4 Steel Bikes from the 2022 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia

Jun 9, 2022
by Dave Rome  


For 2022 the 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 from across the Australian builder community.

While the show leans toward the road and gravel markets, the presence of custom mountain bikes has increased year on year. Having already looked at the latest from Trinity MTB, below is a look at a handful of custom steel bikes from Devlin Cycles, TOR, The Lost Workshop, and Woods Bicycle Co.

Devlin Cycles debuted its first full-suspension mountain bike at the 2021 edition of the show. Now, the Brisbane-based maker has returned with a 170 mm Enduro race bike running a mullet wheel setup.

Sean Doyle is the maker behind Devlin. The steel frames feature fillet brazed joints. This Enduro race model features a 475 mm reach (medium size), a 65-degree head angle, and 440 mm chainstays.

Devlin's bikes commonly feature styled sleeves over the tubes. It's a modern nod to the old-school lugged frame aesthetic. These sleeves add stiffness and increase the surface area at the brazed joint.

Devlin's first full-suspension mountain bike featured a CNC-machined aluminium rocker. Now the bikes feature a fabricated rocker that's said to allow for easier customisation and also fit the bike's aesthetic.

Another angle of the fabricated rocker.

All the details are done by Doyle himself.

Doyle's own riding typically involves lots of chunky rock and the high bottom bracket height is reflected in that.

The Jester uses a Horst link pivot, while the steel seat stays are said to provide 5 mm of vertical flex, too.

Devlin Cycles
Devlin Cycles are painted by Wallis Paints.

TOR is the brand of Shane Flint, a custom frame builder based in Beechworth, Victoria. Last year we looked at TOR's custom single-pivot trail bike. This year we have the Abrade Synchro, a Pinion gearbox-equipped hardtail that was inspired by recent poor weather and the on-going supply chain issues.

This is TOR's first frame to feature a Pinion C1.12 gearbox. It's combined with a Gates Carbon belt drive.

This trail hardtail is built with 150 mm RockShox Lyrik, a 66-degree head angle, 76-degree seat tube angle, and 450 mm chainstays. Flint admits that the chainstays are a tad long due to the Pinion gearbox, but suggests that a custom mount should allow him to reduce that figure.

Borrowing some style from the BMX world, the frame has a low slung seat tube with seat stays that flow into the toptube.

The finish on this frame is Cerakote, an incredibly thin and durable option that can be a mission to apply. Flint explained that layering three different colours of Cerakote meant it was a non-stop 12-hour mission for Mitch at 74Works. The matching limited-edition Chris King headset is a nice touch.

External cable routing is there for easy maintenance.

Sliding dropouts allow for easy belt tensioning.

Curved chainstays flow up to the horizontal sliding dropouts.

Ian Michelson of The Lost Workshop is a Melbourne-based frame maker. Over the past few years, he's built a reputation for making clean-looking and timeless road, gravel, and track bikes. Now Michelson has begun dabbling with hardtails, too.

You wouldn't know it from this picture, but this is only Michelson's second completed TIG-welded frame. Up until recently, Michelson was joining all of his tubes via lugs and/or fillet brazing. Welded frames are just another construction option for customers to choose between.

The T47 bottom bracket shell isn't a super common sight in the mountain bike space. Effectively a threaded version of PF30 (or a wider BB386 variant), T47 provides room for the bearings to sit within the shell and that increased shell width can then be used to widen the placement of the chainstays.

All Lost Workshop bikes are painted by VeloCraft.

Custom headset spacers have become somewhat of a signature item with bikes from The Lost Workshop.

Another look at those welds.

Slogans are optional, after all, it's a custom bike.

The semi-external dropper post routing provides easy servicing.

This show bike is currently set as a single speed, however, the modular dropouts can be swapped out to allow for a derailleur-based drivetrain.

Woods Bicycle Co is a small custom bike company based inland of Byron Bay, NSW. Run by brothers Zac and Josh, the brand is best known for its hand-crafted BMX frames (and increasingly, its road and gravel frames, too). A prototype (yet to be named), this is the first mountain bike to ever wear the Woods Bicycle Co. head badge.

That head badge is a classy polished brass number that eachWoods Bicycle Co. bike has in common.

Coming from a street BMX riding background, Zac wanted this bike to be stout but simple. This model features 145 mm of travel.

The Woods Bicycle Co logo.

The logo is also found on the gusset that sits behind the head tube.

The gussets are carried over from Woods' BMX frames. They're cut and brazed in place after the tubes are welded together.

Zac machined this X-shaped bridge himself.

Zac seemed rather pleased with the shape of the seat stays. Not bad for a first prototype.

The shock mount is reinforced.

The original goal was to have a post mount for the brake, but limited supply saw Zac just make his own IS-mount from plate steel. It's another detail that worked out favourably according to the maker.

And here's a sneaky fifth steel bike from the show. The latest from Trinity MTB was covered last week.

You'll find more coverage from the 2022 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia over at our sibling website CyclingTips.


