The European Bike Project: more exciting products from smaller European manufacturers – June 2022

The European Bike Project is one of our favorite Instagram accounts and its feed is constantly updated with everything from interesting curiosities from small manufacturers to inside looks at European manufacturing to analyzes of the environmental impact of our sport. He now has a regular column for us here at Pinkbike which will mainly focus on delivering exciting products from smaller European manufacturers.

Madnes Atlas 29 Bikes

Ever since friends Jordan and Sylvain relaunched the Madnes brand last year, their bikes have quickly caught the eye due to their great paint jobs and clean design. Their Stellar 27.5 frame has been around for a while now, and they just launched their new Atlas 29 frame.

The heart of these French-made frames are Reynolds 725 and 631 double-butted steel tubing and a fairly progressive VPP suspension design. The leverage ratio starts at 3.2 (0mm stroke) and ends at 2.3 (160mm stroke). Interestingly, their frames don’t use regular bearings, but polymer bushings, which the Madnes team says increases durability and reduces maintenance intervals.

With 150-160mm of travel, the Atlas 29 features a 65.5° head angle and 75.5° seat angle. The frames are currently available in sizes M (440mm reach / 1203mm wheelbase) and L (468mm reach / 1237mm wheelbase), with 438mm chainstays on both. In addition to replacing commonly used bearings with polymer bushings, the Atlas 29 relies on current standards: 30.9mm seatpost, 180mm PM brake mount, IS 42 / IS 52 headset, 73 mm BSA bottom bracket and boost rear wheel axle. According to Madnes, the frame is surprisingly light for a steel Enduro frame: it’s said to tip the scales at 3.5kg.

If you want to learn more about the suspension design of this frame, the Madnes team has detailed charts on their website.

Details
– Frame made in France
– 65.5° head angle, 75.5° seat angle
– 438 mm seatstays
– Reach 440 / 468 mm (M / L)
– 150-160mm rear travel (depending on shock stroke)
– Designed around 150-160mm forks
– Weight: 3.5 kg (frame only)
– 29″
– Price: from 2050 Euro (frame without shock absorber)
– Website: https://madnesbicycles.com/en/
-Instagram: @madnesbicycles

drj0n bags
Jon started dRj0n bagworks as a tongue-in-cheek hashtag to collect his MYOG (make your own gear) bike bag projects. Its first bagless product was the DeWidget – a top tube bag stabilizer that was a towel sketch after a tour of the Cairngorm Loop in Scotland stripped material from its helmet due to grain getting stuck under the ubiquitous Velcro straps. The initial design had a bearing that sat above the stem and a loop for the velcro attached to the outer race – allowing the steering to be independent of the bag attachment and therefore eliminating any friction and stabilizing enormously loaded bag. His friend Mark from Bentley Components saw his sketch and made him the prototype. After that they worked on a simpler “socket” style design.

Soon after, they explored 3D printing as a manufacturing method, and the DeWidget as it exists today was born.

Mark is well known for taking ideas and bringing them to life and over the years Jon has sketched out various parts that he thinks would make life on the bike better. Primarily, they allow the things you need to carry – bottles, tools, clothes, spares – to attach securely, without hassle or added weight, to the bike rather than the rider. The StrapDeck is a simple curved plate that can be used to attach a multitude of things to the frame and to Jon’s knowledge it was the first of its kind. It has been used all over the world to carry dry bags, peanut butter jars, fishing rods, extra bottles, etc. StrapDecks now come in four sizes and attach to bottle bosses or “3 pack” bosses, and are compatible with Voile or Velcro straps.

The following product allows bridges or bottle cages to attach where there are no bosses – the barnacle is flexible and strong, available in a range of diameters to attach to frame tubes, seatposts and forks.

All parts are 3D printed in the UK by 3dPrint-UK using flexible nylon which is strong and durable in many conditions. 3dPrint-UK is able to polish parts giving an attractive surface finish compared to many printed parts and although it’s not the cheapest way to make plastic components Jon says it’s proved to be versatile and resistant.

