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Thread: Llewellyn Bikes

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    Default Llewellyn Bikes

    I build bespoke steel bicycle frames with lugs and my desire is use the best of traditional methods combined with the best of contemporary design and materials with an aesthetic that pleases me. Making my best better is my daily drive, while applying cycling bio-mechanics to the rider then designing the frame to fit under their position for the bike’s intended use. This can be hard to bulls eye when you have a less than fit rider but one must take an aim. For me the bike frames and the whole bike must be functional, not just funky for marketing motivations. The bike frame must be durable, thus give loads of value from the many years the bike is in service. The frame’s tubing diameters and wall thickness will be varied appropriately to suit the size and weight of the rider. I generally use OS tube sizes for small to medium riders and the XL for the tall and big lads. I do not think it is correct to use the same set of tube sizes and wall thickness for the full range of rider sizes from 5’/55kg lasses to 6’6”/95kg pedal pounders. There is no possible way the bikes will handle appropriately unless one specs the right tubes and diameters to match the rider’s size and weight. For those who are racing or can ride with a lot of spirit and grunt this is readily apparent, but less noticeable for the softer pedaling rider.

    When one designs durable and functional bicycles, there is no reason why they cannot be aesthetically pleasing as well. Many might think I only build elaborate fancy shiny stainless steel lugged frames, however that is a small part of my output. Most of my frames go to their new home with one-color paint and standard logos with only my regularly polished shiny stainless steel bits polished. I feel that contemporary steel frame construction needs to have all the small details considered and covered, such as stronger stainless M6 cap head seat binder bolts through to counter bores on the gear cable stoppers for the adjuster screw to nestle into thus minimizing paint chips. I use many stainless steel fittings in my frame work such as brake cable stoppers, chain hangers and stainless steel dropouts with raised wheel bite facets to keep the paint neat and tidy. These features enhance the frame’s function, durability and appearance especially for those who perspire battery acid. Some details such as stainless head tube logos do nothing with regards to the function of the bicycle, but the clients like them and the result is that they became a standard feature. The stainless heart detail between the seat stays evolved from doing second bridges in big frames and track frames. I started jazzing them up and more and more clients requested them again and again until they became a standard feature. When a rider is following a Llewellyn bike it is instantly recognizable by that stainless heart detail between the seat stays. It does no harm to the function of the bike and no one opts to omit it.

    For me to know that a particular detail or step is inserted in the build process is to sate my desire in pursuit of purity in my frame construction process. For example, I use a time consuming step-by-step main frame brazing process to reduce the chances of having to cold set a main triangle. My max tolerance of alignment of the head tube to seat tube is 0.30mm over 300mm length of the head tube. 19 out of 20 times I can achieve this with no cold setting of the HT, and this includes the HT reaming. This reflects my drive to build frames with minimal built-in stresses and with very good alignments of HT/ST/rear wheel plane.

    I am tired of the hearing the word “passionate” but I suppose I am a very self-motivated person and I can be intense when I have a vision or have set my course on a compass bearing. Can I blame bike racing and training for this trait? As a young lad I was attracted to individual sports such as athletics and bike racing, because it was totally up to me to train, suffer and be head-tough in competition. At the work bench it is all up to me working alone to make these tubes and parts work correctly.

    I started work with frames 31 years ago, was 12 years a part time builder of Llewellyn, and then full time for the last 10 years. When I stopped racing I did a lot of travel while working as a bicycle mechanic with the Aussie national team and the Australian Institute of Sport, living in Europe for six-eight months of the year. This means I have washed bikes in hotel car parks in 23 countries, worked 6 Word Champs, a couple of Olympic gigs, couple of Commonwealth Games gigs, road and track and many Pro and Am races all over Europe, then built frames/bikes in the summer back home in Brisbane while working at a local shop. My ongoing work with Australian Institute of Sport and with the Aussie national teams all around the world has given me a lot of knowledge, understanding of what works, how and what is important and the correct direction in regards to good design.

