My Personal Velo Routier Build

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I finally managed to build up a Velo Routier up for myself. I wanted a bike ready for commuting and multi-day unsupported rides. No camping for me, but I need the capacity to carry clothing, and gear for any combination of snow, hail or torrential rain and temperatures that range from -10C to +30 C which are all possible on the same day out here in Alberta where we live and ride!

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I went to my parts bin and put together a mix of classic and modern. I stuck with our stock wheeset (Jetline rims, SS 15g spokes and Access seal hubs) but went with a bit heavier rubber with Grand Bois Herte tires and with our ultralite Maxxis inner tubes. Other stock parts inclulded a Luxe crankset (46T-30T), Kalloy seat post and my nicely broken-in Gryes leather saddle which I moved off of our prototype 2 bike.

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I decided to have a little fun with the drive train with a Huret Jubilee long-cage rear derailleur, Mavic front derailleur and Simplex Retro-friction shifters. I mounted the shifters in a nod the 1970’s weight weenies, front shifter on the downtube and rear shifter on a Dia-Comple bar-end pod – saves a few grams on a shorter cable run and one less barend shifter pod :-). I used a SRAM 8-speed chain and cassette which worked great with the old Huret and Mavic derailleurs and have the benefit of being available in small town shops in the case of a repair.

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Stopping is supplied by Mavic Raid brakes. Greater fender clearance and cool factor aside, they are noticeably more flexible than the Dia-compe 750. While I want to match the Raid brakes with classic Mafac half-hood levers, I stuck with the Dia-Compe DC204QC brake levers as I have not been able find a pair with hoods in decent condition. To think those levers were as common and unloved as dandelions when I was a kid!

I mounted the front and rear rack in traditional constructeur fashion to the top of the fenders with bolts and leather washers. A Velo-Orange decaleur mounted to a Stronglight A9 needle-bearing headset with TTT handlebars/stem and shellaced Tressostar cloth tape. I have no idea how anyone wraps a set of bars with 2 rolls Tressorstar, I always end up using 3 rolls.

I’ll be riding it my annual Rocky Mountain 4-day extended weekend tour starting this Saturday. This year is the our easy route with four 100 km days, two of which are pretty flat and two day that end at the Radium Hot springs. June is the wettest month of the year on the eastern slopes but traffic is light as the tour buses and RV’s are not out in full force yet.


12 thoughts on “My Personal Velo Routier Build

  1. Hello,

    I know this is an older post, but I just came across it. If you don’t mind me asking, how did you mount the retrofriction to the bar pods? I am very much interested in doing the same thing. What bar end pods did you use and what modifications if any did you need to make? What kind of throw do the levers have and how do you find they function?

    Thank you very much for any assistance you can give. It is very much appreciated.

  2. Hello,

    I just ran across this post and was looking for some help. I am in the process of restoring a vintage French bike and would like to mount the retrofriction levers as bar ends. If you don not mind me asking, what bar end shifters/pods did you use and what modifications, if any, did you need to make?

    Any assistance you could give would be much appreciated.

  3. I used a DIA-COMPE Silver pod. The Simplex Retro-frction lever threaded right on. I had to take a grinder and remove the stop on the right shifter’s metal spacer to increase the cable pull as the barrel of the retro-friction lever is small in diameter. It barely covers the span of the 8 Speed SRAM cassette I am running but shifts great. I wish some one would reproduce the Simplex lever as the shape is perferct for bar ends and super comfortable in the hand. I hope this helps.

  4. The grinding route is pretty hit and miss as you may not get enough pull to cover the entire range. The Demultiplicator seems to be the way to go if you can get one … I’d love to get one myself to reduce the lever travel.

  5. To be sure, the only modification that you did was to grind the cable stop, otherwise, the shifter just mounted to the boss on the pod and it was good-to-go? There are two simplex demultiplicators available here.

    A little spendy, but I picked one of them up. Seller had three available at the time. May be looking at picking up some of the cream pacenti tires in the near future. How do you find ride quality/durability? Do they hold up well for mixed use (mostly road/some gravel)/

    • I may have to buy one. Odd, does not find it so thank for the recommendation.

      I have been using the Creme Pacentis all summer and have about 1500km, mostly urban commuting and some dirt/gravel paths. Some wear but they have held up well. But they are performance oriented. I run them at 40-45 psi and they ride fast and comfy. We at least 45 pairs on customer bikes out in the world right now with no complaints, so far 🙂

      If you really do a lot of gravel, I’d recommend Herte which unfortunately we don’t carry. I bought mine from Compass Cycle.

  6. Pingback: Initial Velo Routier Notes | Cycle Seattle

  7. You don’t have to grind the shifter! As it is by far nicer and harder to find than the pod, you can instead drill out some of the inside of the pod, so that the tab fits in there. You can figure out where and how much to drill by putting the parts together and looking at them.

    To my mind this is a much better solution.

      • Yep, that is the part that you don’t have to grind. You can tuck it inside the shifter pod body instead after drilling out a little hollow for it to go in.

        NBD if anyone grinds the stop instead. But doing the pod instead preserves the stop in case someone should ever want to use them as DT shifters.

  8. Another little thing I did different from you is, I reversed the left and right pods. This makes the teardrops look a little more beautiful (they will now be oriented in the same way as when the shifters are on the down tube) but is otherwise worse in every way; the friction works rub on your palm a little bit, and are more vulnerable should you ever lay the bike down.

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