Stunning shots of the Blast in 360, courtesy of Bike Radar and MBUK.
Stunning shots of the Blast in 360, courtesy of Bike Radar and MBUK.
Amade-MSC Collab – The perfect Marriage.
Translation from SOLOBICI 254
MSC has long since changed the ways they are presenting their bikes and components to the public. Knowing the difficulties in facing the big national and international brands in our industry and the efforts of keeping up the pace with the presentations and new products, MSC have chosen to make their own guidelines, carve their own path and invent their own rules.
With this new philosophy MSC have decided to invest 100% in the midrange and high-end bicycle sector, this specific type of customer is looking for a high-quality, high technology, and also something very unique. As a result of this new philosophy, several seasons ago the Gavà based company stopped low-end bicycles and stopped constantly renewing its catalog every few months. This has allowed MSC engineers to focus on more ambitious projects, increasing durability, both in it’s development and create a product that lasts and presents well for many years. In short, MSC can develop models that can be run for several seasons without having to have them renewed every 10months. The bike models are only updated which offer a technical advantage rather than just a new sticker pack or paint scheme.
Clearly, MSC has also committed much more in developing its line of apparel and accessories, every day it is growing and growing at a brutal pace, and that has MSC placed as one of the leading companies in the sector.
Aeronautics and bikes
To focus on the high-end market on both bikes and accessories, MSC needed to add high-value to their accomplishments to make the end consumer see a product that was not only beautiful but very durable. Furthermore, since most of these products are made exclusively, ie Carbon Molds, MSC designers and engineers decided that they must have a laboratory specializing in this type of material, not only having extensive knowledge in the manufacturing processes for better understanding with the factory in Taiwan, but also assist in the design, development and testing for quality and durability.
The decision initiated by Marcel Gras, MSC engineer who studied at the University of Girona, contacted AMADE (Analysis and Advanced Materials for Structural Design) which sparked this collaboration. A laboratory attached to the university complex has Montilivi Campus, which conducts research for many years in oriented design with composite materials, the numerical simulation of the mechanical and structural design and machine design. That is, they develop much of its work with composite materials like carbon and major aerospace companies in the world, and to note AMADE is working on obtaining Nadcap certificate (maximum), which gives the PRI, an organization global composite aircraft manufacturers Airbus, Boeing and GE Aviation, among others, and that only three Spanish laboratories currently hold.
A meeting prior to the development of the study determines the place where to put the small gauges (sensors), which is one of the most delicate points of the process. Later this becomes a dynamic test and the results, after which it may be established that point works near the limit.
MSC Blast – The New Step
Eager to explore new fields and apply their knowledge, there was no hesitation for AMADE to start working closely with MSC, which has led to the first MSC-AMADE collaboration developed bicycle.
The AMADE studies were performed over several months and have focused on finding the points at which the Blast Bici is approaching the limits of structural strength in times of extreme stress, ie those that exceed the margin of error that all manufacturers design into their bikes and components.
To perform these analyses, the engineers placed a special strain gauges (AMADE sensors), eight in total, at points of maximum stress on the frame of the Blast. The highly sensitive sensors were placed at specific points which are susceptible to cracks, impacts, degradation or are subjected to forces of nonlinear torque, either by weight or by deformation.
10 minutes with... Marc Gascons i Tarrés (to the right of the picture) | Sebas Romero
The importance of the sensors
Much of the time spent in the testing labs was dedicated to designing specific sensors for the Blast, since by its working-deformation generates a voltage level which in turn is reinterpreted in numbers-needed to be in direct contact with the carbon fibers, so all paint and varnish had to be completely removed. In fact the whole carbon surface is stripped back to expose the first layer of carbon. A very difficult and time consuming task, as any item that is used to attach the sensor to the first layer of carbon may even distort the data. A delicate and time consuming process but the results have been worthwhile.
