimmer tubing.
Like all Bastion frames, the lugs are 3D titanium printed in-house. The custom carbon tubes feature a subtly different layup to the regular version too.
Not a show bike, the Road Disc SL on display will soon belong to Simon Gerrans.
Mark Hester of Prova Cycles has just ticked onto his 60th bike and is fast becoming a name in the industry. Having stolen the show last year, the Prova Speciale was back again.
As a refresher, the Speciale merges a stainless steel frame construction with an in-house made carbon seattube. Hester recently changed his methods for creating the seattube, now using compression bladders which allows more finite control over the layup and desired ride quality.
The Speciale’s dropouts are now 3D printed in stainless steel. Hester’s workshop is in a shared space with Bastion, and so the young Australian mechnical engineer has ready access to the state-of-the-art technology. As a result of the new custom dropouts, the latest Speciale frames move to an updated Syntace derailleur hanger which provides a cleaner setup and more stable derailleur connection that is typically limited to mass-production brands.
Now the big news. Hester is dabbling with titanium. Pictured is his first titanium bike, a Ripido Party Ti built for himself to test. “My previous steel bike is limited by the maximum downtime length that is commercially available. Whereas this, I start with long lengths of seamless tubing and then cut and externally butt for each frame, I was actually able to build this frame as I’d originally planned for the previous frame. It allows more design freedom, you can buy this tubing in lots of different diameters, and lots of different wall thicknesses. And then because I’m custom butting it, I can tune it to a particular frame,” said Hester of his bike that features a very roomy 495mm reach (extremely long given he’s of average height, at 174cm).
Amazingly, there is no paint on this frame. The blue and purple anodised fade is certainly a crowd-pleaser, and was done by Melbourne-based Nine Volt Colour (a new name to the scene).
Just like a good breakfast, this bike has two yokes. In this case, they’re 3D titanium printed. As Hester explained, rear end frame stiffness becomes an issue with titanium when you’re pushing tyre and chainring clearance to the limit. The 3D printed yokes allow clearance and the desired stiffness. Certainly, this bike is a sign of things to come.
The Ripido Party Ti prototype uses a 86.5mm T47 bottom bracket shell to provide even more width to the chainstays. The frame fits a 29 x 2.5in rear tyre, while retaining a 430mm chainstay length.
The 3D titanium printed dropouts look amazing, but they also allow Hester to make hyper-specific changes to each frame he’ll produce.
Hester even designed his own 3D printed seat clamp for the bike. This twin-bolt design helps to spread the clamping force over a greater surface area, and therefore provides a secure hold without causing pinching or stiction issues with dropper posts.
A look inside the dropout of the Ripido Party Ti. Like many of Hester’s other printed lugs, it features the same printed lattice construction as used by Bastion.
Baum may have been included in the previous Masters gallery, but that doesn’t mean they’re not pushing into the next generation. Baum is also employing 3D titanium printing in its bikes where required, such as with this chainstay yoke.
Geisler is not a name that’s graced a frame before, but the person behind it is linked to many small products and projects you would have heard of. Based in Fitzroy, Melbourne, Jesse Geisler is a well-respected machinist, bike mechanic and tinkerer who runs Bike Bar. He’s had a long history of working on frames of other names, as well as creating frame building and measurement tooling for a number of other framemakers. Pictured is Geisler’s first bike to bare his name. “This bike here is the first bike I’ve put my name on — this is a big deal for me,” said an elated Geisler.
“One thing I’d be willing to take the Pepsi challenge on with this bike is its alignment,” said Geisler. “What I mean is that I’m focussed at arriving at certain alignment outcomes. I started asking these questions of myself years ago.”
This bike uses a combination of Columbus XCR (stainless steel) and HSS tubes. XCR is used at the top tube, seat tube, downtube and seatstays. The Zona seatstays are asymmetric at the bottom bracket, ovalised on the driveside. Geisler explained that the use of stainless tubes, along with making many of his own fittings, puts the raw cost inline with titanium.
Credit goes to Baum’s painter for the stunning paint. “Darren [Baum] has been a huge supporter of what I do. There’s a mutual respect, and it’s an honour to be that person. Darren offered his paint shop to me for this bike, and I jumped at it.”
Geisler has his own 3-Axis CNC machine at his workshop, and plans (this first frame uses dropouts from Baum) to produce his own dropouts, including those for flat mount disc brakes, in future. The cable stops and many other fittings are Geisler’s own creations. In fact, there are three unique gear cable stops on this bike, each designed to hide the cable slot from view.
Here’s one example of a custom tool Geisler uses in his frame building. The purpose of this jig is to find the dead center of ovalised tubes prior to mitering. As Geisler admitted, “A week ago Darren Baum was yelling at me over the phone to stop making tools and make a frame.”
Based in Perth, Mooro’s typically indigenous-themed bikes reliably draw a crowd. An example of the small titanium maker’s gravel bike just returned from NAHBS. It’s named the Kwibidgi, meaning “escape”.
This particular customer’s bike has an immense amount of detail on it, merging mastery of titanium anodising, indigenous handpaint (done by Noongar artist Rohin Kickett) and a few splashes of regular paint, too. All together, it tells a story of the customer’s home in Blaine, Washington, USA.
Each junction of the bike resprents an area surrounding Blaine. The bottom bracket paint symbolises Olympus National Park, which is south of Blaine.
The painting on the fork represents Blaine itself.
Mooro doesn’t even have 25 frames to its name yet, but the tiny company is already showing the big guys what’s possible with anodising. Yes, this toptube graphic is simply electrode artistry. It depicts the sun rising near Mount Baker and the Twin Sisters. I’ve probably spent 20 minutes looking at this, and it’s work like this that earns Mooro a place in this next generation gallery. Well, the art and the fact that Mooro also employs 3D-printed components in its frames, such as at the dropouts.
Just completed, this Mooro is for an Australian Army vet who plans to circle the country. It’s not until you take a closer look that you realise the significane of this stunning machine.
The names anodised on the downtube are of the 41 Australian soldiers who lost their lives while serving in Afganistan.
The anodisation mastery provides a sombering visual.
The Australian flag is anodised into the seat tube.
A touch of Rohin Kickett’s artwork is found on the forks.
The red poppy is worn by soldiers on each Remembrance Day (November 11). The symbolism is that the red poppies were one of the first flowers to appear on the battlefields of northern France and Belgium in the First World War. Folklore suggests the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground.