That’s what many makers within the Australian bike scene use to set themselves apart in a global market. After all, Australia’s high cost of living and lack of locally produced raw materials aren’t exactly conducive to doing things cheaper. Similarly, there isn’t much of a mystical cycling legacy to build a brand upon.
And so, the Australian makers that have been able to cut through into the global custom bike market have done so because they’ve mastered the craft while progressing the game. Or in some cases, they’ve created their own game to play.
In this second gallery of our
coverage from the 2022 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia, we take a look at some of the most innovative and creative makers in the space. Scroll on through to see gorgeous builds from Prova, Bastion, Mooro, and more. And amazingly, there are still plenty more world-class and enticing builds to come in the next gallery.
We don’t give out awards at shows, but this Prova Speciale Ti Disc is almost demanding that we do. And I realise that admitting this is only going to make it harder to one day acquire one for myself.
Mark Hester of Prova Cycles had first access to Enve’s new integrated handlebar and stem, however the Melbourne-based maker took his own approach to the headset (I’ll return to this shortly).
The Speciale is Prova’s performance road bike that combines an in-house made carbon fibre seat tube with a high-tech approach to metal frame construction. While the early Speciales were steel, Hester has since been using in-house butted titanium tubes and matching custom 3D-printed lugs.
A 3D-printed titanium lug is used at the seat tube junction which is then bonded with the carbon tube. That carbon tube is handmade by Hester’s sister Kelly, who was formerly a professional chef and now bakes carbon.
The dropouts are also custom 3D-printed titanium. Prova currently shares a workspace with Bastion Cycles, and so printing is done just metres away from where things are welded and machined.
The head tube hides a whole lot of tech. The bottom section is manufactured by Paragon Machine Works to Prova’s own specification/design. Meanwhile the shapely top section is custom 3D-printed titanium. Hester cuts the Paragon-made bottom section to length for each frame and then radially welds the two halves together. Bearing bores are then machined in.
Paint that adds texture over the polished titanium frame. VeloCraft handles the paint for Prova.
The top section of the frame is polished, meanwhile the bottom section of the frame is brushed. It works impressively well together.
Just another look at the Enve integrated cockpit and concealed cabling. Despite having a background in automotive engineering, Hester doesn’t make a single claim related to aerodynamic gains – it’s all about the form.
Prova’s unique headset arguably deserves its own article. There’s a custom stainless steel crown race to fit perfectly into the unique head tube. It turns on 52 mm CeramicSpeed SLT bearings to greatly reduce maintenance. Meanwhile, the top cap and compression ring are both custom 3D-printed titanium and then further machined, each designed to interface with each to ensure secure headset compression that also aids in an easier assembly of the concealed brake hoses. There’s even a custom seal that sits into a machined groove above the top bearing to ensure no sweat or water can enter from above. And yes, it has been thoroughly tested as a system.
And just remember that the top half of the head tube is 3D-printed titanium.
Hester recently created a front derailleur band-clamp for the Speciale. The goal was something that evenly spread the load on the carbon seat tube. The titanium clamp actually spreads open to fit onto the seat tube, and the shape is specifically designed for the backing screw of a Shimano Di2 front derailleur to be screwed into it, or for a simple (straight path) installation of a SRAM front derailleur wedge. I can assure you that these are the finer details that some of the biggest and best-funded companies are still missing.
A 3D-printed titanium seatpost topper sits on top of the carbon seat tube.
Prova and Prototipo are now working together on a few of the finer details.
What finer details you ask? Well, while a regular bolt could be used to hold the seatpost topper, it’s simply not as nice as this custom chamfered and drilled item. Prototipo apparently went through seven iterations of 3D resin printed prototypes before they settled on the final shape to machine.
Mark Hester (right) chats with Steve George of Sugarloaf Cycles ( see gallery one). It’s a small community and the Handmade Show is as much a chance for friends to catch up as it is to show off their wares.
Bastion Cycles never fail to bring the bling to the show. This Crossroad gravel bike is bound for Above Category in California.
While not quite ready for production, Bastion’s teased 3D-printed titanium power meter crankset is featured on this bike.
Bastion revealed its own carbon road fork and matching cockpit at last year’s Handmade Show, and now the company is offering a gravel version to match its pre-existing Crossroad gravel bike.
The fork and cockpit is effectively the same mixture of 3D-printed titanium pieces and in-house made carbon fibre tubes as previously featured. However the 3D-printed titanium crown and dropouts are different to provide the additional tyre clearance.
Bastion also added a flared option to its drop bars. The Crossroad’s integrated front-end can be ordered with a more traditional road handlebar shape, too. Widths and stem lengths are wholly custom, as are the offset figures on the fork.
All of Bastion’s frames feature custom 3D-printed titanium lugs with adjoining filament-wound carbon fibre tubes.
