Jeanne's machine for the Concours 2022
Jeanne asked us to be our pilot for the Concours de Machines 2022. This year the contest is organised by our friend Andréas Behrens from LaFraise Cycles in Roubaix. Only women can compete on this 218 kms ride mixing paved, gravel, cobbles, wet and dry roads.
We built a confortable, powerful and versatile bike for Jeanne. Not only for the contest but also for her to ride everyday on her favorite roads and trails, pull her daughter's trailer, or even compete on the Atlas Moutain Race next autumn in Marocco.
We won the Concours de Machines in 2016 and 2019. Victoire's team knows the huge commitment it takes to participate. We were eager to dive back into this adventure this year.
The most part of bikes we make are versatile models, ready for roads and trails.
Also, this is the first time the quality of manufacturing and details are this important. We insists on the finishing of our bikes which must be as pleasant to watch as to ride.
Through this idea of only female pilots, we met the adventurer Jeanne Lepoix. Graphist designer, photographer, and filmmaker, Jeanne now joins Matthieu Lifschitz in our test team and will be riding her Concours de Machines 2022's Victoire on her future expeditions.
We immediately chose Columbus XCr stainless steel tubes to create a lightweight and indestructible bike.
The frame builder must have a long experience of this material to be able to exploit all its qualities. Victoire made more than 200 stainless steel frames so far and knows all the stresses and benefits of these specific tubes.
Jeanne is light and swift, so we chose small diameter tubes. The tube diameter has to be chosen according to the shape of the cyclist : a too stiff frame will be harder to ride, and will absorb less vibrations from the roads. The larger the diameter of the tubes, the stiffest the frame will be. We went with a 28.6mm top tube and 31.7mm lower tube to end up with a bike to fly over the cobbles and stay confortable, even after several hours on the saddle.
This top tube shape was made exclusively by Columbus for Victoire. It has a thin profile which straighten the vertical bump filter. From the top, the width makes it perfect for a bag screwed on the front triangle.
The T47 bottom bracket allows the light system inner cable routing.
Just like on every Victoire (steel and stainless steel), the frame is entirely welded-brazed with silver. Using this technic, the tubes are not weaken through the welding process : the melting temperature of the silver being much lower than for stainless steel, the molecular structure of the tube is not altered, which does not lead to a degradation of the material characteristics. All the fillets are polished by hand.
Our project for the Concours de Machines was made using four welding torches. Usually, each bike is made by one person, every aspect from start to finish. But we use a different technic for this Concours de Machines. The whole team was on it, and each person took over one part of the project. Matthieu made the frame, Olivier made the stem, Marco made the fork and Grégoire made the rack system.
Disc brakes emerged has a standard on modern bikes, so on Jeanne's Victoire too. Beyond the powerful braking they offer no matter the weather, disc brakes make room around the tire area to use wider tires and improve the confort.
Using disc brakes also allows to chose any wheel rim size. There is no brake pad pushing on a specific spoke so we can change the rim size and transform a gravel bike into a sportive road bike easily by changing the wheels. Jeanne's bike is based around 650B*50mm tires. By using 700c wheels and a 30mm width tire, we end up with lighter and faster wheel on the road while having a external diameter so a same behavior. Jeanne will be able to use more reactive and light wheels (but less confortable and no suitable for gravel trails) for her sportive rides on roads only.
The concours settlement offered a special price for the best saddle PUITS?. Le puits de selle is where the seat post enter the frame. We decided to make a saddle tube sleeving to reinforce this high train zone, and create an aesthetic limit for the paint. The seat post, just like many Victoire, is integrated inside the shrouds. The clamping screw finds his place into the left shroud, this way no clamping system is showing when your look at the pedal-side bike.
The Concours de Machines is the opportunity for us to explain our savoir-faire, but it is also a good excuse to test and develop new things. One thing we really wanted to integrate the lighting cables, from on end of the bike to the other. Two reasons for this, first for the aesthetic aspect and also for a good reliability, the cable can't be ripped off or cut off by falling.
We decided to create a specific rack (see more below) and we machined and brazed a specific shroud for a Supernova light modified on the dropout area. This was very much considered : this is the only that allows the light to be visible whatever Jeanne choose to carry on her bike. Perfectly visible from every angle, Jeanne will be riding safely day and night.
