The European Bike Project: More Exciting Products from Small European Manufacturers - June 2022

Jun 28, 2022
by TEBP  
The European Bike Project is one of our favorite Instagram accounts and his feed is constantly updated with everything from interesting curios from tiny manufacturers to inside looks at European manufacturing to analyses of the environmental impact of our sport. He now has a regular column for us here at Pinkbike that will be mainly focused on bringing you exciting products from small European manufacturers.


Madnes Bicycles Atlas 29

Madnes Bicycles Atlast 29
Madnes Bicycles Atlas 29

Since friends Jordan and Sylvain relaunched the Madnes brand last year, their bikes quickly gained a lot of attention due to their great paint jobs and clean design. Their Stellar 27.5 frame has been around for a while now, and they just recently launched their new Atlas 29 frame.

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

At 150-160 mm travel, the Atlas 29 features a 65.5° head angle and 75.5° seat angle. The frames are currently available in sizes M (reach 440 mm / wheelbase 1203 mm) and L (reach 468 mm / wheelbase 1237 mm), with 438 mm chainstays on both. Apart from replacing the commonly used bearings with polymer bushes, the Atlas 29 relies on current standards: 30.9 mm seatpost, 180 mm PM brake mount, IS 42 / IS 52 headset, BSA 73 mm bottom bracket, and a 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 3.5 kg.

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

Madnes Atlas 29
Madnes Atlas 29

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

drj0n bagworks

Drj0n Bagworks barnacles
dRj0n bagworks barnacles

Jon started dRj0n bagworks as a tongue-in-cheek hashtag to collect his MYOG (make your own gear) bike-packing bag projects. His first non-bag product was the DeWidget - a top tube bag stabilizer that was a napkin sketch after a ride of the Cairngorm Loop in Scotland removed some material from his headset due to grit getting caught 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 removing any friction and stabilizing the loaded bag hugely. His friend Mark at Bentley Components saw his sketch and made him the prototype. After that, they worked on a simpler, "bushing" style design.

Soon after this, 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 making them a reality and over the years Jon had sketched out various parts that he thought would make life on the bike better. Primarily, they allow stuff you need to take along - bottles, tools, clothes, spares - to attach solidly, without fuss or extra weight, to the bike rather than the rider. The StrapDeck is a simple curved plate that can be used to strap a multitude of things to the frame and to the best of Jon's knowledge, it was the first of its kind. It has been used worldwide to haul dry bags, peanut butter jars, fishing rods, extra bottles, and more. The StrapDecks now come in four sizes and attach to bottle bosses or ‘3 pack’ bosses, and are compatible with Voile straps or velcro.

The next product allows decks or bottle cages to attach where there are no bosses - the barnacle is flexible and strong, coming in a range of diameters to attach to frame tubes, seat posts, and forks.

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

Although drj0n bagworks’ catalog is growing, it remains primarily a hobby for Jon. He is glad that the parts are making adventures around the world better and that helps him to come up with new designs.


Drj0n Bagworks Strapdeck
dRj0n strapdeck
 Drj0n Bagworks De Widget
dRj0n DeWidget

Drj0n Bagworks DeWidget
DeWidget holding a top tube bag in place
Drj0n Bagworks barnacles
The barnacles can be attached to any round tube

Details
- Made in UK
- Price: from 10 £
- Several shops sell Jon's products: https://linktr.ee/drj0nbagworks
- Instagram: @drj0n_bagworks

Intend BC Hover Gamechanger

Intend 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 closes the oil flow completely, resulting in a hardtail-like feel. However, the metal shim is designed in such a way that it allows a minimal oil flow so the shock can extend completely. This means that you're not pedaling uphill with a sagged shock (and a slack seat angle), but with an extended shock and steep seat angle. Please note that the oil flow does not work in the other direction, so the shock will remain 100% locked out when you ride. Cornelius from Intend says the lockout is so hard that you will definitely not forget to open the lockout before you hit the trails.

Apart from the lockout, the Hover has some interesting tech. 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 port between both air chambers. You pump them simultaneously to your desired pressure and after that, you turn the small dial again to close the port. Next, you add some more air to the negative air chamber to improve suppleness (typically around 5 bar / 70 psi more than in the positive air chamber).

