The Lost Workshop (LW) is a unique custom painting workshop located in Australia (Melbourne, Victoria). Since its founding year 2018, its owner Ian Michelson has been dedicated to creating beautiful custom work.
Among them, we want to highlight their LW-2 GRAVEL MONSTER gravel bike. This uniquely designed and manufactured model results in a beautiful, timeless and highly versatile bicycle. Here are its key aspects.
This recent Australian brand, as I have told you, manufactures frames individually from scratch: the geometry, the tube, the components, and the paint job are unique for each client.
One of its latest culminations is the LW-2 Gravel Monster, which stands out for presenting a classic steel frame (Columbus Zone) with modern bicycle functionalities and components. Of the latter, I will detail later.
« The LW-2 Gravel Monster stands out for presenting us a classic steel frame (Columbus Zone) with functionalities and modern bicycle components»
I’ll focus on the frame tubes first. If you look at these, and like most bikes made of steel, they are obviously round in shape. This gives it a “timeless” look, which together with some very current components results in a different bike. Personally, I have seen many gravel models made of steel and visually I love them. It’s like a throwback to my past when I got my first bike as a teenager: a Romani road bike.
«The frame tubes, and like most bicycles made of steel, are round in shape. This gives them a ‘timeless’ look»
Although most of the tubes on the LW-2 Gravel Monster are straight, the rear chainstays or straps have some wavy shape. This gives it the look of a well-crafted and more modern bicycle. I love this particularity of the bicycle.
However, and this must be recognized, the variety of steel frame design and geometries is almost the same in all the brands that make these bicycles. That is, if you put a Specialized Sequoia and the LW-2 face to face then you will notice that there are few differences in frame design. This does not happen on bikes with aluminum and carbon frames.
« The seatstays have a certain wavy shape. This gives it the appearance of a well-worked and more modern bicycle»
As for its geometry, and from what I appreciate, it has a very slight sloping or fall of the upper tube. Consequently, this adds a plus of manageability. Also, it allows us to have a more comfortable posture since we are somewhat more upright. An important thing if we are going to be on the bike for many hours.
« The frame has a very slight sloping or drop of the top tube but, in general, its design is similar or the same as steel frames from other brands such as Niner or Specialized»
One detail that differentiates this frame from other brands is that the cables go internally through the frame. This particular detail, we do not usually see in frames built with this type of material. Not only does this give it a more modern look, but visually the frame is much cleaner.
« The cables go internally through the frame. Something extraordinarily little seen in frames built in steel»
Another thing I want to highlight is that the bike also has a straight carbon design fork. It is the Curve GXR and it is specific for gravel or adventure bikes. In addition, it has three eyelets for the installation of an additional bottle cage, or a specific bikepacking bag. In addition, it has an excellent weight of only 535 grams.
Finally add that the frame is designed to mount 650b wheels. Therefore, with this model we will be able to face any type of terrain, no matter how steep it may be.
For this particular model the 11-speed Sram Rival 1 drivetrain was chosen. As we have already discussed on occasion, it is a solution based on a single chainring. At the usability level it is much simpler since we only use one lever for the rear gears. Remember that being a handmade bicycle, you can place the drivetrain of your choice.
« This model uses a Sram Rival. In the previous image, note the black spacer between fork and front tube. Definitely a nice touch»
As for the rest of the transmission, for this model a 42 tooth chainring has been chosen combined with a large 10-42 cassette. An option therefore focused on off-road cycling.
« The chainring is 42t combined with a large 10-42t cassette. Those 42t on the chainring will give more speed than a 40t one»
Finally, I should add that in terms of the chainring and cranks, LW has not opted for those of the Rival 1 group, but for components of the White Industries brand. Specifically, the cranks are from the G30 model, designed for gravel or bicycles that have wider tires and therefore require more space.
We have already commented that this small artisan company does custom work. On this occasion, LW has opted for components (handlebar, stem and seatpost) from the Easton brand and specifically from the EA50 series. I want to highlight the handlebar, which is the EA50 AX, intended for adventure cycling and with a flare or opening of 16 degrees. I think it is a good idea to mount this type of exclusive handlebar for gravel or cyclo-cross, since it allows us greater control of the bicycle, especially on more technical terrain.
As for the saddle, the Syncros Tofino R1 has been chosen. It is a fairly comfortable saddle, and ideal for users who spend many hours on their bike.
Wheels and tires
When it comes to wheels and tires, LW doesn’t skimp on quality either. The wheels are the Mason X Hunt 650b Adventure, which as its name indicates are for gravel bicycles and with the measure of 650b. They are lightweight aluminum wheels (1,549g) that are the best on the market and can easily accept 2.2″ tires.
«The wheels are from the British brand Hunt, model Mason X 650b Adventure. One of the best on the market in this material»
To end this review, the tires are the 2.1-inch Teravail Sparwood. These thick tires with a low tread line allow you to navigate varied roads. From gravel, asphalt, or more extreme roads. I recommend them, as they are ideal for taking long bike rides.
It is not the first time that I speak about the work of custom or artisan bicycles. Having a unique bicycle, where you choose the geometry, the components, and the paint, is undoubtedly the dream of many cyclists, although for many it remains that, since its cost is high.
LW offers competitive prices although they are still above the price of mass-produced steel bikes, which is normal. The bike itself is beautiful, with details that pop out quickly and high-end components. It is a bicycle for many years whose design will never go out of style.
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Images: James Raison @rideadelaide
Article by VLG. Translation: JVD.