New Years Update

I spent the last two weeks with my family; Christmas travel and cheer, pond hockey, skiing, reading, board/video gaming and doing personal bike builds which I will try to report on soon.  We are back to business and we will try to respond to your orders and e-mails as soon as we can.

Before the holiday break, my business partner and friend, Jason Wall decided to leave Cycles Toussaint for personal reasons. Running a super-niche bicycle business with him has been great and I wish him all the best.

With Jason leaving, I had to defer re-ordering frames while I re-appraised how to carry on and I had a reasonable stock to carry through the spring. Or so I thought. The review in Bicycle Quarterly’s Autumn 2014 Vol. 13 No.1 issue of Velo Routier resulted in flurry of late season sales in December that has left us sold out of all our 54 and 57 cm frames, all of our Citie bicycles, leaving a few 51 cm and 60cm frames and 60cm Velo Routier bicycles in stock. On a positive note, Angus Cowan has joined Cycles Toussaint as my business partner. The thought of running Cycles Toussaint solo was a daunting proposition and I am excited to have Angus on-board. Angus is active in the local racing scene with the ABA and is in Milton this week with his son Alec who is riding with Canadian national team at the Track Nationals. He will be back in Calgary with me next week and we hope to report on our plans for the next batch of Velo Routier frames; proposed changes and expected availability.

Coincidentally after almost two years of back-and-forth and out-of-the-blue we just received word that our Reynolds 931 stainless steel 700c road frame and 650b Velo Routier prototype frames have finally been fabricated and should be ready for road testing at the end of the month. Look here to this blog for full specs, photos and a first ride review in early February.

Happy New Year and Ride Your Journey!

Evan

Bicycle Quarterly Review of the Velo Routier Frame

Bicycle Quarterly Autumn 2014 toussaint_profile

Our Velo Routier frame was recently reviewed in the Bicycle Quarterly’s Autumn 2014 Vol. 13 No.1 issue . The test bicycle was generously provided by our Seattle dealer Free Range Cycles.

I am a subscriber and avid reader of BQ. Jan Heine’s product reviews are not shallow puff pieces but thorough, detailed and thoughtful reports of the good, bad and ugly. There was some trepidation on our part to hear that our frame was to be reviewed and subsequent relief that the review was very positive in general, but you will have buy an issue to get the whole story 🙂

There are a couple of points that came up in the review I would like to add to. Jan noted that our frame was very similar to the first generation Kogswell Porteur/Randonneur. I was aware of the Kogswell bicycle story up here in the Great White North but we did not know any of the details of the bicycle design except snippets gleamed from the internet. Our initial prototypes were designed from several vintage low-trail 650B bicycles and 650B conversion bicycles that I either owned or had access to and from information from various sources including Jan’s highly informative articles in BQ.

Jan noted a few details such rack tabs that were pressed and that front rack sat high on the front wheel. We were trying to create a introductory product that filled the entry level randonneur bicycle niche and as such we made design decisions on construction details such as pressed tabs to keep prices down. As for the high rack, we are working on improvements for the future and are certainly taking that observation into consideration.

Our down tube was deliberately specified with a stouter diameter and wall thickness on our 57cm and 60cm frames. We debated whether we should go lighter but decided to play it safe out of concern for high speed shimmy. The 51 and 54 cm frames have a lighter 0.8-0.5.-0.8 28.6mm diameter downtube and the 54cm moderately planes in my experience. I am a big supporter the concept of planing and designing a low volume production frame with this in mind is still a work in progress.

Evan

 

 

 

 

 

Stonehog Velo Routier Build Review

Brian has posted a detailed review of his Velo Routier frame build on his Cycle Settle Stonehog blog. Here is a picture from his site to pique your interest.

 

Stonehog Velo Routier 1

Note the tasty Rene Herse crank and Acorn Boxy Rando front bag. And the green grass and open water in the background. On a more than slightly jealous note, here at the Toussaint world HQ we have been hunkered down to temperatures in the  -20 C to 30C range for the last 3 weeks and some side roads with ice ruts, I kid you not, a foot deep. But we are catching a break, it supposed to warm up to  a relatively balmy +6C today. Time for a pond hockey break!

 

 

 

 

 

New Year Progress Report

procrastinationYes, Cycles Toussaint is alive and well. The business risk of blogging, aside from getting trolled is that if you don’t post regularly, people may start to wonder if you are out of business! So finally I have got off my donut padded duff to make the first post for 2014 (yes in February).

