Today at the Radavist we’re featuring a very unique bike, from Bellé Cycles and the Service Course, for the Atlas Mountain Race. With the recent debate about patina and faux finish on custom bicycle frames, I think you all will enjoy this one!
“A one-of-a-kind beast, hungry for scratches and scars.” – Enrico “Kico” Bellé
A.T.E.R. / All Terrain Exploration Rig
We built this fully custom Belle Cycles with the demands of the Atlas Mountain Race in mind. It’s a steel frame with carbon Integrated Seat Post (and custom seat-post topper by Bastion) built on 29″ wheels with clearance for mountain bike tyres and a rigid Enve MTB fork, turning on a CeramicSpeed headset.
We are running a Shimano GRX Di2 groupset complimented with Ingrid cranks with a 40 tooth chainring and 10/46 cassette. The drivetrain is complete with CeramicSpeed titanium jockey wheels and coated bottom bracket. The wheels are Enve M630 rims laced to a Son dynamo front hub and DT Swiss 240 rear hub.
Final details include Enve compact road bars plus clip on aero bars, King Cage steel bottle cages, Vittoria Terreno Dry 2.25 tyres, Fabric Scoop Flat saddle and Son headlight. The bags are custom built for the bike by Cordel, including frame bag, bar bag, food pouches and saddle bag.
The beaten up, rusty “rat bike” paintwork (and skull head badge) were both inspired by “The War Rig” as seen in Mad Max, expertly created by Barcelona-based painter Kilian Ramirez Caballero.
A few words from Christian Meier, founder of The Service Course, ahead of the inaugural Atlas Mountain Race:
“The A.T.E.R. is something I had been thinking about for a while, and the Atlas Mountain Race was the perfect excuse to go for it. The concept was to build a truly “All Terrain Exploration Rig”, to handle an exceptionally wide variety of off-road terrain. The project was also inspired by Mad Max and the idea of being chased through the wild, remote desert…
At The Service Course, we are lucky to have an amazing group of partners that we work very closely with, many of whom have helped bring this vision to life – including CeramicSpeed, Bastion, Ingrid, Enve and of course our friend Kico aka Belle Cycles. It’s humbling and inspiring that everyone was so keen to come on board and support this unique project with their trademark enthusiasm and teamwork.
The Atlas Mountain Race will be a special experience and I expect it to be very demanding. Has my preparation been perfect? No… life is busy, and I ain’t pro anymore! But I’m not too bothered, I’m happy to clip in on the day and push myself to the limit.
To me this project epitomises what we do, what custom building is all about: bringing our incredibly talented partners together to create something unique and exciting in response to a very particular challenge, making no compromises along the way.”
A few words from Enrico “Kico” Bellé, of Belle Cycles:
“As always with Christian, not a lot of words are needed. During a ride we had a chat about the idea, and eventually it became the A.T.E.R: a drop bar 29er, with the objective to participate in the Atlas Mountain Race. We talked about big tyre clearance, and a MTB rigid fork was needed, so we had to draw the fit (riding portion) with the “limits” imposed by the high axel-to-crown length. Christian felt good on the GRAR (Belle Cycles Gravel frame) I had made for him, so I wanted to respect that riding position. I had to draw a frame with an ultra-short Head Tube intended to be built with a -21° Stem, and enough front-centre to avoid toe overlap on those big rubbers. I also had to think about frame bags and bidons space. Then I had to create the “handling” of the bike; I have my own ideas that I always try to adapt to the rider, especially if I have the chance to listen directly to their preferences and experiences. When I ride or meet with Christian, I naturally keep my ears open.
On this particular bike, I was thinking of the natural stability added by the big wheels, so I went for a lower than my “average” trail valor to keep the bike alive, also when eventually front loaded. I also drew a higher than “average” BB, as I wanted no issues with pedal strike. I was thinking about racing a multiday, multi-terrain event, maybe at night, maybe very tired… so I kept the real triangle length balanced for proper weight distribution and big tyre clearance. As always in a project where I have a good amount of freedom, I took some “risks” in terms of geometry. Ah, and it is my first Carbon ISP frame, the very first. I did a lot of research about the process, I knew the “theory” perfectly, so we both agreed: let’s do it! It will be a proper test! We have an awesome carbon Seat Tube made by ENVE, with an OD that could add compliance to the bike and make it lighter, paired to an amazing Seat Mast made by Bastion Advanced in 3D printed titanium.
Then the paintwork: Christian wanted a “Mad Max” look. He sent some pictures, and I loved the idea. I had fun doing the research and I also discovered interesting things about that movie. A couple of sketches and a chat with Kilian Ramirez Caballero, who also loves that movie, and we had fun creating the look. The bike is not fancy or beautiful, it is a one-of-a- kind beast, hungry for scratches and scars. Christian had the perfect name for it: A.T.E.R. All Terrain Expedition Rig. Good times!”