198 Comments

  • 43 0
 Some CC eeWings would finish of that Devlin so much better than the GX cranks.
  • 17 0
 That bike with a cane creek rear shock with the gold accents matching the brazing on the frame would be a beauty
  • 12 0
 Full cane creek treatment. Eewings, the silver/grey helm and a double barrel air.
  • 6 1
 Hope Whyte don't see that headtube badge...
  • 3 0
 Machine Gun Kelley…another fabricated rocker.
  • 2 0
 I know I got into frame building because I didn't have a lot of money to spend on all the bikes I wanted. I'm sure $1000 cranks don't fit in a lot of peoples budgets.
  • 1 0
 @bmxsnox: I think if your buying a custom hand built full sus, just about any part fits into your budget
  • 4 1
 @jj12jj: nah. With the kit I've got at my workshop, a few hundred £ and I could have enough frame tubing/dropouts/bb shells etc for half a dozen attempts at a hardtail. Custom isn't expensive financially if you're doing it yourself, it's expensive time wise. Hence why it's very expensive when you pay someone else to do it.
  • 3 0
 @jj12jj: My first full suspension single pivot cost me $200 in materials. My last gravel frame I made I almost completely built up with used/free parts. I think I spent $300 on parts and around $180 in material. So I had a gravel bike for less than $500.
  • 3 1
 @inked-up-metalhead: notice I said buy, this Devlin frame starts at $8500
  • 1 2
 @jj12jj: but this whole comment thread is about how the builder should have put eewings on it, with the retort that might have been over budget for the builder, because frame building isn't expensive other than time (which is what your paying for). So unless your comments were completely random with no bearing on what else was being said...
  • 4 0
 I would love to put some eewings on but yes cost is an issue. I just couldn't afford to go to those levels and the bike is kitted out with what the rider wanted on his bike. I'd like to have a crack at making my own cranks in a similar style to the eewings just for giggles but that is a low priority project. My priorities now are finalising details so I can shift to bulk ordering all the frames parts rather than making every part of it from scratch each time. Try and get the labour down and hence the cost of the frames.
  • 2 0
 @devlincc: Good luck! Bike looks awesome!
  • 23 1
 No way, a steel fs bike that's not a single pivot and actually looks good. I was starting to think it was mandatory for them to look like Starlings.
  • 17 0
 ...like the woods bike? I was expecting to see a bird cutout on that x brace
  • 6 1
 @b-rider: haha exactly, I sighed out loud when I scrolled down. That Devlin looks sick though.
  • 2 1
 It's simply the easiest layout for making a dual suspension bike at home, but you're right; it is nice to see different layouts which show off the versatility and viability of steel for dual sus frames. Swarf, BTR, and Cotic are other good examples.
  • 7 2
 Single pivots are easier to make but also have there complexities to build and get the kinematics right. The Woods bike is kick ass and it was really cool to see Josh and Zac build one. They did a great job. I found I couldn't get the kinematics and packaging I wanted from a single pivot and decided the four bar was the way to go. I have great anti squat and rise and comfortable get a water bottle in as well. It seemed like teh right way to go for me.
  • 2 0
 Finally a steel fs bike that awakens lust.
  • 12 1
 Steel hardtails keeps on being the sexiest bikes we can see, and they completely make sense; this is the kind of bike I ride for years and it gives me plenty of satisfaction(s), but I keep wondering about FS steel bikes.
For me, a steel front triangle + aluminium rear parts (so do Stanton or Cotic) make more sense than a full steel system, but I might be wrong. Tell me what are your thoughts about the subject, I'm curious. Id really like to get such a machine one of these days.
Cheers!
  • 3 0
 Iam riding a Production Privee Shan No5 full sus with steel rear triangle. There´s also a review here on pinkbike. Its a different riding feel, has some flex and rides really nice. I havnt ridden one of those hardcore hardtails but i cant see myself shredding the trails the same way as with a full sus. i like my ankles and bones Razz
  • 3 0
 I have an Xprezo Ad Hoc and it is the opposite, Aluminium front triangle and Steal rear triangle. This bike is so light 12.8 kg and you can shred with it. Way better than a Norco Sight and handmade in Quebec.
  • 5 4
 If done correctly steel fullies can be as light as aluminum. Cotic being a good example, with their frames being comparable (if not lighter) than a Santa Cruz megatower, and measurably lighter than beasts like the Privateer bikes. If you ask me (no one did) we should move to using steel front triangles in most non-XC bikes, and steel rear triangles where it makes sense too.

The @waltworks guy made this frame, and I think its 7 pounds: waltworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/WW-FS-Front-Right-800x500.jpg

That being said, I don't get Pinion hard tails. Just get a normal hard tail with a Kindernay, Rohloff, or Affine hub. Kindernay and Rohloff are both lighter and more efficient than Pinion.
  • 2 6
flag wyorider (Jun 9, 2022 at 12:08) (Below Threshold)
 Even better, all aluminum. Lower weight, plenty stiff. There is a finite dative life, but that applies to all bikes. Even steel hardtails end up with cracked bottom brackets if they get enough watts put through them often enough.
  • 12 0
 I think the hurdle for small builders with aluminum is the heat treating process. Adds logistical and financial headache, vs building it all in house.
  • 1 0
 @robway: well seen, that's an important point indeed, thanks for recalling it.

@hamncheez: weight is another question, and it's not a (the/my) concern, I mainly dealt about flex/stiffness and feeling.

@wyorider: you're completely right: all aluminium is the soft spot in term of lightness, stiffness, reliability, durability (... depends...), riding feeling, and it's fully recyclable (if things are well done).
  • 3 0
 @Ba1rog: it was handmade in Quebec, I think they went bankrupt.
  • 2 0
 I ride a Cotic. It's full steel and I absolutely love it. It's the one bike that, when I crash, I don't worry about the bike first. I don't have an alloy fully to compare it to, but it does look a lot cooler than a mixed triangle bike. What's the point of alloy chain and seat stays? The weight savings are very negligible.
  • 4 1
 @wyorider: All aluminum is not lighter than quality steel. The Starling Murmur is 3.7kg frame only, the Raaw Modonna is 3.8kg frame only. The Cotic Rocketmax is nearly the same weight too, with a steel main triangle and alloy rear end.

