Maiden Australia: Lou’s 650b Prova Cycles Tourer

Maiden Australia: Lou's 650b Prova Cycles Tourer

Prova Cycles’ Mark Hester has some impressive automotive design and engineering credentials, which he now applies to the two-wheeled world. After producing a slew of off-road tourers and MTBs, he recently completed this 650b tourer for his wife, Lou.

Maiden Australia: Lou's 650b Prova Cycles Tourer

After a formative engineering career in the US and Europe, which was spent developing chassis control systems for companies such as Robert Bosch and Jaguar LandRover, he’s now based back in the Australian capital of Canberra.

Maiden Australia: Lou's 650b Prova Cycles Tourer

Mark raced XC enduro for more than a few years in Australia and when he was living in the UK, he took to the gravity enduro scene, where he participated in a couple of Enduro World Series rounds and the Trans-Savoie multi-day enduro in the French Alps.

Maiden Australia: Lou's 650b Prova Cycles Tourer

Suffice to say, he knows how a bike needs to perform off-road. The last of his creations featured on Cycle EXIF was the Prova Cycles 29er Adventure Road Bike, which was successfully tested on an 800km ride from Canberra to Melbourne in five days.

Maiden Australia: Lou's 650b Prova Cycles Tourer

Obviously, his wife Lou was wondering when she’d see the benefit of Mark’s enterprise, and he suitably responded with this fresh, functional and very pretty tourer. It’s built for seriously long distances and if the scenery gets boring, admiring the bike sure won’t.

Maiden Australia: Lou's 650b Prova Cycles Tourer

Mark fillet brazed the frame together from a combination of Columbus Life and Spirit tubing, trimmed with low mount rear dropouts from Bentley Components and Llewellyn stainless down tube and chain stay gear bosses.

Maiden Australia: Lou's 650b Prova Cycles Tourer

Yorkshire’s Bentley Components also provided the stainless CNC’d fork dropouts, to cater for the SON SL connectionless front hub. Mark modified the crown to remove the caliper holes and added top-mount rack bosses and the under-crown fender mount.

Maiden Australia: Lou's 650b Prova Cycles Tourer

A Brooks Cambium saddle has been customized to accept a SON rear light, inspired by the work of MAP Cycles‘ Mitch Pryor. The wiring enters the downtube through a Di2 grommet in a stainless boss and exits from the end of a Thomson Masterpiece post.

Maiden Australia: Lou's 650b Prova Cycles Tourer

White Industries G30 cranks were installed with a ‘super’ compact 32/42 gearing, coupled with a SRAM Force 22 groupset and a 32T rear cassette, which will provide for an ideal loaded touring ratio.

Maiden Australia: Lou's 650b Prova Cycles Tourer

Mark made the front basket atop the Tubus lowrider rack, which was designed for the Sugarloaf bag and rolltop panniers from Swift Industries. Another Canberra local, Velopaint, applied a matching scheme, as did Melbourne’s Busyman Bicycles.

Head to Mark’s site to see more of his work. Massive thanks to Adam for the photos.

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Maiden Australia: Lou's 650b Prova Cycles Tourer