The workshop's Blog
The place where we tell you about life in the workshop, the bike rides on the roads and paths and the stories of our bikes and those of their owners.
Look back on our open doors
On Friday June 11 and Saturday June 12, our doors were open. On the occasion of these two days, there were guided tours of our workshop, our clearance sale, the holding of various stands as well as a shared bike trip on Saturday morning. We come back here to these two days.
On Friday, our guided tours started at 10 a.m. Group after group, our team showed you behind the scenes of our workshop as well as the manufacturing process of Victoire and Distance bikes.
The guided tours were an opportunity for us to show you our know-how. We were able to explain how steel tubes were transformed into painted and mounted bicycles without leaving our workshop. We also presented you with some of our latest achievements, as well as significant Victories such as those of the Concours de Machines.
Our clearance sale, located right next to our workshop, also started at 10 a.m. We sold many new and used parts there from our workshop and our team. We were delighted to see that seasoned cyclists and novices alike were able to find products to their liking.
It was possible to find for sale vintage and recent bicycles, new and second-hand parts, accessories ... All this allowed us to make room in our workshop while avoiding throwing away objects that could have a second life.
On the site of our clearance sale, the magazine 200 held a stand where it was possible to buy issues, subscribe or even acquire accessories.
Our pancake stand offered free-price sweet pancakes to visitors until early afternoon.
We finally closed our doors at 6 p.m. to make way for the day on Saturday.The departure of our shared bike ride was scheduled for 8 a.m. On the program, a gravel trail in the 50km puys from our workshop.
The participants gathered in our clearance sale while the sun finished rising over the puys. The day promises to be hot, but it is still cool.
Tom, our technician, makes an intervention to inform the participants about the track that will be rolled. Our team, knowing the place, got organized so as not to leave anyone behind or unprepared.
The departure will finally be taken at 8:30 am, with a return scheduled around noon.
Gravel, MTB, crampons, smooth tread, black or beige sidewalls ... There is something for everyone, and everyone is welcome.
As expected, the trail takes the participants along paths that offer typically Auvergne landscapes, both in terms of flora and landscapes in which the puys always appear.
During this time, part of our team remained at our workshop for the visits and the clearance sale which resumed their course at 10am.
Guided tours have resumed for people who did not participate in the bike trip. As on Friday, it was possible to try out our Distance models around the workshop.
The day finally ended around 5:30 p.m. We would like to thank all the people who took part in these two days which allowed us to share our work.If you were not able to come on this occasion, our doors remain open to you throughout the year. We offer free guided tours by appointment, during which it is also possible to try our Distance bikes.
Do not hesitate to contact us, we will be delighted to welcome you !
20000 kilometers with Woody
"There are bikes that stand still, working great for what they were designed to, standing the test of time without batting an eyelid. There are also frames that are constantly reinventing themselves, trying, becoming mini rolling laboratories. Woody is definitely part of it. Initially the Victoire team designed this prototype for the 2017 Concours de Machines in order to unveil the Distance brand project. They made it available to me for the Transcontinental Race N ° 5. Since then, we have developed this machine in a multitude of forms. The adventure projects on diverse roads or tracks were completed, sometimes with breakage, sometimes brilliantly. This is the principle of a prototype, try, fail, understand, try again and succeed. What is valid for the machine is also valid for the pilot, win-win. We have tested techniques other than brazing, carbon inserts, developed a steel fork standard for thru-axle discs dedicated to adventure, looked for solutions for a versatile and affordable transmission. We tested on a large scale the durability of components. If sometimes attempts can be disappointing, in the end there is always the satisfaction of having our knowledge advanced and being able to benefit the users of Victoire and Distance bikes."
