France’s Curve Engineering came into the cycling world from its outer fringes, debuting their design and manufacturing expertise with the innovative and award winning X-F1 recumbent trike in 2005. Curve also assists other bicycle manufacturers with their technical know-how, and as of 2013 began producing their own range of non-recumbent bikes. They now offer a lineup of various models ranging from cyclocross to XC to fat bikes and city bikes, all constructed from lustrous titanium.
The latest is the MKII softtail cross country 29er, designed to provide a more comfortable option versus their 294 Evo XC hardtail. The MKII comes as a frame only or in a complete build, and is made to order with custom geometry and sizing. Keep reading for more photos and details…
The MKII’s frame is constructed from 3AL/2.5V titanium, and carries a 90kg (200lb) rider weight maximum. The bike is designed specifically for 29” wheels, but if desired smaller frame sizes can be adapted to run 27.5” hoops instead. The standard frame build uses a 142x12mm rear axle and features a tapered head tube, 73mm BB shell, and internal cable routing.
The MKII’s rear shock was tuned specifically for the bike by SR Suntour France, and provides up to 70mm of travel (which can be brought down to 55mm with an integrated 15mm limit switch). The shock works together with a flexible titanium chainstay yoke engineered to optimize the ti tubing’s strong but forgiving ride properties.
The frame features a unique rear triangle reinforcement under the rear shock, where the seat stays split into two, and the lower extensions reach beyond the seat mast and join up in front. The shock connects to a beefy rocker link sporting a raw, machined look.
The company offers a few options for the frame’s construction and aesthetic finishing details. While the bike is only pictured with a two-by drivetrain, the website states further customization is also available by request at no extra charge. With somewhat limited info online and a French/English language barrier in place it’s hard to say exactly how far that offer extends, but if you’d rather have a 1x specific frame, Gates belt drive system, or a different BB shell, axle or dropouts, just tell them what you have in mind.
The MKII is also available with a fork included (contact Curve for price and details) or as a Softtail Premium complete bike that comes with a high-end build spec including a Suntour Werx carbon suspension fork, Asterion tubeless ready 29” wheels, Rotor cranks, Shimano XTR rear derailleur, XT shifters, front derailleur and brakes, Ritchey WCS components and Michelin WildRacer tires.
The frame sells for $3,068 USD, and the complete Softtail Premium model costs $5,707. Buyers should expect a production time frame of 11 weeks for the frame or complete bike. Full ordering info on their website.