Handmade Bicycle Show Australia

Handmade Bicycle Show Australia

In one week I’ll be present at the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia, an event celebrating the craft of the handmade bicycle. I will have two bikes on display and you will find me at stand #19.

You’ll find all the info for the show on their website, but here’s the short rundown.

Venue

Meat Market Melbourne - 3 Blackwood Street, Melbourne VIC 3051

Times

Fri: 4:30pm-10pm

Sat: 10am-6pm

Sun: 10am-4pm

 

New place

New place

The last half of 2018 has been a very busy time for me and my wife and has involved a lot of changes in our lives.

In order to be able to spend more time on the frame building I’ve reduced my day job hours. As part of that process, I also left my job as a mechanic at the shop where I had been for over 2 years to start a new job at Curve Cycling.

My wife and I had been toying with the idea to sell our townhouse for a while, and finally this year was the right time for the market to be good enough for us to be comfortable putting our home of 7 years up for sale. We spent a lot of time getting the place ready and looking nice for the advertising photos and inspections - decluttering, paint touch-ups, new grass in the back yard (the dogs had destroyed whatever was there before).

We were lucky to sell pretty quickly, but that meant more pressure to find a new place to stay. The rental market here in Melbourne is quite difficult, so we went from one stressful task to the next - finding a suitable rental!

For about a month we spent every weekend checking out rentals and sending in applications only to be knocked back or ignored. We quickly found that the competition was tough and we almost started to despair - would we be able to find a place in time?! Then we came across the perfect place: not too big, great area, very good condition (some rentals here are in a terrible state), a bit of a back yard plus the most important thing for me - a garage to house my workshop! This was the one we really wanted and as luck would have it our rental application was approved.

Packing up a house you’ve lived in for 7 years is a lot of work. We totally underestimated how much stuff we had accumulated over the years. We needed to get rid of so much stuff since the rental we got was a lot smaller. No room for stuff we don’t use regularly.

After the move we had some pressure to get everything in order before we had overseas family visiting for my birthday, and before that we needed to squeeze in a trip to New Zealand that had been booked since before we put the house on the market. We got there in the end. The living quarters are looking great, I have a functioning workshop and the overseas visitors have been and left.

Things have now calmed down and I can make plans for the year ahead. I’ll soon start two new frame projects that I’m really excited about! I won’t be able to show too many details since both are a bit hush-hush, but I’ll post sneaky-peeks when I can!

Zinkensdamm Bikecheck

Zinkensdamm Bikecheck

A BMX is not allowed to be ridden unless it’s been documented in a proper bike check. Here’s a bike check.

Radio Silence

Sorry about the radio silence for a while. I have a new project lined up - another frame for myself. This time a modern(ish) geo Enduro hardtail to replace my last factory built bike.

I've made a modest start on the project, but it's slow progress due to selling my house and looking for a new place to move to. Once that's all done I should be able to get stuck into this build a bit more!

Below is a mockup of what the final build will look like.

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The Makers Show 2018

The inaugural Makers Show took place on the 12th of May 2018 and turned out to be a really fun and relaxed event. 

A number of makers, including myself of course, had their bikes on display and we had visitors come chat about the bikes and enjoy some free beer and other giveaways. 

The event got some coverage on CyclingTips and I was also lucky enough to get my bike featured on CycleEXIF. Hit the links for more.

I've also done my own little bike check/build report for the bike that you can find here: E05JRG

The Makers Show

The Makers Show

This weekend I'm heading up to Newtown (NSW) for the inaugural 'The Makers' show where a number of custom frame builders, professional and novice alike, will display their latest work.

I'll be displaying my latest build, a CX/gravel bike, that was finished just yesterday.

A full update and bike gallery will be posted here after the show.

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BMX #2 Finished

BMX #2 Finished

I haven't been posting any progress updates on this build, but you can see the finished project here: E03JSB

It's a custom frame for a good friend in Sweden. I'll make sure to post a bike check here once it has been built up.

SS MTB Build - Part 4

SS MTB Build - Part 4

Next, it was time to finish mitering the chainstays and seatstays and drill vent holes in the BB and seattube before tacking and brazing the frame up. One thing I didn't take photos of was how I capped the tops of the seat stays. For this I basically just used some offcuts from the toptube to create scallops that I brazed on, filed to shape and mitered to the seat tube.

Finally time for some heat. I started tacking and brazing the seat tube to the BB. Then mounted it back up in the fixture to ensure it was all square and that the miters for the rest frame still fit nicely. Being that I brazed the seattube all the way around I ended up adjusting the miter on the downtube so it fit the ST/BB fillet nicely. 
Once I got the fit right I was able to tack up and braze the front triangle. Leading up to this build I worked on getting my brazing speed up while still achieving a good internal fillet. While putting heat to the actual frame I did my best to be quick and I was definitely working faster and laying down better fillets than when brazing up the previous frame, but there's still room for improvement. Once the front triangle was brazed up it was pretty quick work to get the rear triangle pieces tacked on and brazed up as well.

Finally all the main bits of the frame were attached together into one unit. After a soak (in our bathtub since I don't yet have a suitable soak tank) to get the flux off I got to work cleaning up some of the fillets.
For this frame I opted to keep the fillets mostly raw, as this is a prototype/experiment and I felt that spending many extra hours on filing and sanding fillets would be an unnecessary time waster this time around. Therefore I just removed some burnt flux and wire brushed the fillets and linished the tubes to clean them up.