20,000 km represents among other things the Transcontinental Race No5 and No6, a Born to Ride, a Nice-London, a Festive 500, a crossing of Georgia or a long escapade in the Portuguese mountains for the magazine 200 as well as a multitude of sporting hikes such as the Chilkoot Tour du Vaucluse, Tour de Lozère and many others. Alongside these road adventures, Woody has always had the idea of being modular in mind. Thus, equipped with a second pair of 650x42 wheels with knobs, he transforms in an instant into a surveyor of the DFCI and faithful companion for bivouacs. Thanks to the many inserts, I can quickly assemble and disassemble a whole set of accessories. From a bare and light bike, I can add a classic rear rack, low-riders, mudguards, all in autonomy thanks to the dynamo hub and its front-rear lamp set. From a slow escapade between friends, it only takes a few turns of the screw to undress the beast and slip through the departments to get to stamp the famous patents. Beyond these practical aspects, after a lot of traveling with Woody, if I have to remember one thing from him it is his behavior. Its stainless steel frame has never failed me. Always fluid, lively, dynamic, who knows how to give back when needed what you give him, he never seemed clumsy or hard to the trouble, he was on the contrary a reliable element on whom I could count. I have always felt stable and confident with him. He always knew how to overcome the most complicated obstacles. And yet he saw me stumble against walls, whimper with fatigue, scream with joy in overflows of euphoria, he always remained quiet, the good friend on whom you can rest.
"Today, this "cool dude" will not exactly take his retirement. Even if we definitely want to use all the knowledge we acquired to create a new bike fitting to our idea of the "all-road sportful commuter", Woody will soon get his knobs back on to go on single tracks and fully appreciate a slow way of living. As always, he will do what he is asked with a great pleasure."
Photos : Matthieu Lifschitz / 200 Magazine / Dan De Rosilles / Tony Bidel
Micro-aventure dans le Sancy
The history of Victoire is inextricably linked with Clermont-Ferrand and Auvergne in general. From the steeply uneven single-track trail to the tarred mountain pass through forest tracks in the middle of the puys, our region offers endless possibilities. We therefore wanted to share with you our favorite routes, where all the members of the workshop come to test new ideas and explore their region of birth or adoption.
The trail that we offer here can be easily adapted according to your desires and your physical condition. We chose the version suitable for an evening plus a day with bivouac, because it can adapt even to the busiest schedules. An ideal micro-adventure to cut the rhythm and take a big bowl of nature without giving up family and work for too long.
This route begins in the south of the Sancy mountains, takes two Auvergne passes, before going up the entire chain of Puys from south to north. It is 133 kilometers for 2,300m of vertical drop.
Both rolling and technical, this track offers a very wide variety of surfaces, and requires wide tires (at least 45) and studded for the most rugged parts of the Puys chain. Along the way, there are many accommodation and catering options that allow you to leave with a heart as light as your saddlebags !
The departure is situated to the Clermont Ferrand bus station. (Just besides the train station) From there, (don't forget to attach the bikes in the hold), a regular bus is getting to the thermal city of the Bourboule in quarter past one. Situated on the shores of the Dordogne, in the heart of the Sancy massif, this city is typical from the Belle époque and deserves a visit before starting the day ascension.
Theres approximatively 7 trains a day, the first one is passing by at 10h10, the last one at 19h48 (the schedule is to re-check, for sure !)
Full south, the D645 winds its way up quietly between rocky faults and forests to the west of Puy de Chambourguet in the town of La Tour d´Auvergne. At the top of the ascent of the Stele (7.1 km ascent at 5.8% average), many hiking departures, cross-country ski trails, marked mountain bike trails, a space to wash bikes and inflate the tires, and comfortable accommodation : the Volcans cabins with highly recommended reservations.
If you prefer to bivouac, two options are available to you depending on the weather of the day: mountain biking trails or the small road that gently descends to a plateau of wet meadows punctuated by small villages at the foot of the magnificent Monts d'Or chain. which pierces in the distance, with the Puy de Sancy (1886m.) as a semaphore.
You then head to the peaceful little village of Chastreix, in the heart of the Fontaine Salée valley. You then leave the road, still very quiet and uncrowded, for small trails, towards the entrance to the nature reserve, to reach a meadow, ideal for a bivouac with a view ! Another option, along the small road, sleep in one of the safari tents or cabins equipped with Terre d'horizon's large bay windows. Note that this accommodation also has a “P’tit café” for fast food from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and during school holidays.
