The Handmade Bicycle Show Australia isn’t just an expo for established builders, it also serves as a soapbox for up-and-coming makers. In this final gallery, we take a look at the apprentices, rebels, and keepers of the craft.
Some are picking up the torch, and helping to ensure classic handmade bikes don’t disappear anytime soon – and a number of these makers will surely be the masters of the future. However, to take an order away from a well-established maker, these builders of the new guard must offer something fresh with a point of difference.
Others at the show make it a point to break away from traditions and norms, creating products to suit the needs of customers (and their own) that can’t be satisfied through regular production.
Chimera Frameworks, Woods Bicycle Co, Devlin Custom Cycles, G.Duke, The Lost Workshop, Egress Bikes and TOR Bikes. Further down, you’ll find the rebels, including Curve Cycling, Masca, BrenVelo, Goodspeed and more.
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.
Woods Bicycle Co is a fresh name to the scene. Based in the far north New South Wales coastal town of Byron Bay, the Woods brothers specialise in road and BMX frames. At first they started with custom aluminium frames, but have since moved to premium steel. This particular road bike, owned by Josh, was earning plenty of attention at the show.
The brass headtube badge is something of a signature for Woods Bicycle Co. Each badge is hand-stamped with the frame number. All Woods Bicycle Co frames are made by Zac, a boilermaker by trade. All frames are TIG-welded (as opposed to fillet brazed or lugged), with head tubes and bottom bracket shells made in-house. Apparently dropouts are the next thing to made in house, too.
The attention to detail and clean branding of this bike is impressive. This particualr frame uses a Columbus Spirit tubeset.
There is a fortune worth of custom paint (done by Ben Wallis of Wallis Paints) on this ride. The Zipp handlebar is one example, but it’s the component in the next photo that many were talking about.
Yep, custom-painted Shimano Dura-Ace cranks. They fade into the original colour, so it’s an incredible detail that’s surprisingly easy to miss. The cranks will be treated to a clear vinyl cover before use.
Soft-launched last year, Chimera is a new Aussie-made steel frame brand specialising in custom-painted framesets with stock geometry. Pictured is Chimera’s fast disc road bike, something that’s due in for testing any day now. The frames are made near Newcastle, NSW (north of Sydney), by Rob Benson. Benson also offers full custom bikes through his Tempest label.
Designed by Adam Leddin of CycleExif, this bike’s paint work is inspired by the famous American sculptor, Alexander Caulder. Caulder’s work happened to be on exibit in Melbourne at the same time as the Handmade Bicycle Show. Paint is laid down by Star Enamellers, another Sydney-based business.
These frames are fillet brazed using custom-drawn Columbus MiniMax tubes and a handful of other pipes from the Italian company. The MiniMax tubing is something that was put back into production specifically for Chimera, a tubeset that was Eddy Merckx’s choice back in the day. Custom drawn tubes are certainly a sign of Benson’s commitment to seeing Chimera succeed.
The wishbone seatstays are a characteristic of Chimera frames. This road disc version offers room for a 28mm, or slightly larger, tyre. If you see me out on this unmistakable test bike, say hi.
Another Chimera, although this one is unlikely to be repeated in the same numbers as the road disc model. This cantilever-equipped crosser is headed to Newcastle-based racer Shaun Jeffery.
It’s a cross bike that’s designed for easy conversion between gears and singlespeed. That part is cool, but I prefer bikes with working brakes (and yes, I own a canti-equipped crosser).
Sean Doyle runs Devlin Custom Cycles out of his workshop south of Brisbane. Mentored by Darryl Llewellyn McCulloch, Doyle is continuing the craft of artistically lugged (and fillet brazed) road frames. Pictured is a bike recently finished for himself, topped off with a NOS Campagnolo Chorus 10-speed groupset. It is lovely, and likely something we’ll look at in more detail soon.
Hand cut and filed lugs/sleeves are brazed onto the tube prior to mitering. Doyle then silver brazes the tubes together, creating shapes that are very aesthetically pleasing and structurally reinforced. The candy over silver paint was done by Ben Wallis, a local painter to Doyle.
The circular cut lugs/sleeves are found at all junctions of the bike, including the bottom bracket and dropouts. Doyle says that along with larger tubes, the sleeve length can be used to tune in desired frame stiffness, and aid in strength, too.
Devlin didn’t finish this frame in time for the show, but in a way, that made it even better to put on the stand.
The Lost Workshop is a relatively new name to the scene. I first met builder Ian Michelson at last year’s Sydney Makers Show, and since then he’s been busy honing his craft. Pictured is his latest bike, a disc road machine designed with a little gravel in mind. It’s bound for a local customer.
The fillet brazing on Michelson’s frames is beyond smooth. The Lost Workshop can be found in East Melbourne.
The stunning paint is done by Bikes by Steve.
More smooth joints. I’ve only seen a small handful of frames from The Lost Workshop, but each one has be wonderfully finished. This particular bike is made with lightweight Columbus Life tubing.