To optimize Aluminum it shoudl probably be hydroformed, which requires expensive moulds. This locks manufacturers into strict product cycles, and can leave companies flat-footed, like when the 1st gen Enduro 650b was a 29er main triangle with a spacer and a modified 26" rear triangle, or like how carbon and aluminum based companies were stuck flat-footed when suddenly 64 degree HTA and 77 degree STA became the norm.
  • 4 2
 @cgreaseman: those massive yokes and dropouts with the pivots would weigh near 2.5 times as much in steel and despite the fact they could be machined thinner in steel ( and would require a different approach really ) it wouldn’t work out out stronger or lighter , have got the T-shirt in that experiment so they’re only really negligible because you’ve not got a steel machined lump at the ends equivalent to compare an alloy version to
  • 3 2
 @Compositepro: Reeb bikes in CO, USA is using 3D printed steel parts on their bikes. Based on what they say since I know nothing of the science, it’s very light. The new SST came out to around 28 lbs for a full build iirc.
  • 1 3
 @tsewhsoj: Good point. Sintered metal is less dense, so for titanium (where its most frequently used in mountain bikes, like Atherton Bikes) its sub-optimal. But for steel, where steel is already "too dense" its probably a great application.
  • 2 0
 @tsewhsoj: the different approach I spoke of earlier in my post , none of it is really new it’s become more accessible though which can only be a good thing for smaller companies
  • 3 2
 @wyorider: aluminum is a pain in the ass to weld compared to steel. Requires a lot more knowledge ,skill and cleaning.
Did I say cleaning?. Cleaning.
  • 1 0
 @zoobab2: I know and it is so sad. They are not the best looking bike but they are unique, light and they are so fun to ride. You can send big stuff too.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: moving all that weight to the rear hub makes a terrible feeling (and handling) bike. Maybe ok for road use, but for a mtb that is meant to be jumped and turned it's a bad idea. I could be wrong if the internal geared hubs weigh less than a cassette and derailleur, but I think they're not.
  • 10 2
 To reply to all above. Steel in incredible material. It has a great mix of all the mechanical properties need to make a strong light structure. The Columbus steels are stronger than Ti with good elongation the highest stiffness to weight ratio of all the materials save carbon (that's a mixed bag of)

This bike as built weighs 14.6kg. Thats for a 170mm travel big hitting enduro race bike. That is definitely not heavy. The front triangle is stiffer than just about anything out there and is definitely overbuilt. A great platform to swing suspension off. I have designed the rear to have a little bit of tuned flex so that there is great feel and feed back when on the limits of grip. These bikes ride smooth and are super predictable in their manners. It's not designed as a shuttle bike. It pedals great, sprints well out of corners. Is stable at warp speed through the chunk and steers nicely.
  • 13 0
 Glad to see at least one bike with a BMX background.
  • 2 0
 Ha, I was looking for that comment Big Grin .
  • 15 3
 #lookslikeastarling
  • 3 0
 #itdoesindeed
  • 9 11
 The original and the best!!! Imitation is the best form of flattery. And other such things...
  • 2 1
 #theoriginalandbest
  • 10 2
 Awesome to see the Australian bike building scene picking up, some seriously nice bikes at the show this year. Keep it coming lads! ; )
  • 9 0
 The clearance that chainring on the Devlin has.... or doesn't have!
  • 2 0
 Yes. And just how scratched up will the top of that chainstay get just behind the chainring?
  • 1 0
 Seriously that can't be the final layout of the chainstay assembly. Don't get me wrong, I love the look of this bike. But surely that crazy clearance is an issue!
  • 3 0
 @alexsin: Clearance on a few of these bikes was pretty tight. The Devlin is a prototype, and the Woods had the wrong width crank spindle.
  • 1 0
 @DaveRome: Thanks for that. Looking forward to seeing a finished version!
  • 5 1
 It is enough clearance. The advantage I have is building to exactly what's needed as opposed to building for a range of components and setups. To correct Dave a little. This is more than a prototype. It's the second Jester and is pretty much how they will be built. Customer frames will have a braced rocker but this particular frame is a team rider and we are try the rocker out before bracing it up to see how much control we have of frame flex and tuning ride characteristics.
  • 2 0
 @devlincc: Out of curiosity, do you run it with that particular crank and chainring combo? It really looks like it needs a larger chainring to have the chain clear the chainstay in the smaller cogs, but that a bigger chainring would interfere with the chainstay unless the chainline was moved out...

edit: P.S. the bike is gorgeous. I _love_ the fabricated rocker.
  • 3 0
 @enki: It does have clearance in the lower sprockets. There is slapper tape to go on the swingarm. I have found the elevated line of the swingarm reduces the amount the chain jumps around when coasting. Can do away completely with the idea of needing a chain guide. Not that I have ever dropped a chain on my own Oisin 140mm travel trail bike. If Kai wanted a bigger chain ring then I would have to give more clearance there.