The very versatile Victoire 417 was produced for the 2019 Chris King Open House. Both all-terrain gravel thanks to its wide tires, and an adventure bike capable of carrying a lot of luggage, this bike has covered more than two thousand kilometers on the most varied terrain, from the highlands of Vercors to Auvergne, via the vineyards of Touraine or the small forest roads of Île de France. You can find it in action here.
The Victoire 491 is its successor. The luggage system has been completely redesigned for even more practicality and versatility. Exit the saddle bag, we have designed two new front and rear luggage rack systems. These systems make it possible to reconcile the essential lightness for bikepacking on gravel paths, while maintaining the strength and stability of a hiker, a guarantee of more precise steering and increased safety. For this bivouac, the bike was equipped with an ultra-light tent at the back, as well as a groundsheet and a sleeping bag on the sides of the rear rack.
When you wake up, take a nice little path following the hiking signs that indicate the direction of Picherande. This small village has a drinking water fountain, and a few shops for eating out, including a small cafe that is as typical as it is friendly.
The small departmental continues its route between the Puys du Sud Sancy and a few lakes such as Lac Chauvet or the famous Lac Pavin. This almost perfectly round crater, formed 7,000 years ago, is 92 meters deep and feeds some legends ... It is a perfect place for a break in the shade of the trees that line its shores. Especially since the sequel promises to be quite muscular...
But you will first pass through the village of Besse. Between its vaulted passages, its eight medieval buildings classified as historical monuments… and its cheese maker, this typical village of the region, former stronghold of the Medici, deserves at least a few photos and why not a new restoration break !
When leaving Besse, head north, towards the wonderful Chaudefour valley nature reserve where you can also stop off. Then begins the ascent of the Col de la Croix Saint Robert.
This pass, the highest in the Sancy massif (1451m), is very regular on this slope (6.5% average) and offers throughout the 6km climb, magnificent views of the massif, of Lake Chambon , the castle of Murol and well beyond. A few hectometers from the summit, the Buron de la Croix Saint Robert will allow you to quench your thirst and eat if needed. The surrounding landscape is impressive, between grassy steppes and summits.
The descent to the thermal spa of Mont Dore is done in the undergrowth on a slightly damaged road. Caution is in order. After all these wild landscapes, the resort seems very lively. Another opportunity to stock up on supplies, or even to have lunch with a good pizza, before tackling the second road pass of the day: the Saint Morand cross pass, more rolling than the previous one (4.5km at 4.6% of average slope). Be careful though, if you are loaded, the sequence of the two difficulties and the long false flat windy at the top can be quite disingenuous.
At the top of the Croix Morand, the Buron du Col offers hearty meals, much appreciated in the middle of the day. This has to be done before tackling the purely gravel part of the outing, which is very energy intensive!
To get started on the paths of Nord Sancy, retrace your steps for about 200 meters and turn right on the marked footpath. This is the end of the asphalt: the pavement is rolling, but watch out for holes and other hidden stones: it is from this portion that your wide tires will be constantly used. The panoramas on the south of the Puys range are magnificent and clear. The puy de Dôme will now serve as a compass and you will not deviate from your axis almost until the finish !
Between wide meadows and gravel paths facing the Puys de la Vache and de la Lassolas and their red soil, you enter a descending part of rolling piloting. The southern gate of the Chaîne des Puys is open to you! Once carefully crossed the D2089 which descends towards Clermont, you set off for a series of magnificent trails at an altitude of 1000 meters.
When you reach the residential village of Laschamps, you cross the Bordeaux road again with caution and take a very pretty path to continue your journey, passing East of Puys. This part of the forest offers sometimes confusing navigation, but let yourself be carried away… As long as you don't go up, everything is perfect. You will make a strange U-turn rewarded with a sublime single-track, smooth as well as playful, before continuing your journey towards the foot of the Puy de Dôme.