What’s new?

For 2014 we are standing pat with the Velo Routier and Citie models. We have plenty of 60cm frames and bicycle in stock but are starting running low on 51 and 54 cm bicycles. We won’t be re-ordering until this fall and are considering a deep “French” blue this time around.

We have new stock of microShift 10 speed bar ends shifters that have been selling well. We are looking at getting Velocity to make us our own 650b wheel set for spring.

Three new shops have been added our dealer list:

We are working on 2 new frames for early 2015 delivery … they will be Reynolds 931 Stainless, one will be a 650B rando frame with similar geometry as the Velo Routier and the other will be a 700C road frame with slack angles, relative low BB for a smooth, stable ride and clearance for fenders with wide-ish tires (32mm). More on them on future posts.

Local David vs. Global Goliath … Conclusion

Thanks goodness sanity has prevailed … from https://www.facebook.com/CafeRoubaix 

Dec. 12, 2013

I hope this is the last we can comment on the whole ordeal, but I am more than happy with how it has been resolved. Mike was genuine. There are no issues between our companies anymore.

We are going through all of our online and phone orders, doing the best we can to process everybody’s generosity, love, and support. Obviously, we have benefited greatly from the attention and we are very grateful for your support! Over the next few days and weeks, I want to go back to my regular Facebook & Twitter traffic of sharing great photos from other people’s and companies’ posts, talking cycling, and maybe a little bit of goofy fun too. Yes, we will occasionally show you what we are up to and what’s new in the Foundry of Awesome – Café Roubaix Bicycle Studio!

Dec.11 , 2013

Everybody,

Mike Sinyard of Specialized came up for breakfast and to talk and apologize in person. Mike was truly sorry for the way things worked out, and wanted to resolve the issue face to face. All has been resolved.

Thank you to the cycling world for your support! 
Cheers,
Dan

Local David vs. Global Goliath

File:071A.David Slays Goliath.jpg

Dan Richter, owner of tiny Cafe Roubaix Bicycle Studio in Cochrane, AB and Canadian veteran of the Afghanistan war who operates a tiny bicycle shop in Cochrane is being threatened with a lawsuit by Specialized for the use of name Roubaix which they hold under Canadian trademark law (who knew!).

Read more here:

http://blogs.calgaryherald.com/2013/12/09/cochrane-bike-shop-owner-may-have-won-his-case-against-specialized-over-use-of-word-roubaix/

http://blogs.calgaryherald.com/2013/12/07/war-veteran-forced-to-change-bike-shops-name-after-threat-from-u-s-bike-giant-specialized/

Ugh … Talk about overkill. Is anyone actually going to confuse Cafe Roubaix with the Speciallized branded anything? All Specialized had to do was to offer to license use of the name Roubaix to Dan for a $1 if they wanted to make a point. I’m a proud owner of ’93 Stumpjumper but I am going to think twice now about ever buying a Specialized product again.

Guest Post | Another Velo Routier Review

Jim's  60cm Velo Routier Build  Vancouver BC - 2

My journey to the Cycles Toussaint Velo Routier started with an impulsive act in October 2011. During Bike to Work Week Vancouver I ended up at an information session for The Ride to Conquer Cancer. Somehow I said to myself “I can do that” and signed up.
What was I thinking! I was moved by the stories I heard but up until then my idea of “cycling” meant going out on a sunny afternoon and tearing around town for a couple of hours. I spent the following winter living in terror that I wouldn’t raise enough money or get in good enough shape to complete the 120km/day, two day ride, embarrassing myself before all the people I hit on for donations. I rode religiously, read books on training and by December realized the vintage Italian race bikes I was riding were not the right type of bike for this ride.

Consequently I picked up a modern sport touring frame (Soma ES) and set it up with a triple crank with lots of low gearing, fenders and big fat 28mm tires. The day of the ride came and I had a ball. Lots of riders on fancy carbon bikes with skinny tires passed me but eventually I passed many of them on the side of the road fixing flats. It also rained for most of the first day and a half so I was grateful for the fenders. This led to more 120+km rides over the summer and a newly discovered love of distance cycling but also to an increasing feeling that this bike was just too much “touring” and not enough “sport”.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer terminated in Seattle and the following day I had visited Elliott Bay Cycles near Pike Market. The place is a museum of vintage bikes and in the store was this slightly odd looking custom bike with a $7,000 price tag. Bob Freeman, the owner explained “that’s a 650B wheeled bike, they have quite a following here in the Northwest”. This sparked my curiosity and I started researching what these bikes were about. From what I could find out, they offer the smoothness and comfort of a wider tire with less mass and greater speed than 700c wheeled bikes.