Thanks mate. .
  • 5 0
 Why do people make a curved seat tube when the wheel is nowhere near it? You can see a straight tube would work on the lost workshop bike. Then they could have inserted the dropper all the way down.
  • 1 0
 I usually tend to agree, but the Lost workshop bike still looks like it has plenty of straight tube before the bend. The water bottle bosses are much more likely to be the limiting factor on post insertion in this case, unless they are only surface mounted and short bolts are used. Either way, the geo doesn't really look like the intent of the bike is hardcore riding with a slammed post. The real offenders are companies like Scott, whose full suspension bikes can barely be used with a dropper by short people because the bend only allows for 14-15cm insertion and the rocker pivot bolt is only a fraction lower, so it interferes with the dropper cable. A friend of mine is stuck with a 75mm drop post on her Genius for this reason, when she could be running at least 125mm if the post could be fully slammed, even 150 if it was something like the new Transfer with low stack height in the collar and saddle clamp.
  • 1 0
 @dsut4392: true, didn't catch the bottle bosses. The frame looks like it's made for a 6ft person at least judging by the length, headtube length and seat tube length.

Maybe it just isn't as aesthetically pleasing to my eye. Still doesn't take away from the fact that it's a beautiful bike.
  • 2 0
 In case you missed it, the bike is a singlespeed with "rocker" style adjustable dropouts.
As you can see in the current setup, the dropouts are about 2/3 of being at max length. Push that wheel forward and the wheel will get awfully close to that seat tube, if not touch it, if it were straight.

Also, Ian (builder and owner of the bike) is a tall fella. The seat post is set at his height, so no need to push the seat post down further.

If you're going to nitpick, do it properly.
  • 1 0
 @jmy: meh, it's an aesthetic choice, no need to justify it by talking about the adjustable dropouts. Nobody is installing those dropouts intending the wheel to be run in the maximum forwards position, especially a builder making themselves a personal bike. It looks like tyre clearance between the chainstays would be a bigger problem than the seat tube anyway, even with a straight ST.
  • 4 1
 I want a steel bike with a vertical shock and a linkage driven high single pivot. It also has to look good and turn heads on the trails, but in a good way, not a 'oh my god are those Z-torque cranks?' kinda way. Also, 2 water bottles inside the main triangle. Is that too much to ask?
  • 9 0
 I'll CAD you up a design this weekend, and then you can see if a local welder or even Marino Bikes will weld you up one. Just don't let me forget.
  • 1 0
 BMW Big Link. Might be able to mount one water bottle instead of remote reservoir.
  • 2 1
 Swarf Contour
  • 3 0
 Reeb SST?
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty @stiingya ?? Neither of those are high pivot.

@dreamlink87 If you want something that already exists, I forgot about these guys.

www.instagram.com/peregrinebikes
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: These are all really neat designs. I appreciate the offer too, though I didn't think anyone would actually take it seriously!
  • 1 1
 @fartymarty: While that's not exactly a high pivot (though I absolutely love it and the 155), swarf actually had a high pivot design that looked bonkers: www.swarfcycles.co.uk/blog/swarf-full-suspension-a-brief-history-part-1

edit: actually, I should have checked Swarf first- the Curve is exactly what I was envisioning. Just too bad they're not building anymore!
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: sorry missed the HP criteria.
  • 1 0
 Can I add to the list and add an Effigear to the requirements?
  • 1 0
 @dreamlink87: Steel is a very serious business...you need to make your way over to the "Steel is Real" forum thread.
  • 2 0
 @Zany2410: Cheers! Still not sure if the benefits outweigh the hassle though. Bike rides like a dream, but the difference with my previous non hp Vertigo is not that big and the idler is not quiet enough to actually sell the bike.
But I will take it to Les 2 Alpes and Aosta in w weeks, maybe that's better terrain than Finale for a high pivot. ;-)
  • 2 0
 @fartymarty: good call. I just snagged a honzo esd and it’s steel for me from now on.
  • 2 0
 @suravida: how did I forget about P12? Possibly my favourite steel frames.
  • 7 0
 Pinion hardtail for the win!
  • 3 0
 Totally, the frame looks great, paintjob as well! I don´t have a use for bike like that, but damn I should find some
  • 6 0
 Devlin bikes aren’t just made of steel, they’re also made with heart, hard graft and pure determination. Nice work Sean.
  • 4 1
 For a show bike, the Devlin knocks it out of the park. Tidy construction, proven platform, no extra styling fluff means it should ride well and be light(ish).

I'd ask for 29 both ends and some paint, but bravo!!
  • 3 0
 Thanks mate. The first Jester is a full 29 and is a bike I don't have enough skill to ride at it's full potential. Which is why I have a couple guys riding for me. They are still trying to find the limits as well. You can see both bikes on my insta @devlincustomcycles
  • 4 0
 Honestly, IMHO, gear drive was made for hardtails! It just makes 100% sense.

A simple bike,
A simple drivetrain,
A match made in mtb heaven!
  • 7 3
 The Devlin Cycles Logo looks like it infringed on Whyte Bikes logo... time to litigate.... Rich Energy is expecting this...
  • 1 0
 Rich Energy was an obvious copy of the Whyte logo, this is just another stylised deer head.
  • 4 2
 Plenty of stylised deer logos out there. I came up with this without ever seeing the Whyte one a few years ago. Fortunately it's different enough to not be a problem.
  • 2 1
 Fascinated to see the number of frame builders brazing the seat post bolt to the seat tube. The early 90s Konas all were that way but kept failing and they switched to seat post clamps from 93 onwards or so.

How did the Devlin builder embed the brass lines in the head tube and rear triangle - did they machine a fine line in the tubing and infill it? That is gorgeous.
  • 2 0
 That is where two pieces of metal are coming to gather, usually slip fit inside each other and brazed together. The headset cups are brazed into the head tube for extra reinforcing/strength.
  • 3 0
 Fatigue. These days we tighten the bolt and the jobs done. I’d say we also have better tolerances and materials.
  • 3 0
 The seat tube binder boss is brazed on with a lot of material. It won't fail. The rings on the head tube are brazed in bearing seats. The swing arm is where the wall thickness transitions between the front of the swingarm for strength and the rear half for controlled flex. An overly stiff bike makes it very sensitive at the edge of grip. Having the right amount of flex allows you to feel what the bike is doing and have time to correct or follow it it a nice two wheel drift.
  • 1 0
 @devlincc: so that's an end to end butt joint on the CS? Please tell me it's internally sleeved...?
  • 1 0
 @Tambo: of course it is. There is not the strength in a plain butt joint for that application.
  • 4 0
 Missed opportunity IMO.
"Ride Hard
Get Loose"

...could have read:
"Ride Loose
GET HARD"

Steel is Real!!!!! Yaow!
  • 1 0
 How long have these handmade bike shows been a thing and all these small manufactures been in the game generally? Is it a byproduct of the cycling boom combined with favorable economic conditions and a lot of these companies are going to crumble over the next 12-24 months or is it just that I had never payed much attention before and they were just kinda out on the fringe and are getting more spotlight now?
  • 1 0
 A while it was over 20 years ago since I went to my first one there are certainly comparisons with hipster bread manufacturers from the past decade or so the crumbling of the hot new upstarts with a dream has been occurring for at least as long mainly when they discover instatrash likes do not convert into dollars
  • 1 0
 Quite awhile. And typically works of art and function. My Sheep is the one bike I'll never part with, as it was made just for me. I'd love to go to one of these shows someday.
  • 4 0
 The Australian show has been going for 5 years. The American shows around 20 from memory. It's a thing. Thinking back to our recent show I am pretty sure everyone started before the lock downs. I started some 10 years ago with first customer about 7 years ago.
  • 1 0
 So many cool details on the Trinity to just give it single photo. The modular bolt on bottom bracket is pretty clever. To have the ability to swap between a derailleur and gearbox, or perhaps even their front mounted derailleur concept or electric motor sounds great and ticks the sustainability box too.
  • 2 0
 Am I the only one who noticed the little knurled brass knobs on the chain adjusters on the TOR? They may be a bespoke machined bit, or they may be repurposed Presta stem to Schrader adapters, either way, still kool by me !!
  • 7 3
 That brazing work is absolute bike porn,
  • 4 3
 You mean the filing work?
  • 2 1
 @Tambo: That's all part of the process. I over build the initial fillet and shape it so the surface flows and helps to mitigate the stresses in each joint. There is more than just making a pretty fillet sometimes the perfect looking fillets actually are weaker as too much material is removed to please the Insta crowd.
  • 2 9
flag Tambo (Jun 9, 2022 at 22:37) (Below Threshold)
 @devlincc: Not to my taste. Do it once, do it right. You don't see TIG welders filing their beads smooth and calling it good. Brazing can be done pretty damn neatly too. thebicycleacademy.org/pages/fillet-brazing-masterclass Sorry, not sure how to write that and not come across a complete d1ck. Good luck with it!
  • 4 3
 @Tambo: TIG is a completely different method of joining materials and in this case thin walled tubes. If you were looking for the best performing structural welds then they would be smoothed off but you'd be looking to really push material and design to teh very limits of materials science. In fact Cannondale double weld and smooth over teh TIG welds on their road frames and plenty of high tech industries linish their welds smooth. You can lget away without doing it too.

Same with fillet brazing. You can most definitely get away with not filing smooth. Curtis and Kam Fab in teh UK don't file finish but for sure 98% of teh bike industry do file their fillets. It makes for a better structure. No stress risers and teh transition from parent material to fillet weld to parent material means stress is handle better that in a angled unfinished fillet. I've done fillets at times that literally just needed a couple swipes on teh sandpaper and it was done so the fillets are done properly in the first place. Some fillets you need to over fill a little and shape back to get the smooth transitions as gravity and the surface tension prevent you from getting a nice shape off the torch.

