It’s not unusual for ex-pros to start producing their own frames, so it was no surprise when “The Lion of Flanders”, Johan Museeuw, did just that a couple of years ago. What is surprising, though, is he’s using a blend of carbon and flax fibres to produce the frames.
Flax? Yes that’s right, the material more associated with linen and lace is being used with high-modulus carbon fibres to produce a material that, it is claimed, is as stiff as conventional carbon, but has unique vibration-damping qualities.
While most frames have a degree of vertical flex built in to aid bump absorption, Museeuw’s alternative method guarantees this and means the focus during production can be purely on stiffness. Wanting to check this out, we made the short trip to Oudenaarde, in the heart of Classics country, to put the bikes through their paces.
New to the Museeuw range this year is the MF-5, boasting 80 per cent flax fibres – which can be seen clearly through the frame’s clearcoat finish – in its main tubes, compared with the 50 per cent used in the range-topping MF-1. The tubes in both frames are joined using 100 per cent 3K carbon fibre lugs.
While not as stiff and aggressive-feeling as the pure racing MF-1, the MF-5 really did manage to level out a great deal of the vibration Belgium’s harshest roads threw at it. In fact, the smaller cobblestones like those on the Katteberg felt almost as smooth as tarmac.
The advantage of this kind of comfort is that it can pay dividends at the end of a long ride where a less forgiving frame can cost valuable energy.
While the MF-5 comes in at the bottom of the Museeuw range, a reasuringly mid-range price tag for the frame and forks reflects the boutique nature of the brand.
Price: US: $5,000 (inc. seatpost) UK: £2,299 Contact: