Llewellyn Custom Bicycles Columbus Max Road
The Handmade Bicycle Show Australia is on this weekends horizon. I thought it 'fitting' to repost one of my favourite bikes, but also one of the builders who has been the driving force of the handmade scene in Australia, and a peer amongst peers abroad.
Darrell 'Llewellyn' McCulloch of Llewellyn Custom Bicycles.
Yes, that's a lot of l's.
I had a strong fascination for Columbus Max road frames and many moons ago a very heavily pre-loved Llewellyn road bike appeared on eBay - the rest is history.
Originally burnt orange - it was my high-speed bike courieringering mobile until a minor collision with a van on Flinders gave me the opportunity to rebirth this legend. Then it had many guises. 9s Record, Classic C-Record with Delta's, a road fixed-gear conversion and finally, a neo-retro ride with modified Athena 11s as seen here.
The adventures it was taken me on are many. Twice to Adelaide for the TDU, inspiring the likes of Jesse Carlsson to repeat and smash the effort, to Warrnambool and back in a weekend from Melbourne, here, there and everywhere. I've put 28s on it and gravel grinded it, raced it in alleycats and club races. For the longest time, it was my most ridden ride.
Originally made in 1993 for a Brisbane local, Darrell himself had a very close connection with the owner until his life was tragically cut short in a climbing accident. If these tubes could talk....
This final build was a combination of modern reliabilty fused with classic Campagnolo styling - before they jettisoned the look for 'carbonium' and 4 bolt cranks. I removed all the logos letting the frame be the hero. Afterall, it's a 'Ferrari Azure' paint by Joe Cosgrove and that needs to shine! Good luck trying to source one of these gruppo's now.
Columbus Max was supplied with a 27.2 seat post - but the bike came with a coke can shim when I pulled out the original aftermarket post. Darrell mentioned these tubesets were notoriously varied for the seat tube and more commonly suited a 27.4.
Eventually a Campagnolo C Record seatposts in 27.4 came my way finishing what had always been a compromise.
The Llewellyn signature statement has always been ornate POLISHED stainless lugs (not Chrome - NEVER mentioned the C-word in front of Darrell) and the heart in the brake bridge. This sculpted statement would later evolve to include a tear from a previous relationship. Though my Llewellyn is rather understated in that regard, I love it no less. I just wish he'd bring back the original font type.
Look forward to catching up with one of the Grandmasters of Australian bicycle frame building this weekend.