If you prefer the look of unfinished fillets that's a different thing. Microscopically they are inferior to finished fillets and any builders worth their salt finishes them off to ensure a high strength structure.
  • 3 2
 @devlincc: Just remember that a fully concave fillet isn't necessarily the strongest Smile
  • 6 3
 it's slightly worrying that there are no braces between the left and right seat stay or rocker on the Devlin.
  • 2 1
 Dont worry he learns as he goes, he was showing the frames he broke and how he fixed the problems on line on another online place
  • 3 0
 @thewanderingtramp: That's good to hear. Still slightly worrying when he is taking orders on his website on a design that is not finalized.
-dont understand the downvoting, I'm not bashing anyone for creating amazing bikes by hand. It's not easy and my first frame is a pile of hot garbage. Just pointing out my concerns.
  • 2 3
 @thewanderingtramp: Is that good??
  • 1 1
 @Tambo: nearly as good as sarcasm being understood in the internet
  • 1 1
 @Tambo: or is that a question
  • 6 0
 The first Jester I made has them. This bike is ridden by a team rider and we are trialling the rocker with out the brace then going to add it to see what difference it makes to the flex characteristics of the bike. The tubing used to make the rocker is quite thick walled so strength is not in question here. The rockers are tied together at the shock and has proven so far to be more than adequate. To be clear I don't do experiments on customer bikes. They all get properly built and proven builds. Currently I would build a rocker for them with a connecting brace and not risk them having and inferior bike. I know it works perfectly fine with one and this is a test with a team rider. In the 7 years I have been selling my frames I have had zero failures save for the above mentioned issue. It was on the prototype underneath a team rider and we were seeing how light we could make the seat stays. Since then I have gone back to my original design and not worry about the 50gram weight saving. I posted on line to show the work Im doing and that I don't cut corners. Very few builders post their failures up and I've seen lots of behind the scenes stuff that would make you blink hard.
  • 1 1
 @Compositepro: if it was, I didn't get it. Mine was a question, just in case his wasn't sarcasm.
  • 1 2
 @Tambo: no me either
  • 2 0
 @devlincc: I'm so glad to hear that. The bike is absolutely beautiful and I'm quite jealous of any rider that has tried it. I was a little curious if there was the thought about flex and how that can be tuned into a frame. Thanks for the thoughtful response.
  • 3 1
 I was told brazing doesn't really hold up to the stress of mountain biking. I guess that guy was wrong.
  • 3 1
 Whoever told you that is wrong.
  • 2 0
 Been there and did not last for me for a very long time (dropout / chain stay). But I guess there is a lot of things to be considered (frame, use, maker, build...).
  • 8 4
 @kusa: a properly executed braze will be stronger than the tube. A tube should fail before the braze itself. I've build several full suspension bikes that have been hammered on for years, the brazing holds up just fine, it's usually my poor design work or wrong tube choice that fails.
  • 1 0
 I don't know much about it, is it because brazing is lower temp than the chromoly and doesn't change it's properties? But couldn't you just heat treat a chromo frame after welding?
  • 5 0
 Curtis bikes (from the UK) braze their BMX and MTBs for decades and there seem to be no problems.

I'll find out, I own one of their FS bikes.
  • 2 13
flag thewanderingtramp (Jun 9, 2022 at 11:38) (Below Threshold)
 Brazing even as bad as that chewing gum appearance stuff on the Devlin will hold up well , most folks have the sense to at least file and paint it to something reasembling "decent" looking however.
  • 2 1
 My custom filled brazed hardtail lasted perfectly fine on the North Shore.
  • 2 0
 Brazing is a method. Done right it should be fine. Areas like the rear brake mount are likely to need reinforcement/a different design than a welded mount, but that’s a separate kettle of fish.

