Presentation of Concours de Machine 2016 (3/3)

Presentation of Concours de Machine 2016 (3/3)

Victoire Cycles and 200 magazine organize the first re-edition of the Concours de Machines. This competition that took place from 1934 to 1949 brought the French handcrafted bike builders together to put to the test their "machines" created for the occasion. It will  take place this year the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of July in Ambert, France, during the sportive " Les Copains", who provide us their routes their organization and their public.It is a very popular event in the French cycling calendar (about 2500 riders in 2014) that is famous for his friendly atmosphere and the quality of its routes. The Forez mountains are ideal to push the bikes to their limits. We will present you this week the Concours through a three episodes serie. The last one is about the judge panel and the builders.


The judge panel

We saw it in the previous parts, the main goal of this contest is to highlight handcrafted bicycles building, and push it forward. Nevertheless, this event remains a competition, so that's why we have selected a high-level judge panel, with people from different horizons who can evaluate the different machines. They will be cycles historians, with a great knowledge of the original Concours de Machine, both in the historical and technical way, randonneuses experts, a person from the French bespoke bike industry, but also some frame builders and long distance race organizers. The judges will come from different countries, that will bring an international dimension to the contest.
  • Raymond Henry

Official historian of the French Cyclotouring Federation (FFCT), he also hosts International Cycling History Conference (ICHC). Randonneuses collector, he has a great knowledge of their history and their technical specifications, and as a result, of the Concours de Machines that made their evolution. He wrote a large amount of publications, like the one untitled "Histoire du Cyclotourisme" (History of bicyle touring), published in two volumes. The first one cover the 1865-1939 period whereas the second one is about years 1939 to 1955. 


  • Bernard Chaussinand

Passionate by the history of bicycles and particularly about the one in his hometown of Saint-Etienne, the historical place of the cycling industry in France, he also has a great knowledge of the original Concours de Machines.  He also wrote four books about bicycle and his history. We can quote among them "Claudius Bouillier, pionnier du dérailleur et disciple de Vélocio" (Claudius Bouillier, pioneer of the derailleur and pupil of Vélocio) and  "L'Industrie du Cycle à Saint-Etienne et dans le bassin de le Loire" (Bicycle industry in Saint-Etienne and its region).


  • Jan Heine

This German settled in the USA is the autor of reference books about handcrafted bicycles like "The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles" or the one untitled "René Herse" about the famous French frame-builder. He has launched his company, Compass, owner of the name René Herse that offer reeditions of original components like cranks or tires. He is also the editor of the famous magazine Bicycle Quarterly. In addition to his historical knowledge, Jan is a great cyclist and he challenges the test bikes to the limits of their capabilities. He also takes advantage of his engineering background to write advanced technical articles. Well known for his attention to detail, he will have an expert view on the bicycles of the contest. 


Passionate by bicycles since always, he lives in Auvergne region. This passion allows him to meet many people like Jan Heine. As a graphic designer, he designed his books from "The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles" to the latest René Herse. For some years now, he writes a book with his partner Isabelle about Bourdel, a frame-builder based in Clermont-Ferrand, and creator of the famous brakes brand MAFAC. 


  • Michel Roux

Mr Roux was hired in 1973 by the company Vitus, a French steel and aluminium tubing manufacturer, who makes then complete bike. Sales manager, he left the company in 1996 but he still work for French frame-builders, until today with Rouchouze company. They store products for frame-builders to provide them the components they needs, as a kit or individually. Nowaday, Rouchouze is the last link between all the French builders.  


  • Caren Hartley

After studying metalwork and jewellery at the Royal College of Art in London, Caren built her first frame at the Bicyle Academy. She shares now a workshop where she makes bespoke bikes under the nam of Hartley Cycles. She is to date the only woman of the judge panel, and thanks to her experience and her background she will have an expert eye on the different creations of the builders.  


  • Mike Hall

Organizer of the Transcontinentale Race, the reference long distance race in Europe (more than 4000km to Belgium to Turkey, without support), this British cyclist has also broken the record for around the world cycling. Coming from Tour Divide this former mountainbiker will join us in Ambert to bring his vision of modern long distance races. He also has an engineering background and has worked in the cycling industry in the past. 


The French Cyclotouring Federation (FFCT) support us with two additional judges, member of the technical commission. The event will also be approved by the federation

The public as well as the builders (who can not vote for their own machine) will also be part of the judge panel. 

The builders 

To date, 18 builders are registered to the Concours, all building frames in France. Two will compete in the Rookie category, it means that they have never make any bike, or just a few, personally.   Histoire, the brand of travelling bikes, will be in addition and will compete "hors-catégorie" because their bike are not currently build in France. 
Find the previous episodes of the presentation on our website:
Part 1: the history and the goals
Part 2: the rules and the trials

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