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The Massacan Paula: A Beacon of Community

Dive into the story of the Massacan Paula, where French design meets Italian craftsmanship. Born from the passion of three friends in Nice, France, Paula symbolizes a commitment to community, sustainability, and a new future for bike production.

The Massacan Paula: A Beacon of Community

I stumbled upon the Massacan Paula on Instagram—an aluminum gravel machine that beautifully marries French design with Italian craftsmanship. Discovering it felt like uncovering a hidden treasure. Typically, with most bikes that catch my eye, I admire them momentarily and then move on. However, with the Paula, it was different; I didn't initially delve into the story behind its creation. Yet, over the past year or so, the bike began surfacing more frequently in my feeds, prompting a deeper investigation. What I discovered was more than just a bike; it was a team of friends cultivating a community known as Massacan.

Hailing from Nice, France, Massacan has been making its mark for only a year and a half. Despite having seen Paula's exceptional design, I hadn't had the opportunity to connect with the minds behind Paula. It was only through conversation that I came to understand that the individuals behind Massacan are as extraordinary as their creation. A tight-knit circle of friends, united by a shared goal of enriching the world one bike at a time, their dedication to cycling, community building, and sustainability is genuinely moving. The decision to have their bikes handcrafted in Italy adds a distinct charm to their narrative, weaving together traditional craftsmanship and innovative design. Frankly, if the combo of French flair, Italian artisanship, and a foundation built on friendship and passion doesn't define cool—I'm at a loss for what does.

Who and what is a 'Massacan'?

We're three pals who threw everything aside to immerse ourselves in our passion for bikes. Honestly, before realizing we were even friends, we had the idea to craft bike frames together. We're convinced that biking significantly boosts our well-being and truly brings us joy. Hence, we chose to embrace it as our lifestyle. It represents an all-encompassing obsession for us!

We each serendipitously found one another after quitting our cozy jobs to chase our fervent love for cycling. I (Lucie) encountered Matthieu at a shop where I began working, and I instantly noticed his gravel bike and its capacity for adventure on the local trails. That led to countless rides and explorations of Mercantour's landscapes together. Later, at a professional expo in Paris, we crossed paths with Thomas, and the connection was immediate. He was so captivated by our story that he joined us for a ride a month later. One August day, we enjoyed burgers with a view of the sea from a food truck and shared our vision with him. And that brings us to where we are now!

We devote hours to debating mechanical components and parts, as well as poring over maps and orchestrating bikepacking adventures, selecting the right equipment, and—most crucially—seeking out old military roads and drawing motivation from others who share our zeal for lengthy rides, nights beneath the stars, and the early morning use of a camp stove. For us, it transcends being merely a lifestyle; we are profoundly connected to our bikes and their unique characters. Every detail holds significance and tells a tale. Each new idea begins with a name that evokes memories of a path traveled, a mountain, an animal, and then a color—not just any color, but one from the palette of 1970s Fender Stratocasters. Indeed, we're also music enthusiasts. Our bikes are more than mere items. We're dedicated to our passion and eager to share it.

Can you describe your lineup?

Initially, our goal was to craft bikes tailored for our personal use. As a result, our lineup essentially caters to our every need. We kicked things off with a quick and nimble gravel bike, as that suits our preferred riding style in our region.

Next, we ventured into fixed gear bikes. They're enjoyable and impart a unique feeling each time you mount them. Our gravitation towards fixed gear was natural: Matt has been riding his Cinelli Shark on the roads for years, Thomas adores his Focale 44 S Express Raw styled with a flat setup, and I joined the fixed gear scene just over a year ago. We designed this bike for ourselves, cherishing its mechanical simplicity and the pure, unfiltered sensations it offers.

Our forthcoming model will be an aluminum road bike. We're convinced that high-quality aluminum combined with thoughtful, purpose-driven geometry can significantly enhance road biking enjoyment. Following that, we aim to introduce a Mountain Bike designed for extended, multi-day journeys. A true adventure mountain bike featuring modern geometry and a classic aesthetic. In essence, we envision a bike that's not only equipped for global exploration but also capable of handling exhilarating rides and daring feats... I can’t divulge more at this moment…

What is the intention behind Paula?

Our ambition was to create a gravel bike that encapsulated several crucial elements for us. Firstly, it needed to be enjoyable to ride and inherently versatile, feeling at home on both trails and roads. Recognizing that everyone has unique preferences and uses for their bikes, we aimed to offer the broadest array of groupsets and accessories possible. Moreover, the bike had to be manufactured in Italy using sustainable materials and priced accessibly.

Where is Paula manufactured?

Paula is made in Italy. The builders custom designed an alloy tubeset specifically for us—7005 Fire Competition Light aluminum. It is very lightweight yet extremely strong. We have some custom stays that allow 50 mm tires to fit easily and custom dropouts as well that give a perfect fit for the latest direct mounted SRAM dérailleurs. It's manufactured in the Venetia région by some very talented and friendly individuals.

