Concours des Machines 2017 | Martignac

Here’s our next instalment of interviews from this year’s Concours des Machines 2017¬†– the beautiful grey-blue Martignac. We had the fortune of speaking to Marc Cougoule about his lovingly crafted bicycle.

Marc based the design of this bike on his 25 years of cycling through the hills on a steel frame. In the past, he was never able to find a bike that suited him perfectly because his experiences were quite different than the norm. Finally, this occasion gave him the excuse to build his dream machine.

At 10.6 kg, this bike is on the lighter side with mudguards, front bag holder, and dynamo hub lighting. By mounting lighter components (pedals, break grips, and Dura-ace derailleurs), it would have been easy to lose an additional 1-2 kilograms, but this was good enough for the competition. There’s enough comfort for long distances by having the handlebar be at the same height as the saddle, without the need for more than 20mm spacers, and there’s also sufficient front-center distance so that the foot never touches the fender.

Marc used an extremely simple matte epoxy paint, which means the bike doesn’t really attract attention on the road and allows it to go unnoticed. There isn’t any visible branding on the frame or components, and there’s enough passageway for wider tires (700 x 44). With easily repairable parts on the road (classic derailleurs, V brake breaks for example), the machine embodies form and function.

As this framework was Marc’s third, his goal was to very gradually increase the technicality of this process. So this is his first frame with tubes this thin at 0.4 mm – the main triangle comes from Life and the rear triangle is from Zona. 38% of the construction consists of silver soldered fittings.

This year, the difficulty level of the course was high, with a lot of gravel. But the Martignac behaved well without too many technical problems. Marc had to mount a tube in the front after the fact because the tubeless mount was still very new to him, and during the race, the wheel was losing pressure. One of the pedals broke 70 km before the finish line, so thanks to the help of competitors who even went so far as to push him in the moments when the single pedalling got too much, only then was he able to complete the race.

In the future, Marc plans to use the Martignac as a general all-arounder for his trips and adventures. His next projects include continuing to learn and master specific manufacturing techniques, creating a travel bike (or find a way to fit said bike into a suitcase), producing a classic lightweight hiker bike as well as a light steel road bike, and of course, building his submission for the 2018 Concours race.

Follow Marc on Facebook here.

Words by @jlyn7
Photos by @daam