Pave Prototype Update and a Super Clydesdale Journey on the PAVE

Work on the stainless steel prototypes have been moving along slowly. The bikes, the Pave and Velo Routier Stainless Steel have been out in the Pacific Northwest and are presently at  P.T. Cyclery  in Port Townsend, WA. where you can test ride them and give us some feedback. We will be building a second set of prototypes this fall.

David Toman, a self-declared “Super Clydesdale” gave us full report on his extended ride:

It has been three days now since I last swung my leg over Cycle Toussaint prototype bike the PAVE’. I still can feel the yearning of both myself and the bike to see what is beyond the next mountain. Where would this road or trail go? Can we do that downhill part again but even faster? I know to some it is hard to think of a bike having a soul but this one does. For me I was immediately connected to the Pave’ on my first trip. Granted I had some concerns about the rear wheel being only 24 spoke.
Alas I am getting a head of myself. Let me tell you how this all came about. A few weeks ago I was in Port Townsend, WA with my wife. Naturally I stopped into PT CYCLERY to chat with Bob the owner. I had bought a road bike from him because my commute/mountain bike just could not give me the need for speed that I was desiring. Well, along the wall stood this bike. At first it reminded me of bikes I had seen built in some ones garage with whatever they could find and use for parts. I myself had taken my Stingray, to us we called them Cheater Slick bikes and extended the forks to give it more of a chopper look. Needless to say we had some interesting accidents. Then I realized this was nothing like those bikes. It was funky yet in a very cool way. I loved the plates on the seat stay and forks. That and the fact it was stainless steel caught my attention. Bob let me take it for a quick spin. Those few minutes was all it took for me to realize there was more to this bike beyond just the cool look and white tires.
After returning the bike I later wrote to the guys at Toussaint and let them know what I thought. Soon after Bob texts me and offers to let me take it out for a real ride. I asked if he was joking because he could end up losing the bike. He was serious. So we made plans for me to pick it up when spring break starts. That way I had most of the week to put the bike through its paces. Let me tell you after 186 plus miles and almost 7000 feet of elevation gain I just touched the tip of what this bike is capable of doing. This with me a Super Clydesdale riding it! For those who don’t know there is basically three type of rider sizes. You have normal. Clydesdale which is anyone over 200lbs to about 250lbs. Then the Super Clydesdales who are over 250lbs and we break things a lot. I am at around 270lbs and my local bike shop can attest to the fact I am hard on rear wheels among other things.
Thus the reason I was tentative on my first ride. I soon realized I had nothing to worry about. This bike would take me where ever I wanted to go and still be up for more adventures. I did group rides hanging with the lead riders. Went up dirt roads in the mountains just to come screaming down paved roads hitting speeds of over 40 mph a couple of times. Took on head and side winds like they were a slight breeze kissing my cheek as others struggled to keep their bikes steady. When I needed more speed I got it instantly like a guy using his heels to urge his horse to go faster. Again this with 32mm knobby tires.

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I am not going to get into all of the technical things on this bike, but I can tell you from the stand point of a Super Clydesdale if you wanted just one bike to do it all for you this is it. Rather than buy several bikes for road, CX, gravel, touring or whatever all you need to do is buy tires. The stainless steel frame and carbon fiber handlebars helped to make the ride very comfortable. Having disc brakes was also a huge plus. Oh, did I mention the bike weighed around 22lbs?
One last thing. This goes out to Bob of PT CYCLERY. You mentioned that every bike/steed should have a name. Well I gave it some thought and came up with the perfect name, Barnabas Sackett. For those who know anything about the western writer Louis L’Amour you will recognize and understand why. If not let me quickly explain. In a series of books L’Amour wrote about the Sackett family. They were strong dependable people who you could always count on when the going got tough. They were also adventurers always wanting to find out what lies past the next mountain, what awaits beyond the next bend in the river. They also took no BS from anyone. So Barnabas Sackett is the perfect name for the bike. Just call it BS for short because it won’t take any.
Thanks again for allowing me the privilege of riding a great bike and one I know will always hold a place in my heart and soul.
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David will be riding the Pave prototype again September 24th is the Big Hurt competition in Port Angeles and the bikes will heading back home to Calgary.

 

 

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My Velo Routier 1.0 Build

I purchased this frame almost a year ago direct from you guys and have been slowly accumulating parts. I finished the build a few months ago and have been riding it hard since. 

For the past few years I have been looking for the one bicycle that would satisfy 90% of the riding I do: commuting, long distance riding/randonneuring, gravel and forest service road riding. One day I happened to see your Velo Routier in an issue of Bicycle Quarterly. It finally clicked that this was my ticket to the low-trail world of Alex Singer and Rene Herse without spending my life savings. Sure enough, its a bomb proof adventure machine with a surprising amount of speed. 

