We started Cycles Toussaint without aspirations to be another mega bike corp but to make great, affordable bikes for exploring, randonneurs and light touring. Since we launched the original cro-moly Velo Routier ten years ago, we’ve also worked on several other prototypes including two stainless steel prototypes. We built and tested a Velo Routier 650b prototype. We dabbled with a 700c allroad prototype, the Pave. While feedback was very positive, the minimum order quantity necessary to place a production order was too risky for us to consider.
In the meantime, the allroad / gravel bike concept took off. For us original mountain bikers, it was a déjà vu moment that brought us back to early days of mountain biking exploring fire roads and single tracks on our rigid framed 26” bikes. At the same time the nascent ebike drive trains began to evolve. We had the good fortune to meet the FSA engineers working on a road-specific rear hub electric-assist motor system in Taiwan just before the pandemic shut everything down. It got us thinking.
Life with all its responsibilities made training hard or near impossible at times. We have to battle the middle age spread brought on by metabolic changes as well as VO2max and strength decreases with advancing age. Our ability to keep up with the youngsters was fine on the flats and downhills, but uphill was a totally different matter. Could the developments in electric-assist level the playing field?
Could we design a bike that weighed less than 15kg that would ride, look and handle “normally”? Perhaps with a battery fitted in a slightly oversized downtube? Aesthetically the bike could look like a conventional allroad bike and could fit right in with any group ride. With all of this in mind, the Le Taureau eAllroad project was born!
As a rider and engineer, I respect the application of carbon fiber composites for many high-performance applications. At Toussaint we believe that titanium is the most appropriate choice for the Le Taureau frame with its superior impact resistance and in spite of today’s fashion-driven, throwaway zeitgeist, long-term durability. Titanium has a smooth and lively ride quality that in our opinion has not been duplicated by composites.
It has taken a while for the bicycle industry to recover from the pandemic induced chaos and settle back to its normal cadence that allows small companies like ours to consider placing orders. We finally managed to have three Le Taureau prototypes made up and shipped this past winter to Canada to begin our testing.
We have several tweaks to the design in mind and are planning to launch an Indiegogo campaign to gauge interest for the production run of frames.