    People often ask who taught me, it was no one in particular. I did not grow up in a true production frame environment. Starting out at 16 yo I was the frame builder/bike shop owner’s assistant (back when bike shops built their own frames). I never just sat and brazed up the left dropout of 500 bicycle frames. I had to be a jack of all trades, doing repairs and serving the punters. Circa 1991 I found Richard Sachs magazine adverts and articles inspiring. That gave me a sense of direction with regards to how to get my message out in my local market as a young independent frame builder. The rest is toil and perseverance.

    I am at times dismayed with some aspiring frame builders who think gaining skills and acquiring knowledge is as simple as a few mouse clicks, down loading all the data to one’s Mark 1 cranium hard drive and bingo! It takes time and perseverance doing the toil. At times one has to buy the text books and spend many evenings, weekends learning and practicing such things as 3D CAD programs. For me it is seek, listen, observe and be inspired by others. I like to think I am a student of the world. The environment in Australia is such that until the Internet opened the world up we worked to a large degree in isolation to the rest of the bike world. Then the Internet arrived and opened many lines of communication but it doesn’t replace the toil.

    I dig track racing and making track bikes. In the past Australian summers were full of track racing, this is now nearly dead due to the disease that is summer crit racing. Give me a good night’s track racing finished off with a long Madison any time. I consider riding good Madisons as the hardest cycling event to master, skill, tactics, courage, speed and endurance coupled with a good understanding with your partner. I also like making nice fixie bikes and touring bikes because I feel these bikes take one on many adventures, much closer to the essence of cycling than the coffee shop loop with new electric gizmos.

    I enjoy learning/discovering new stuff as the days pass and I feel there is so much more to chase in this gig as an independent frame builder when one sees motivated people around the world making nice bikes. As much as possible I like to pass on what I know and I hope it is of benefit to other builders. I am pleased to be part of the Frame Builder’s Collective for it is a way of collaborating on this sharing of knowledge and experiences with other builders.

    In the last 6 years I have been motivated to design and produce my own frame parts as there was an absence of certain lug designs for XL tube sizes and also XL and OS sloping top tube lug sets. I jokingly call this my PhD in frame building as creating these has taken up a lot of time, resources and energy but I feel it has strengthened my future as a frame/bike maker until my retirement days are absorbed with making miniature live steam locomotives. One of the latest projects I have just completed is a joint project with Dario Pegoretti called the Cadenzia lug set with a level top tube set for XL tube sizes along with my other recent projects, OS Custodian lug set and the new Limpet cable stops. It is nice to see what other builders do with these parts.

    I enjoy early morning riding, I like to see the sun come up while riding and hear the Aussie bird songs and see a few roos. It is out the door ASAP upon awakening for two hours or more of early morning pedaling or I do not bother pulling the knicks on. I ride a fixie weekly doing 3 or more 2 + hours rides each week when fit. I like the hills, huffing and puffing up hills is more fun to me than pretend race rides with a large group. For me it is the ride, the exertion, make the blood flow rather than how fast I can ride over the others. I prefer style and grace on the bike rather than meaningless grunt. When motivated I like to run the engine hard on the climbs. I reckon you pin a number on and race or you ride with the number unpinned.

    The bikes have been good to me, I have lived a charmed life with many seasons of road and track racing in OZ and France. I’m definitely not gifted with a big engine but trained and suffered as hard as anyone could and I could scamper up a hill with a reasonable degree of respect on the good days, but my sprint was barely detectable by modern scientific instruments. I never tackled up, never for a moment could I even consider it! (Tackle = Aussie term for performance enhancing substances) My number is now unpinned and has been so for 17 years. I am glad I raced when the powers of one’s youth are at their best.

    I am fortunate to have been able to do and experience more that I could have ever imagined I could when I started work as a 16 year old for Eric Hendren at Hoffy Cycles Sandgate circa 1979. I like to think this is my reward for my perseverance of the toil.

