The light randonneuse of the 2016 French Technical Trial
The light randonneuse of the 2016 French Technical Trial
Discover the general presentation of our light randonneuse which won the Concours de Machines 2016. Next week we will write a succession of articles about the technical choices that we made in details.
The 1, 2 and 3 July 2016 the first re-edition of the Concours de Machines took place in Ambert, Auvergne, France. For the first time since 1949, nineteen French handcrafted bikes builders gathered with the bikes they built according to the theme of the light randonneuse for this special event. There were three days of trials to put to the test the machines. Friday was the day of long distance with a 235 km route and 4200m elevation while Saturday racers made a time-trial climb of the col du Béal. Most of them chose to carry the 3,3 kg load made up of ten issues of the magazine 200 as the regulation required it. Finally, the last trial took place on Sunday with 73 km and a 1200m elevation between roads and tracks. On a very rolling terrain (the bests rode on an average speed of 26 Kph), riders had to be agile to avoid traps and keep their bicycle unspoiled. After these three days, our light randonneuse won the competition according to different grading criteria: quality of building and the work of the artisan, reliability, weight, average speed during the trials and assessments of the judging panel, the public and the builders.This rewards all the work we did to build this bike and the technical choices that we present you here.
We wanted this bike to reflect our savoir-faire and our technical mastery, but also our view of what was a modern light randonneuse. We interpreted this theme with a light and efficient bike, bringing the comfort that requires the long distance. We decided to chose a timeless and distinguished style, a tribute to the great French randonneuses with a configuration and features meeting the requirements of modern cycling.
We had many ideas but the short timing made us dedicating ourselves to the essential and the heart of our savoir-faire: the fillet-brazing and the work of steel and stainless steel.
The home-made parts
We chose to build the frame of our randonneuse in Reynolds 953 stainless steel. This material is the highest top-end quality that you can find in our catalog. It offers the best features in terms of efficiency, solidity, weight and resistance to the corrosion. It is also more difficult to work than steel, that brought an additional challenge. We put all our technical savoir-faire in this frame: a triple triangle to improve the lateral stiffness, internal routing, Flatmount disc brake mount… The choice of the headtube of 36mm and the BSC bottom bracket enabled to bring comfort.
The geometry of the frame was tailor-made to Matthieu, our rider. The fitting was built in three times to validate perfectly the positions of the different points of contact.
We also built a stainless steel fork. The fork crown was completely custom by hand what enabled us to save weight, get a unique style and to adjust perfectly the fork blades. The latter are tailor-made Reynolds 921 with a 55mm rake. They are specially designed for disc-brakes.
The steel stem is built from Columbus Max seatstays. A lot of work was necessary to adjust, weld and finish it.
Finally, we made a minimalist front rack to support our Swift Industry Ozette Randonneur bag. We also built the decaleur system.
Several criteria have determined our choice of components: efficiency, lightness, reliability and at last the place of production. For that, we chose some modern component that match the best the authentic style of our randonneuse. For that, we were lucky to be helped by the German manufacturer Tune who provide us some parts that match perfectly our demands. Thus, the crankset, the hubs, the handlebar as well as the seatpost and the bottle cages come from their factory in the Black Forest. The saddle is a Komm-Vor carbon, customized by our friend Ruben from Superbeau to add some comfort and make it unique.
For the brakes and the drivetrain, it was hard to avoid the asian production. We love the Sram 1x11 configuration, both simple and efficient. the 42T narrow-wide chain ring combined with the 10-42 cassette enabled our rider to pass all the difficulties. We also chose hydraulical disc brakes, for more safety in the downhill or gravel parts, even with luggages.
About the wheelset, we have selected the NoTubes Iron Cross rims, for their excellent balance between lightness and reliability, and their ease to mount tubeless tires. We chose Compass Bon Jon Pass 35mm tires in Extralight version, generously provided by the French distributor 2-11 Cycles. The tubeless with sealant enabled us to finish the gravel trial despite a puncture.
The fenders were not obligatory, but brought some bonus points. It was important for us to use these elements to keep the randonneuse spirit, but we wanted them both discreet and modern. We chose the carbon models from the British of Swarf Cycles, that we have discovered on the Internet after the Bespoked UK. We have made custom fenders stays to increase stiffness.
We had to get lights on the bike because the long distance ride started at sunrise, at 5am. We chose Supernova Airstream battery lights, that were enough for the contest configuration. It has enables us to avoid a dynamo system that add frictions and weight.
At last, we needed a bag to carry our tools, food and stuff but also the 10 issues of 200 magazine during one of the three trials. We chose the Swift Industry Ozette Randonneur bag with a classic randonneur bag aesthetic and the use of modern fabric like X-Pac, both light, waterproof and resistant.
For more details about the Concours de Machines and our light randonneuse, discover the series about it: