Curve Cycling recently took part in the 2023 Handmade Bicycle Show Australia, a showcase of exciting boutique cycling brands and Australia's premier bike show. In case you didn't get a chance to come by, here is all the info on three new projects our New Product Development team has been working hard on.
In conjunction with our 10-year anniversary, this year we decided to explore the evolution of three models within Curve's existing range. These beautiful project bikes not only showcase new production techniques but will allow us to stress-test these techniques in the real world. Our vision for the future is to bring some aspects of fabrication, assembly and finishing back to Melbourne Australia. These project bikes mark the start of this process with the Curve squad completing the fabrication of two show bikes right here in Melbourne. Read on to learn more about Curve's 2023 HBSA display bikes.
Belgie AIR MN
Can you guess what MN stands for?
This bike is a blend of the titanium Belgie V4 displayed at the 2022 HBSA and our high-end Belgie AIR model. Several refinements feature 3D-printed parts. Most notably, the headtube is a single 3D-printed part featuring fully internal cable routing in our second attempt at a cable-free cockpit. To finish off the front end, the headset top cap has been custom designed and 3D-printed to mate perfectly with the bar/stem combo. The dropouts are also 3D-printed and UDH-compatible.
The front derailleur is held in place by our prototype titanium 3D-printed clamp specifically designed for SRAM AXS front derailleurs. This clever design eliminates the need for stiffening wedges and results in front gear shifting that is direct and precise with close to zero flex.
In a move to bring some assembly back to Melbourne, the custom carbon integrated seat post (ISP) was bonded into the frame by Steve and Jimmy. The saddle is held in place by a custom 3D-printed titanium topper featuring our 10-year anniversary graphic.
Kevin (aka GXR) is Curve's most popular model. To pay tribute to our trail-blazing hero we AIRified it and produced a race version. We opted for semi-internal cable routing and removed all extraneous M5 mounts to achieve the clean streamlined look that you would expect of a gravel race bike.
The defining feature of AIR Kev is a custom carbon seat tube bonded to the titanium frame. The standard-sized 27.2 mm carbon seat post with a custom 3D-printed titanium topper has a respectable sub-200 g weight, with further weight savings easily achievable without compromising performance. These parts were bonded in place by Steve and Jimmy here in Melbourne using state-of-the-art adhesives, more commonly used in aerospace.
AIR Kev also features a custom, one-off Ride 415 fork with internal routing, and without the M5 leg-mounts that appear on the current production version. The frame has internal cable routing through the downtube, bottom bracket and chainstay made possible with a one-sided yoke, a departure from the existing GXR design. The rear dropouts are fully UDH/T-Type compatible and the flat mount brake tab is positioned for a 160 mm rotor without the need for an adapter on the caliper.
Lastly, the AIR Kev is fitted with an evolution of our G4T wheelset, dubbed the G4.5T. This prototype wheelset is fabricated with a refined layup, higher-spec carbon and a "finishless" finish. The rims, as presented here, are shown exactly as they come out of the mould. The shine is the natural sheen of the resin and, with nowhere to hide, the rims show the quality workmanship of our wheel fabricators. The artwork is applied directly to the resin using lasers. These new techniques result an 8% weight saving on the current Curve G4T wheelset.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will also spot a prototype carbon 46 cm Walmer Bar.
Building on our concept bike from the 2022 HBSA, our Pinion-equipped belt-drive GMX+, we have developed another iteration of the gearbox GMX+. This incarnation features the new Effigear Mimic 9-speed gearbox which has a shifting mechanism that can be readily adapted for drop bar shifters.
This highly-capable bikepacking bike incorporates our new head tube shape, a modular sliding dropout system, 3D-printed yoke and a prototype carbon 50 cm Walmer Bar. This display bike also features our revolutionary new Seek 430 FM fork, which has a game-changing load rating of 7kg on each side.
This 3D-printed yoke stiffens the bottom bracket - chainstay assembly, which is critical for belt-drive set-ups. Rear end stiffness is a particular challenge when combining titanium, a gearbox and wide tyre clearance. The careful and minimal use of 3D-printing allows new levels of stiffness to be achieved without a drastic increase in cost.
The sliding dropouts are fully modular. On this project bike we have used our flat mount 160 inserts. A full range of inserts for both QR and thru-axle (boost and non-boost) in flat mount or post mount, and Rohloff configurations have been developed.
The Gearbox GMX+ is dressed with bags from BUCKiT made from upcycled tyres.
While this show bike is built with a conventional chain, the drive-side seatstay includes a barely visible split for belt drive compatibility. Careful front chainring and rear cog selection is important to achieve a preferred gear range. For this reason we are prototyping a 32 tooth rear cog to give a gear range suitable for loaded bikepacking. The Curve squad will be testing this bike in belt drive mode in the coming months.