The inaugural Australian Custom Bicycle Show was held last weekend in Melbourne, and those of us fortunate enough to make it along experienced something very exciting. It was the realization that appreciation for quality bikes is stronger than it has ever been before, internationally and locally.
The event, presented by Andrew ‘FYXO‘ White, brought together some of the finest craftspeople the country has to offer, names that are familiar to older generations, as well as a new, younger breed. It was a momentous occasion and I’m honored to have had the chance to mingle with them.
Darrell Llewellyn McCulloch and Darren Baum are two highly respected and renowned builders, both here and overseas, with two very different styles. So it was a great opportunity to listen to them discuss their craft in the same room at the ‘Meet the ‘Maker’ evening on Friday.
Darrell presented a green and gold randonneur, among others, with some special details: a timepiece set into the fork steerer and a curvy pair of racks. The apparatus behind the rando is the source of the curvy racks, a pipe bender specially made by master engineer, Jesse Geisler of The Bike Bar:
Jesse sold me my first ‘serious’ mountain bike, an Iron Horse MT400, when he was still based in Sydney. His reputation for engineering excellence is well known, and he’s made himself quite at home in Melbourne, so it was good to see what he’s been up to since the move.
Darren Baum was accompanied by a few of his ultra-modern machines, including what was, for me, one of the most interesting seen over the whole weekend: a custom titanium BMX. The Nickelback fan holding it is the proud owner. It was his birthday on Friday, so he was understandably proud.
Saturday brought a magic Melbourne morning. We arrived at the ACBS about 20 minutes before the crowds poured in, but by lunchtime it was standing room only. We knew we were in for a treat as soon as we walked in, greeted by the legend himself, Mr. Ken Evans.
Tarn Mott of Primate Frames brought a selection of projects to the show. If you need a bombproof frame, Tarn is your go-to guy. That’s a steel downhill frame tucked in behind an innovative folding bike, in front of a completely hand-built coffee roaster and left of the burliest scooter ever made. If you’d like to see what the inside of Tarn’s workshop looks like, head to Prolly Is Not Probably for the photos John took when we rode down there:
Peter Teschner has been building world-class frames since 1990, his ‘less-is-more’ approach also ensured steel and titanium weren’t the only materials represented.
Luke Laffan and Fikas Bikes came all the way from Queanbeyan to be part of the show, displaying a magnificent cyclocross bike, which also happened to be one of the only ‘cross bikes at the show — a statistic that will increase greatly, I believe, for next years show.
After frequently profiling the work of Kumo Cycles on The Spoken, it was a real pleasure to finally meet Keith Marshall. He had the Winter Bike with him, featured in the 2013 The Spoken Calendar, as well as a futuristic, metal-flake road bike. It’s always a surprise to see what Keith comes up with next.
Not only frame builders were exhibited. Joe Cosgrove of Cycle Design is a master painter and detailer, applying the color to every Llewellyn frame. As Darrell himself said, “The paint is one of the most important components of a custom frame.” Joe does build frames as well, under the Frezoni name.
The kangaroo may be one of Australia’s national emblems, chosen to appear on our coat of arms because they can’t move backwards. Their hides also make excellent toe straps, as demonstrated by Patebury. I’m currently running a pair of their straps and am looking forward to posting a full review of them soon, so it was a pleasure to meet Joram, Cameron and their well-designed display.
That’s the first half of the show. Stay tuned for the second report, and thanks again to FYXO for putting it on, and for Pony Bikes for putting me up. #ACBS