Italy is practically a neighbor to Nice, and the influence of Italian culture, including language and cuisine, is pervasive here. Matthieu, hailing from the border town of Menton, bears an Italian name and was raised in a mix of French and Italian cultures. Personally, I was captivated by the language upon my arrival and began learning it, while Thomas has a particular fondness for four-cheese pizza (laughs). As you might gather, Italy feels like an extension of our local culture. In the realm of cycling, Italy represents the pinnacle of tradition and expertise, home to revered brands such as Campagnolo and Selle Italia that evoke a sense of aspiration. We've had the privilege of connecting with some of these iconic names, who've welcomed us into their workshops and treated us as if we were industry veterans. Italy has preserved a sense of authenticity that we cherish, and we're committed to celebrating these shared values.

So.. alloy?!

Yes ! We have a dedicated section on our website that explains it in detail but the short answer basically is that it's the only material available that ticks all the boxes we thought of. We wanted a frame that is light and stiff. Most of the people who test rode Paula said that blindfolded, from a dynamical standpoint they wouldn’t be able to say whether it's alloy or carbon.

We know that aluminium alloy isn't the trendiest material at the moment but again, if you take into account all the pros, you're left with almost no cons. It offers a lot of bang for your buck. We wanted to give aluminum its rightful place back with the tubes used, like the Fire Competition Light from Dedacciai, so it's super lightweight. We're confident in the high-end alloys, with a modern geometry where we aimed for comfort, rigidity, and dynamism. Aluminum for gravel is just awesome! Plus, it's infinitely recyclable! Speaking of cons, the one we heard of the most frequently was comfort, or more specifically the lack of. But we're talking about a gravel bike with up to 50 mm tires pumped to less than 30 psi. Is that really relevant? Also geometry has quite a more significant impact on comfort than the raw material itself.

Is the name inspired by someone named Paula?

Paula refers to an actual being, though not a person but an animal: a marmot. The inspiration for her name comes from a trail that begins near Sospel, a village cradled by the mountains. Accessible via the Train des Merveilles, this trail, "La piste de Paula," skirts the Italian border, serving as a gateway to day-long escapades or longer adventures in our favorite locales of the region. The marmot, often encountered in the mountains, keeps a watchful eye on us, always whistling in a corner, watching us.

Tell us about the Massacan community...

At the heart of it, our goal was to foster a community around Massacan. We aimed to craft the bike we wished we had when we first started—not just as a tool for discovery, but also as a means to deepen our understanding of our own needs and the intricacies of the bike, its frame, and its components. We envisioned a bike that could accompany us on every adventure, loaded with our equipment, that not only looked good but had a narrative to share. As time passed, our circle expanded, and we're now on the verge of organizing our inaugural event on what we consider one of the most stunning gravel routes: Alta Via del Sale. All this, imbued with a spirit of lightheartedness.

Uniting people has always been our aim, albeit without knowing the exact path to it. In our area, premium road bikes are more common than gravel bikes. Finding our like-minded community meant reaching out to those who seemed reserved or hidden away. However, this effort has naturally led to the formation of a dedicated group of six, which continues to grow. We're now exploring the idea of holding enjoyable gatherings like alleycats or outdoor overnight events. After all, isn't the goal to have fun?

What can you tell us about the build kit?

You can order a frameset to a complete bike and everything in between. Some customers like to get the frameset, the headset and the cockpit and then take care of the rest themself for example. It is available in 3 colors and 5 sizes. If you ask politely you can even have a custom geometry at no cost, yup. All the colors are inspired by Fender (as we are awesome musicians…), so you have Olympic White, Shell Pink and Daphne Blue. We can also build your dream bike. If you're looking for a ready-to-ride bike, we have configurations that we find relevant with components we've tested and enjoyed. You can also naturally make adjustments from there.

How do I get a Paula?

Well, if you consider getting a Paula then you're in for a treat! The easiest way is to get in touch with us through Instagram or our website. Matthieu will get back to you pretty quickly to discuss your needs either through emails or over the phone. Beware though, Matthieu is a very passionate and talkative person so make sure you're comfortably seated with a cup of coffee before answering the phone. We love our bikes as much as our customers so you will be strongly advised to come and meet us in Southern France for a ride and some great food. By owning a Massacan bike, you'll automatically be enrolled in the Massacan Club and will always be welcomed to our rides.

Oh, it’s not all about Paula. Make sure to check out our latest addition, our Fixie Fissa. Now, we can't spill all the beans just yet, but let's just say, it's going to be just as naughty on the road as it is on the rugged trails of the great beyond ! Okay, fine, I'll spill the beans—we've got an aluminum road bike in the works and an absolutely extraordinary steel mountain bike coming your way.

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