The years roll by quickly and what amazes me is how the custom bike scene manages to progress in such a short time period.
Handmade Bicycle Show Australia (HBSA) returned to Williamstown, a short skip across the bay from Melbourne’s CBD. Filling what was once a large shipbuilding workshop, the open room was a buzz of familiar names and faces, along with the return of a few who were no longer under travel restrictions.
In the multi-part gallery series, we’ll take a look at the world-class (and in some cases, world-leading) bikes and products being made in Australia, along with some stunning steeds from other parts of the world. To kick things off, this first part looks at bikes from
Baum, Sugarloaf, The Lost Workshop, Geisler, HTech, Bossi, VeloCraft, and more. There’s also a sprinkle of parts and accessories thrown into the mix.
The Handmade Bicycle Show Australia pulls a consistent crowd across its three days. It feels the right level of busy, with easy access to the builders and makers.
The cheeky grin of Ewen Gellie was deeply missed at this year’s show. Emotions were running high amongst many of the builder community as it set in that he was no longer with us. A stand, with bikes from a loyal customer, sat in memory of Ewen.
Steve George of Sugarloaf Cycles made his debut at last year’s show. This year he displayed another two custom carbon road bikes which combine a tube-to-tube construction with 3D titanium printed components.
Perhaps best known for founding the boutique shop Crankstar Bespoke (now closed), George is now focussed on producing his own high-end carbon creations.
These bonded and wrapped joints are wonderfully smooth.
Likewise for up at the head tube.
Sugarloaf Cycles is based in Brisbane, Queensland.
George recently updated his dropout design, something seen on the latest customer bike.
Melbourne-based Ian Michelson of The Lost Workshop is an up-and-coming maker to watch. Having taken lessons from Mark Hester of Prova Cycles and practised over the past year, Ian has now added TIG-welding to his repertoire. Pictured is his first TIG-welded frame, a versatile steel gravel bike he made for himself. It’s designed around 700 x 45 mm rubber.
Those welds are pretty clean for a first go at welding (if you ignore the practise and coaching leading up to it). This frame is built tough with Columbus Zona tubing and a Columbus Futura Cross+ fork.
See how the headtube perfectly matches the shape of the headset? It’s the little details like this that help to set one custom bike apart from another.
What do you do to tie in the unique colour crank bolts?
Well, you use custom headset spacers, of course.
Oversized pulley wheel cages were a common sight of this year’s Handmade Show. What wasn’t a common sight is this SRAM Force AXS and wide-range Garbaruk combination. Neat.
Ride Far Get Lost.
When not building bikes you’ll find Ian handling the graphics and other responsibilities over at VeloCraft (paint).
The bike is setup for use with a dynamo hub.
And here’s the second TIG-welded steel frame from The Lost Workshop, a trail hardtail.
The Lost Workshop used to use the same slogan across all of its bikes, but now each riding segment gets its own.
I first met Ian at a small maker show in Sydney when he had just started doing fillet-brazed track bikes. Five years on and he’s still excited to produce fillet-brazed track bikes.
Baum Cycles is without question the most famous name of the thriving Australian bicycle scene. The company has built up its brand over the past 25 years, offering a consistently classy style that’s rarely considered to be edgy. This Orbis X titanium gravel bike breaks that mould somewhat.
Most striking is the custom-painted Lauf fork to aid in traction. Baum Cycles do all of their own paint in-house. This particular bike belongs to Baum’s front-of-house, Michael C.
A headbadge that many cyclists are sure to envy.
The dropper post routing on this is run through the downtube and straight up the seattube.
The Cane Creek eeWings crank is a perfect visual match. A 3D titanium printed chainstay yoke hides behind.
Each one of the colours in the logo are part of Baum’s usual options, but the combination of all four isn’t the expected style from the Geelong-based makers. I like it!
Darren Baum is a fan of the Syntace thru-axle lever which puts the most-needed tools on the bike.
Baum previously did a collaboration with Rapha, Shimano, and Silca. The fruits of that collaboration have been rolling out the door in a box concept that saw the involvement of packaging experts who came to the problem of bike transport and delivery with fresh eyes. The unusually shaped box matches the cubic sizing of a regular bike box, but this system is easily re-usable, significantly better protected against damage, and allows the bike to be easily assembled from it. See the padding around the shifters? Those are Silca microfibre cloths to be used with the pre-waxed chain.