The hands of Geoff Duke, aka, G.Duke. Duke is a small lugged steel frame maker in the centre of Melbourne. Pictured is a custom anvil and a piece of laser cut steel…
With those two things (and a hammer, a bunch of heat and a whole lot of skill), Duke produced the lower tapered headtube lug seen here on his first disc-equipped frame. G.Duke is one to reach out to if you’re interested in classic designs, done to your requests. He makes plenty of lugged stems, too.
Jimmy Röstlund of Egress Bikes is another Melbourne-based builder specialising in fillet-brazed steel frames. He got his start making BMX frames, but has recently expanded into creating gravel and hardtail mountain bike frames.
This raw-finished gravel bike doesn’t try to hide the brazing.
And here is Jimmy Röstlund’s personal 29er hardtail. Despite its steel frame construction, the pared back build comes in at just 8.3kg.
This is the second version of Egress’ 29er hardtail. It’s slacker, longer, and with a steeper seat angle. It’s built with a lightweight Columbus Life toptube and Zona tubes elsewhere. Like so many high-end custom bikes, it uses a number of Paragon Machine Works pieces. such as at the headtube and dropouts. As for that rich brown/bronze paint, well, that’s also from Bikes by Steve.
When not building frames, Jimmy Röstlund works for another Melbourne-based company – Curve Bicycles.
Based in Victoria’s popular mountain bike destination of Beechworth, Shane Flint has been building his own steel bikes for a few years. The fabricator and mechanical designer was at this year’s show with his new 170/150mm enduro rig.
The single pivot frame design called for some detailed design to counteract flex. A little laser cut 4130 steel plate gusset helps, as does the detailed assortment of needle bearings at the pivot point.
With smooth details like this, it’s clear Flint’s work is ready for sale.
Curve Cycling has taken out moulds to make a new adventure drop bar. Named the Walmer, after the pedestrian bridge in Melbourne they barely fit through, these bars will be available in widths of 650, 600 and 550mm. They’re due out in July.
The prototype Walmer bars were displayed on this prototype titanium “Battlecat”, the company’s second generation GMX. With 29×3.0in rubber and provisions for seven bidon cages (and two everything cages!), it’s designed to go into some very remote places. Where existing bikes of this type are built around a mountain bike suspension fork, this one is kept lower, and will use Curve’s own fork as a result. Like the handlebars, this bike is also expected in July. The broccoli-themed anodising is done by Nine Volt Colour.
Nobody travelled further than Michael Mascarel to be at the show. Based in the French colony of Réunion — which lies just east of Africa — Mascarel is the island’s only framebuilder. His frame brand is Masca and he had a single steel track bike on display, built with a NOS set of Vitus RockyOS tubes that he’d found in Paris. He’s also built gravel, road and mountain bike frames.
Luke Laffan runs Fikas Bikes out of his workshop in Australia’s capital, Canberra. With room for 26×4.8in rubber, this titanium fat bike was built for going far, and was recently used for making the trek from Norway to Swizterland. It’s built with a Rohloff internal gear hub, Gates belt drive, and a Lauf Carbonara fork.
The down tube has been turned into a fluid canister, with a filling port up top, and a drain at the bottom. Its owner apparently uses it for stove fuel.
Goodspeed Bicycle Company is another Canberra-based bike brand, brought to life in Laffan’s workshop. This steel bike company uses swooping tubes to create a classic look. On show was the latest “Type One”, a straight-gauge 4130 steel frame that’s designed to be whatever you want it to be.
Sliding dropouts mean the bike can be setup singlespeed, with an internal geared hub or with a derailleur.
The swooping tubes are a throwback to bikes of yesteryear. In this case, it’s used for cable routing, too. A bare steel frame costs just AU$1,500.
Brenvelo is a Melbourne-based bike company with some 12 years experience in building bamboo and wooden bikes. A few years ago the company started experimenting with layered marine ply.
Marine ply is machined and stacked in layers, creating this boomerang-like shape. Four of these bond together into a frame. An Australian-made carbon tube is used at the seat tube. The company say that marine ply allows for the creation of a robust and reliably repeatable frame.
Once bonded together, the ply makes for a unique aesthetic that you’d never know is hollow.
Don’t read into the rings; this bike isn’t that old.
Kaos Custom Bikes is a small boutique shop in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs. As the importer of Marwi titanium spokes, they were at the show displaying a number of impressively lightweight and colourful wheel builds.
Kaos is a big proponent of tied spokes. Tying spokes aims to create a stiffer and therefore more durable wheel, but the art form is certainly a polarising choice amongst the wheel-building community.
Based in New Mexico, USA, Cjell Mone of Mone bikes had this trail weapon on show. It’s Mone’s first dual suspension.
Certainly a whole lot of thought has gone into this 140/130mm travel ride. Mone prefers to leave his brass fillet brazing untouched, which is fine to do when you’re this good at it.
Soyuz is another maker based in Brunswick, Melbourne. Created by John Hall, this “Cycle Truck” is made to handle heavy front loads with ease. Spot a part of the extended cargo ship in the background.
Columbus tubing is a pretty common theme throughout many bikes on show. It’s certainly the best represented option for Australian builders, and is imported by Paul Hillbrick, a well-regarded framebuilder in his own right.
Perth-based HTech was getting some high praise at the show. We’ll take a closer look at a new HTech road bike soon.