Feedback on the Concours de Machines 2016: the choice of the components [3/3]

Feedback on the Concours de Machines 2016: the choice of the components [3/3]

In the last episode you discovered the details of the building of our light randonneuse for the Concours de Machines 2016 . Now it is time to talk about the different choices of components.

As we said, we had two goals with this bike : at first being able to highlight our savoir-faire concerning the work of steel and the fillet-brazing and then, create a bicycle that meets the needs of modern cycling. The final aim was to get a modern, light and efficient bike with a timeless style. Here you will discover how it was concretely made with our choices.


The wheelset

We cannot stop to say it, wheels are the most important element of a bicycle after the frame. They have to match the latter and they enable to adjust the handling of the bike.  That is the reason why we lace by hand most of the wheelset of our bikes. We use to work with the German manufacturer Tune, which offers light, efficient and high quality products. Moreover, they are made in Black Forest. All of these match the requirements of the Concours ! We received their support on this project, that enabled us to build our machine with many of their components.  

Concerning the wheels, we decided to chose the mountain bike Prince / Princess Skyline Straight hubs. With its 250g weight, the set offers an unequalled reliability / lightness ratio! The Sapim CX Super flat spokes enable to get stiff and responsive wheels. They are made in Belgium. Only the rims are not made in Europe. We chose an Iron Cross model for cyclo-cross from NoTubes. We wanted reliable and light rims compatible with Tubeless tires. On these three specific points, NoTubes is the reference. That is the reason why we did not hesitate a long time. Aluminium combined with the assembly without inner tube brings the necessary comfort to the long distance.

The Tubeless mount appeared as an important point to us. Coming from mountain bike, it is one of the major innovations of these 15 last years in cycling world. We are convinced for a long time by this type of configuration. It brings comfort and high resistance to puncture : pinch flats are just old memories whereas the majority of punctures are filled up by the sealant. This was confirmed during the gravel trial where we got a flat at the bottom of a downhill. A quick use of the pump and the sealant did its job. Thus we finished at the third place of the trial.

For the tires, we received the support of 2-11,Compass’ distributor in France. We chose the Bon Jon Pass models in 35mm and in Extralight version. Thanks to this we saved 100g on the pair, that represented 20 points of bonus. It is also the only models in 700c which are officially compatibles with Tubeless. We could appreciate their qualities and validate their performances during the Dalsland Runt - you can find the report on our website. Although the sidewalls look very thin, it is actually comfortable, solid and with a low rolling resistance.

The drive train

It is also one of the big evolutions in cycling world these last years. We now have 11 speed cassettes, even 12 with the new Shram Eagle, electrical drive trains… The first Concours de Machines enabled the appearance of the double-chainring, we chose the simple one! This solution launched by Sram seduced us for a long time for our mountain bikes and gravel. Doing without any front derailleur has three major advantages : lightness, reliability, simplicity. We mixed a Sram Force 1 and a Rival 1 with a cassette XX1.  The 11 speed cassette in 10- 42 combined to the chainring of 42 teeth enables to get the same range of ratios than the one with a compact crankset / 11-32 cassette setup . You can do the test with the application Gear Calculator

The ratio of 1 enables to face a big failure. It was particularly useful on Friday in the steep uphill before Saint Victor sur Arlanc with some portions at 15% or on the long climb of the gravel trial. In the downhills, the 42 x 10 was fully sufficient. 

This setting was very convincing on this type of  bike. Of course you cannot always speed up like you do with a real road bike, but the mono-chainring was not a limit to find the good pedaling frequency. It is very adapted  to hilly terrains as the one of the Forez.

We used a Sram Force1 rear derailleur with Rival1 levers and a XX1 cassette. The crankset is a Tune Smartfoot.

The brakes

Another important progress of the last decades, coming from the mountain bike too, concerns the disc-braking. This system established itself considerably in the offroad world for its power and its foolproof efficiency. Although it has many difficulties on the road, it is an excellent solution for alternative riding as gravel or travel.

This kind of system offers consistent power and efficiency whatever the conditions. You can go down a col calmly in the rain, carrying luggage without being afraid to fall because you would not be able to turn in the bends.

We chose Rival hydraulic calipers, in Post Mount brake mounts at the front and Flat Mount at the back. The feeling is excellent and it is very easy to dose out the disc-braking.

The carbon elements

If just one thing has revolutionized the cycling industry these last years, it is carbon. The composite bikes, made in large series, overwhelmed  the market enabling to make extremely light and efficient bikes, but not necessarily adapted to a wide public. This material however enabled major advances and it was important for us to put it on our bike for the Concours de Machines 2016.

The mudguards

The stiffness and the lightness are two features of the carbon which are very interesting for the mudguards. These typical elements of the randonneuses were not obligatory but we considered it was important to use them. For a bike made to ride on long distances and whatever the conditions, it is something which brings a significant comfort. 

Surprisingly, carbon mudguards are difficult to find and we had to find it in England and the artisan Swarf Cycles. The support were made by us from carbon tubing and aluminium caps to improve the stiffness.

The saddle

The saddle is a Tune Komm-Vor. It was validated by Matthieu, our rider, on the 250km of gravel during the Dalsland Runt. For the Concours, we decided to personnalize it by our friend Ruben de Superbeau. He added a 3mm thin cushion and wraped it with black leather. The fnal result is very beautiful. Thanks a lot to him!


The bottle cages

The carbon bottle cages are also from Tune. They are extremely light and ergonomic with their opening on the side enabling to clear easily the bottle from the frame.

The handlebar

Our Tune carbon model weighs only 148g in 28.6mm diameter for more comfort. The ergonomics was really good during these three days. 


The randonneur bag 

We needed to carry our tools and food (the trials were without support) as well as the 10 issues of the magazine 200 on one the three trials. We were looking for a randonneur bag that mixed authentic style and modern fabric, in the spirit of our bike. That’s why we choose the Ozette Randonneur model made in USA by Swift Industry. The X-Pac fabric is both light, waterproof and resistant.  

The lights

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.

Find on our website the complete bike - check of our light randonneuse, winner of the Concours de Machines 2016:

As well as the two previous episodes of our feedback about the contest: 

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