Newly Formed French MTB Company DRAC Releases First Model, the Chartreuse
DRAC, Draco, Dragon. You can see the progression of the name, now take a look at the bike! Birthed from the heart of the French Alps, Grenoble, France is the home of the newest French mountain bike company. DRAC is the brainchild of Matthieu Huet, who was the former VARIO product manager and a memberÂ of the SUNN R&D team. Matthieu hopes to cash in on his 15 years experience in the bike industry, and create a bike brand from the ground up with out compromise and create some of the best bikes on the hill.
DRAC feels that their location and proximity to the amazing mountains and some of the top MTB competitions in Europe will give them an edge over competition when it comes to creating, testing, and tweaking their designs. The name itself stems from the river Drac which flows through Grenoble. DRAC the company was just launched in September and currently offers just one model: the Chartreuse, but with many more to come. Currently the bikes are available online, with a few shops already picking up the brand. Look for that to change in the near future as DRAC is sure to grow, and they are looking for international distributors as well.
Check out all the details on DRAC’s first bike, the Chartreuse, after the break!
The Chartreuse while an odd name for a bike, is presumably named after the Chartreuse mountain region of Grenoble which is the home of a French liquor distilled with 130 herbal extracts. Perhaps the name is an homage to the fact that Chartreuse is one of the few liquors that continues to improve with age in the bottle. This, playing off the idea that according to DRAC, the Chartreuse is built with thicker tube walls, and the anodized finish will contribute to a longer frame life than the competition. Perhaps they just like the liquor? Just like the drink, there is more than one version of the Chartreuse mountain bike.
While both the AM and the Enduro bikes utilize the exact same frame, use of different shocks and mounting brackets allow for a completely different bike between them. This isn’t your typical “remove a bolt, and change the mounting point for a slacker headtube” type adjustment, this is two bikes in one. Obviously the bike will only come shipped in one guise, but I’m sure you could order the necessary parts for the changeover in the future if you were so inclined. In the all mountain set up, the Chartreuse features 140mm of rear wheel travel and a 69 degree head angle, while the Enduro set up bumps up to 160mm of trale with a 67 degree head angle.
Right out of the gate, the Chartreuse has all the bells and whistles that any top level AM/Enduro bike needs to be competitive in today’s market. Starting with the tapered headtube and a matching 1 1/8th to 1.5 tapered fork, this is surely the new standard for most bikes at this level. The headtube and top tube also feature a nice sublimated dragon tail design stealthily incorporated into the anodized finish.
At the bottom bracket of the frame, the DRAC features press fit BB30 cups, but will ship out with the standard threaded adapter. Again, this will allow customers to upgrade to a BB30 crank in the future if they so choose. Press Fit 30, in case you’re wondering, is basically the same as BB30, but the bearing are fixed into nylon cups that are then pressed into the frame. The frame then has a 46mm bore that the bearing cups are pressed into, which means a larger tube, more stiffness, etc. More importantly, Press Fit 30 requires no c clips or super precise tolerance to keep things quiet and happy – a win-win for manufacturers and consumers alike.
A lof of thought an care has been put into the hardware for the frame as well, as you can see with all the fittings being Torx instead of Allen bolts. While not many people are going to have that T40 or whatever it is for that main pivot bolt, Torx bolts seem to be where the industry is heading (just look at any new Shimano parts). Torx are supposed to last longer than the standard Allen, and we’ve all been stuck cursing a stripped allen, so it’s probably a good thing. To keep everything tight and hassle free, all suspension pivots are fitted with sealed bearings around either anodized aluminum or stainless steel axles.
Keeping the rear wheel in check on the new Chartreuse is the Syntace X12 axle system. Syntace was more or less the pioneer of the new 142 x 12mm rear axle standard, and I’m happy to see them showing up on new bikes. Most major manufacturers will have 142 x 12 bikes next year, so look for this to become the new trail/AM/Enduro standard. The thru axle makes wheel changes easier, drastically improves frame stiffness, and should lead to better shifting performance with the derailleur hanger held in perfect alignment by the beefy axle. However the system will still be convertible to the old 135 x 10 standard. Hard to see from the picture, but another neat feature of the X12 is that there is a bolt inside the derailleur hanger that is designed to sheer off, rather than the hanger itself, which should be a lot cheaper, and easier to get.