The shock can also be tuned with volume spacers, which can be added or removed within a couple of minutes.

Intend BC Hover Gamechanger
Intend BC Hover Gamechanger

Intend BC Hover Gamechanger

Details
- Made in Germany
- Price: 1079 Euro
- Trunnion and metric sizes
- Length: 165 – 250 mm
- Stroke: 45 / 55 / 65 / 75 mm
- Colour: Black anodized
- Adjustments: Air pressure / low speed rebound / low speed compression / volume spacers
- Weight: 455 g (230 x 60 mm, including 22,2 x 8 mm bushings)
- Other: Custom stroke available (15 Euro), Intend bushings available (25 Euro each), high pressure pump included
- Intended use: all mountain bike styles
- Maximum rider weight: 120 kg
- Website: https://www.intend-bc.com/
- Instagram: @intend_bc

Cavalerie Bikes, Effigear & Opn Bar

Opn Bar
Opn Bar handlebar caps

If you didn't know, you'd hardly believe that a rather 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 one address and they 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 original 9-speed gearbox, which now offers a range of 463% instead of 440%. Last year, they also introduced their "mimic" gearbox, which happens to be compatible with the more common Pinion mount. The "mimic" gearbox 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 original Effigear gearbox, can be used with belt drives and chains, and offers 158, 164, or 176 mm of rear travel. With a 63.8° head angle, a 77° seat angle, and 450 - 500 mm reach, it certainly ticks many 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 evolved into a handy product that makes for a great gift for your riding buddies or yourself.

Cavalerie Bikes - Anakin V2
Cavalerie Bikes Anakin V2
Effigear Mimic Gearbox
Effigear "mimic" gearbox

Cavalerie Bikes - Anakin V2
The new Cavalerie Bikes Anakin V2 uses a 9-speed Effigear gearbox

Details
- Made in France
- Prices: from 990 Euro (gearbox), 4010 Euro (Anakin V2 frame including gearbox), 28 Euro (Opn Bar)
- Website: https://www.effigear.com/en/ / https://www.cavalerie-bikes.com/en/ / https://www.effigear.com/en/opn-bar
- Instagram: @effigear / @cavalerie.bikes / @opn_bar

August Bicycles

August Cycles Coffee Tampers

August Bicycles is a family-run frame and wheel building business based in Norwich, UK. One of the best-known bikes that Gavin, the frame builder behind August Bicycles, has built in the recent past was a fantastic town bike with a lot of nicely integrated details, such as a brazed-on downtube logo.

Apart from building frames and wheels, Gavin also offers some neat small products, such as the small taillight brackets that replace the barrel nuts which are used in various seat clamps. These brackets let you mount Supernova E3 or B&M μ rear lamps directly under the seat clamp. Currently, there are brackets for Thomson, Salsa, and Pro seat clamps, but Gavin is planning to expand this range in the near future.

Before you go on a long night ride, you might want to brew your coffee in style - the August coffee tampers surely help to get everything right. They are usually made from broken hub shells and there's a small selection of coffee tampers available online, but you can also send in your broken hub and Gavin will transform it into a one-of-a-kind coffee tamper.

August Cycles Taillight Brackets
August Cycles Taillight Brackets

August Cycles Coffee Tampers
August Cycles Coffee Tampers

Details
- Made in UK
- Prices: from 15 £ (light brackets) / £ 50 (coffee tamper)
- Website: https://www.augustbicycles.cc/
- Instagram: @augustbicycles



65 Comments

  • 154 0
 It's over, Anakin. I have the high pivot.
  • 46 0
 You underestimate my power transfer!
  • 6 1
 For me, it could be the chosen one.
  • 10 0
 At the moment I'm seeing this, you have +66 kudos.