Although the drj0n bagworks catalog is growing, it remains above all a hobby for Jon. He is happy that the coins improve the adventures around the world and it helps him to come up with new designs.

Intent BC Hover Gamechanger
While the first version of the Hover shock had a soft lockout (which was basically a firm compression setting), the new Hover Gamechanger comes with a hard lockout.

The new flip lever completely shuts off oil flow, giving a semi-rigid type feel. However, the metal shim is designed to allow minimal oil flow so the shock can fully extend. This means that you don’t pedal uphill with a sagging shock (and a slack seat angle), but with an extended shock and a steep seat angle. Please note that the oil flow does not work the other way, so the shock will get stuck at 100% when riding. Intend’s Cornelius says the lockout is so hard you definitely won’t forget to open the lockout before hitting the trails.

Besides locking, the Hover has some interesting technologies. Unlike most shocks, you can adjust the air pressure in the positive and negative air chambers separately. When setting up the shock, you turn the small silver dial which opens a vent between the two air chambers. You simultaneously pump them to the desired pressure and after that you turn the small dial again to close the port. Then you add a bit more air to the negative air chamber to improve compliance (usually about 5 bar / 70 psi more than the positive air chamber).

The shock can also be tuned with volume spacers, which can be added or removed in minutes.

Details
– Made in Germany
– Price: 1079 euros
– Trunnion and metric sizes
– Length: 165 – 250mm
– Stroke: 45 / 55 / 65 / 75 mm
– Color: Black anodized
– Adjustments: Air pressure / low speed rebound / low speed compression / volume spacers
– Weight: 455 g (230 x 60 mm, including rings 22.2 x 8 mm)
– Other: custom stroke available (15 euros), Intend sockets available (25 euros each), high pressure pump included
– Intended use: all styles of MTB
– Maximum rider weight: 120 kg
– Website: https://www.intend-bc.com/
-Instagram: @intend_bc

Cavalry Bikes, Effigear & Opn Bar
If you didn’t know, you’d be hard-pressed to believe that an unspectacular industrial building in the Rhone Valley south of Lyon is home to some of the most innovative bike companies. However, Cavalerie Bikes, Effigear and Opn Bar all share the same address and all offer truly unique products.

Effigear is best known for making gearboxes that work well on high-pivot full-suspension bikes. They recently updated their stock 9-speed gearbox, which now offers 463% range instead of 440%. Last year they also introduced their “imitation” gearbox, which happens to be compatible with the more common Pinion mount. The “mimic” box also has 9 gears and offers a range of 469%. Both gearboxes can be used with SRAM trigger shifters.

With the Anakin V2, Effigear’s sister company Cavalerie Bikes launched a very interesting enduro frame just a few weeks ago. The frame is designed around the updated stock Effigear gearbox, can be used with both belt and chain drives, and offers 158, 164, or 176mm of rear travel. With a 63.8° head angle, 77° seat angle and 450-500mm reach, it certainly ticks a lot of boxes.

The most affordable but no less interesting product from the Rhone Valley are the Opn Bar handlebar caps. What started as a fun project on a hot summer day has turned into a practical product that makes a great gift for your riding buddies or for yourself.

August Bikes
August Bicycles is a family run frame and wheel builder based in Norwich, UK. One of the best-known bikes that Gavin, the frame builder behind August Bicycles, built in the recent past was a fantastic city bike with lots of nicely integrated details, like a brazed-on downtube logo.

Besides building frames and wheels, Gavin also offers neat little products, such as small taillight brackets that replace the barrel nuts used in various seat clamps. These brackets allow you to mount Supernova E3 or B&M μ rear lights directly under the seat clamp. Currently there are mounts for Thomson, Salsa and Pro seat clamps, but Gavin plans to expand this range in the near future.

Before heading out for a long night stroll, you might want to brew your coffee in style – August coffee mugs will surely help you get it all right. They are usually made from broken hub shells and there is a small selection of coffee stamps available online, but you can also send in your broken hub and Gavin will turn it into a one of a kind coffee stamp.

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