    Life with the bikes is good.
    Cheers Dazza
    The rock star is dying. And it's a small tragedy. Rock stars have blogs now. I have no use for that kind of rock star.
    Nick Cave

    www.llewellynbikes.com
    The usual Facebook page
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/llewellyncustombicycles/
    Darrell Llewellyn McCulloch

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    darrell is a one-hander atmo.
    the number of cats who know what he knows and can do what he does can be counted on one hand.
    forza dazza-issimo.

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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Darrell,

    I'm a long-time fan after seeing some frames of yours back at Interbike years ago. Of all the frames you have done over the years do you have a favorite or a favorite style - iow, which speak to you the loudest? Any pictures to share of same?

    Bests,

    Steve Hampsten
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    "hey, we got grenades!"

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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Thanks Dazza! for all those online hours you've put in letting us see/read how you approach/analyze all things cycling. and for all those late and long conversations we've had at/around NAHBS. Them lugs are great too, but you knew that. Hello to Ginger and the Cackle-fruit Inspection Team as well.






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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    dazza-

    as you know, i think of you as the mr. babe ruth of australian handmade bike builders...everyone else is in your shadow. you've got alot of experience wrking with elite level athletes both on the boards and on the road.....

    so tell me- if you were commissioned to build bikes for a pro-tour team, what would they look like?

    craig/jerk
     

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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Thanks for getting Smoked out Dazza,
    I don't have any questions but do want to thank you for offering the products you make to other builders. The Mini Six was a game changer for me. I use it for many bikes wanting a higher handlebar height (esp ladies) without the need for spacers. It's fun to see someone insisting they want a horizontal TT & then try it out. Happiness all round.


    I'll have an order for more stuff coming your way this week.

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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    hey dazza -- thanks for all the valuable content you provide on this forum. also, your bikes rock.
     

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Dazza, thanks for all the pictures of your stunning work, and all the input and advice you've given here and other places to us FNGs and wannabes.
    Just curious, is there any other builder's work that you like to see? Are there any projects that you'd like to do (maybe for yourself) that is outside the normal scope of your work?
    Eric Doswell, aka Edoz
    Summoner of Crickets
    http://edozbicycles.wordpress.com/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/edozbicycles/
    In Before the Lock

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    hey thanks fellas for all the nice compliments
    It is nice to see my perseverance of the toil is rewarded
    Thank you
    Now as you all know, I am on the other side of the planet and hanging upside down
    so by the time I get up and ride and eat breakfast my replies will be delayed
    but I will get there
    Cheers Dazza
    The rock star is dying. And it's a small tragedy. Rock stars have blogs now. I have no use for that kind of rock star.
    Nick Cave

    www.llewellynbikes.com
    The usual Facebook page
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/llewellyncustombicycles/
    Darrell Llewellyn McCulloch

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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE View Post
    darrell is a one-hander atmo.
    the number of cats who know what he knows and can do what he does can be counted on one hand.
    forza dazza-issimo.

    thanks mate

    Bicycle Guide cover pic
    and pic series inside
    I thought, there, that is marketing the man behind the bikes, not just the bikes
    It clicked
    Of course, marketing the man behind the bikes means nothing if the bikes have no substance
    Thanks mate!
    Cheers Dazza
    The rock star is dying. And it's a small tragedy. Rock stars have blogs now. I have no use for that kind of rock star.
    Nick Cave

    www.llewellynbikes.com
    The usual Facebook page
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/llewellyncustombicycles/
    Darrell Llewellyn McCulloch

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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by hampco View Post
    Darrell,

    I'm a long-time fan after seeing some frames of yours back at Interbike years ago. Of all the frames you have done over the years do you have a favorite or a favorite style - iow, which speak to you the loudest? Any pictures to share of same?

    Bests,

    Steve Hampsten
    Track frames, built for a purpose.
    real hard raced track frames are cool
    The first special moment was when Waco Hamlin won silver at our national track titles on a Llewellyn Columbus Multii shape frame, circa 1990.
    Multi shape was all the rage then, and then MAX arrived and then all the sprinters used MAX.
    Brian Hayes was the builder of all the steel track frames for the Aussie national team before the carbon era
    so once they were on the National team they rode Hayes built A.I.S Euro bikes.
    Not many pics as the digital era had not arrived (digital cameras are super!)