I built it up with the stock Cycles Toussaint crankset (I love that there is no branding) and headset, added some Nitto and Velo Orange components, eBay Ultegra derailleurs, Gevenalle cyclocross frankenshifters, and of course Mafac “Raid” center pull brakes. The 50mm VO Snakeskin fenders were a squeeze, but I have had no issues with tire-fender clearance on a multitude of gravel and dirt surfaces. I do wish I could put larger fenders on the frame so I had more wrap-around (I guess that is called the 2.0). The wheels are Velocity Synergy (O/C rear) laced to a Shutter Precision front and Ultegra rear shod with Compass Babyshoe Pass 42mm tires.

For the quintessential rando bag I ordered a custom bag from Treetop Bags in Chicago, Illinois. These bags are not very well known and are very affordable, while still being hand-crafted. I wanted a rack that sat lower than the stock Cycles Toussaint rack so I could direct-mount the fender. I didn’t want to have a custom rack made and took a risk on the Compass CP1 center-pull rack after some not-so-precise on screen measurements. The rack stays ended up being only 3mm off and I was able to get the fit with a cheap tubing bender. The decaleur is made from a P-clamp, U-bolt, and paint stir stick inside the bag for lateral support. At $10 it’s a fraction of the cost of a production decaleur and just as sturdy and light. 

I wanted dynamo powered lights front and back. But, I am not a fan of the zip tie method for wiring stock frames, especially with a taillight. It looks tacky and unfinished. To “hide” the wire, I glued it to the inside of the rear fender with automotive grade black silicone. I then ran it through the chainstay bridge hole on the fender and secured the wire to the BB cable guide with a washer. Next, I ran the front derailleur cable and the tailight wire through some shrink tubing up along the down tube (I stole the idea, works great) and then in and out of the front fender to the headlight. For the dynamo wiring I fished the wire through the rack boss on top of the fork crown, down through the blade, and out the vent hole. Unless you are looking for it, the wiring is all but invisible! 

I attached some pictures as well. Thanks for the awesome ride! 

Cheers,

Jay 

Tacoma, Washington

Never mind the bling, I’m a working bike

So I pull up to a stoplight, and there’s a rider on a $9 000 carbon road bike admiring his reflection in a shop window. He sees me pull up and does a double take but says nothing – just fixes his gaze forward. Whatever, I’m used to it.

My name is Jacques and I’m a Cycles Toussaint Velo Routier. I understand everyone’s confusion. My brothers and sisters and I all have the looks to be café poseurs – gumwall tires, cream paint, retro drop bars, polished stainless racks front and rear. But, my gumwalls are covered in road grime, my rear rack has a mixed luggage set of a laptop bag and an ancient serratus pannier full of office clothes. My front rack has a $10 Rona tool bag bungeed to it (this was added when Mike, my rider, realized I like to have my load balanced front to rear so tools, raingear, tubes and lock now ride up front).

See, while I have the looks, in fact, I’m a working bike. Sure, I’d like to go on epic rides through rolling green fields of Provence, Tuscany, or anyplace that is evocative of Provence or Tuscany. I’d like to climb the Alps, Rockies, or Green Mountains. But, for now, I cruise the mean streets and bike paths of the Toronto as a commuter.

Sorry of this seems immodest, but I’m pretty good at it. My frame and racks can carry the gear, my fenders keep rider and stuff clean when it rains. A compliant frame and big cushy tires soak up the cracked pavement. In many ways, I have more in common with the slick shod mountain bikes with whom I share the paths than the carbon road bikes and hipster fixies (note – nothing wrong with either, I’d share a garage with any bike). What I have over the mountain bikes is legs – I’m leaner, lower, smoother. While my heavier frame and tires means I can’t accelerate like those fancy road bikes, I give up little or nothing in terms of rolling resistance and aerodynamics. So, when there’s a clear path ahead, I can stretch out and pick up a gear or two.

Speaking of gears, one thing my rider did that hurt the show but helped with the go was to install a set of Microshift integrated shifter/levers. I know, not retro and the black hoods meant the crème bar tape had to go. But, dodging potholes, cars, pedestrians and slower bikes in the city, keeping hands on the bars while shifting matters. They work well and I overhead Mike telling another rider they shift almost as smoothly as the Ultegra STI levers he had on his old race bike.

Smooth matters. You can read about the theory that a more comfortable (bigger, less inflation pressure) tire saves the rider energy on bumpy surfaces. There is something to that. But, there’s also something psychological. Let’s face it, much as we hate to admit it, bikes make little difference – it is all about how much energy the rider can / chooses to expend. And, I’ve noticed that when things are smooth (tires inflated just right, clean chain, rolling along like some great flywheel), my rider puts in a little more effort. It is subtle, but, KM after KM, it adds up.

See, in addition to hauling the gear through frost heaved streets and distracted drivers, my job is to make it a joy to ride. The better it feels, the more my rider will make time to ride, the harder he will push, and the stronger he will get. Then, maybe, just maybe, he’ll take me on that vacation to Tuscany, or Provence, or someplace like that.