"Master Skywalker, there are too many sprockets, what are we going to do?"
  • 3 0
 You didn't kill Anakin. I did. Good thing for a warranty!
  • 27 0
 That madnes bike looks good!
  • 6 0
 Have any of you ridden one? The linkage looks like it would be a bit flexy. These bikes are beautiful though. In my opinion they make the best looking steel frame on the market.
  • 3 0
 Doesn't it just, so so clean looking.
  • 3 0
 The bike looks awesome. It takes a hell of a good sealing system and really good tolerances to make bushings work well for mountain bike pivots though.
  • 1 0
 @aelazenby: I just got one of those and it's the stiffest frame I've ever had. No flex at all. It also pedals so well. I'm impressed.
  • 9 0
 That Intend Hover is amazing, rode it a few times on a friend's bike and besides my Ext Storia (which is custom tuned so it's out of contention) it's the best shock I've ever ridden Expensive but it's more than worth
  • 5 0
 If I wasn't a broke-ass uni student, I'd replace all suspension on all my bikes with parts made by Cornelius. The man is a genius. My friend has an Intend Flash on the front of his Propain Spindrift and it's by far the best fork I've ever experienced. RS Zeb and Fox 38 don't even come close IMO.
  • 1 0
 I have the hover game changer and edge fork (new-age) and agree, amazing products and service.
  • 2 0
 Seems kind of odd to me that there's a listed rider-weight-limit. Definitely the first rear shock I've seen with one.
  • 4 0
 @Glory831Guy: itll be because of the hard lockout i guess
  • 1 0
 @Glory831Guy: i think you have the same with other shocks. Didnt palmer say he was on the upper end of pressure limit with the x2. And hes not 120kg
  • 9 3
 I made my wife a really nice bracelet(by which I mean, I had a friend that makes jewelry do it) from the extra length of SRAM XX1 copper chain when I built her very ridiculous Kona Honzo Carbon. was a massive hit. Now I am thinking since we are nearing a move into our dream house, to get her the tamper to match. this comes along at a near perfect time! lol
  • 1 0
 Share a photo?
  • 3 0
 That Cavalerie Anakin V2 is so nice! Sturdy frame, versatile, great geometry and ultimately these Effigear gearboxes are the way forward anyways. No derailleur that can get caught on things and no half-hearted and flawed attempt to make derailleurs a little less terrible.
  • 3 0
 that top tube seat stay straight line is just incredible to look at
  • 3 0
 The madnes is lovely and it’s great to see a 29er. My eye always twitches when i see no bracing tying the upper links together though, and can just imagine side to side play building up and wearing out the shock prematurely.
  • 1 0
 I've been wanting the Barnacles from dRj0n for a while now, would pair well with a href="https://problemsolversbike.com/products/accessory-mounts/bow-tie-strap-anchors">Problem Solvers Bow Tie Strap Anchors | Accessory Mounts | Problem Solvers/a> as a solution to strap dry bags with extra layers or other light accessories to fork lowers. Would also be a great way to mount bear spray in a location where you could easily grab it in an emergency, although knocking it in a crash might not end so well. Anybody know if drj0n has a US distributor yet?
  • 1 0
 Thank you! there are no US based distributors but if you check my linktr.ee Wildcat.cc and Backcountry.scot at least send to the use with no probs quick and easy.
  • 2 0
 I love the look of the frame, really love it! BUT, other brands such, as Banshee, tried polimer bushing on the pivost and it did not work as well as promissed.
  • 1 0
 For me the biggest issue with polymer bushings is replacements are usually impossible to find, an issue you'll never have with standard size bearings.
  • 7 0
 These are standard Igus, cheap, very easy to find and replace
  • 5 0
 @MadnesBicycles: but it has play really quickly. From a theoretical point of view bushing are the best for pivots: high load and very low angle rotation.
But it's where practice makes more sense than theory, they are a worse solution in real life. A lot of manufacturer came back to bearings, Ibis is one example.
  • 1 0
 'The frame is made from 7020 aluminum, and now uses sealed cartridge bearings instead of the bushings found on the previous version.'