Another problem that had to overcome was the transmission of the data that generated all the sensors to the host computer and the environment where they performed. At the end we chose to use a wireless transmitter located in a fully padded box with a thick layer of foam, which is anchored to the seat post and resides under the rear part of the saddle and design a tightly controlled tour on the campus of the university.
The truth is that we expect a path up the mountain with rocks, curves, jumps, etc.., But as lead Engineer Marc Gascons explained, director of the Engineering Department would be impossible to manage all data you provide uneven ground steadily as in this first phase will require a controlled points of force and torque and a tour completely repetitive to make comparisons. A baseline set of variables was required to be the benchmark for future testing. Believe it or not, the data offered by the gauges are much more reliable in a more regular than in the mountain itself.
One objective of this study was to know what forces undergo certain points of the bike, but at the same time, to know how to they interact with each other, how the deformation or excessive rigidity of a particular part of the structure affects the rest of the elements.
Following this extensive testing procedure, the new Blast passed with high marks, as only the area of the weakness was the brake caliper arch on the rear rocker arm. The reading was very close to the limit under extremely hard braking; as a result of this there have been modifications to the final production models to reinforce this area and a change layup of fibres.
What can make a mark as AMADE to MSC?
We specialize in composite materials and their characterization; we conduct calculations and forecasts of structural failure.
Based on research projects we generate public and private knowledge that subsequently transmit the industry both nationally and internationally. Working with a lab like this is an added value not only give the result, but we understand, interpret and extrapolate it to the customer, ie we have as travel companions when developing products.
Is AMADE considered an elite laboratory?
To work in aeronautics at the highest level requires more certificates like ISO 2001 and 17025, but there are known Nadcap accreditation, which is the ultimate in aviation and have only three Spanish laboratories. During this year we want to get that certification, and we believe we are on the right track. When you get the the same certification like rest of the companies in this sector you know that you meet the quality requirements for the aircraft industry, which is very, very demanding. Let's say you become a most trusted laboratory at the highest level.
In a case like this where you work on a project already started, what kind of benefit you can provide?
Since the bike is made, the purpose is to transfer the knowledge we have in this group after our analysis to MSC and add value to the product to make it better, more competitive, and so on. More important than the work done on a particular product is to transfer our knowledge to their engineers, as both are more efficient in interacting with suppliers, which is important when it comes to materials like carbon.
Why can’t the evidence in the mountains or on a lab "torture" be performed routinely?
The dynamic tests are more effective than those made on a test-rig, because there you have a very controlled, very perfect, you know the burden you enter a very specific line. In contrast, in the mountains is a total mess, a chaos, the forces come from all sides, etc.. Doing it in a more controlled environment away from us a bit of reality, but allows us to draw conclusions and data more easily. We try to approach the reality knowing that reality is a mess. What we have done today is to find a controlled environment to be aware of what happened at the time, we create a benchmark for future testing. A half lab tested environment and a half real-time environment test.
What conclusions can you draw on a day like today?
We will know how to deform the point where the sensor is located. This data is extrapolated and we know how far the limit is the material is for a specific area. We can slightly modify the carbon layup or alter the design to minimise weight and optimise strength. For example, the sensor located on the brake has already detected which is near the limit of the material, and therefore recommend a review of the laminate.
Why is it so critical positioning sensor?
The correct sensor location accounts for 40% of the test. When we tested a tube or a separate sheet, the positioning is relatively unimportant because we assume that it will behave equally throughout its length. But on a bike several critical points needs to be heavily examined. For example, after this first trial, and pending the final outcome, you may perform a series of modifications to take more data and better support the study.
How difficult was the process of installing sensor gauges?
The installation of the gauges was not a simple task of sticking on a sensor and collecting data, the gauges are extremely delicate. We had an engineer working full time for six weeks concentrating on the position and shape to accurately and effective “hook” into the carbon fibres. It was a very laborious process but worth the effort.
How different was your work comparable to the work in F1 or MotoGP?
Yes, it is comparable to the telemetry in behaviour of the chassis just like what the big teams are doing in F1 and MotoGP.
