Panda builds. Very amateur adventures

Heya guys. Im very much an amateur. I live in Tasmania, Australia. I come from a chemcial stainless fabrication history. Some years back i was hit with a very complex medical reaction and now rely on disabilty pension. I say this mainly to explain why im very slow at things, and why certain things are done the way they are. All work is done in my backyard shed, and aside from the tog welding, im self taught in the rest.

Ive been racing and riding my entire life. Across bmx, road mtb and track. When i got sick i was in my mid 30s and faced a life in a wheelchair. Certainly getting back on the bike was not in the stars. So as a form of rehab / mental engagement i set about trying to stay envolved in cycking through frame building. So far ive built 4 frames. Ive managed to get back on a bike, though my fitness limits my actual abilties lol. Anyways, enough back story, here is my latest build.

This is the first bike frame i built for myself. Its far from perfect. But so far she has shown no bad manners, hasnt collapsed in an angry ball of fire and thr position experiment seems to be paying off.

Due to some stuff wrong with my hips and back, i had reached the limit of what physical rehab i could work with to improve my range of movement. So i decided to try a steep 76 seat angl to place me further over the bb. Essentially the front was kept the same from my original positioning, with the idea being the forward position would help my hip cope.

The frame is made from coloumbus max tubing (mainly cos i have a proper soft spot for it after growing up track racing in the 90s ) and also included a change in bars from 40 to 36 wide.

That seems to be the limit of my uploads, but gives you an idea. I get very limited torch time and thats my biggest hurdle currently. Id love to be sble to get a few hoirs a day under the hood to really refine my welding, but these days ill go 6 months at a time without any welding lol.


This was my first real foray into any sort of brazing. Hence the fairly average internal braze clean up lol. I also cooked the living hell out of the seat tube clamp cluster while brazing, but live n learn


So far the seat clamp is the only weak point. It is silver brazed to the stainless collar i brazed over the seat tube. (This was to bring the seat tube junction out to thr same size as the flared max top tube for ease of welding )

It appears to be lifting on one edge of the clamp face. Its still holding, and thr seat isnt slippong under my fat arse, but yes, less that flawless lol.

The bike was painted with some of bunnings finst rattle cans (like home depot i think ) and the all internal di2 works well for a very clean frame build.
Over all im very stoked, and really hopeful i can get some fitness up and stay healthy long enough to get a race or two in this year.

Feel free to offer any advice or critisism, im well aware it aint perfect lol. And ask any questions that may pop up.


What an inspirational story. Thanks for sharing. For 99% of people, custom bikes are just a fancy paint job. However, I think it’s really cool when the custom frame actually makes a difference to someone.

The bike looks awesome. It has that early 90’s race bike vibe.

From our mountain bike testing, we found out that low front ends and steep seat tube angles don’t mix. That combination dumps all your weight onto your hands. Not sure if that translates to road bikes or to your unique situation, but that is just our experience.

Yeah normally that qouls be the case.

Im terribke at explaining these things, but the way it works in my head is my position on the bike has not changed. Ive shifted the full stable shape of my body forward over the bb shell.

So weight transfer has been negligible. Certainly nothing i can detect with the butt dyno.

I have an awkward shape body, stupidly long torso and midget legs also. So this may have helped in the outcome.

I still hold delusions of racing competitively again one day. To that end, the next plan brewing is for a custom track frame. That will be another experiment, for me, exploring the current trend for very long forward bikes for track sprinting. For example, this bike is about 535ish long, and id be looking at making somehting closer to 590 long.

That will also include some 3d printing adventures, but its a long way off… (along with my sprinting legs lol)

Appreciate the feedback mate


I also LOVE track racing. I have been dreaming of a track frame too. Excited to see what you come up with.

Since you are from down under, I’m sure you have come across this blog? It has some really interesting theories about modern track racing.

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Yeah he produces some really really useful bits, and is a clever problem solver for alot of riders.

That bike looks great! The tube selection is spot on aesthetically. Always stoked to see a road bike with a steep sta too haha

I’ve been on a road bike with a 75° sta and a low front end since 2015 - I am a huge fan of the position it puts the body in.


Awesome work!

Sometime I will try to find some pictures of my first frame. It will make everyone feel really good about themselves.



Thanks for the reception peoples. Ill go on a hunt and track down some of the progress images.

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