You will cross the railway line of the little tourist train that climbs to its top before spinning the log of the Orcines golf course to Fontaine du Berger, on "Californian" gravel trails. After another road crossing, you continue your journey through a pretty forest east of Puy des goules.
Then cross the road to Nugère very carefully before heading slightly west towards Puy de la Nugère, which you will bypass to the west.
The trail that descends from there to Volvic is a treat for tired bodies and mounts. Winding, shady, great driving pleasure awaits you. It goes quickly towards the sources of Volvic, but remain vigilant, some stony passages can turn out to be a little treacherous. Also beware because these last trails of the day are in a park near Volvic, the park of the sources. It is therefore very busy on weekends by hikers and joggers.
The small town of Volvic can be a good stopover for a last cold drink before departure, with its alleys of black stone, volcanic, famous in the region and far beyond. This stone, extracted in the surrounding quarries since the 13th century, has made the reputation of this small Auvergne town which does not lack charm.
To reach Riom station, ideally located on the Paris-Clermont line, you just have to slide from the city center to Marsat, taking a last small path, then on the road, to Riom, in just 7 kilometers. descendants. The train to Moulin, Vichy, Nevers, or in the other direction Clermont-Ferrand is waiting for you... and it takes bikes that are not dismantled !
I tested it, even for a Parisian, it's the ideal getaway in just a day and a half all inclusive! We offer you on this blog other routes starting from the workshop ... or almost, do not hesitate to come and meet us if you decide to venture on one of them!
Everyday, the cycling adventure.
Romuald travels on the Brittany roads on his Victoire n°418. Surfer as an amateur, he's enjoying the sliding sensations that the bikes gives him during his long outters along the Cap Suzin, a wilderness place that is propice for meditation.
Romuald's implication for the environment is a reasonable consumption, turned to local, translating in the everyday's life by his manner to handle two Biocoops that he leads. All these values, that we share, are visible on the website he created : La maison biologique, including some very nice photographies. Romuald wished to share with us a text he wrote about his cycling passion as a way to refocus on the essential. A true invite to escape...
The bike has always been part of my life. Since my youngest childhood, I practiced cyclism. This passion, I owe it to my father, head over heels in love of cycling.
« Has a racer, he passed on this flame for cycling to me and carried his arms high, my older brother and I, on the country roads that have become training courses and Sunday races. My mother was no exception. Always benevolent, she supported me in my explorations and motivated me in my events, whether it was the hard winter training or the most demanding races. »
Pedaling is an ode to freedom..
« Cycling is an ode to freedom, it is undoubtedly precisely there that I forged and anchored this value so precious to my heart. Pedaling for the sake of exploration and getting away from it all on the discontinuous white line of my country roads was all that mattered to me when I was a child. The bicycle has probably been my greatest guide. The one who opened up the possibilities for me, the quest for new horizons and this irresistible desire to always go a little further to see what the world wants to offer us. Much to the chagrin of my parents, he urged me to take my first responsibilities, starting with pushing the authorized limits to take a new course and cross a previously unknown horizon. »
The promise of dawn ... by bike
« The promise of my two-wheeled companion is the quest for paths that remain to be done and discovered. It is the spirit of adventure and the joy of drawing curves and surfing the roads. Belonging to this community of free rays and diet in the saddle is to open your heart to the most nourishing emotions. Riding a bike is to appeal to all of our senses and give us the opportunity to see the world from a new perspective, a new window. Deciding to climb into the saddle also means giving yourself the opportunity to enter into communion with the awakening of nature, like this photographed morning where I met the surprised gaze of a deer at the search for the best foliage and where I rubbed shoulders with the flight of sea birds in the Bay of Trépassés. Going out by bike at dawn is the promise of a light that offers nature its most beautiful dress but it is also the assurance of serene tranquility in the face of its morning mood and the rolling of its derailleur. »
His territory in the thighs...
« For me, riding a bicycle means taking the right speed to read the world around us. Giving yourself a bike trip voucher means taking the pulse of the geography of the territory you are exploring. Here, in Cap-Sizun, to get on a two-wheeler is to explore an archipelago.
