by Brandon Grant
Caroline Mani’s 2017 started with her winning the French National title, but by April she was looking for sponsorship at the Sea Otter Classic. Mani tried using a GoFundMe campaign to fund her season, but the effort came up short.
Ultimately, she found a home for the season with Van Dessel and Atom Composites, who set her up with a bike that is only fitting for a French National Champion.
The Full Tilt Boogie has been Van Dessel's flagship cyclocross bike for years now. We have previously looked at changes made to the all-carbon frame and profiled fellow Van Dessel / Atom Composites rider Cassie Maximenko's bike at the Sea Otter Classic in 2016.
As our history of coverage shows, the company has continually updated the bike, and in 2018, the Full Tilt Boogie adopts the Mavic Speed Release axle standard and flat mount brakes.
Mani’s bikes were set up before this running change, however, and her frames use 15mm front thru-axles and post mount brakes.
Mani has been enjoying the platform this season. "Honestly the bike is killer. The handling is amazing. I’m more comfortable cornering and in technical sections," she said about her new bike. "The geometry fits me perfectly. The frame is responsive but not too stiff, so I’m able to get fast acceleration without feeling the impacts. I would really recommend this bike to anyone."
Mani’s bike has a special French Tricolor paint scheme, which makes her bike really unique.
"Seriously, the paint job is just beautiful," Mani said. “I have had so many people complimenting and telling me they would love to buy this color. It is a special feeling to love the bike you ride on, people don’t realize that it makes a huge difference. I’m loving it, and I’m excited every single time I jump on my Van Dessel."
Van Dessel owner Edwin Bull says the paint is based on the consumer masking, but in the French National colors, and similar schemes will be used for their other sponsored teams in the future.
"We came up with the paint," he said. "It's an extension of our current paint layout. All our bikes now have a 'V' painted on the frame, seat tube and downtube. Where our regular stock frames just have a single color V at the bottom of the tube, for the French national colors we extended this V upwards to include the three colors. We're doing a similar paint layout for the CCB Velotooler team, using the exact same masking and layout, but using the CCB colors instead."
Atom Composites came on as a second sponsor as Mani built a 2017 program, providing her with their American-made 38mm tubular rims laced to White Industries hubs with Sapim spokes.
Mani has been gluing her own tires this year and found the wheels easy to work with. "The shape of the rim is really fitting my tubular perfectly and it has been super easy gluing tires," she told Cyclocross Magazine. "I’m really happy with the wheels, I’m pretty amazed how solid and reliable they are. I have been traveling and shipping wheels all over and I have zero damage. The wheels are really good quality and really responsive."
FSA provides many of the components on Mani’s bike. She uses a 40mm Compact Extra Light handlebar, OS-99 stem and SL-K hollow carbon crankset in 170mm length with an FSA MegaTooth 1x chainring in either a 38t and 40t. FSA provides the headset and spacers. Interestingly, FSA also provides the chain, despite the Shimano drivetrain.
Shifting is handled by Shimano RS-785 Di2 shifters paired to a Shimano RD-R6870-GS Ultegra Di2 rear derailleur. Even though the FSA chainring is 1x specific, Mani uses a K-Edge Cross Chain Guide for added security against dropped chains.
Mani’s bike is stopped by Shimano BR-RS785 hydraulic calipers, which bite onto 140mm SRAM Centerline rotors with a Shimano Centerlock attachment and an alloy spider. Discs are new for Mani, but she has found them to be an asset. "I was really skeptical about disc and the weight, but at the end, I’m really enjoying it and I adapted pretty quickly," she told us.
The bike’s remaining contact points come in the form of Lizard Skins bar tape, crankbrothers eggbeater pedals and a Selle Italia SLR Flow carbon railed saddle.
Caroline Mani's Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie Specifications
Frame: Van Dessel Full Tilt Boogie, Carbon, PF30, convertible 12x142mm thru-axle, internal cable routing
Fork: Van Dessel, 15x100mm TA, tapered, carbon
Shifter: Shimano ST-RS785 Di2 Hydraulic Disc Shifter
Brake Caliper: Shimano BR-RS785 IceTech Hydraulic Caliper, post mount
Rotors: SRAM Centerline, 140mm, Centerlock
Rear Derailleur: Shimano RD-R6870-GS Di2 Rear Derailleur
Front Derailleur: K-Edge Cross Chain Guide
Crankset: FSA SL-K Light BB386Evo, hollow carbon, 170mm
Chainring: FSA MegaTooth, 38t and 40t (interchangeable), 4-arm 110 BCD
Cassette: Shimano Ultegra
Chain: FSA 11-Speed
Stem: FSA OS-99
Handlebar: FSA Compact Extra Light, 40mm
Seatpost: FSA K-Force
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Flow, carbon rail
Pedals: crankbrothers eggbeaters
Rims: Atom Composites 38mm carbon tubular
Hubs: White Industries, Centerlock, TA
Tires: Challenge Grifo Team S 700x33mm tubulars
More info: vandesselcycles.com