the manufacturing secrets of this “100% French” electric bike

For the first time in its history, the French brand Mustache is releasing an electric bike entirely made in France, the Mustache J. Gone is the frame produced in Taiwan, in favor of a new process supervised by a French partner, on our territory. We were able to speak with the brand to understand the manufacturer’s secrets of this VAE like no other.

It’s a fact: very few electric bikes are entirely made in France. Moreover, we should not confuse “ make ” And “to assemble “. Brands like to play with words. “To assemble» consists of receiving parts already manufactured and nesting them with each other. The result is a brand new bike.

One region of the world in particular is famous for manufacturing bicycle frames: Asia. At Mustache, it is more precisely a Taiwanese factory which carries out this task. The frames are then sent to France, to the Mustache workshops in Thaon-les Vosges. At this point, the assembly process can begin.

Ciao Taiwan

Determined to revolutionize its methods, reduce its carbon footprint and put the short circuit at the heart of its specifications, Mustache, for the first time in its history, became independent from Taiwan. The idea being to make a framemade inFrance, dedicated to equipping its very latest electric bike: the Mustache J.

CssTricksspoke with the brand during ProDays 2023, in Paris in June, to understand the ins and outs of this project, as well as behind the scenes of manufacturing. The opportunity for us to speak with Clément Bonneau, head of press relations for the company.

Mustache J

The heart of the specifications was designed around a precise idea: to produce an open and suspended frame as rigid as a closed frame. To do this, Mustache evokes a manufacturing process unique in the bicycle industry: “We use foundry, a process with which we pour aluminum into a mold», we are told.

And to continue: “By gravity, this will block the gaps», Indicates Clément Bonneau. In a technical file sent to CssTricks, Mustache specifies: “We were able to create a molding with a hollow body capable of integrating the elements of electrical assistance while retaining dynamic qualities of resistance and rigidity», assures the brand.

This is the strongest bike in the Mustache range»

Results: the frame gets rid of all traces of welding, and displays a very fluid appearance. Aesthetically, this is also what we can see on Cowboy electric bikes, for example. The Vosges firm insists, explaining that it has added internal reinforcements to guarantee this famous level of desired rigidity.

According to Clément Bonneau, this Mustache J exceeds European standards in this area. “This is the strongest bike in the Mustache range“.

The founding partner of Mustache “uses a primary aluminum alloy, from French and Italian suppliers“, explains the brand. “It is refined directly from the ore, without reprocessing of dross or other various aluminum residues. All scrap and excess material is recycled by recasting.»

This also means that this alloy is not made from recycled aluminum. The group would otherwise have spoken of a secondary fusion alloy. Designed in two parts, the frame is cast in Vitrolles, in Bouches-du-Rhône, before being sent to Poligny in Jura, for machining.

What is powder coating?

Several small probes come to feel the areas of the frame to see if everything is aligned», explains Mr. Bonneau. This is an important step to guarantee the reliability and good design of the parts.

The next phase involves sending everything to Schirmeck in Alsace, for powder coating. This process has several advantages:We chose powder paint, not varnish paint. This offers better durability, protects against scratches, contains no solvents and also uses five times less water», Lists Clément Bonneau.

The final stage is overseen by the Mustache workshops, in Thaon-les Vosges, just near Épinal: this involves the assembly of the two parts of the frame, then the complete assembly of the bike. All this 100% tricolor dancing allows Mustache to considerably reduce the carbon footprint of its frame.

Concerning the complete production path, we went from 15,000 km from Taiwan to less than 1000 km with this new process.», specifies Clément Bonneau. “This is a short circuit“.

A 100% French electric bike, really?

However, can we talk about a 100% French electric bike? Not really. Certainly, Mustache has achieved a great feat here which should be applauded and which we hope will inspire other brands. But Bosch motors and batteries still come from Germany, for example. And even.

As Bosch explains on its official website, motor production takes place in the Miskolc factory in Hungary, while battery production has also been outsourced to Hungary… but also to Penang, Malaysia. The carbon footprint of these components can be notable.

Still, manufacturing a frame in France, by a French factory and in a short circuit, remains a strong choice on the part of Mustache. This manufacturing method is probably expensive for the brand, which is nevertheless embarking on a noble project for the planet and the environment.

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