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
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
- 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)
- Price: from 2050 Euro (frame without shock)
- Website: https://madnesbicycles.com/en/
- Instagram: @madnesbicycles
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. 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.
DetailsCavalerie Bikes, Effigear & Opn Bar
- 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
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.August Bicycles
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.
"Master Skywalker, there are too many sprockets, what are we going to do?"
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.
Would also say something about water bottles, but you already know that, it's not for everyone and it's ok.
"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."
Also not everyone in North America and Europe are white..
For me it's more about the manufacturers not going the easy and cheaper way of producing in Asia and creating jobs where they're from.
From experience, bad products stem from bad design or cost cutting, not from the place they were made.
Join Pinkbike Login