Injection-moulded carbon lugs and titanium tubes | This is a gravel bike like no other

Caminade uses injection-moulded composite lugs and titanium tubes to make bespoke framesets

Caminade is a manufacturer of bespoke bicycle frames hailing from Ille-sur-Têt in the Pyrénées-Orientales département of France, and we recently spotted one of its bikes nestled discreetly in a corner of the Hope stand at the 2020 Core Bike trade show.

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Made from titanium tubes bonded to composite lugs, the AllRoad Titanium gravel bike was built up using a selection of parts from Hope.

Rather than being laid up sheet by sheet in a traditional carbon fibre mould, the lugs themselves are injection moulded using a carbon and polyamide composite called Grilamid LCL-3H. This is what lends them their unusual, almost 3D printed, look.

This process is almost the opposite of the bikes made by Bastion Cycles, which use carbon tubes bonded to 3D printed titanium lugs.

According to Geoffrey Buisan of Caminade, the lugs are made by French company Protolabs in England using materials from Switzerland, and the moulds are made in Germany.

Buisan said the brand’s goal is to localise as many aspects of the fabrication process as possible, so that it can maintain control as an artisan frame bike builder, while still compete with Asian fabrication in terms of RRP.

Caminade AllRoad Titanium gravel bike bottom bracket
Caminade says the lugs enable it to offer custom geometry and compete on price with Asian based manufacturers.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

Selling directly to the consumer means that Caminade can offer a complete bike with bespoke geometry for €3,010, which is competitive with off-the-peg titanium bikes from other well-known brands.

The construction is said to impart a fairly quirky ride quality too. Caminade told us the bike rides like a traditionally welded steel frame, but those on the Hope stand said the bike offers levels of compliance that can be almost disconcerting at first, but proves to be “ultra comfortable” on long days in the saddle.

The frame is specced with a TRP CX carbon fork, which has clearance for up to 40mm tyres on 700c wheels or up to 48mm tyres on 650b wheels, and a host of Hope parts. In fact, the only components that aren’t from Hope are the saddle, handlebars, rear derailleur, chain, shifters, tyres and bottle cages.

Everything else comes from Hope and, as is typical of the UK based company, many of the parts come anodised in a rather fetching bright orange.

Hope RX crankset
Hope’s recently released RX road/gravel crank sits at the front of the drivetrain.
Simon Bromley / Immediate Media

Of particular note is the inclusion of Hope’s recently released RX Road/Gravel crankset.

CNC machined in two pieces, the sides of each arm are bonded together for a hollow construction, before being subjected to another round of CNC machining. The crankset is built around a 30mm aluminium axle (though Hope says it is compatible with “almost every BB system” using its own range of bottom brackets), weighs a claimed 510g and is available in six different colours.

The drivetrain comprises of a SRAM Force 1 rear derailleur and SRAM PC1130 chain, with a 38t Hope RX narrow/wide chainring and Hope 10-40t 11-speed cassette that’s fitted on to Hope’s matching hub to enable the use of the 10t sprocket.

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All things considered, the AllRoad is another example of some original thinking from Caminade. We previously featured its ChillEasy titanium enduro bike (which was designed by Geoffrey Buisan), but it’s refreshing to see a drop bar bike that doesn’t simply conform to the current design template.