Fat-Bling – Salamandre + Pinion = OMG!

Salamandre cycles pinion prototype fat bike 1

I spied this stunning, cobalt blue, fat-bike and immediately pinged our amigo Yann from Salamandre Cycles in France. It turns out that this bike belongs to Yann’s long time friend, and return customer, Frédéric (also the photographer that took all of these incredible photos!) Fred is a Frenchman that lives in the south of France in Rodez and is the owner of Big Orange (the very first Salamandre). He wanted to try a fat-bike with gears so he asked Yann if he could build him a fat-bike with a Pinion Gear Box. Yann told him OK, but since the Pinion Spider for fat frames is still in development, and not really for sale, this bike is considered a prototype. Frédéric shared this about his new bike.

For me it’s perfect, so cute, it’s very comfortable, with good traction and the gearbox is very nice. My bike’s name is François 1er. François Pinion is the name of a character from a movie that is very well known in France (the dinner of idiots), francois 1 is a french King and my brother is called François……It’s simply the best bike I’ve ever ridden.

Salamandre cycles pinion prototype fat bike 3

Yann had even more to say about his creation and a little background into his Pinion Experience.

“I first tried the Pinion Geabox on a city bike in september 2012. The feeling was good and I noticed that the cranks and chainline could accomodate 4″ tires on 65mm rims. I contacted Pinion to get data (they sent me CAD drawings) but they currently offered the frame bridge only in aluminum and I would have to design and build my own from steel. As I needed time (to develop the bridge) and money (to buy the gearbox), the plans to build a fat-bike with a Pinion had been stuck in my mind for about a year and a half.

When I finally decided to go on at the beginning of 2014, I received a Pinion newsletter that informed me of availability of a steel bridge a few weeks later. As I answered Pinion that I was very interested by this bridge to build fatbikes, they informed me that fat bike cranks and deported spider were in development (with attached CAD data of course, a pleasure to work with them even if I hate CAD !). Wow ! 2 bits of good news at the same time. I decided that the first Pinion geared Salamandre fatbike I will build would be 5” wheeled (the fattest) !

I made the first prototype (the pink one) in the early spring and showed it, only one day after its first ride, at Fat Bique 2014, the first french fatbike rally. The bike was designed to fit my riding position (so very short for many people) and as I wanted it to accept Surly Lou even on lower chain tension, I needed to make long chainstays (455mm minimum). The bike is very efficient uphill or downhill, but as I’m a short chainstays addict (coupled with an awful singlespeed addict), it wasn’t fun enough for me.

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So I decided to build a larger one with shorter chainstays (that might need an half link to accomodate Surly Lou). This bike has been designed to fit my friend Fred (the owner of the Salamandre #000 “Big Orange”) who is taller than I am. The frame has been built during the 2 days just after the Fat Bique (April/2014). As Pinion and Hope both proposed blue anodising, we looked for a few other blue components : Nuke Proof seatpost and home drilled Robson cruiser rims (we’ll see how they work). The grey frame was chosen to accommodate these blue components. As Fred is an inspired photographer, he made very good pictures of this bike. Thanks to him.

Since then, I’ve built two 4″ Pinion bikes. One is the one of Damien, the guy who I lent the orange cargo fat and who sent us the “The tale of Jack Frost” video, and became “Jack Frost 2″. 4″ Pinion bikes are already available (around 4 months wait). I’m just waiting for Pinion confirmation that the cranks and spider will be available soon to propose the 5″ versions (prototype cranks can’t be sold).

If interested in one of these bikes, please wait to contact me before september. I’m working alone and building to catch up with demand. I’m using the last days of July to catch up on my work, before leaving for a month long bike ride (on the road with 1.75″ tires !) The whole of August. As I don’t want to fill my brain with a bullet while coming back in september, I’ll only answer the mails from my current customers received in august. So please be a little bit patient.


For more information about Salamandre Cycles visit –

If you’d like to learn more about the Pinion Gearbox visit –

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