We first featured Vulcain Cycles in our 'Boutique European Downhill Bikes that Dare to be Different
' article in 2019. The project is the brainchild of Julien Verbicaro, a former World Cup junior racer who went off to study mechanical design, started his own bike company at the age of 25 and designed and built the Magma downhill bike in Auvergne, France. Since that article, he's been testing his bike alongside a test rider and ensuring it is refined and ready for production.
Vulcain Magma DetailsIntended Use:
Steel (aluminium rocker)Travel:
200mm Head Tube Angle
Custom (450mm reach pictured)Weight:
16.75kg (no pedals)More info: vulcain-cycles.fr
While the new version of this bike doesn't look significantly different from the one posted two years ago, there are some crucial changes that Julien has been working on to improve on his first design. The first prototype ran on 27.5" front and rear but downhill design has moved on since then and the Magma is now designed around a mullet set up. The other change comes in the materials used. The front triangle on the production bikes will be built from Reynolds 921 and the aluminium rocker has been redesigned to be lighter and stiffer.
The thing that first drew our attention to this bike was the fact that it wasn't simply another cookie-cutter steel single pivot that you see in a lot of steel bikes. The four-bar design remains in this bike, but it has also undergone some revisions to prepare the bike for launch. The 3D printed parts needed to get the correct shapes are now 3D printed from 15CDV6 and the lower bracket is aluminum and now bolted on to the frame so it can be changed to accommodate metric or imperial sized shocks. The final refinements came in the form of improving the tire and chain clearance and reducing the machining for complex parts.
One of the advantages of Julien's small and in-house operation is that he can design the geometry of the bike to suit each customer. Some numbers are fixed, such as a 63.5° head tube angle, 438mm chainstays and 74° seat tube angle, but the rest can be decided by the customer when they order their frame. More info on the geometry options can be found here
Julien's propensity for the raw metal aesthetic goes as far as this crankset from Hope and braided hoses.
Julien has big plans for Vulcain and won't be stopping with this downhill frame. Next up will be a 160mm enduro bike that will be closely related to the Magma but with some tweaks to the kinematic for a more efficient pedalling platform. After that Julien will be starting to bulk out his range with an all-mountain bike, a hardtail, a dirt jump bike and an eMTB. He is also pulling together some budget to try and race the Magma on the World Cup circuit with a race team.
[PCAPTION]Test rider, Tristan Bohn
, has been putting the Magma through its paces and Julien has plans for a race team in future.[/PCAPTION]
Magma frames start from €3,099 and are available via a Kickstarter now for a reduced price of €2,699, here