Take the roads and paths that invite you to navigate from one village to another, on a perpetual asphalt swell or stony, flirting with the embankments and undergrowth to play with the whims of the ever-present wind. The accumulated acidity in the thighs is a testament to the topography of the land and invites you to humility and management in the effort to ensure a return home. »
Roll for miles and get to know each other better...
« A passport to freedom, a driving force for education and emancipation, the bicycle is a formidable tool for introspection. At a young age, exploring the world by bicycle develops practical intelligence, initiative, autonomy and endurance, I am sure. Its practice exacerbates our weaknesses and confronts us with our limits. Each day in the saddle gives you the opportunity to explore a little deeper who you are. »
« Rolling the miles sharpens tenacity and elevates you on the road to attention, skill and foresight. Cycling sharpens observation, the spirit of anticipation and deduction. Outdoor activity in its own right, the practice of cycling joins the disciplines of surfing, running in the great outdoors, climbing, hiking ... by offering its community a broader perspective on life that gives more magnitude to humanity. »
My bikes, a breadcrumb trail hanging on the hopes of a little boy.
« My bikes have been my traveling companions throughout my life journey and they continue to be. From my Gitane bike to celebrate my sixth birthday to my Victoire bike today, they have frozen memories, marked moments of life, left imprints, sometimes even indelible, some scars testify. They invited me to explore, confronted with the learning of circulation, orientation, or even mechanics. »
« By carrying me into action, my bikes were the vector of my emancipation, my inner fire, my awakening of environmental awareness and a greater knowledge of myself. My bikes have always been part of my close space. I believe that they have always been there, within sight, like a breadcrumb trail that binds me to my inner child, inviting me not to lose this hope of escape and freedom. »
Be ambitious, adopt a diet in the saddle.
« You will understand that to inhabit the world by bicycle is to rethink our presence in the world. The bicycle, a vector of mobility for more than a century, resonates more than ever as a response to the challenges of our time. Allowing ourselves to relax time by adopting this mobility also means designing our space more broadly and renewing the imagination of our links, whether social, environmental or territorial. Adopting this diet is to act on strengthening your metabolism and mental health, but it is also protecting the environment and natural spaces for future generations. »
Le Touraine Gravel Challenge 2
On Sunday September 12, one of the coolest and best organized gravel events of the year was held: the Touraine Gravel Challenge, the TGC for those in the know. A journey of 168 kilometers at 80% on the vineyards and undergrowth of sunny Touraine. Between cave houses and royal castles, the experience was as sporty as it was exotic for my brother and I, more used to the reliefs of Auvergne and the Alps. And one thing is certain, we will come back to it !
Last year the TGC had held itself under torrential rain, and the mud of the vineyard paths, very sticky, had made the exercise perilous. This year, no human sacrifice is necessary to ward off bad luck: a great sun is announced on pure Touraine all weekend.
After a gastronomic social ride on Saturday afternoon, participants can choose between two routes on Sunday: an 80 km (the Gretel) and a 170 (the Hansel, because the organizing team has extraordinary humor) for discover the hidden trails of the East and South-East of Tours.
It all starts with a departure at the front at 6.30 am in front of the “cycling-friendly” hotel called L'Étape 84, on the mythical avenue de Grammont and its disturbing tram tracks, small groups of around ten cross and then follow the sleeping Loire. Towards the slopes of Rochecorbon. This small town with many troglodyte houses, hides small steep walls like so many extremely dynamic warm-ups to wake up the participants. After right-angled bifurcations that suddenly break the momentum of the most valiant, two hundred meters of slope on roads barely wide enough for a bicycle, between the old houses.
Laughs erupt along with a few sweet words and two or three bitch while the derailleurs howl in pain. The tone is set for the day: we are in Touraine, there will be no pass, but these dry ruptures are damn trying! And everyone laughs about it like a bunch of unconscious people. The reward is in front of us: the suns gently rise over the tuffaut with which these villages are built. These white, limestone stones light up orange and the Loire below offers magnificent reflections on the horizon. small wood, gateway to the vines of Vouvray. These paths are tricky, especially in the twilight, and a few falls without consequences break the harmony of the train of beams of lamps. The ruts created by the passage of agricultural machinery are particularly treacherous when they are covered with grass.