Victoire n°519 fork, "unicrown" shaped, was made by Marco. This shape is mechanically obvious, fork blades was bended on top to avoid the plaquette de fourche. This offers a better strength and drops some weight.
The fork blades are a small diameter and the dropouts are off-centre for a better impacts filtration. These are stainless steel and we have a reliable Son SL on it, easy to remove because there are no wire. These dropouts were made by Julien Fritch from Jolie Rouge. We are very happy to join forces with a friend who is also a frame builder contestent for the concours !
The stem was made by Olivier from a scrap tube the exact shape of the frame. Aesthetically, the stem geometry was designed to extend the top tube. A fixation system for the gps was also added under the stem. This would not be possible if it was not custom made.
The luggage rack was made by Greg. We wanted to upgrade the traditional pannier on a rack to make it lighter and easier to access. Two issues faced with most of the bike packing saddle bag are the fact that there is no easy access of the inside of the bag while riding, and also it is impossible to use the middle part of the handlebar since this is where it is attached to. In order to solve these problems, we were inspired by a solution created by Sylvain Ozilou from Cycles Pierre Perrin in Concours de machines 2019. He used Fidlock magnetic system to attached the bag on the rack. With this genius idea you can remove the bag and bind it again very easily. This time saver is very valuable in bike packing, during inclement weather.
The rack shape is very minimalist, linking four fixing points of the bag. The bag is now secured with no possible movement, and it is removable in less than 2 seconds.
The rack weights 200g only, including DECALEUR, magnetic system and Synewave light support. An ultralight René Herse similar system weights 300g. Our rack also contains the routing for different dynamo and rear lighting cables from the lamp, with no visible cable from the front hub to the rear light.
The bags were made to measure in record time by Neza Peterca from What Happened, a Slovenian craftsmanship business.
Bags for frame and top tube are similar on Julien's Victoire n°491. Light and practical, they are very efficient so we use the shape again on Jeanne's bike.
We first made a cardboard model of the handlebar bag, before asking Neza to make it. Made from Ecopack fabric, it is all we ask in terms of modularity and loading capacity.
The set rack and bag ( with DECALEUR, lamp support and magnetic Fidlock system) weights 600g, so not a lot more than a bike packing bag of the same capacity, or half the weight of a handlebar bag traditional system with a rack and a DECALEUR.
For the first year, there is a specific price at the Concours de machines for best paint job. Since 2019, Victoire paint jobs are made by Julien in our works. Paint has a dual function : to protect the bike from usual harming (humidity, small impacts) and also to give its unique personality to the project.
We use a derived process from car bodywork, with a multi-layers system allowing an infinity of finishes. The paint job finalize the bike identity, mixing the client aesthetic desires and Victoire's DNA. The first step is translucent powder coating for an extremely strong base, leaving the brazing and polish work visible.
This first coat was frosted and degreased, and the bases and saddle tube where masked. Then the frame received its first coat of color with a british racing green mate base. A nice and thick coat of varnish full of deep green sparkles was then added. Sparkles almost cover all the first coat of green in order to create a depth effect.
Jeanne loves the Victoire n°491, so this project served as a basis for this paint job. Jeanne created different geometric shapes, patches, dotted lines and outlines which Julien added as a camp effect. Three other green shades were used for this patterns. Once all the patterns were painted, it was all secured with a new varnish coat.
Besides the usual Victoire logos on the lower tube and our seat tube tagging with the frame number and the names of the person who worked on the bike, Jeanne made two small personnel logos to add :
The first represents a mother and daughter riding on a bike, and the other one in a sunset.
Victoire logos were colored with a gold color close to the silver color used for brazing. Jeanne's logos are painted with different colors from the same color palette as the rest of the frame.
Except the Chris King head tube, or the choice of tires imposed by the lack of stock, almost all the components is Made in Europe. We wanted to test on this bike the Ingrid transmission from Italy associated with Campagnolo brake levers and Hope clamps. This makes the braking the more precise and flexible on the market, with a gear ratio (10/48) and a small crank (36 teeth), as Jeanne requirements.
So here is our bike for the Concours de Machines 2022 ! This bike represents an intense and exciting collective work. We are constantly aiming for excellence and we see each bike as one more step in this direction.
This one is from or research and expertise from the previous concours de machines bikes and models 417, 491 and 507, gravel and versatile randonneuses.
Let's the results on sunday the 26th of juin at 16 o'clock.