Hi I'm Dan Bolwell
I have been building highwheels since my mid 20's, with extensive product testing long before becoming a full time professional highwheel bicycle builder. With over 30 years experience in unique and specialised engineering, Highwheels are my focus and passion. Supplying fully engineered, high performance, quality, correctly fitted Penny Farthings and exporting to 20 countries with more to come, I build a real riders bike in original style with many still going strong after 30,000 ks and some with over 60,000 ks of trouble free riding. Dan's highwheels feature the signature original style tapered/blade shaped forks, tapered and ovalised backbone, genuine highwheel purpose made hammock saddle and internal 1880's design internal headstem. Personally handcrafted, formed, rolled, shaped and welded by Dan Bolwell in his workshop in Melbourne.
What I do that make my bikes unique and perform so well:
Dan's bikes are engineered and designed, not just made, handcrafted for each persons riding needs.
I hand form the tubing from flat plate into the unique shapes. Tapered, blade shape butted tubing on the forks and oval tapered, rolled and butted tubing for the backbone, this is unavailable anywhere else and made in house. This is because there is no bracing or connection in the frame, it's completely different forces to a modern bike frame and requires these shapes for integrity, feel and durability. I also use a metal composition that is specifically suited to the use, all this combined is what makes my bikes stand up to the immense fatigue and stress that the frames are under whilst performing at the absolute best for the design.
My rims are specifically designed and engineered for Highwheels, rolled to any size on site, along with my own in house made hubs to suit each bike. My tyres are made to my design and specifications, in several different tyre compounds and a few different profiles so that the tyres feel like tyres should and perform at their best.
I make my own saddles, including all leather work and the mounting hardware in house myself for optimum comfort, they are a genuine Penny Farthing style hammock saddle that integrates with the frame, you will not find a more comfortable bike.
Handlebars are also made in house to fit each rider, the spade style is the iconic design that places your hand in a neutral and comfortable position and offer ultimate control.
Over the last 20 years I have collected vast amounts of data on performance and rider fit so I can tune each bike to the riders use along with the riders dimensions, I can dial in just about every detail on every bike individually with no component spared. The rake and trail is adjusted for optimum stability and control at the speed the rider will be riding at from an 80yr old who needs great manoeuvrability and ease of use, a tall 25yr old dedicated, super fit rider, or a shorter rider who wants to spin too 210 rpm and rip past everyone in races.
I am dedicated to the production and design of Penny Farthings, including rider fit and performance, ensuring confidence and feedback so the rider can give it everything they have, I've taken the designs from the 1880's and completely blown them away.
My work simply focuses on providing high class, quality highwheel bicycles, creating opportunities and adventures, so the fun of ownership goes long past the initial purchase. With solid, honest advice based on real world experience.
Through an ethical, carefully and solidly set up business, I can provide what I consider 100% value. Dealing directly and personally with me as the engineer and designer what you pay for is the raw materials and the time invested in your machine.
Often, Penny Farthings are seen as something for performance shows and going slow in vintage parades. This is incorrect, in actual fact they were simply invented for high speed and long distance - it was before gearing and drive systems, such as the chain, so the big wheel was the only way to gear the bicycle up to go faster. They were never used as a vehicle of industrial or social transport, rather a bicycle for sport and adventure, owned by the wealthy and pure athletes of the day. The first person to circumnavigate the world on bicycle did so on a Penny Farthing. The culture of Penny Farthings today is pretty well the same, we have a whole racing series, where riders slide the bikes around corners and hit top speeds of 55kph, along with big cross country tours of around 1,000ks a week. They were the first bicycle to use light and strong spoke laced wheels and fine rims with good rubber tyres, hollow formed tubing for strength and light weight, these along with a leather hammock saddle made them very comfortable and amazing to ride, just like a normal bike with a few quirks. The Penny Farthing was the first real bicycle, light, fast and fun.