Here is the third part to our coverage of the
2021 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia. Much like parts one and two, here we continue to display both the veterans and newcomers of the thriving Australian custom bike scene.
In this penultimate gallery, we’ll look at bikes from
Baum Cycles (the one and only), Velocraft (paint), TOR Bikes, Penny Farthing Dan, G.Duke, and Auren Bikes. So grab a brew, sit back, and enjoy a mix of modern bicycle perfection and unique creations. You can see all past and present coverage from HBSA here.
Steve Gardner first started painting bicycles under the business name “Bikes by Steve”. That company is now known as Velocraft. Pictured is Gardner’s own commuter/gravel steed, a Curve GXR Kevin with paint inspired by 1950s Chevrolet Bel Airs. Velocraft arguably had its team’s skills on display more than any other marker at the show. Bastion, Prova, TOR, Curve and The Lost Workshop all displayed bikes painted by Velocraft. Velocraft shares a building with Bastion and Prova Cycles. The mechanic responsible for this build, Dan at Superbe Velo Service, also works from the same building. There are some impressive details in this frame. For example, there are a few engraved markings in the raw titanium. The Curve GXR features a machined yoke for chainring and tyre clearance.
TOR Bikes is a custom steel frame brand based in Beechworth within Victoria’s High Country. The area is known for its mountain biking, and that’s exactly TOR’s main focus. Here’s a customer’s fresh trail bike built with 130 mm of travel and 29er wheels. This bike will get its own write-up on Pinkbike shortly. This customer bike was given the full Velocraft paint treatment. That includes a painted-to-match fork, stem, and even rim decals. Shane Flint runs TOR Bikes and has recently turned his torch to creating gravel bikes, too. Pictured is a local customer’s bike with a theme that pays homage to Mt Pilot near Beechworth. The saddle is covered by Busyman and has “Wooragee” (the name of a locality near Mt Pilot) embossed in the leather. Bar tape is from Busyman, too. The paint is yet another Velocraft creation and is based on the local terrain. A closer look reveals a subtle gold spec in the “sandstone” sections of the paint. Back in the 1850s, the region was booming following the discovery of gold.
Auren Bikes is a young custom brand based in Melbourne. Standing at two metres tall (6′ 6″), William Young founded the company after struggling to find affordable custom bikes to fit himself. Auren Bikes are fitted and designed locally but manufacturing is outsourced to a titanium specialist in Asia. This is reflected in the low price (complete framesets, including custom geometry, fork and headset, start from AU$3,830). This particular customer bike was built with an FSA ACR headset for internal cable routing, but the parts supply of suitable forks is tight at the moment.
Looking for a steel frame repair in Melbourne? Geoff Duke, of G.Duke Bicycles, is your person. G.Duke specialises in custom steel bikes. This is Duke’s personal disc road bike. It features a lug construction which is quite impressive when you consider nobody currently makes lugs for tapered head tubes. The lug you see here was beaten into shape with a hammer over a mandrel that Duke made himself. A frameset like this one will cost AU$4,500 with a Columbus carbon fork and custom geometry. In addition to lugged steel frames, Duke also produces lugged steel stems. Reach out to him if you’re looking for an old quill stem to match a well-loved ride.
Here’s something you don’t see every day. Dan Bolwell of Penny Farthing Dan is a specialist maker in the high-wheeler space and his creations are built to be ridden and raced. According to Bolwell, there’s one customer who racks up over 20,000 km a year on their Penny Farthing Dan. “From my perspective, I feel like I’ve taken what the engineers did in 1890 where they left off … and taken further,” Bolwell said. “There is no common manufacturer of any parts, the rims are my creation, the frame tubing is mine. Even the saddles and handlebars are made in-house,” said Bolwell of making a penny farthing in Australia. “So the work you need to get to be at this level is extensive. It’s a life dedication and a big investment. “ There is a staggering amount of detail in Bowell’s bikes. He even extrudes his own tyres! Bolwell clearly has a deep passion for all things bicycle but has dedicated his life to creating penny farthings. According to Bolwell, he makes approximately 50 of them a year and exports to over 20 countries. Penny Farthing Dan had two 52″- and one 54″-wheeled bikes on display. “Because I manufacturer the rims there is no limitation on me. I’ll do kids bikes that are only 28″, and recently I did one that is 85”. That was a display in a restaurant. It is rideable; you could ride it across Australia if you wanted to, you’d just have to be 11 ft tall,” said Bolwell with a contagious smile.
Few makers in the world offer Baum Cycles’ attention to detail. Pictured is the Cortado that has long sat on the company’s Secret Menu: “If you know about it, you can buy it,” said Darren Baum. The Cortado will likely be re-released in the future and aims to replicate the golden era of steel frames when ride quality was the absolute focus. This one is built with a polished stainless steel rear end and an assorted mix of thin steel tubes on the front. This bike is built with a handful of new-old-stock Campagnolo parts collected by the customer who sought to build what’s effectively their dream bike from when they raced in the ’90s. This bike is something quite special. It’ll be covered in more detail with a Bikes of the Bunch feature in the near future. This Orbis + belongs to Darren Baum himself. As pictured, it’s set up in commuter mode, but Baum suggests it spends more time with 40 mm gravel tyres and a power meter. The Orbis + is Baum’s do-it-all titanium road model designed for mixing it up on gravel and road. Some would call it an all-road bike, while others would say it’s a gravel race bike. Baum just says it’s a modern road bike. Baum does its own painting in-house. The quality is flawless. Baum’s own Orbis + is fitted with some rather special fenders. Enve makes a carbon fender to match its fork, but oddly doesn’t offer a matching one for the rear. And so Baum collaborated with nearby Partington to produce something that matched the front. Bastion is contracted to 3D-print the titanium ends. Partington makes the carbon blades, Enve makes the struts, and Baum handles the paint. Want a pair? Well, you’ll have to buy an Orbis +. “It might be a bit of an over-the-top mudguard,” Baum said with a grin. Baum machines its own head tubes in house. 2021 spells 25 years for Baum Cycles. You can expect some interesting collaborations in celebration of this anniversary.
Note: Some images in this series close crowds of people who aren’t wearing masks. This is in line with local regulations – Victoria had no community cases of COVID-19 at the time of the show.