Vincent's Victoire MTB 27.5+ Pinion
Vincent's Victoire MTB 27.5+ Pinion
Looking for the ideal MTB
Vincent contacted us with a very precise idea in mind: to design the ideal MTB. Or maybe we should say, his ideal MTB. Each of our client is unique, both by his morphology, his demands and his riding. That's why none of our custom bicycle is the same. And this is also what our clients want.
" I was looking for a bike both reliable, fun and comfortable. I ride on mountain bike twice a week, with a group of friends. The aim is really to have fun, not to race. I ride mostly in the hills around Lyon, but I also ride sometimes in ski resorts ! I discovered the riding on snow with the Fat Bike, and I have liked it very much "
Vincent wanted a unique bicycle, tailor-made. A bike thought by him, with a geometry and components he chose. His MTB also had to be made in France. This approach was the base for one of the main part of the project : the gear box. Like we noticed in 2014 with our bicycle 100% made in France project, there is no French drivetrain manufacturer. Almost actually : Effigear has developped a gear box but there is no solution to adapt it to a steel frame. Moreover, the ratio is not ideal for Vincent's riding. That's why we went for the German reference of the market : Pinion and his P1.12 model, the most adapted to the project :
" I had never tested any gear box before, but I liked a lot the concept. Combined with a belt drive, you get a very reliable drivetrain, with almost no maintenance. "
The other specificity of this project, it is the 27.5+ wheels. The MTB market has progressed a lot these last years, with new wheel diameter and tire width. Vincent tried several of them, that gave him a good vision of what he likes the most. 27.5, FatBike, it is finally in the middle that he found his ideal with 27.5+ :
"It is a good balance, and it is also the standard I feel the most comfortable"
This project was for us very interesting, with new standards and components. Like all our custom bicycle, we started by designing a geometry that fits our client's riding. Vincent rode a Genesis Caribou and felt very well positionned on it : it was a perfect base to adjust the settings. Our rider is not very tall, so we designed an important sloping to make him feel more comfortable.
For the tubing, we selected some references from Columbus and Tange. The downtube is butted and bended, to avoid any contact with the wider fork crown due to the Boost standard.
The chainstays are fillet-brazed to the Paragon wishbone, that enables clearance for the Plus tires. For the same reason, the 14mm seatstays are bended in house. The stainless steel Paragon Sliding dropouts are here to adjust the tension of the Carbon Gate belt drive.
The equipement was selected according to Vincent's preferences and our experience. We already worked with integrated gear systems, like the Shimano Alfine on our De Ville model or the Rohloff on our Victoire Voyage, but it was our first time with Pinion. The German company offers all the elements for a perfect adaptation of the system to our custom frames. We can not wait to get Vincent's long term feedback !
For the suspension, we chose the Fox Explorer 34 in Boost standard. It is combined with the Fox Transfer dropper post, with the same Kashima treatment.
The wheels were build by Asterion on Aivee MT6 hubs, made in France. The brakes are also European, with the new Cura model. We are testing them since the Roc d'Azur, these brakes will become for sure a reference : high quality fabrication and braking at a very interesting price. There are by the way the new brakes of Loic Bruni, the French downhill champion !
Race Face provides the cockpit while the Cambium saddle comes from Brooks. The hubs, the gearbox and the Chris King Inset 7 headset are anodized in orange and match perfectly the blue of the frame.
Belt drivetrain and Pinion gearbox, what advantages ?
The drivetrain on Vincent's MTB is unusual, but what are the advantages of this configuration ? It is our first project built with a Pinion gearbox, so it is too early to give a long term review of the system. However, the main point that is frequently highlighted is the reliability : the box is totally protected from the outside. It is unaffected by sand, mud, rain or snow. And even when the trail becomes more cluttered and narrower, the transmission cannot be affected by branches or stones. The P1.12 model we used has a 600% overall ratio on 12 gears, evenly graded. Compared to the gear hub system, the Pinion box has the advantage to be positionned on the center of gravity of the bike, which makes it more reactive.
The table below compares the range of development on the Pinion P1.12 box (at the top) with the one offered by the the SRAM 1x11 (28T chainring with a 10-42) we are use to mount on our MTB :
The belt drivetrain has a much longer lifespan than the standard chain one, with a very limited maintenance. Our fellow US builder Rob English, from English Cycles, wrote a very interesting review about that. He replaced his belt drivetrain after 40 000km and he admits he had only maintain his bike 3 times in 7 years : http://www.englishcycles.com/news/23-november-2016/
Vincent highlights also the silence of the system below.
Vincent did not wait to try his new bike, despite the snow and the sub-zero temperature. Here is his first feedback :
I rode about 70 kilometers with 1800m of elevation on frozen terrains and snow, with a temperature between 0°C and -10°C. My first feelings are very positive : I feel very comfortable on the bike, and once I found the perfect tire pressure, the balance between comfort and performance is really good. The bike is both stable and efficient in uphill, even with the smallest ratio - which is very small, there is a very wide range of ratios to climb very steep portions. In downhill, I feel confident, the bike is easy to handle.
About the Pinion gear box, it was a first time for me, but the adaptation was really quick. The shifting is smooth and precise. There is just if you push to hard on the pedals, you have to stop your effort for a second to shift gear. The silence of the system is impressive.
At last, the bike stopped many of the cyclists I met ! And caused many questions.