With wisdom and experience gleaned from a career that spans working at GM-Holden, Ford & Toyota — troubleshooting engine and car manufacturing, to defending his ’92 Aussie Downhill Mountainbike Championship against John Tomac, it’s no surprise that Ewen Gellie speaks with gravitas. Having built plenty of mountain bikes, and numerous bikes with skinny tyres, presented here is a foray into the complicated realm of the tandem.
Ewen has built many frames with S&S couplers, like the tandem, which required four more couplers than a standard frame, but will allow it to be packed into a bag slightly bigger than the wheels. “With some effort,” Ewen tells us, “I’ve managed to create a design where all the frame tubes are double butted, for reduced weight and improved durability. The fork is a tandem-rated one I source from the USA, and I’ve added a brace to the disc-mount for improved durability.”
“I began frame building in 1988 while studying engineering and the second frame I made for myself has returned to me intact and now hangs in the workshop. It was the frame I won downhill and trials National Championships on, a mountain bike made with the uber-delicate Reynolds 531C tubing: seatstays, chainstay, seat-tube and the down tube used for the top tube. Only a more rugged down tube of another type was substituted.”
The Gellie Custom workshop is located in the hills north-east of Melbourne, Australia, where Ewen is able to test ride his own frames among the eucalyptus trees. Read more about his craft on his website.