Producing a beautiful product can seem easy, but it's in fact something extremely complex. Achieving the perfect harmony between beauty and function is a job that deserves to be recognized.
Less than a month ago we published the test from the French magazine VTT Mag where they praised the bikes versatility and performance. One month later we've have received the review from ever popular European Solo Bici magazine (July Edition) in which they have done an excellent article where they put the Blast to test. In brief Solo Bici expresses the Blast's exceptional pedalling efficiency and chassis stiffness combined with its fantastic aesthetics with a high quality component spec completing the job with very minimal weight (10.88kg). Not only has the Blast scored great numbers in the recent magazine test but true to our racing heritage, the Blast truly performs at another level with the newly crowned 2012 Euskadi Champion, Patxi Cia and his amazing 6 podium wins for the first half of this year!
"The effectiveness of the bike was astonishing. Everything has been thought aiming that goal, and no doubt MSC has achieved it"
Since the very first sketches of the Blast we knew it would be a special bike, a model that would define our present and future. Counting Patxi Cia's results as victorys and the specialized press' response when they test it fills us with pride.
MSC and competition have always gone hand in hand and 10 years later its imprinted in our DNA. In the article Solo Bici confirms the Blast's heritage and the race-winner it has become. They highlight the great rigidity of the frame and the quality of the components, resulting in a balanced and versatile bike.
"AMADE-MSC: Perfect marriage"
Completing the fabulous test, Solo Bici was present months ago along with MSC on AMADE (Analysis and Advanced Materials for Structural Design) facilities in Girona when the Blast was under developement to monitor the study of the carbon frame.
Now, along with the bike's test, Solo Bici publishes the write-up about AMADE's work in collaboration with MSC. The text also contains an interview with Marc Gascons i Tarrés, responsible for the Mechanics Engineering department where he answes questions about the procedures and philosophy and the relation with MSC.
2012 has definitely been an exciting year for MSC Bikes and especially the Blast bike. The awards keeping flowing in, the excellent reviews and high praise keep growing. If you own a quality bikeshop in Australia or New Zealand and would like to experience the performance of the Blast, and truly see how special this bike is, please contact us for information and future demo dates.
You can download the review and report from Solo Bici July 2012.
The Patxi - Blast duet is unbeatable this season, proving that the biker it's in an impressive fitness level and the Blast, the most advanced bike built by MSC has no rival in his hands.
The biker won this last weekend the 2012 Euskadi XC Championship that took place in the town of Izurdiaga.
Patxi had a great start and on the first lap made the best time in the whole run. From that moment on, he increased progressively the gap with Álex Ordeñana and Marcos Domínguez, finishing with a 3 minute margin.
Patxi is getting the best from himself and the Blast this season, winning 5 races and finishing on the top 3 on 2 in the last 8 races.
Next big challenge for Patxi will take place next saturday: Pedals de Foc Non Stop (Fire Pedals Non Stop), a btt raid with over 220km lenght, 6200m positive incline and more than 10 hours on the bike. It will take place in the Pirineu Català (Vall d'Aran).
Prestigious French magazine VTT Mag highlights the versatility of the Blast, affirming that the bike suits riders who seek that perfect balance between performance and comfort. VTT Mag concludes their review of the MSC Blast with this ambitious sentence.
"A long travel MTB without limits"
With these words, the French magazine closes the article and also depicts the successful year that 2012 has been for the Blast.Since its presentation in mid-2011 and its arrival to the market this spring, the Blast has garnered numerous accolades for its detailed design and engineering.
The Blast won the 2012 Taipei Cycle d&i Award for the best bike achieved in the Taipei Bike Show and has achieved extraordinary results with MSC Bikes rider Patxi Cía. On the Blast, Patxi has won 5 podiums in a row (and counting) including the Navarra Championship.
In collaboration with the "Centre Tecnológic de la Universitat de Girona" and the "AMADE Center", experts in the development and test of compostite materials– MSC Bikes is proud to present to you the Blast.