    So I like track frames. Track racing is real combat in an arena!
    If I find pics I will share. I might have to scan a few.
    Cheers Dazza
    The rock star is dying. And it's a small tragedy. Rock stars have blogs now. I have no use for that kind of rock star.
    Nick Cave

    www.llewellynbikes.com
    The usual Facebook page
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/llewellyncustombicycles/
    Darrell Llewellyn McCulloch

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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by WadePatton View Post
    Thanks Dazza! for all those online hours you've put in letting us see/read how you approach/analyze all things cycling. and for all those late and long conversations we've had at/around NAHBS. Them lugs are great too, but you knew that. Hello to Ginger and the Cackle-fruit Inspection Team as well.
    Wade, NAHBS, I wish it went on for a couple of weeks and we all could jump into a time machine every 12 hours to recharge, get over the hang over and get real sleep and go again for another 12 hours.
    I love it.
    Speaking with builders, old friends, new friends, that is the fun of NAHBS
    Wade, we need more time chatting eh! Next time. (might be 2012)
    Cheers Dazza
    The rock star is dying. And it's a small tragedy. Rock stars have blogs now. I have no use for that kind of rock star.
    Nick Cave

    www.llewellynbikes.com
    The usual Facebook page
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/llewellyncustombicycles/
    Darrell Llewellyn McCulloch

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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by jerk View Post
    dazza-

    as you know, i think of you as the mr. babe ruth of australian handmade bike builders...everyone else is in your shadow. you've got alot of experience wrking with elite level athletes both on the boards and on the road.....

    so tell me- if you were commissioned to build bikes for a pro-tour team, what would they look like?

    craig/jerk
    They would look like 2011 Crumptons
    Carbon, no silly bulges or ribs or shapes.
    High accuracy in the build and head set alignments and BB etc.
    Custom geo for each rider (and various fork rakes for head angles !)
    Sponsor colours
    and built tough, not to worship the goddess of grams
    but building bikes for a pro team is not some thing I would ever want or have desired
    Cheers Dazza
    The rock star is dying. And it's a small tragedy. Rock stars have blogs now. I have no use for that kind of rock star.
    Nick Cave

    www.llewellynbikes.com
    The usual Facebook page
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/llewellyncustombicycles/
    Darrell Llewellyn McCulloch

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    had the pleasure of meeting at classic, few years back..
    cought my attention, your lug work / detail and time to talk with me..
    you helped fuel my fire, even brighter, for my wait -- a steel luger..
    thank you..

    spent some "good times" r & r in australia back in 68..

    ronnie
     

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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Brick Top View Post
    Thanks for getting Smoked out Dazza,
    I don't have any questions but do want to thank you for offering the products you make to other builders. The Mini Six was a game changer for me. I use it for many bikes wanting a higher handlebar height (esp ladies) without the need for spacers. It's fun to see someone insisting they want a horizontal TT & then try it out. Happiness all round.


    I'll have an order for more stuff coming your way this week.
    Thank you and super

    the below is cut from a spiel I have about my motivations for casting design and production

    Why do I design and produce my frame castings and parts.

    Why do I design and produce my frame castings and parts.
    There is a fair amount on the market for a frame builder to choose from, a lot of it is from the 80’s and early 90’s era when steel frame production was ubiquitous. Since then steel frame tubes and bicycle frame components have changed and this has effects on our designs. It is a pile of toil and expense to design and produce new casting designs, so why do it?
    As I work at the bench making frames I find a lot of existing parts are not frame builder friendly, the part might be missing features, or lacking versatility, or may not lend itself to easy modification or restrict the frame builder’s design and aesthetic considerations, or simply time costly to use.
    This motivates me to design and produce parts that I want to use that have never existed before. These new part designs allow me and other builders who choose to construct frames with the best of the time honoured and proven lugged frame construction methods with the merits of contemporary design. To improve and add features that belong on high
    quality bespoke steel frames in the 21 st Century.
    Last edited by Dazza; 11-14-2010 at 05:49 PM.
    Cheers Dazza
    The rock star is dying. And it's a small tragedy. Rock stars have blogs now. I have no use for that kind of rock star.
    Nick Cave

    www.llewellynbikes.com
    The usual Facebook page
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/llewellyncustombicycles/
    Darrell Llewellyn McCulloch

