While it becomes easy to get bamboozled whilst wandering across the 100,000 square meter layout of Eurobike, there are still some products that catch your eye, despite being tucked away in a dark booth in the corner of a far away hall. Even when you’re exhausted, delirious, and in a post-pretzel food coma. One of the bikes that cut through the glitzy show haze was this striking number from French brand Cavalerie.
Hailing from Lyon in France, Cavalerie is a small-time frame builder that didn’t originally begin as a frame building company. In fact, the company’s first product was actually a gearbox; the Effigear. Also made in France, the Effigear is designed to go up against the likes of the Pinion gearbox used on
the Zerode Taniwha we also spotted at Eurobike. But while Effigear sat waiting to be approached by other companies to build bikes around their gearbox, they decided to make their own bikes under the Cavalerie name. The Cavalerie Anakin is a 160mm travel enduro bike built around the 9-speed Effigear internal transmission. It features a belt drive, a single-pivot suspension design and like the gearbox, is 100% made in France. Built from robust alloy tubing, the Cavalerie certainly has an industrial appearance. The matte anodized finish combined with the shiny gold highlights was enough to catch our eyes during Eurobike. Cavalerie also make a downhill bike (the Falcon), a freeride bike (the Squirrel), and a dual suspension fat bike called the Anafat. With 160mm of travel and slack geometry, the Anakin is likely the most appealing and the most versatile bike in the Cavalerie range. So here’s where it gets interesting. The Cavalerie is designed around Effigear’s 9-speed internal gearbox transmission, and features a Gates Carbon Belt Drive to link it up to the rear wheel. The rear suspension features a high single-pivot design that builds the main pivot around the entry point for the Effigear transmission. Because there is no chain growth, a belt drive can be used without need for an additional tensioner. The rear dropouts feature neat integrated tensioners to help get the Gates Carbon Belt Drive nice and taut, as the belt requires a specific tension to ensure it stays on track. Cavalerie have spec’d the latest Centretrack system from Gates, which sees an additional spline machined along the circumference of each sprocket that lines up with a corresponding groove in the belt. The Centretrack design is recommended for mountain bikes to help reduce the chance of belt derailment. Lovely machined dropouts on the Cavalerie Anakin as well as an integrated rear brake mount that means chainstay length adjustments won’t require brake adjustments at the same time. Looks like Cavalerie got the anodising spot-on with the matching Hope four-pot callipers. And this is the business end (or centre?) of the Anakin frame. It’s the fully sealed Effiger 9-speed transmission that the entire frame and swingarm is built around. Inside are two interlocking stacks of sprockets. The upper stack is fixed to the axle and is constantly rotating along with the belt (even when you’re freewheeling), while the lower stack contains the adjustable selector that allows you to change from gear to gear. The Effigear transmission is available to suit either a SRAM trigger shifter, or a gripshift style shifter. The Cavalerie Anakin is outfitted with a SRAM X0 trigger shifter, with only a single cable entering the gearbox. To make that work properly however, a secondary cable exits the transmission and connects up to a long black rod along the upper side of the downtube. This rod contains a long spring inside, and it’s this spring that is preloaded as you downshift, and then helps to push the cable back through when you upshift. It’s a clever solution that means you can use a trigger shifter (unlike the Pinion system). Inside that black rod is a thin spring that helps to push the gear selector back down the sprocket stack. Aside from its clever gearbox, the Cavalerie Anakin is a lovely piece of kit. There’s plenty of attention to detail in the frame, and the geometry looks suitably modern, with a 66-degree head angle and a steep 75.5-degree seat tube angle. Along with its burly parts kit, durable belt drive and internal transmission, this is a bike that will be right at home pounding laps of French alpine resorts month-in, month-out.