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Bicycling Australia Show -
Melbourne, AUS, October 13-15, 2006
Part 2 - November 14: Spinning out new effects
By Greg Johnson in Melbourne, Australia
Darren Baum is so confident in the product he sells - he puts his name on it. Baum's company, Baum Cycles, doesn't just manufacture bikes; they fabricate them. While other market heavy-weights are popping frames out of moulds in Taiwan, Baum's creations are a unique, personal experience, as each is crafted by Baum and his team using the high-quality metal fabrication techniques that have all but disappeared from this consumer driven world.
As if its bikes aren't special enough, the trend-setting boutique bike maker unveiled its new approach to paint at this year's show that will make your Baum Cycle that bit more personal.
The company has recently added an airbrush artist, who goes by the name of Spinner, to its team. Spinner has been busy designing and churning out paint schemes - like the Espresso track bike pictured - but found the time to discuss the processes behind his masterpieces and what's in store with Cyclingnews.
"In the writing on this one - it's a silver base and when the silver is dry we've deliberately scratched it so it gives you that brushed stainless effect - as good as you're going to get with a paint finish," explains Spinner. "We put the drop shadows in as well to give it more depth."
The wood effect is composed of different layers of paint and manipulation of the compound at different points during the drying process. After letting the tan base set, Spinner applies a darker layer of brown and textures it while it dries. "It gets to a point where it wants to flex, its not hard but its not wet - it's in-between so you can pull your texture through," he explains. "We clear-coat that, get a nice flat finish by rubbing it back and then we can put all the other colours over the top."
It all sounds simple, right? Well no, in fact each Espresso Spinner paints takes about 15 -hours, with the company's Ristretto finish taking a few hours more. So what motivates someone to spend that time painting? "I love doing it," states Spinner. "It started off as a hobby doing a few frames for friends and I built on it from there."
A stone effect is among the potential new designs being considered for the bikes, but Spinner is open to trying his skills at new challenges. "If they tell me what they want, I'll do my best to get it as close to what they want," said Spinner, excited at the prospect of a challenge. "If you use your airbrush in the right way, anything is possible."
While Spinner is open to requests from Baum customers, there will be limits on what can be done. "We want to stay with this [panel] sort of style," he explains. "Because they are a traditional looking frame, we want to keep it a traditional looking frame but with an effect - [otherwise] they start to get a bit to much."
Spinner is also adding his touch to the head badges of Baum Cycles, he explains: "We paint it gold then we take the colour off the top once it's been baked - take it back to cast pewter."
Spinner's work comes at a cost, but given the quality of the workmanship in the bike, which extends through to the new paint schemes, it's a reasonable ask. "On a Ristretto it's about 800 bucks [Australian] on top of your frame price," says Spinner. "On the Espresso it's at a bit over a grand - because we don't allow for as much paint time."
So for those in the market for your own personalised Baum, it's time to dust off the pencil and notepad to put Spinner's skills to the test!
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Greg Johnson/Cyclingnews.com