The last thing I had to do before applying the gun blueing finish was to solder on the guides for the brake lines. I know that this should normally be done before brazing the frame, but waiting until now was a conscious decision for this build as I lacked the experience of having built other MTB frames to 'know' beforehand how I wanted to do the routing for the brake line.

SS MTB Build - Part 3

SS MTB Build - Part 3

For this build I didn't want to use the bottle boss reinforcement 'diamonds' that are available from most framebuilding suppliers. I wanted to create something a bit more unique and personal while taking the chance to experiment some more with my letter punches and silver soldering.

My idea was to cut out a strip of bronze plate, stamp it, drill it and braze it on as the tube reinforcement for the bottle bosses. After hand cutting and shaping the plate I drilled the bottle boss holes and measured out where to stamp the letters. The plate on the DT reads "EGRESS" and the one on the ST is stamped with the frame serial number.

Once stamped, I used my wooden tube blocks and a tube offcut to press it in the vice to give it a curved shape to match the tube it was to be soldered onto. This was my first time using type U flux and silver to solder bronze onto steel, so heat control and silver flow was not spot on, so it's not perfect but I still like it.

 

 

SS MTB Build - Part 2

SS MTB Build - Part 2

The seat clamp lug I bought with the tubeset needed a bit of work. Opted for this one as it's got a lot of material to work with. Sharp points and love heart cutouts is not really the style I'm going for, so it needed a bit of customisation.

Hand drew a shape that I liked better with a sharpie straight on the lug. After a little hacksaw and file action the lug is looking a lot better.

The original seat clamp lug. 

The original seat clamp lug. 

Hand carved.  

Hand carved.  

I also did some experimentation with letter punches. Punched in "EGRESS" vertically along the back of the lug. I then laid some bronze filler over the letters and sanded back the bronze to reveal the letters. Got a nice and smooth finish and the bronze letters should pop a lot more once I've blued the steel. 

Punched

Punched

Filled & sanded

Filled & sanded

SS MTB Build - Part 1

SS MTB Build - Part 1

After a bunch of planning and many hours in front of the computer figuring out the specs for the frame, and making some necessary bits for the jig, it's finally time to start cutting, filing and joining metal.  

Day one consisted of making all the necessary adjustments to the jig, prepping tubes by marking out butting and where to cut etc. 

When I was just about to start mitering the seat tube I discovered my first mistake - I had forgotten to take into account that the seat tube was externally butted at the bottom, and thus had a bigger diameter. Meaning that my mitering templates that I had painstakingly prepared needed to be adjusted and re-printed. Oh well, that was a minor thing to get wrong. Back to the computer to make the necessary changes and update the cutting templates. 

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With new templates for the seattube and the downtube I got started with the cutting. Always measuring multiple times before cutting or making any irreversible changes to the tubes. The seattube got mitered up to the bottom bracket first. Then downtube to BB. 

  BB/ST/DT junction. Nice and tight.

 BB/ST/DT junction. Nice and tight.

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The most challenging part was to miter the downtube to the tapered headtube. I am happy with the resulting miter and I think I got it really tight. Not much room for error since the other end of the downtube was already mitered to the BB. 

At the end of day one I had mitered up all the tubes for the front triangle. Slow progress, but I rather get things right than work too fast. 

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BMX #1 - Bike Check

This is a bike check for my first hand built BMX frame. The bike has been assembled with parts from my previous bike.

The frame was built with a True Temper SuperTherm tubeset from S&M Bikes originally used in their BTM frame. I built the frame entirely by hand with a fillet brazed construction and the geometry is based on the numbers I have concluded are ideal for my preferences and style of riding.

Build list:

  • Frame: Egress Bikes ‘Nameless’ (21” Prototype)
    TT 21” | HT 74.5 | ST 71 | CS 13.78” | BB 11.77”
     
  • Fork: Proper Bike Co
  • Bars: T1 Classic, 8.85”
  • Grips: Cult x Vans
  • Stem: Haro Lineage (Topload)
  • Headset: Fly Bikes
     
  • Cranks: Fly Bikes, 175mm
  • Sprocket: Nightfall Bike Co. | Killuminati, 29t
  • Chain: Odyssey | Key Chain
  • Pedals: Fly Bikes | Ruben (plastic)
  • BB: BSD | Mid, 22mm
     
  • Hubs: Tree Bike Co
  • Rims: GSport | Birdcage
  • Spokes: Phil Wood
  • Nipples: Pillar, alloy
  • Tyres: Fit Bike Co | FAF 2.25” & 2.3”

Weight: TBC (Frame weight: 2.3kg / 5.07lbs)

Next Build

Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I'll start frame #3.. 

My first mountainbike was a Specialized Crave SL - a rigid singlespeed MTB. This bike shaped my view of what a mountainbike should be - pure and simple fun. After having owned a couple of 150-160mm travel enduro bikes, the singlespeed is still my go-to bike for when I want to race XC or go for longer rides at my local trails. 

So this is a project I'm really excited about - I'm building myself a new singlespeed hardtail!

For this version of the bike I'm recycling the carbon fork off my Crave SL, but all the rest of the components are going to be brand new. All these parts have already been acquired and are currently sitting stashed away, just waiting to be put to use. 

I'm quite looking forward to the end result. 

The frame:

The frame will be constructed from Columbus Zona tubing and be equipped with sliding dropouts. Being that it's the first time I'm building an MTB frame, this will be very much a prototype and I'm fully expecting that changes will be made for future versions. The geometry is going to be a little bit more relaxed than an XC specific race machine, but the aim is for the bike to still be responsive enough to hold its own on fast technical singletrack.

I'll post more updates as the build progresses. In the meantime, here's a render of what the bike might look like when finished.