Darren Baum trained and worked as a certified aircraft engineer and stainless steel TIG welder before becoming a frame builder. His cycling career began as an A grade rider before a car accident in 1990 sparked a long-term interest in how biomechanics and bike design can be used to increase performance. The rest, as they say, is history.
|1990 Mentored by master frame-builder Brian Cross. Building with pressed lugs, silver solder and Reynolds 753.|
|1993 Transition to Italian frame building techniques; cast lugs and brass.|
|1995 Started building frames constructed with polished stainless steel Henry James lugs.|
|1996 First frames sold on a commercial basis under the Baum name.|
|1997 Starts fillet brazed construction of steel.|
|1998 First production of TIG welded steel and aluminium frames.|
|2002 First titanium prototype frames made.|
|2003 Begin taking international orders.|
|2009 Thanked by Cadel Evans in his book, Close to Flying, for our work with him.|
|2010 Research partnership with Deakin University’s Technical Research and Innovation (carbon fibre / titanium).|
|2014 Fitted and Built Custom Titanium road bike for Prime Minister of Australia (Hon. T. Abbott).|
|2014 Bespoke UK Show – Best Road bike.|
When we weigh up all of the compromises that go into bike design, what is most important? To make the lightest bike? The stiffest? Or the most beautiful? How about none of the above? The thing we’re trying to do is build a bike that you will love to ride ten years from now.
To make a bike that is super light, that is fast and still comfortable, is something. But there is a quality beyond that, something special that’s been a part of all of our favorite bikes over the years, something that causes them to lodge in our minds and hearts. It is important to us to build bikes which have that quality. Special bikes. Favorites. And it’s important that they are this way, not for the first year or two years, but for at least a decade. We hope that our bikes, most of them anyway, are lifers.
Today Darren is happily married with two children, and more keenly interested in advancing the art of titanium frame building than ever before.
The question comes up from time to time. With a grab-bag of skills that include precision fabrication, low tolerance titanium welding and boutique paint-working – skills valued in industries better funded than cycle craft – why build bikes?
Because we love cycling. Because on a project the size of a bicycle we can exert near absolute control over the finished product, and absolute control means absolute responsibility. What we’re talking about here is ownership. Building machines as simple as bikes allows us to take a slightly obsessive level of pride in our craft because their scope is limited enough that it permits aiming for perfection. And even if we don’t get there, we kinda like that.
All stages of manufacturing from C.A.D. to tube mitring, butting and painting are completed in-house to ensure absolute control. We design and/or machine our own head tubes, bottom brackets and dropouts to optimise the alignment, weight and stiffness. We do our own butting, shaping and corrosion prevention under the same roof. All of our frames are painted in the paint facility we developed with the help of PPG, the worlds leading supplier of high performance paints.
Steel and titanium are both excellent materials for frames. They allow a wide range of tubes for customisation, do not fatigue and provide excellent road or trail feel. Steel is livelier, titanium provides more damping and yields a lighter frame.
In the final assembly, every bolt is torqued to manufacturer’s specifications, cable ends soldered (not crimped), bearings checked for alignment and smoothness, and each bike test ridden and washed before it leaves the factory. Every frame comes with a lifetime guarantee: ‘If it is our fault we fix it – no questions asked’ and we provide a reduced-cost replacement service should your bike ever be damaged in a crash.
It really is a team effort here – every staff member we have has drawn from their own experience to make our product what it is today.
Here’s what we do:
Ryan Moody: Front of house
Aaron Doble: Frame fabrication, machinist
Shaun Bradley: Paint and finishing
Chris Fry: Head mechanic, Photography
Jodie Clausen: Manager, HR, Accounts
Darren Baum: Owner, Welder, Business development
Steve Caddy: Brand development, website
Jason Nestor: Graphic Design
Jim Hsu: Graphic Design, Social Media Strategy
Dr. Paul Collins: R&D (Deakin University)
James Pierce: System Development (Luna Tractor)
Murray Salminen (Hi-Tech Engineering)