Chiru are another brand at Roc D'Azur that maybe don't come from a traditional mountain bike background, but it seems to be a more unique one than most. They are named after an endangered Tibettan antelope that lives in a very high, wild environment. Talking to the company founder, Pierre, his background is in ultra-endurance and he explains that he creates his bikes based on a race or a challenge he wants to undertake - he builds the bike then heads off to use it in that race.
His background means that he comes at each bike with a particular focus on both efficiency and comfort - because in that type of environment you don't want to carry any unnecessary grams, but being shaken apart by your bike is equally unhelpful.
The Savage is Chiru's burliest, longest travel mountain bike - designed for exploring a remote alpine environment - and it drops nicely into the downcountry category that our very own Mike Levy decided should be a thing.
It has a few options to adjust the travel between 120mm and 150mm, depending on how the rider wants to set their bike. The front triangle is made from titanium because of the excellent compliance it offers so you don't get deflected as much as you tear through roots and rock gardens. The rear is made from carbon to reduce weight and increase stiffness, with the whole frame weighs in a 2.5kg without a shock. Frames cost €2890 and come with a Fox DPX2 Factory shock.
One of Pierre's other projects is the component brand CEC (Carbon Endurance Concept). They had some very interesting wheels on display. What really caught our eye was the fact that they had a broken rim on their display bike - it had been crushed by an airline, but Pierre claims that with their blend of Inegra fibres the crack did not propagate and could glue it up and keep riding high up in the mountains.
The resilience is not the only interesting thing about the wheelset - the spoke are made of Dynema fibres rather than steel, which means they weigh just 2.2g each, saving 150g compared to steel spokes and, Pierre claims, offering superior compliance. The hubs are also made by CEC and use a star ratchet system similar to DT Swiss. The direct pull version with the lightweight axle weighs in at just 300g, where the heavier dutier version features a steel axle for an 80g penalty. The Dynema-spoked version of these wheels with CEC hubs costs a fairly reasonable (for carbon) €1300, while the Dynema spokes bump the cost up to €2300 per set.
CEC also offer a range of carbon seatposts and handlebars all tuned for compliance.