www.pinkbike.com/news/first-look-cavalerie-anakin-v2-a-gearbox-enduro-bike-made-in-france.html
  • 10 0
 Big manufacturers don't always take decisions for the good reasons. Our goal is to have durable, standard and low maintenance bike. We test this bushings for two years without issues. Note that we have stainless steel axles with very tight tolerance and low roughness. Fox and other shocks manufacturers use the same bushing type and never come back.
  • 2 1
 @MadnesBicycles: fair enough. It can work if you have tight tolerances indeed.
  • 3 5
 @MadnesBicycles: I had a bike with Igus bushings in the early 2000's squeaked more than your sister
  • 3 1
 @Simzesun: even Nicolai ... And I think they know something about tight tolerance.
  • 4 2
 @Simzesun: Ibis still uses bushings in many/most of their pivots. Ripmo uses bushings in 6/10 pivots. I agree though, it takes very good tolerances and very good sealing system for them to work well on mountain bikes. The Ripmo AF Lower Link pivots are actually really good, sealed very well, and low maintenance. The clevis bushings are crap and get contaminated just by looking at them funny.
  • 3 1
 @MadnesBicycles: And still bushing tolerances are the major problem in front suspension, they are also run completely sealed and in oil bath. Suspension manufactures do everything they can to reduce friction and then you add lots of it on the pivots. For sure bushings can last longer, but give you a bit harsher ride.There are bearing mounts for shocks for a good reason. Still bike looks nice and you can definitely be proud of it. Just don't go the stubborn engineer route, make something people want to ride, not something you want to make (of course you can do both simultaneously).
Would also say something about water bottles, but you already know that, it's not for everyone and it's ok.
  • 2 1
 The hub shell tampers look neat, sure, but I worry about ergonomics. My tamper has a smooth wooden handle that's a pleasure to press down on. A hub shell looks less comfortable.
  • 1 0
 What's going on with the bar/stem combo on the 7'th photo? Oversized stem with a rubber reducer to act as a vibration damper?
  • 2 0
 it is a 22.2 ti bar from Meriwether cycles (20 degree sweep) - paired with a shim that is extra wide to allow the use of my Funk clamps next to the stem, but I also wanted to use a Bikeyoke barkeeper and that is only 35mm clamp at the moment so there is also an Intend 31.8 to 35 shim in there!
  • 2 1
 I love that smaller brands are more open to adopting gearboxes. I see myself riding a Zerode in the near future.
  • 3 1
 ZERODES are awesome!!!
  • 3 1
 As always astounding work! Love these articles!
  • 2 1
 FK YEAH Gav!! Naarrrch represent!!
  • 2 2
 Big up Gav! For anyone here who might think he's a hipster only into fancy paint and town bikes, he's actually a DHer at heart, and has team GB kit from being a reserve for world champs back in the day.
  • 2 2
 @Tambo: Pretty good drummer too! Saw him in October Skyline a few times..
  • 3 2
 When I win the lotto August is building my entire bike quiver
  • 3 2
 For carrying arrows on your bike? What? I mean, I'm sure Gav would do an excellent job of that, but what do you need arrows on a bike for? Where does the bow go?
  • 1 0
 Madness, catalogue name? I like it.
  • 6 9
 all these anorexic steel full sus bikes are just for looks, If they rode well then where are the reviews, long term review for that matter so we know how well these bulimic one offs survive.
  • 2 2
 @MadnesBicycles: That's a fairly decent review, but doesn't really answer the issue of flex, which is always a concern with respect to steel frames. I think the frame looks the business, so props on that.
  • 5 0
 I'll let you translate :
"Comparé au Shan N°5 de Production Privée (...), les bases arrières sont bien plus rigides et rassurent en virages rapides et appuyés, avec une vraie précision dans le feeling."
  • 3 0
 @ohbmxer: I’ve never had a steel frame that I though was too flexy and I don’t think I’ll ever see one that is. I would think there is more flex in your tire sidewalls or handlebars than in a frame
  • 3 1
 I know people who ride hard and have been on starlings for years. Theyre bomb proof
  • 1 0
 I like burritos
  • 3 6
 can't wait to open a beer upside down...
  • 2 1
 Right?! That's what I thought aswell. If you had that opener thing as a top cap, wouldn't you then have to hold your beer upside down to open it? How's that supposed to work...
  • 5 0
 Handlebar caps, not stem caps. I'm running Ergon GE1 grips, so the ends of my handlebars are covered, but I love gimmicks like this and think I have a place to stick one.
  • 2 0
 their marketing department is in bits now...
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