Cyfac wowed me at last year’s edition of Bespoked with its incredibly impressive randonneur bike.
The French workshop has truly outdone its previous efforts with the EXOSTIFF, which is without doubt one of the most impressive custom bikes I’ve ever seen.
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Like last year’s bike, the EXOSTIFF was the French brand’s entry into the 2017 edition of the Concours des Machines — a yearly competition that pits randonneuring bikes against each other over a weekend of gruelling technical trials.
The EXOSTIFF is made from a unique mix of fillet brazed stainless steel and carbon tubing, but it’s the small, neatly integrated details on the bike that set it apart
Starting from the front of the bike, the bike is built around an impressive custom carbon porteur style rack.
The easily sculpted nature of carbon has been used to full effect here and the central portion of the rack contains a small Lezyne pump.
The housing for the pump is sized such that the spring inside the pump is compressed, holding it firmly in place and stopping it from rattling about. Genius!
A machined cap holds this all in place. Those little nubbins on the top of the rack act as a quick release attachment that holds a bag in place.
Like last year’s bike, the EXOSTIFF features custom carbon mudguards. However, unlike last year’s mudguards these are removable.
On the front, the mudguard is attached to the dropout via a thumb screw that threads into the thru-axle. Out back the carbon stays have been formed such that they tightly hug the slender seatstays, holding the mudguard in place. This may look insecure, but in practice took a fair bit of force to unclip.
In a further nod towards Cyfac’s tastes for integration, the custom fillet brazed stem features an eyelet that a small brass bell attaches to.
The custom dropouts feature a Shimano direct mount derailleur hanger — it’s still rare to see direct-mount hangers used on mountain bikes, let alone on a road bike. A pleasingly simple stainless steel chain holder has also been fitted to the dropouts.
The beautifully made custom seat-mast mast topper sits atop the carbon integrated seatpost. The top-most portion of this tube is sheathed with a stainless steel sleeve to improve strength.
At the seat cluster, a simple dynamo-powered rear light from Supernova has also been neatly integrated into the frame.
A Supernova light is also mounted on a dedicated mid-fork eyelet on the fork. Remarkably, Cyfac has even gone as far as machining custom conical-shaped brass washers that perfectly match the profile of the bolts used to mount the light. Madness.
A slender custom carbon chain slap protector is fitted to the chainstay, which is held in place with the same bolts and washers as the headlight.
A set of simple indicators, which are controlled via the left-hand Di2 lever — which is unused as the bike is set up in a 1x configuration — have been integrated into the custom machined bar end plugs.
Cyfac had plans to charge the Di2 battery with the dynamo hub (as done by Bryan Chapman on his personal bike), but didn't have time to fully develop the system before the Concours des Machines.
The build of the bike is also very well considered. Cyfac has gone to great efforts to fully integrate the cabling for the lights and Di2 drivetrain and there’s next to no wiring exposed on the bike.
Soldering spokes is considered to be a pointless affectation by most these days, but I still appreciate the attention to detail.
As is sometimes done on the head tube of steel bikes, stiffening rings have been brazed onto the outside of the bottom bracket shell.
Sadly I didn’t have a set of scales to hand at the show, but a cursory lift suggests the bike weighs ‘not very much’.
There are no plans to take the EXOSTIFF into production just yet, but many of the unique designs used here will no doubt find their way onto the French workshop’s future bikes.
Thanks to Cyfac for taking the time to talk me through the bike. This excellent blog post on Saadl.com also gave some very useful insight into the bike.