So I’d say you can’t just braze a frame with the same fittings etc. used on a welded frame, but if can be done.
  • 2 0
 Perhaps they meant lugged construction? I believe Devlin uses a combination of fillet and lugged, silver brazing. Fillet brazing if done competently is every bit as strong as tig welding. In fact it’s been shown that brazing can help preserve the parent materials properties. Some studies have shown lower temp silver alloy fillets to do so even moar betterer.
But it’s moot. There are two very well known steel frame builders here in the UK, one fillet brazes (properly), their frames don’t break. The other tig welds (properly), their frames done break. Both are good methods of joining a steel bicycle frame, and many other things.
  • 6 3
 First, the brazing looks great on the devlin. Second those have been filed and sanded smooth. If it was painted all you would see is smooth transitions between joints. Third, why are you making negitive comments about something someone clearly put their soul into? What do you make or create? @thewanderingtramp:
  • 1 0
 Over one hundred years of brazed frames, ridden on and off road, Paris Ruboux, Tour de France, many of these frames are still in use today, but yeah, brazed framed are weak and won’t handle the rigors of a jump park Wink
  • 4 0
 Yeah that's wrong. A properly done fillet braze in either Manganese bronze or silver alloy will outperform a TIG weld in terms of strength and handling stress. There are pros and cons to each process. TIG is clean and once you turn the torch off your pretty much done. Brazing is labour intensive and takes way more effort. In my opinion for the bikes I am producing, the mechanical properties of fillet brazing over TIG welding make it a better choice for building a product that will last.
  • 1 0
 @devlincc: how so when the yield stength is lower than proper heat treated chromo?
  • 6 0
 @Bro-LanDog: What are you referring too? The braze material? If so, the cross section is the main thing here. Where a tube wall thickness might be say 0.6-1.0mm a typical throat distance on a fillet is 5 times that. Providing enough meat to be strong enough. When referring to a TIG bead it is a lot smaller in cross section and has inherent stress rises in it's structure. TIG welding works. That's not in dispute. Works well. My approach is to build bikes that have less potential to fail and for me that means fillet brazing.
  • 3 0
 @devlincc: good point, thanks for the response
  • 4 0
 dang that TOR is clean.
  • 1 0
 My first two mtb's were steel, a rockhopper followed by a Scott CST Comp........loved how snappy steel felt. I'd absolutely love a steel full suspension trail bike.
  • 1 0
 Would love some more details on that drivetrain on the last bike. Looks like it's using Road/XPLR AXS rear derailleur and cassette maybe.
  • 1 0
 People are putting the short cage off a DH derailleur onto AXS MTB derailleurs somehow. Might be what that is?
  • 1 0
 @stubs179: It's a short-cage Force AXS road derailleur - www.pinkbike.com/photo/22705665
  • 1 1
 @cmrn: so no clutch? Not that they are great on the AXS stuff anyway.
  • 1 0
 @stubs179: Road axs stuff has a clutch
  • 4 1
 That Tor is so nice looking.
  • 1 0
 Bikes built from passion . Every bike is dripping with unique details . The double tube brazing , welded steel tubing rocker link and so much more . Beautiful to admire .
  • 2 0
 Single speed steel hardtails are my bag baby!
  • 10 12
 No offense but the fillets on the Devlin and the welds on the TOR look kind of bad. I've surely seen worse but still, not something I would be happy with and would have accepted on my custom frames at an average price for custom frames.
  • 6 2
 Thanks for the comment. Speaking for my own work the fillets are more than adequate for the task asked of them. If I was deliver a bike to a customer and they wanted raw then there would be more work done to make them look perfect. There is a lot more work involved though and they would be charged accordingly. These fillets are finished to a required level so they are structurally sound and have the right form to handle the stresses. These 98% of the time get covered in paint and then have a very smooth finish to it. There is literally no point or benefit to builder and customer to have the fillets done to those high aesthetic levels when functionally it does nothing.
  • 1 4
 @devlincc:
Fair enough and I wouldn't worry about structural problems here.
Don't want to be a total dick here but it's just that this is a show bike that you decided not to paint to show the fillets and those fillets are uneven around the edges and with pinholes in them.
I am not a frame builder but fillet brazed a few things at home, a frame during a building course myself and also own another fillet brazed frame where I didn't get asked or even charged extra for perfect fillets.
  • 5 0
 @KoenigKalle: all good man. I appreciate teh feed back and view point. It is a show bike but I don't take 'show' bikes. I take what I build every day and display bikes that are the norm. This isn't meant to be a one off concept show. I'm showing whats under the paint. I don't need to have perfectly shaped edges when it does nothing for the integrity of the bike and takes longer and costs more to produce. If your builder didn't charge for his time to do that that's on him. I don't work for free. There is already around 100 hours in build time in these bikes. Perfecting fillet edges to then hide them in paint makes no sense what so ever to me. I'd rather take that time to ensure the structural integrity of teh bikes is sufficiant and that it is in perfect alignment. Those things a far more important than having pretty fillets that you don't see. :-)
  • 1 0
 @KoenigKalle: Is your bike with the perfect fillets raw or painted? Are the tubes being joined straight or with complex curves? Serious questions, I hope that doesn't sound antagonistic. Your questions were fair enough, as were devlincc's answers.
  • 1 0
 Every bike deserves a proper head tube badge, not just a sticker, and the one on the Woods bike is a really nice example!
  • 2 0
 Agree, just got a Norco Optic.Perfect bike, but a metal head badge would spice it up. I was looking at vintage Norco ones but they all to small
  • 1 0
 @bmied31: www.bikepartsnos.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=197 I got this one for my Optic, covers the sticker perfectly and looks great.
  • 1 1
 We don't use stickers on our bikes. Every frames is fully masked and painted in PPG. That said I agree in that custom bikes deserve a good head badge. To be honest everything I've come up with so far has felt a bit substandard so have decided to only attach one when I'm super happy with it. More than likely I will just end up getting laser cut outs and brazing the deer head on to teh head tube.
  • 1 0
 The woods bike I’d say is the best one of them, if it can be a little mor 4x that would be cool
  • 2 0
 Dat Hardsteeltail looks sexy af.
  • 1 0
 What sprocket is paired with the profile cranks on the Woods bike? I want to run profile cranks on my bikes.
  • 2 0
 Waki thinks the devlin will break.
  • 3 0
 Well at least he's started thinking.
  • 1 0
 Too many mushrooms @watchtower:
  • 9 9
 Those are some pretty ugly welds for a handmade bike. I'd be more than a little disappointed if that was my bike.
  • 3 1
 On which one
  • 5 4
 If you are talking about the TOR then I agree. Beautiful bike, but the seat stay and headtube welds are a bit yikes. The inconsistent angles and toe fusion would make me reconsider riding that. Other than that, sexy bike.
  • 3 2
 @AccidentalDishing: Agree. Love the aesthetic and the paint job is stunning, but up close the welds look like they would be right at home on a K-mart bike.
  • 1 0
 Does anyone know what cranks those are on the pink Lost Workshop bike?
  • 3 0
 look like ingrid ,
  • 1 0
 @Compositepro: Nice. Thanks!
  • 1 0
 475 reach on a medium @_@
  • 2 0
 I hate the whole size thing. I would call it a medium because I use forward geometry and hence longer frame reachs with moderate head angles. In this case 65 degrees. AS each frame is made for each customer I don't call it a medium. Its a Jester 475.
  • 1 0
 @devlincc: makes sense thanks!
  • 3 1
 O’Doyle Rules!
  • 3 2
 Wow the devlin is beautiful! The rocker link is amazing, nice work!
  • 1 0
 BMX background, you say? Tell me more.
  • 2 0
 I love me some t47
  • 1 0
 I was thinking the same thing, seems to solve a number of issues. Really need to see more of these on bikes, and less cable routing through headsets!
  • 1 0
 Somewhere, a Specialized Levo is missing its shock
  • 1 0
 And 170mm travel on a 52.5mm shock? Wow...
  • 2 0
 @boozed: Lol yes. It's getting Fox Factory coil very soon. This was just a place holder.
  • 1 0
 The wooden headset top cover on the Woods is so cool
  • 1 0
 Looks like the Devlin frame chain ring rubbing the chainstay
  • 1 0
 No it clears
  • 1 0
 Devlin would be great with a more slack head angle.
  • 2 0
 Not really. Slacker head angles mean more wheel flop when riding up hill. This is a race bike when riding up is just as important so your not fighting the bike to ride straight. With a longer frame reach and moderate head angles you get a super stable platform at speed that is not a pig at slower technical riding. The proof is in the pudding for these bikes.
  • 1 0
 Lots of External routing going on here... i like.
  • 1 0
 None of them make my dog happy.
  • 2 1
 I didn't know I wanted a fabricated rocker, but here I am.
  • 2 0
 Neither did I till I made it. LOL. I do have a full FEA machined rocker waiting in the wings which is super refined but everyone is asking for the fab'd rocker so holding off hitting the go button on them.
  • 2 0
 @devlincc:
Bear here: I walked away from sticking metal together, to fusing it together in 1973. Messing around with Flames, Flux and other crap associated with Gas Torch brazing left My personal work environment 47 years ago.

You're seemingly committed to Brazing, and, indeed, your sweated joints that I see in some sections of your frames and your sweated tubing sleeve gussets - Fair Enough. The radius width you can achieve by braze fillets? - yes it can make up well for it's lack of strength compared to a fused joint. And, you've a process that enables different metals to be joined together.

One undeniable advantage of 'sticking' frames together by Brazing, and Soldering, Is the far easier way that tubes can be repaired / replaced than a TIG'ed, Fused joint, that's for sure!

You bought a TIG welder, didn't you? It seems everybody has one now - not that a 50th of them could use one properly, but's that's the way it goes - "all the gear, and No idea" is the theme of today.

Now, what I'm suggesting you might try, is TIG Brazing. You'd get your look / results that you currently have, and, as you became proficient at it, you could have the option of leaving , what can be, Absolutely Gorgeous beads of Bronze. Or, you stick to filing / sanding things down as you do now. TIG Brazing is Infinitely cleaner / healthier to deal with than Torches and Flux, too.

Go to say, Welding Tips and Tricks. Jody there is a supreme welder - I'm not given much compliments, but he is a fount of information.

Look for his TIG Brazing vs TIG Welding video(s) . And, he shows , basically what you are doing , with regards to a large arc / fillet to achieve strength and adhesion. Him hanging off a cycle tube until it collapsed showed that a good, strong joint can be made.

I do very little TIG Brazing, but, it's still in my armoury of metal working methods. The last I used it, was in repairing a couple of Harris XR69 chassis. If you want to see just how utterly beautiful Brazing can be, go type that out on your keyboard. They started as housing Suzuki GS / GSX/ GSXR engines, and are now being used to house FJ1100 /1300s and other big Air Cooled 4s, that they never housed in their original era. Beautiful things, but, they still have Braze joint problems, even with the superb workmanship they have.

Good to see you keeping on with your frames. I've thought of going to that show, but, while most enthusiasts are truly great to deal with I'm not one for dealing with , well, some of the weirdos / drongos that one encounters at such events.
  • 1 0
 Some beautifully made bikes right there!
  • 2 1
 Armchair welders assemble!
  • 1 0
 All of these bikes are stunners and a credit to the respective builders.
  • 7 7
 just here to rip on those TOR welds
  • 7 6
 Make something better and put it in a show? Talk is cheap, friend.
  • 6 7
 @Gibbsatron: Realistically these shows are supposed to highlight the best of the best in the custom bicycle world in a similar vein to car shows. I could buy several off the shelf steel production frames with far better aesthetics in regards to the welds , However I will point out the standards of custom building have slipped and are woefully inadequate IMO ,they seem to reflect more the attitudes of the instagram fake it before you make it set these days than any mark of enduring quality forging a reputation.
  • 7 6
 @Gibbsatron: welds look very amateur. You don't need much time behind the tig torch to know those aren't pretty and that most professionals could do better.
  • 3 4
 @Gibbsatron: But custom bikes aren't, and they should have cleaner welds than that.
  • 1 5
flag Gibbsatron (Jun 10, 2022 at 11:20) (Below Threshold)
 Sorry, still waiting to see the frames you built using your superior welds.
  • 1 1
 @Gibbsatron: shoot me a DM i can show you my 'superior welds' if you'd like, not that it should matter. One's ability has nothing to do with whether or not one recognizes a lack of quality.
  • 2 5
 @Bro-LanDog: BAHAHa! Thanks for the offer to essentially "cash you outside" but I'll pass. If your "superior welds" were of show caliber, perhaps they'd be the ones shown on this page instead of DMs. My unsolicited opinion: TOR went through a painstaking effort to create a beautiful frame that while it clearly doesnt speak to you and your fellow interweb welding experts, it does to him and at the end of the day that's all that matters.

Make a frame, show it on pinkbike and see how it fairs. Until then, show some respect to the people out there trying, clowns.
  • 4 1
 @Gibbsatron: if you don't know anything about welding just say that.
  • 1 0
 Needs more bear.
  • 1 0
 V2 Trinity is mint AF.
  • 1 0
 steel is possibly real
  • 1 3
 Beautiful bikes. Not that I'd ever ride anything steel again... but true artistry!
  • 3 6
 I feel really sorry for everyone that submitted a bike that wasn't that Devlin.





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