Well I’m not in the league to pony up $7,000 on a type of bike I’ve never ridden but I also discovered lots of people were taking regular frames and converting them to 650B wheels. As a result I spent the winter repainting a frame and building my own 650B conversion.
My goal was to get the bike completed in time for the Tour de Victoria where I was signed up for the 100km leg. I built the wheels and installed Dai Compe 750 center pull brakes. The long-reach brakes were necessary to reach the braking surfaces on the smaller 650B rims. Three hundred kilometers of test riding in flat, dry Delta where I live gave me the false impression I was ready.

The day of the ride dawned cold and damp and I knew the moment I rode up to the start line that my brakes were not handling the wet that well. No problem I said to myself, “I would take it easy, this is a ride not a race.” The first challenge was a long, steep climb up Munn Road. On the way to the top it began to rain in earnest. I reached the top OK but was not expecting the steep and narrow descent that followed. Within 200 meters I was fighting to control the bike and picking up speed. A third of the way down at about 50km per hour my wheels locked up throwing me to the ground. The next thing I knew I was looking at the sky trying to breathe. Medical support arrived quickly and I was transported to hospital where I spent a week with a broken collar bone, broken ribs and a collapsed lung.

Lying around rehabbing gives you lots of time to think and I was already planning a safer 650B bike. I had checked out the Velo Routier the winter before and decided I liked the fact it was a Canadian company but most of all I liked the braze-on brake mounts. I had never cared for cantilever brakes and thought they looked out of place on a road bike. I ordered the bike and it was delivered within a week. During that week I picked up a new Ultegra 10 speed compact group on Craigslist and ordered online a set of matching hubs, Dura Ace 10-speed bar end shifters and Cane Creek SCR-5 Brake Levers. Most of the rest of the components would move over from the conversion. These included a Nitto Technomic 80mm Quill Stem and Nitto Rando Bars, Velocity Synergy Rims with an OC rear, Velo Orange Hammered Fenders, Brooks Pro Saddle and Soma Crane Brass Bell. Most ironic is the fact that the same brake calipers that landed me in the hospital, minus their wobbly center pieces, bolted straight onto the braze-ons on the Velo Routier. Finding nice, “look alike” 6mm chrome hex bolts to attach the calipers led me to an online motorcycle supply outfit in North Carolina, Scootworks.com (great service, inexpensive and fast shipping!).
When the frame arrived I excitedly set about rust proofing it but when I assembled the headset I discovered that I had been sent a mis-matched frame and fork. The frame was 60cm and the fork for a 57cm bike. An email to Evan at Cycles Toussaint quickly remedied the situation and within a week I received a fork for the 60cm frame and a 57cm frame. This was a blessing in disguise as I had agonized over what size to order. I normally ride a bigger frame than my height might suggest but I was just not sure about a frame with low trail geometry. I built out the 60cm frame first and it turned out to be just right for me. The second frame will be sold off for charity.

The build was remarkably easy! The fenders which had been a real chore fitting to the non-650B frame went on to the Velo Routier like soft butter on hot toast. The matching rack from Velo Routier is a very attractive addition and went on like it was made for the frame (it was). The only unexpected issues were the stack height for the headset was a bit long even after adding a center-pull quick release hanger and the brake set I had chosen did not allow for releasing the rear brakes to clear the wider tires. The stack height was remedied by a quick visit to my LBS for an additional headset spacer and the rear brake clearance corrected by a couple of inexpensive Jagwire in-line adjusters.

As I am still rehabbing from my crash I have only had a couple of short runs to date but the ride is dreamy and fast. The brake power and modulation is excellent. I’m running 38mm Panaracer Col de la Vie 650B tires which are comfy and quick but would love to see how the bike handles with a set of Grand Bois Hetres. I am a born-again convert to 650B bikes and recommend them to anyone but if you are thinking of building a conversion, I say be very careful!

Jim Sutton
Tsawwassen British Columbia Canada