My name is Jacques. I’m a working bike, but I have dreams too.

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

Guest Blog | Velo Routier Review

Cycles Toussaint Velo Routier Bob Review

I spied Cycles Toussaint on CycleExif http://www.cycleexif.com/cycles-Toussaint and it very much intrigued me as I have been looking for a 650b purpose built bike to try after reading, reviewing and researching 650b bikes on bike forums, at the North American Handmade bike show (which I went to in Portland and Sacramento) and the Oregon Handmade Bike show which I attended twice. I was only considering steel as I much prefer the supple and comfortable ride as well as the “traditional” look of small tubed steel. I also cannot afford a $5000-7000 650b bike though I have constantly growing appreciation for such a fine steed. After reading about Cycles Toussaint’s Velo Routier, I was further interested though not having seen one or ridden one I had to give it serious thought. I contacted Evan who politely and kindly informed me about Toussaint and the Velo Routier concept as well as his experience with his personal Velo Routier which he has ridden on some longish multi-day rides (100 – 200 km/day) with and without the front rando bag loaded. I informed him I wanted a bike for quick overnight dashes to camp as well as rides of 40-80 miles. I wanted to be able to ride dirt and gravel roads which are plentiful in the area I live and have the great fun exploring these roads and areas.

I was more than pleasantly surprised upon receiving the bike. It had been packed with care and not a dimple in the shipping box despite travelling 1000 miles to me though it would have been nice to see bubble wrap or recyclable “styrofoam” pellets to cushion the bike in the box as their site distinctly implies. Their bikes are a complete bike; designed in constructeur style and complete with complete fender set in hammered aluminum with aluminum struts and leather washers, a stainless front mini-rack designed to affix a nice size rando bag and a good size stainless rear rack to affix panniers and/or rear rack bag atop the rack. The bike is not a heavy duty touring bike nor is it designed to be but rather more of a randonneur or brevet bike. The Routier went together well though I did substitute a Sachs “New Success” front derailleur because it has more compatibility with the very nice cranks which look very much like T.A. cranks and share same 50. 4 bcd thus ensuring an almost infinite range of gearing. The 46-30T compact crank and 10 speed cog set seem to be a good choice for the hilly and rolling terrain that I had ridden the bike on thus far.

I have had 8 one to three hours rides on the bike so far. I took the bike on a quick overnighter which was only 38miles each way and affixed an Ostrich f-106 bag to the front and a copy of a Carradice saddle bag to the loops on the stock leather Gyres saddle which is a saddle similar to a Brooks Swallow saddle which is still breaking in, obviously. The bike comes complete with racks attached, rear fender attached and included a full size pump (yay, no mini pump:-P) which fits very snugly on the non-drive side seat stay which has 2 pump hooks brazed on. Also included were 2 nice quality bottle cages and a bell to go on the stem. It was interesting to see Dia Compe centre pulls; they modulate and stop well and look great as their finish matches the hammered and polished alloy fenders. The racks and fenders have no rattles despite the bike bouncing along on the aforementioned gravel and dirt roads. It’s a great choice and an interesting one that the bike comes with the nice Pacenti Pari-Motos as they are an expensive tire and to have them come on any bike less than 3-4 thousand is yet another hint of this bike’s well thought out design. Too many bike companies try to scrimp on items and components to save on costs such as bottom brackets, headsets, hub bearings and aforementioned tires; Toussaint did not do this as the bike came with a needle bearing headset (to possibly prevent any front end shimmy which sometimes happens with low trail bikes) and a sealed cartridge bottom bracket which seemed to be on par with an ultegra level unit. It is nice to see alloy cups on the bottom bracket rather than silly plastic ones.

The fit of the 57cm bike seems ideal for me with the supplied 120cm stem and I find the bike very comfortable to ride over varied terrain. The bike is quick to spin up (likely due to 650b wheel size and the light, lively and supple 300gram Pari-Moto tires) and cracks and ripples in tarmac are hardly felt. I am experimenting with tire pressure to see what works best on the different road surfaces and the load carried on the bike. The finish of the frame and evenly applied decals gives the overall package a classy yet elegant look though I wish a head badge were on the bike. Any questions I have had about the bike were quickly answered by Evan.

Cycles Toussaint is a very new company (started in spring 2012) and clearly the designers of the bike and its components and overall package and aesthetic have been given great thought and the down tube shifters are not just a nod towards traditional constructeur type bikes but they shift swiftly and with accuracy. There is no other company that offers the value, finish, degree of detail and design and ride of a 650b randonneur or brevet style of bicycle that cycles Toussaint delivers! This is their first offering and I would strongly recommend any cyclist to seriously consider Toussaints components or bicycles if seeking this style of machine! I would not hesitate to purchase another bike or parts from cycles Toussaint! The price of approximately $1700-1800 for the complete bike is truly an unheard of value.
Bob Chung
P.T. Cyclery
Port Townshead, WA
http://www.ptcyclery.com