Holding the bike is a sled that’s made with a structural cardboard. The whole bike can be assembled with the tool that fits into the rear thru-axle. Pictured is Darren Baum’s own bike, something he assembled in less than five minutes while talking me through the finer packaging details and repeating steps for the camera.
There’s even a unique Shimano Di2 wire holder to ensure the battery wires don’t find their way down the seattube.
Fit your pedals, check the tyre pressure, and you’re done.
Baum is the only Australian maker to have received Shimano’s GRX Limited groupset – a limited edition silver groupset specifically created (in very limited numbers) for the custom bike scene.
The GRX Limited rear derailleur is a mix of polished silver and black components.
The shifter lever blades are not polished.
Jesse Geisler of Geisler Cycles is the maker’s maker – many of the veteran builders in the room use tools made by Jesse in their own workshops. Jesse re-disp;ayed the same two bikes from the previous year’s show.
This polished stainless steel racer is Jesse’s own bike, something he’s racked up 25,000 km of riding on (including two big crashes) since he built it a year ago. And yet, it still looked good enough to show.
A husband and wife duo, re:lm is a fresh clothing label out of Melbourne with a focussed approach on sustainable design and construction. These simple and timeless jerseys looked great.
HBSA is as much about the bikes as it is a place to meet and greet like-minded individuals.
The token cargo bike of the show comes from Luke Laffan of Fikas Bikes. Based in Canberra, Laffan is an impressively skilled fabricator who’s built some truly unique machines.
A plywood cargo tray sits within an impressively stout steel tubing frame.
The bike is powered with a Shimano Steps motor. Check out the tubing arrangement in front of the motor.
The battery is hidden beneath.
Project Flock is a rear lighting solution that aims to use biomotion for better visibility. The light achieves this by illuminating the rider’s legs and feet in addition to acting like a regular rear light. Project Flock hopes to launch on KickStarter in the near future.
The light offers a battery level indicator which lights up when you turn the light on or off.
The mount is often a weak-point to many innovative light designs, but that doesn’t appear to be an issue here. The mount also doubles as the sealing plug for the USB-C charging port.
Perth-based Hayden Francis of HTech was unable to make the last HBSA due to Western Australia’s strict COVID travel restrictions. Thankfully the border has opened once again and the young wooden-bike maker was back to show off his craftsmanship. Pictured is the Svelter, an aero disc brake road bike like no other.
Hayden has also started experimenting with mixing carbon fibre and wood. This unfinished road bike combines carbon lugs with wrapped veneer wood tubes, all made by Hayden. Impressively this frame weighs in at just 1,400 grams.
A closer look. Yes, that’s real wood. However in this case it’s sheets of veneer that have been wrapped into a tube.
This bike is still a work in progress according to Hayden. He believes the ride quality won’t be as smooth as his full wooden bikes, but will still offer noticeable benefit over more common frame materials.
Ever built an e-bike entirely out of wood for your mother? Me neither, but Hayden has.
It doesn’t get more Aussie than this. Boxed wine is an Australian invention, affectionately known by locals as a Goon Sack. Goon Wash is a new bike care company that thought the efficient means of packaging liquids could have a role to play for non-drinkables, too. Inside you’ll find a concentrate that’s designed to work as a degreaser or can be cut with water for use as a bike wash.
Once you get through the 4L box you’ll find this small amount of plastic left. It can be recycled through soft plastic recycling services.
Hang on, Moots isn’t Australian! The Handmade Bicycle Show Australia has grown over the years to include an increasing number of makers from around the world.
The Bossi Strada SS is a titanium aero road bike that I reviewed last year. The lush paint on this one is done by Air’N’Paint in Wollongong (the small NSW city soon to host the upcoming Road World Championships).
Bossi Bicycles is headquartered in Sydney with the designs being of James Bossi’s own creation. However as you may expect for a die-cast lugged titanium frame, they’re made in Asia.
A huge number of the bikes shown at HBSA are painted by VeloCraft. And if that’s not enough, VeloCraft had its own display of freshly painted steeds. This stunning Cannondale CAAD5 re-birth belongs to Erik ( @erik.son) from Melbourne who handled the intricate etching, while VeloCraft is responsible for that sweet candy paintwork.
Can’t help but think that the colour choice started with these limited edition Cane Creek brakes.
Stunning details throughout. And superbly built by Superbe Velo Service.
And even more. Well done to all involved on this build.