Keith Marshall of Kumo Cycles is at the forefront of the modern Australian custom frame building scene. It’s easy to see the passion he has for working metal into highly refined bicycles, just as much as Busyman Bicycles’ Mick Peel has for tooling leather.
Naturally, when Mick asked Keith to build him a porteur-style delivery bike, the result was going to be nothing short of spectacular — a combination of the work of two exceptionally talented craftsmen.
Both Mick and Keith are renowned for the quality of their skills: Mick’s saddle reupholstery and matching handlebar tape is considered to be the ultimate finishing touch for some of the world’s most beautiful bicycles.
Keith, on the other hand, has been steadily accruing a reputation as one of Australia’s leading builders of custom bikes, which combine an Australian exuberance for riding and the outdoors with the refinement of a Japanese master sword maker.
‘Kumo’ means ‘cloud’ in Japanese and Keith states that he wants his customers to feel like they’re riding on clouds when they ride his bikes. It’s not hard to imagine Mick rolling smoothly over the cobbled Melbourne laneways on his Kumo.
Although the brief for Mick’s bike was a simple porteur with fenders, Keith elaborated with a bilaminate-constructed frame with a hand-machined head tube, and a custom rack and stem. The Kumo cloud logo was pantographed into the stainless fork crown.
It went without saying that it was going to be dressed with a Busyman saddle and matching bar tape. The leather matches the paint — a fade, applied by Simon of Velopaint, from the colour of tanned leather at the rear to an indigo ‘denim’ blue.
Mick’s wife Feride has a background in fashion and design, and came up with the concept of the colours. The Selle San Marco Regal has the same blue leather as the handlebar grips showing through the perforations, and vice versa.
The Busyman delivery bike has actually been completed for some time now, but Mick has just finished the final touch: a specially-designed leather bag for the front rack created to fold like a classic flat bottomed paper bag.