Nineteen French builders gathered at the three day Concours de Machines 2016 event to compete with their specially built bespoke bikes.
The last edition of the Concours de Machines, also known as the French Technical Trials, occurred in 1949, and as such, the event is the first time in the modern era that a such a large selection of French bicycle builders have gathered to celebrate the art-form.
The bikes meeting the theme of the light randonneuse were graded according to several criteria by a judging panel consisting of respected individuals in cycling and randonneuse world. The criteria for the awards included: the degree of innovation, the technical quality, the reliability, the proportion of home-made, French or European parts, but also the weight of the machine and the average speed of the rider all along the trials. During three days and more than 360 km between roads and paths, the bicycles were put to the test in the heart of Auvergne.
The winner of the 2016 event was the local builders Victoire. The organisers commented that the winning bike was ‘a light machine with a timeless style and modern technologies’. The second place was for the innovative Goblin Bikes, and the third place was taken by the modern Pechtregon Cycles. The builder Julie Racing Design received a special award by the judges and the Public Award for its wonderful tandem while Sébastien Klein won in the Rookies category.
The nineteen builders met and discussed different projects to push forward the art of bicycle buiding in France. Besides the participants of the sportive Les Copains, a lot of people came to get to know the artisans and their bikes. The event solidified, for many, the enthusiasm around French hand-crafted bicycles. The success of this years event will no doubt encourange the builders to organize future editions to gather together and continue to share their culture with supporters.