MSC Bikes Factory rider Patxi Cía contintues his winning streak, taking victory in Mendata. Patxi attacked on the steepest part of the course 5km before the finish. A brutal attack that left a minute to his nearest competitor Marques.
Next race for Patxi and the Blast will be the Open de España de Avilés next sunday.
Another victory for the MSC Bikes Factory racer. Riding the new Blast, Patxi finished in 2nd place to take the Navarra Championship title in Sanguesa.
Rain from the night before left parts of the course muddy and slippery which did not seem to hold Patxi back. Patxi and the Blast are starting to really show its potential in technical and rough terrain.
Patxi will race next Sunday to defend his leadership in the Open de Euskadi Marathon.
Patxi went right at the gun and took a 10second lead on Latasa Diego (Conor Saltoki), with the chase group 20seconds back. Patxi was again riding the new MSC Blast dually which he quoted at the end of the race, that it greatly aided his podium finish for the fast and technical circuit.
Patxi battled it out with Ismael Ventura (Chain Reaction Cycles) in the later stages of the race, with Ismael attacking in the final kilometers and taking out the win over Patxi.
We look forward to the next stage of the Caja Rural which will be held on the 3rd of June 2012.
Last Saturday, Patxi Cia took home a fantastic victory for MSC Bikes at the Ibiza Ultra Team. A tough 107km marathon distance race, it was absolutely dominated by Patxi. Armed with his new MSC Blast, Patxi confidently attacked the field at the 7km mark - and held off the field for the remaining 100km!
During the race, Patxi gained a 10 minute lead on the closest rider. He had to backtrack a few times due to some erroneous course markings but that did not stop him from taking home the win.
Patxi is in great form for the season having won two races in a row on the Blast. His victory at the Getxo Indar Bike was just 2 weeks before. Stay tuned for more updates and coming up, a technical review of the new MSC Blast.
A combination of mad alchemy and Constant Evolution. From the darkest dreams of our craziest engineers the Blast arises. Chapter II - Blast Arise
MSC Bikes :: Pioneers of the bike industry.
Without a doubt the small guys from Gavà, Spain are consistently kicking it to the big guns. For 2012 we introduce two new models; the already highly awarded Blast Trail bike and the blindingly fast and race ready F5 Evo Downhill bike. The whole range has had component tweaks which include newer and lighter components, drivetrain and brake updates from SRAM. Our RR series bikes now feature the beautifully designed Ultralight II series components which have shaved the total weight of the 2012 bikes. And of course the addition of the fantastic new Transformer wheelsets which have already proven to be lightweight, stiff and extremely versatile - from XC all the way to DH applications.
We have always placed our technological advancements and innovations first. Riding an MSC Bike means that you are not going to ride a common bike. Riding an MSC Bike is a way of life. It is a statement of your refusal to conform to mainstream and market driven "off-the-shelf" solutions. When you ride an MSC Bike, you ride with style.
Welcome to the 2012 MSC Bikes Collection. It's time for a better bike.
Our F5 has already had a long history on the World Cup circuit and after extensive rider feedback, we introduce the new F5 Evo. The simple and clean lines of the original F5 remain. But the geometry has been re-engineered with a lowered bottom bracket making it even more stable at high speeds. In Ferrari Red, the F5 Evo is stunning.
Slack and Low. We lowered the Bottom Bracket by 10mm which keeps the Centre of Mass as low as possible allowing more stability at higher speeds and increased mid-corner control. We slackened the Head Angle by 1º and with our unique adjustable headset sleeve, you can run a 64º-65º-66º head angle to suit your style or track.
CNC'd Reinforcements. A new reinforced CNC Micro-Link is now used to form the leverage modifier, similar to what is found on our 170mm Enduro bike, the Hunter. This reinforcement allows the shock movement to be smoother with less binding and consistent motion under heavy loads - the difference can be felt in the initial shock stroke which is now smoother and more responsive than before. We still carry over our exclusive Multi-Progressive Suspension System utilised on the previous F5.
