Before him, his father and grandfather trained in the carpentry workshop installed at the back of the family home. “I’m not a fan of school,” in his own words, Eddy Jeantet will expand the CAP carpentry with a vocational bachelor in arts and crafts, with the option of cabinet making.
After returning from boarding school, he started working at a local winery. “Six years without touching a piece of wood”, comments. However, he started cycling, became interested in bicycles and came across a wooden bicycle while browsing social media. “Definitely functional, but lacking in aesthetics. I have always had a love for beautiful fabrics. » Pruning the vines, he thinks about it and envisions his first bike, a marriage of fluidity and performance: “not a square thing”. Eddy Jeantet loves curves and continuity. Literally, the aesthetic of a wood lover can only be woody, organic.
A little later, Jeantet put his hands on the board again, made his first frame, where he would become the regional champion on the road and against the clock, and soon added triathlon to his portfolio of sports activities. It was while developing the second, chrono model, that he dropped everything and built it himself. We are in 2018, the future Gastaboy brand is not yet born, but it is in its genesis.
The benefits of wood
The mechanical qualities of wood meet pedaling limitations. In this regard, design is the focus “vibration control and localized orientation of fibers in the frame, their stress response. Wood fibers form a kind of weft. » Therefore, special attention is paid to the selection of boards, the desired orientation and symmetrical grain or grain.
Lithotherapy cast Geoffroy Lequatre’s ash bicycle consisted of four silver-plated hematites. (Gastaboy)
The cabinet maker claims to be both the most empirical empiricism and a perfect profession. He tests the woods he uses, comparing the elasticity of different species through equal-sized boards, which he measures their deformation under tension. But he also emphasizes the importance of classical cabinetmaking methods, on which everything rests: “Things that are always there, boat building, violin making, archery or skiing. »
Assembly is an important step
The principles of construction of the Gastaboy wooden frame have nothing to do with the assembly of any pipe – for example, it leads to the manufacture of a bamboo bicycle. They are made from 40 to 50 parts, assembled based on stapled and laminated-glued principles. They are obviously built to the customer’s measurements, “Always with the same logic, but without the software!, the artist laughs. I take measurements, move them, and redraw the curves by hand. »
Each frame requires about 200 hours of labor “Four 50 Hour Weeks” – therefore limits the production of Gastaboy to twelve frames per year. This is to say how much a man lives his love of trade, rather than his dreams of wealth.
Species: ash, walnut, oak
According to Mr. Jeantet, who first turned to ash, there are currently three types of wood, originally frames with (slightly) different mechanical qualities: “In addition to skis, it is also used in the production of various mechanical parts. Carriage rods, for example, because they show both good resistance to compression and some flexibility. » But since then, Gastaboy has also offered walnut and oak frames. “Walnut for greater comfort and flexibility: the qualities it gives to the bike are reminiscent of titanium. As for oak, it provides additional rigidity. »
A wooden frame is heavier than carbon and even some steels. Eddy Jeantet cites the case of a customer who took a high-end bike only 200 grams, when the walnut replaced the titanium and weighed only 7.2 kg on the scale. And defines: “It is necessary to relativize. I have a customer who weighs 96kg, I built him a solid frame and his complete bike is 9.2kg, less than 10% of his weight. Do you know many 50kg climbers who cycle under 5kg? » Isn’t the choice of an ex-professor like Geoffroy Lequatre a guarantee of efficiency?
Finally, when it comes to the durability of wooden parts, the craftsman has fun: “If it takes 5 minutes to make at Ikea, it will last 5 minutes. Besides, your boats, Louis XV furniture, Stradivari, before you conclude like a poet, trees exposed to the wind grow faster and stronger. Rolling material that is alive and smart is indispensable. »