We are Manivelle, a framebuilder based in Strasbourg, France. Here is our build for the “Concours de Machine” 2021.
“Concours de Machine“, WHAT’S THAT?
The “CDM” is a historical event of the small French framebuilding world, born early in the 1900s, the golden age happened between 1934 and 1949 including Jo Routens and Rene Herse’s work. The Concours disappeared for a long time after the industrialization but is back to life since 2016.
A new topic is defined each year: in 2021, the specification was to build our idea of the perfect bike for long-term mountain bike adventures. A theme that can be handled in so many ways, and here is our answer to it. We have been bike tourers for quite a while now at Manivelle. We rode on roads at first, then moved further and further from them. So far, our gravel bikes were our tools of choice, but the urge to design a more specific bike to handle high mountain singletrack was there, and the 2021 edition of the “CDM” was the perfect occasion for it.
This is our first mountain bike, so we wanted to revisit the origin of mountain biking and the klunker style. The seatstays go all the way from the rear axle to the head tube, only welded on the top tube. This design allows a rigid front triangle to decrease lateral deformations induced by the loading and wide bars. And the rear triangle offers some more flex thanks to the length of the seatstays, allowing several millimeters of travel (around 4mm for a standard jump reception with a system of 120 kg (bike+pilot+bags loaded).
The rigid fork presents a long AtoC of 460mm, as we also want to build up the bike with a suspension fork without modifying the geometry. The geometry is designed to ease the handling on technical downhills, with a slack headtube angle and quite a small amount of fork offset (trail = 103mm). The rear triangle provides a fast-rolling bike on flat tracks and a good aptitude for climbing, with a 73° seat tube and a short wheelbase.
A mountain bike thought for long trips needs appropriate handlebars, with several positions. In particular, one for technical segments and one for straightforward sections. Our proposition is quite unique regarding the actual flat bar market: upsweep of 40° for a rise of 62mm, 20° backsweep, 780mm width. Assembled with a long stem of 105mm, it creates those two opposites positions: A gravel handlebar upside down in some very rough way.
Another crucial point is to get the bike loaded without reducing off-road capabilities. We wanted the rear rack to be independent of the frame for two reasons: first, it would stiffen the rear triangle. Second, a rack fixed only on the seat post allows a quite universal option for bikes without rear mounting points, like mountain bikes. The idea is not that far from the Caradice rack, but with two majors differences: it’s way stiffer, and it allows the bag to place itself further and lower from the saddle, giving freedom of movement to the pilot when he needs to put weight backward.
The front rack is divided into two parts. A decaleur is attached to the stem to create space for hands on the center of the handlebar. And a minimalist rack is installed on the fork crown, with a custom shape for the Shazam Bag and integrated light. There are two purposes for this two-part rack: using less material as possible to get the lightest rack and keep the decaleur in its place and usable when the rigid fork is replaced by a suspension fork.
We wanted to work with Wizard Works team for a while as we love their work. We send them an email a few months ago, to present them with the project, the bike, and our needs for the bags. Harry answered us with so much enthusiasm that the collaboration was instantly born! We chose to combine Purple Cordura and Olive X-Pac for a classy yet funky set, including two Shazam, two Voila bags, a top tube Go Go bag, and a full set of custom framebags. The rear Shazam is the sleeping room, with all the needed stuff to install a proper bivouac: mattress, sleeping bag, tent, nightclothes, etc. The front Shazam is the easy access bag when we are on the bike, carrying all the regularly used stuff: hot + waterproof clothes, spares clothes, fresh food found on the way, and cooking pot.
The left Voila bag carries peanuts, almonds, dried fruits, and other snacks. The right one is reserved for our Fuji XT2 with a pancake lens, fitting perfectly inside and ready for action at any moment. The Go Go bag contains all the electronic stuff with a power bank, cables, phone, spare camera batteries. The upper framebag is the emergency bag with repairing tools, spare parts, and first aid kit. The lower frame bag is split into two parts, with the bathroom on the top (soap, toothbrush, suncream, towel, etc.) and pantry below (oats, semolina, dried vegetables, etc.).
We love to cook during the bivouac!
Overall, we have a loading capacity of over 50 liters. The bike has already 1500km on the wheels, and we are really happy with it. We think that there are still many ideas to bring to mountain bike long-term adventures, as it is still a quite new approach to mountain biking. For our part, it’s just the beginning, and we dig it!