Burly and highly resistant. Extra reinforcements at the Bottom Bracket junction - Not just for extra durability but for increased stiffness under heavy loading and competition riding. Like all of our bikes, the simple yet highly effective suspension design provides beautiful form but most important high functional design. The rebound and compression controls for the rear shock can always be easily accessed. Bearing maintenance is fuss-free. And for 2012 we have the Elka Stage 5 rear shock which is pictured above, the Canadian designed and manufactured shock is not only lightweight but offers a large amount of rebound, LSC and HSC adjustment which allows you to get your bike dialled just the way you want it.
Fast. The F5 Evo still remains as our flagship Downhill race bike. In bright Ferrari red the F5 Evo looks fast even standing still. You can expect delivery of the first F5 Evo's in the beginning of May.
F5 Evo Features:
First it was the Magik Stem awarded at Eurobike and now our new trail bike - The Blast. The Blast is due to be released in mid April, it will only be available in limited production due to the complex and time consuming manufacturing processes.
Innovation and progressive design is always refreshing especially when the bike world is being drowned with a flood of "cookie cutter" bikes. It is our mission to constantly push the envelope in design, engineering and innovation.
Isn't it time for a better bike?
The final round of the 2012 National Series All Mountain Cup was held in Awaba on 2-4 March. It was a mudfest of a weekend. During our drive there, the rain came crashing down and it was a struggle to even get the car into the track.
First race of the weekend was a time trial around a 2 km XC loop. I kicked off my run strong, punching it through the first windy downhill section and began to smash along the single track loop to come across the line clocking in at 6:49 minutes. I finished in 3rd place behind Sid Taberlay (4.5 seconds) and Joshua Carlson (11 seconds). It was a great way to kick off the race and I was feeling strong.
The next day we made the trip up again for the main event of the weekend, the Olympic Cross Country. There was only one word for the conditions – Extreme. Even though the rain had stopped, the track was a mud bath which the riders would have to slog through to complete five laps. The start was hard with everyone fighting to get to the single track first so they could have clear vision. Everyone was struggling for traction. There was mud everywhere.
In the midst of such difficult conditions, I just tried to ride my own race. Most of the track was unrideable turning sections into a running race. I managed to finish in 6th place around 10 mins off the winner, Sid.
On the final day, I was looking forward to the last race: a point-to-point race 12 km loop. The race started with 7 km of fire road where the boys pushed hard through knee-deep puddles. While it had stopped raining, a lot of water still sat on the tracks. I had a good start and a strong first climb, which saw me push past Andy Blair and move into 4th position. This was until the next technical climb when a rider in front dismounted and forced me off as well. I was unable to remount the bike on this difficult climb and ended up running, Andy passed me and I was unable to close the gap again. I rode strong for the rest of the race and came through the finish 23 seconds off Andy who was crowned series champion! Congratulations to him!
This was my first season of racing at National Level and it’s been full of ups and downs. I am determined to crack the top 10 overall after placing 11th this year! For now, it’s onto the Real Insurance Marathon Series, ChocolateFoot and Rocky Trail Events with a few fun club races thrown in too! A big Thank You to MSC and Blackman bikes.
Looking forward to the year ahead on board my MSC Koncept.
Michael Vanos riding for MSC Bikes
Vanos has just joined the MSC Bikes family. He is a promising young rider who has been racing since 2009. Since then, he has placed third in the 2009 NSWMTB XC series and was awarded the NSW state expert champion. He won his first half marathon in Nowra by 27 minutes and most recently, competed in the Australian National Series 2012. Vanos reports on the spills and thrills below.
Australian National Series 2012 - Race Report
It was a nice sunny day as we cruised into Canberra on Thursday ahead of the national all mountain cup. Pre-raceday, we spent the afternoon rolling around and checking out lines of the rocky and loose tracks of Stromlo before heading back to our cabin for the night.
