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

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Stainless Steel Vélo Routier Prototype

We have been riding our second stainless prototype around Calgary for the last 2 months and were supposed to report back on it weeks ago but summer has been really nice here for a change and well, you know how it goes…

The protoype is a 650B frame based on the same low trail geometry as our cro-mo 650B Velo Routier frame. .Like the Pavé Prototype, it is made from Carpenter stainless steel with a twin plate crown fork, disc brakes and 1-1/8″ Aheadset.

 

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We stuck to the tried and true Velo Routier V1 geometry and made a few improvements to increase fender/tire clearance.

Top Tube 31.8mm Dia 0.7/.04/0.7
Seat Tube 31.8mm Dia 0.7/0.4/0.7
Down Tube 38.1mm Dia 0.8/05/0.8
Top Tube Length 550mm
Seat Tube Length 540mm

Chainstay length 430mm
Bottom Bracket Drop 64mm
Wheelbase 1028mm
Head Tube Angle 73 deg
Seat Tube Angle 73 deg
Trail 30mm
Rear Axle Width 135mm

It has clearances to accommodate 54-55mm wide fenders and braze-on fixtures to attach fenders and racks to. We fit up our prototype with 52mm Velo Orange Zeppelin fenders. A rfear fender attachment to the underside of the seat stay bridge was spec’d but missed on the fabrication of the prototype.

2015-06-30 17.44.302015-06-30 17.45.39

We deigned an all stainless steel with a twin plate fork crown similar to the Pavé. Unfortunately, the prototype is also missing the top of the crown fittings.

2015-06-30 17.45.00
Bare frame weight is 1998 grams vs. 2177 grams for medium cro-mo VR 54 cm frame and the bare fork weight is 926 vs. 958 grams. Even accounting for the extra weigh of the disc brake fittings, it not a huge weight saving for you weight weenies but we think the ride is super smooth and frame is bomb proof ! With a bit of refinement, we think we might be able to shave another 50-70 grams off but not the at expense of durability.

2015-06-30 17.44.48

The Pavé protoype is at Free Range Cycles in Seattle for the next couple of months and the stainless steel VR prototype should there in 2-3 weeks. If you are in the area, drop by and say hi to Kathleen. Give our prototype a good test wring out – we really want to hear your comments and suggestions!

 

 

 

Pavé Prototype

Pavé Prototype SideAfter almost 2 years of back and forth, our stainless steel prototype frames have been fabricated. They are now at Toussaint Global HQ in Calgary, built up and ready for some serious test riding. The first prototype has the working name of “Pavé”. It is a 700C, disc-brake frame made of double butted Carpenter Custom 630 stainless steel. Carpenter Custom 630 is a martensitic “precipitation/age-hardening” stainless steel which has high strength, hardness and “excellent corrosion resistance” good enough for nuclear reactor components,missile fittings, and jet engine parts … which is good enough for us! For those of you who really want to geek-out, the engineering datesheet for the tubing can be found here at the Carpenter site http://cartech.ides.com/datasheet.aspx?i=103&e=54&c=TechAr. The weight of the bare 56cm prototype frame is 1920 grams and the uncut fork is 924 grams.

Pavé Prototype Side 2

The geometry is laid back-ish with a bottom bracket (bottom bracket drop 68mm) a bit lower than typical cyclo-cross frames. It has clearances to accommodate 45mm wide fenders and braze-on fixtures to attach fenders to.

Pavé Prototype Single Plate Mono-stay Back Pavé Prototype Single Plate Mono-stay Front

We designed an all stainless steel with a twin plate fork crown that might be the first one of it’s kind ever made.

Pavé Prototype Stainless Steel Twin Plate ForklPavé Prototype Twin Plate Fork Back

The rear seat stay has a matching single plate mono-stay.

Pavé Prototype Single Plate Mono-stay

Some basic stats:
Top Tube 31.8mm Dia 0.6/.045/0.6
Seat Tube 31.8mm Dia 0.8/0.5/0.8
Down Tube 38.1mm Dia 0.7/0.4/0.7
Top Tube Length (effective length) 563mm
Seat Tube Length 507mm
Bottom Bracket Drop 68mm
Wheelbase 982mm
Head Tube Angle 73.5 deg
Seat Tube Angle 72.5 deg
Trail 45mm
Rear Axle Width 135mm

The second prototype is a 650B frame based on the same low trail geometry as our cro-mo 650B Velo Routier frame but made of Carpenter stainless steel with twin plate crown fork as well, disc brakes and 1-1/8″ Aheadset. I will have a blog post with photos next week.

The plan is ride both of them hard ourselves and share them out to some local riders. Then we will send them off to a few of our dealers for feedback this summer. If all goes well, we will place a small order for delivery in the New Year. Price has not been finalized but we are hoping frame and matching fork will retail for under $2000 USD.

Velo Routier Frame V.2

We finally have some news!

Yes, there will be a version 2 of the Velo Routier frame. The low-trail geometry, braze-ons and the tubing specifications of V.1 remain the same. We are making the following minor changes:

  • increasing the rear axle dropout spacing from 130mm to 132.5mm to allow the more commonly available 135mm hubs and wheels sets to be fitted.
  • instead of vertical, the V.2 will have adjustable horizontal rear drop outs which will allow for internal hub and fixed-gear builds.
  • the front fork crown will now have an underside 5mm threaded fitting to allow fenders to be attached to the crown directly.
  • the indent diameter of the chainstay and the clearance of the seatstays wil be increased from 52mm to 56mm to allow for wider fenders and tires.
  • In a fit of madness, we also have decided to have few frames in each size made as a “no braze-on frame” – without pump, brake, brake cables, dérailleur cables or shifters bosses and with 2 sets of bottle cage braze-ons on the seat and down tubes and fender attachments.

You can have any colour as long as it is French Tricolour-esque blue. Price tentatively will be $525.00 USD. With a bit of luck we hoping to to have them available in our on-line store and in local dealers by May.

Cheers and Ride Your Journey!
Evan and Angus

BTW We still have a few (very few) 51cm and 60cm creme colour V.1 frames left in-stock.

Fenders and Tire Clearance

We’ve had some questions about fenders and tire clearance so thought we would write a quick blog post. There is an ongoing debate “out there” about the balance between safety, tire clearance and aesthetics. Lower clearance between the tire and the fender looks slick but the chance of a piece of debris lodging between the two increases. We have set up the Velo Routier with a the higher clearance but with an eye to good aesthetics. Our current bikes come equipped with 38mm Pacenti Pari Moto 650B tires under 46mm wide fenders. The clearance between fender and tire is approximately 10mm. The tires also have no problems fitting between the chain stays. We have had enquiries about fitting 42mm Grand Bois Hetre 650B tires. These tires will fit. We have tested a set on the Velo Routier on the country back roads of Alberta Rockies without problems. The clearance will only be about 5mm under the 46mm fender. A 50mm fender would probably be better for clearance but it would be a very tight fit on our bikes. See the attached photos. Please feel free to send us your pictures if you ride our bikes with 50mm fenders. As we finalize our 2015 design in the next couple of weeks, we are considering “squishing” the chainstay a touch more. The final decision will be based on practicality, ridability and safety. Enjoy the journey, Angus.

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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