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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by edoz View Post
    Dazza, thanks for all the pictures of your stunning work, and all the input and advice you've given here and other places to us FNGs and wannabes. thank you, my pleasure
    Just curious, is there any other builder's work that you like to see? there are many, every one's stuff, there is so much out there, just look at Nick's photo essay on his carbon build, if I was a new young lad right now, that might be my direction
    Are there any projects that you'd like to do (maybe for yourself) that is outside the normal scope of your work? Finish my 5" gauge steam loco, then then start the next one. Not a kit, I machined all the parts and castings, it is ready for a boiler

    I like looking at lots of different builders
    Here http://www.velocipedesalon.com/forum...ing-18058.html
    and I like what Sacha White does.
    I think Sacha does not have the aesthetic baggage some of us have from growing up with bikes in the 1980's

    My projects
    First and foremost is steam, live steam
    Second is going solo in gliders one day
    any how
    some pics of the very long and slow process of my first steamer
    lack of time,travel, riding my bike, sucks up time, but got to make time eh
    and also I need a separate workshop space for Loco building.
    I have a new Myford 254 lathe still in a crate to roll into the new extension, if it get's built
    but we might be moving in the next 12 months so the steam loco workshop extension is on hold till maybe the new palace.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Dazza; 11-14-2010 at 06:19 PM.
    Cheers Dazza
    The rock star is dying. And it's a small tragedy. Rock stars have blogs now. I have no use for that kind of rock star.
    Nick Cave

    www.llewellynbikes.com
    The usual Facebook page
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/llewellyncustombicycles/
    Darrell Llewellyn McCulloch

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by ashwa64 View Post
    hey dazza -- thanks for all the valuable content you provide on this forum. also, your bikes rock.
    thanks mate
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Cheers Dazza
    The rock star is dying. And it's a small tragedy. Rock stars have blogs now. I have no use for that kind of rock star.
    Nick Cave

    www.llewellynbikes.com
    The usual Facebook page
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/llewellyncustombicycles/
    Darrell Llewellyn McCulloch

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Quote Originally Posted by ron l edmiston View Post
    had the pleasure of meeting at classic, few years back..
    cought my attention, your lug work / detail and time to talk with me..
    you helped fuel my fire, even brighter, for my wait -- a steel luger..
    thank you..

    spent some "good times" r & r in australia back in 68..

    ronnie
    Hi Ronnie, Cirque, I made the trip in 2005 and 2007. Heaps of fun.
    Heaps of fun for me to meet you and others on those trips.
    If were only a 2- 4 hour plane flight I would make the trip every year
    but alas, is is close to 21 hours plus transit times
    Cheers Dazza
    The rock star is dying. And it's a small tragedy. Rock stars have blogs now. I have no use for that kind of rock star.
    Nick Cave

    www.llewellynbikes.com
    The usual Facebook page
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/llewellyncustombicycles/
    Darrell Llewellyn McCulloch

  19. #19
    Flux

    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Dazza,

    Do you feel the builders/small brands who come from a non-racing background lack street cred?

    What shade of yellow did you use on your NAHBS Cadenzia frameset last year?

    Your Fan,
    Justin
     

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Llewellyn Bikes

    Dazza's a great bloke and always up for a chat, so I look forward to my phone calls with him coz he's always generously shared his knowledge. I use some of his gear on my frames and they're a pleasure to work with.
    Cheers,
    Ewen Gellie
    Ewen Gellie
    Melbourne Australia
    full-time framebuilder, Mechanical Engineer, (Bach. of Eng., University of Melbourne)
    www.gelliecustombikeframes.com.au
    http://instagram.com/gellie_custom_bikes

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