Come Friday morning, we headed back out to the track to get a couple more runs in ahead of the super d. I was feeling confident after Buller and the weather was looking good as we jumped on the shuttle bus heading up the hill. But as we approached the top of Mt Stromlo, the heavens opened up and flooded the tracks. After a 15-minute delay, we were out of the bus and looking like racing. As I rolled around still getting a feel for the bike and brakes I had a mishap and put my hands into the road, not the best way to end my warm up.
My race run went well despite the grazes on my palms and legs. I had caught the rider who started 30 seconds in front of me by half way down the descent and it was looking like a fast run. I just had to punch it through the pedally bottom section of track. My luck was once again about to let me down 50 metres from the finish when I dropped my chain. I ended up losing around 20 seconds and quite a few positions to finish up in 14th place.
On Saturday, Chad and I headed off to the track to catch the end of the elite women’s race and get a good warm up in. I knew that the track did not suit me well. With a long, flat fire trail start and the course itself being relatively flat, it was much better suited to the bigger more powerful riders. The gun went and I took off knowing not to blow myself up on this section. I was quickly sitting towards the back of the group and entered the single track in around 25th position. The first lap was tough as I struggled to find my rhythm but as the laps passed I began to feel stronger and I managed to fight my way back to finish 17th.
I made some adjustments to the bike setup for Sundays point-to-point race, which I immediately felt a lot more comfortable with. I knew I just had to race my own race. The start for the point to point was even longer and harder than the XCO, luckily the pack decided not to attack until the hill where I managed to pick up a few positions. Although I entered the single track towards the rear, I managed to pick people off as I had a strong climb to the peak of Mt Stromlo. I continued to push hard slowly picking people off and fought hard to the end where I finished 14th, just 0.5 of a second off 13th and 4 minutes off the winner Dan McConnell.
My Koncept performed exceptionally. Looking forward to Newcastle where hopefully the climbing will be a little more like Buller!
A wickedly good introductory offer, we are offering the awesome new MSC Hunter FS+Fork combo.
You can contact us at info [at] mscbikes.com.au and enter "Hunter Attack" as your subject for more information.
Out of the ashes of our increasingly industrialised world, a green shoot of hope rises. To launch its innovative MSC Ambassadors program, MSC Bikes has released its video “Then and Now”. Ripe with imagery and shot against a backdrop of grey surrealism, MSC sure know how to set the scene for Apocalypse. Climb aboard and check it out.
Nice bikes. Nice trails. But what does it all mean?
Bicycles were first introduced at the dawn of the industrialised age in the 19th century amidst a spate of creativity in Europe. Fast forward two hundred years and bike manufacture has become largely a churn and burn industry more reminiscent of factory assembly lines than European creativity. Because of this, bike technology has remained stagnant. While we have witnessed the evolution of car design (from petroleum to electric, from streamlined to chunky to streamlined again), our bikes have remained relatively slow on technology uptake. If we continue along that path, the industry can only spiral downwards.
Let’s change that reality. Let’s move away from mass manufacture of a beautiful machine, and support innovation, creation. Be an MSC Ambassador. Let’s propagate that seed of hope.
Here is just a small teaser on what is to come in the near future. You know if its made by MSC, it is going be light weight, handle like a dream and look stunning.
Stay tuned for more specs and details very shortly.
Our team rider, Patxi Cia has returned from the Clásica de Azagra piloting the prototype Blast to a 1st place victory. A victory nothing short of amazing, this was the first race of the season for Patxi riding the new Blast and this victory has proven that the Blast is a race worthy machine that performs at the next level.
Patxi commented on the performance of the Blast, saying it was amazingly stiff and responsive on the climbs while still being extremely supple and stable on the downhills, allowing him to open up a winning margin on his opponents.
We have achieved stiffness numbers on the Blast that surpass all other designs, while at the same time having one of the most advanced and unique suspension platforms on any bike available today. Our MPS is exclusively available to MSC Bikes and has been through a long evolutionary process after being born on the World Cup circuit. We cannot help but feel excited to see the new evolution of MSC Bikes unfold.
Ride with style, ride MSC Bikes.