Presentation of Concours de Machines 2016 (2/3)

Presentation of Concours de Machines 2016 (2/3)

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. We continue today with the rules and the routes. 

The theme and the restrictions

The theme choose this year is the "light randonneuse", in other words, a bike that can go for long rides, with lights and a minimum of luggages. This word is not to interprate in the historical way, here it is the function that interest us.The builders are free to express their vision of the ideal long distance light bike, according to the different trials of the competition.

We want diversity in the bikes, we want to be surprised and to see innovations. That's why we do not want to demand anything on bikes' setup, like it was done in the past. There are no restrictions on materials , wheels size, components or drivetrains. Only three elements are demanded:

  • An autonomous light system or a minimal autonomy of 8 hours, equivalent to a night, with a minimum of 300 lumens at the front and 50 lumens at the rear. 
  • A system to carry 10 issues of 200 magazine (3,3kg) on the bike. The magazines have to be carried during one of the three trials, and given back intact at the end of the stage. The potential luggages used will not be considered during the weighing.
  • 2 bottle cages minimum

The bikes presented can come from a standard model, but it have to be built especially for the event and be innovative. 

The scoring system

The bikes are ranked at the end of the third day, on a total of 500 points. The ranking will take in account:

  • The time achieved during the three trials, with penalties and bonus according to the difference with the average speed. 
  • Broken parts
  • The weight. It will be evaluated according to a bonus-malus system, by increments of 100g, from a reference operating weight of 9kg without pedals.
  • The public price of the bike. 
  • The innovative nature of the bike
  • The quality of the manufacturing and the rate of homemade components. All the parts handcrafted or customized by the builders will add value to the creations.   
  • The origin of the components. To give an ethical dimension to the Concours, we will add value to the parts made in France or in Europe.

The supply of cyclists and technical assistance


The Concours is a technical trial, the different races are here to put to the test the bicycles. Their specification have to be the same during all the contest, including the tires.  The bikes are weighed without pedals, but they have to be the same during all the event. Any assistance is forbiden during the races. The cyclists will have to be able to fix their machine by themself. They will have to carry on the bike all the tools that be considered necessary. Any kind of external support is punished. At the end of each trial, the bikes will be analyzed. Every broken parts will be penalized, according to their importance. A broken frame, fork, wheel of crank axle, hub of brake is eliminatory. It will be important to find the best compromise between weight and reliability. 

The participant will have to be self-sufficient in supply. 

The trials and the schedule

Based on the original spirit of the Concours, the builder's creation will have to prove their performance and reliability during these three days. The bikes are ridden by a "champion" chosen by the builder. It can be a customer, an employee, a friend... or any person who can ride during these 3 days of competition. Three trials will allow to the competitors to confront each other. The routes have been selected among the large choice offer by  the organisation of Les Copains, according to their interest for the Concours. Eventually, it will be on a total of 363km and 6541m of elevation that the machines will be put to the test.

  • Thursday 30th of June 
    Installation and welcome in Ambert, Puy-de-Dôme, France. Studio photoshoot of the cyclists and the bikes. Reception with the competitors and the judge panel
  • Friday 1st of July
     Long distance trial on 235 km and a 4323m elevation on “La Borne Occidentale” route. Start at 7 h 30. No supply, cyclists have to be self-sufficient.
  • Saturday 2nd of July
    55 km ride with timed climb of the Col du Béal (13,6 km) from the village of Vertolaye, on “La Belle Échappée du Béal” route. In the evening, vote of the public, common dinner and counting. 
  • Sunday 3rd of July
    In the morning, gravel ride of 73 km and a 1153 m elevation, on “Le siège de la Reine” route. In the afternoon, award ceremony before the one of the sportive Les Copains.

To push the cyclist to not save their bicycles, there is a reference average speed for each trial, with a bonus-malus according if you are faster or slower.  It will be 25 km/h for the long distance, 12km/h for the climb of the Béal and 20km/h for the gravel.

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