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

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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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

 

 

 

 

 

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.