Three events stand out when it comes to annual organised shows concerning boutique and handmade bicycles.
Made (Portland, Oregon) may have only had one edition for those in the USA, but it quickly settled fears over the loss of the North American Handbuilt (NAHBS). Over in Europe, Bespoked ran an event based in the UK for many years, but last year it moved to Dresden, Germany, to be Europe’s largest boutique bike show. And then we come to the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia (HBSA), a Melbourne-based event smaller than the others but one that has always punched above its weight in its presentation of the builders.
Today, news out of Australia suggests a shake-up ahead in the land girt by sea. The Handmade Bicycle Show Australia has rebranded to Spoken and set its 2024 dates to June 14-16. Meanwhile, Made has announced it’s expanding into Australia, with June 28-29 dates to coincide with the Fyxo Melburn-Roobaix.
Operated by Locale (formerly known as Corporate Cycling) and first run in 2018, Spoken (formerly HBSA) will return to SeaWorks in Williamstown, Melbourne. The old shipbuilding yard offers a naturally lit and rustic setting for a collection of both Australian and overseas-made boutique bikes. Recent years have also seen the show grow to include international component, accessory, and clothing brands, including the likes of Shimano, SRAM, Campagnolo, Ingrid, Rapha, Partington, Reserve, Abbey Bike Tools, and so on.
Since its establishment, the Handmade Bicycle Show Australia has helped to provide third-party insurance to smaller builders, all while restricting the makers to use only the show-provided bike stands and signage. This measure provides a clean aesthetic that puts all builders on equal footing with minimal logistical expense.
Set to run two weeks after Spoken, the new Made Australia show will be held at the Darebin International Sports Centre (DISC) in Melbourne. The show is then expected to move to Adelaide for 2025, where it’ll coincide with the Tour Down Under. The event is a partnership between Echos Communications, the public relations company behind Made, and Andy White of Fyxo. Andy White has previously held custom bike shows in Melbourne. For example, I recall attending the Fyxo Melburn Custom Bike Show in 2014 where Bastion first teased a prototype 3D-printed titanium bike well before it even had a website.
Speaking with both event coordinators, it’s clear that each seeks to help grow awareness and success for those in the boutique and handmade bicycle game.
Made Australia will attempt to do this through strong international media coverage and leveraging the crowds of larger participation and/or spectator cycling events. Made Australia will offer subsidised booth space to newer builders and discounted bike shipping through BikeFlights.com.
Slightly different in approach, Spoken is a dedicated event, one that, according to event coordinator Nathan Lorkin, is “where people are coming for a purpose.”
Escape Collective believes the likes of Baum Cycles and Prova will attend both events for 2024. In the long term, it’ll be interesting to see how the two overlapping and competing events play out. Still, with at least one of the events due to leave Melbourne and swap to a different time of year for 2025, it’s quite plausible the events will co-exist harmoniously. More choice is rarely a bad thing for consumers, but the big question is whether a few of the smaller and part-time builders can afford to attend two shows in a single calendar year.
Follow the links to see Escape Collective’s coverage from the 2023 editions of Handmade Bicycle Show Australia and Made.
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