Within a week, the Clermont-Ferrand workshop of Victoire Cycles had turned out two very different custom mountain bikes, for two very different customers. This is the more petite of the two, built for a female rider, but it’s no less robust, tough, or capable.
In comparison, its stablemate was overbuilt: beefy, raw and shaped with a slightly familiar, triple triangle-style design. Martine’s MTB is almost the direct opposite, but both show the capability of the French atelier to cater for every customer.
Martine wanted a wanted a fast and comfortable 29er, but that provided a challenge for Julien Leyreloup, designer and chief frame builder at Victoire. Exactly how do you fit the large 29er wheel size to a smaller frame?
The main advantage was the downtube supplied by Columbus Tubing. This is a new 38mm⌀ standard addition to Columbus’ range, featuring an ovalized face at the bottom bracket and extra butting and width at the head tube. The bend, of course, allows extra clearance for the fork and front wheel.
A sloping Columbus top tube affords the double advantage of allowing extra standover clearance and manoeuvrability on the trail. Seat stays with a diameter of only 14mm will contribute towards a small amount of compliance when bombing down the single trail.
It’s a very international parts list: the groupset is SRAM XX1 with a Fox Float 32 fork and Formula R1 brakes. The cranks, bottom bracket, wheels and bars are Tune, with a Thomson stem and seat mast. The French Gilles Berthoud saddle is the final touch, from the homeland of both Martine and Victoire.