The Handmade Bicycle Show Australia isn’t just about the builders, it has grown to be an emporium of all things drool-worthy. A range of Tune saddles were on display from distributor EightyOneSpices. A step away you’d find the latest parts from big names such as Shimano, SRAM, Easton, Schwalbe, Pirelli, and Goodyear.
That same distributor was showing off drivetrain components from Italian company Ingrid.
Ingrid also offers its own derailleurs. It’s brands like these that’ll surely keep the mechanical dream alive.
Perth-based Mooro had missed recent editions of the Handmade Show due to Covid restrictions, and so it was nice to see the First Nations-inspired titanium frame maker return for 2022. Shown is the company’s ‘modern’ road model, the Karang Disc.
Made in Perth, Mooro’s titanium frames often showcase some exquisite anodising with rich colours and detailed shapes.
Mooro’s founder, Chris Morgan, does the anodising himself and jokingly suggested that he was finally given permission by a customer to do flames.
All the finer details match.
A wonderfully Australian detail is anodised on the seat tube.
Mooro has used 3D-printed titanium parts in its frames since inception. And as is evident from this 3D-printed titanium bottom bracket shell and junction, the company is stepping things up further. Mooro uses New Zealand firm RAM 3D for its printed parts.
Mooro has matched the finer details of its stem to the frame.
Mooro produces its own stems and seatposts. The topper of this seatpost is 3D-printed titanium.
More 3D-printed titanium details are seen on the dropouts.
Based in one of the world’s most remote cities, Mooro remains a lesser known and truly underrated name in the custom frame world.
Mooro offers hand painted finishing, done by Noongar artist, . I’m digging the combination of the anodising and hand painted parts on this build. Rohin Kickett
Most of the frames Mooro sells are brushed titanium. However once in a while there’s an order for a hand painted frame with art from Rohin Kickett.
Cuore is not an Aussie brand but they have a strong presence in the local custom clothing market. The company is unassumingly innovative, with one example being that these bright garments with matching colours are actually three wholly different types of waterproof and/or windproof jackets.
Colour matching is just one reason why CyclingTips keeps returning to Cuore for its custom kits. This isn’t intended to be a shameless plug, it’s just impressively good stuff that I’d encourage you to look at if your club/group/work is looking to have custom kits made.
Auren made its public reveal at last year’s show and the young brand returned for 2022 with fresh ideas to show off. Auren frames are made by a contract manufacturer in Asia, but the specific designs are custom.
Yes, you are looking at a titanium drop bar gravel bike with an integrated front end matched to a Rohloff 14-speed geared hub and belt-drive. This may just be a world first for such a combination.
Auren is using FSA’s ACR headset system to hide all of the cables. This system was intended to guide brake hoses and up to two gear housings through the headset.
From this view you’d never guess that there’s a belt-drive and Rohloff hub up back. Which begs the question, how?
The special trick is courtesy of the Gebla Rohbox. This little device works with Gebla’s own shifter conversion that replaces the usual ratchet mechanism with one that converts the left and right shifters to only shift in one respective direction. The system is also available for Campagnolo shifters, too.
The split for the belt-drive sits within the seatstay. It’s wonderfully clean.
A powermeter with the belt-drive Rohloff drivetrain? Sure, why not. Meanwhile a plate-based chainstay yoke helps to achieve the clearance for the wider belt-drive ring without resulting to a dropped stay.
The cable routing for the Rohloff is forced out of the frame before the bottom bracket shell. Sadly there’s just not enough room in the chainstay to run a brake hose and two gear cables.
Auren’s founder, William Young, stands taller than most at 6′ 6″ and created Auren as a way to design bikes that better fit taller riders. However you don’t have to be a giant to order one.
The Handmade Bicycle Show Australia had coffee and cold beverages flowing over its three days. Joining the fellow Beechworth-based makers Lyrebird Cycles and Tor was Bridge Road Brewers.
Here’s one few expected to see. Specht is a local business that specialises in customising high-end coffee machines. There was a surprising amount of similarity between their work and what the bike builders of the room do.
This machine was converted from steam knobs to these industrial-styled pull handles. A whole lot of work inside was necessary to achieve such a change. This machine has also had a gear pump added that provides pressure control over the pre-brew. The steam builder and some wiring are the only remaining stock pieces. This machine isn’t wholly finished yet.
Dan from Specht was a furniture maker in a past life and the company continues to use plenty of handcrafted wood in its creations.
I’m not sure if it was the fourth coffee speaking, but my heart was racing over this.
Transparent side panels let you see the inner working of this beauty.
Specht also sells many of its coffee accessories.
If Chris King (sadly discontinued) and Tune coffee tampers aren’t to your taste, then these may be.
Class of 2022.