Concentration is at its peak, and we see with relief the sun rising slowly in the sky. The pace increases a bit in the groups when the obstacles become easier to anticipate and it's time to fix your pace. There are still 130 terminals! For trying to follow a tall guy in the blue jersey for a few hundred meters and toasting the equivalent of two pints of energy gel, I understood the lesson (the guy in blue in question is Jérémy Roy, the big engine of the day, a very young retiree from the professional pelotons, which relieves a little!)
After a short climb through the narrow streets of the old town, here is the first refreshment point, held by the family of Fabien, one of the organizers.
The atmosphere is damn good-natured, everyone has their picture taken in front of the panorama, tasting something to hold another 70 terminals before the next fuel up. Ultimate luxury, there is even a mechanic, Dimitri, from Cycle Express 37, all ready to pamper the overdue mechanics !
After this break filled with human warmth and energy recharges, the troop heads south, towards the Indre valley and the magnificent town of Loches. And as the local saying goes: "We are not at Loches".
Between small roads that one would think reserved for bicycles, towpaths and singles in the forest, the trail is magnificent and passes in front of the sublime Château de Chenonceau, resting on the Indre as if it were floating. The opportunity for many to Instagram to their heart's content, and to have a good laugh when some bravely try to wedge their mounts on the small ledge that runs along a very deep canal for the glory of social networks.
After this quick tourist break, we set off again towards the little-known Château de Montpoupon, set in the heart of a small valley carved by two streams. The mini pelotons overhang it, emerging from a fast path, made of breaks and relaunches in the narrowness of the undergrowth with damn welcome freshness!
After a restful passage on the road between a wide agricultural plain and the premises of the immense forest of Loches, arrives one of the most exciting passages of the day, and not only because they precede the number two supply!
The forest tracks and the small MTB singles in the Loches forest are a joy to pilot where we do not regret our wide tires. Then a long, undulating straight line of several kilometers allows you to let go of the horses at the same time as the eyes of the GPS, and to pass from one group to another according to the ease of each other on rough terrain. Each time you pass, a friendly note, a smile, the spirit of the TGC is truly impeccable and shared. There are seventy markers left and everyone is starting to feel the sum of the efforts made. Because a hundred gravel markers on this kind of terrain, it hurts even the most voluntary.
En bons organisateurs sadiques, Fabien et sa bande n’ont eu aucune pitié pour leur troupe. La ravitaillement numéro deux a bien entendu pris place tout en haut de la citadelle de Loches. On aurait pu aisément deviner que le petit chemin sinueux qui monte entre remparts et donjon était celui qu’il fallait emprunter pour avoir une chance de faire une razzia sur un tas de figues et de bananes.
Here again a superb atmosphere reigns in this majestic setting. Beautiful bikes parade, all very different, from cyclo-cross to monster cross through hyper aggressive hybrid cars.
Our Victories make friends and fuel sharp discussions. And the questionable Loches jokes, which you'll be spared here, keep that cheerful vibe that has carried the peloton from the first mile. The jersey pockets filled with bananas worn cowboy colt style, we set off again for the third major river in the department: the Indre and its very different landscapes.
Between white slopes of Strade Bianche style whose dust slips down the throat like plaster, astonishing pine wood that transports us to the Landes, the scenery is total. It's hot and we take advantage of the small fords to cool off the mounts before taking a good slope of more earth.
Two unexpected picturesque passages are the occasion for beautiful photos, by the TGC team, who also spoil us with this service for great memories. They appear camera in hand on a California-style metal bridge and everyone puts out their best smile as if the past 150 milestones had only been a short Sunday stroll. And what about the wild supplies at the top of the last slopes of the day? Another highlight of the day: an invisible passage over the disused bridge of a ruined farmhouse, which smells of adventure ...
After plummeting down the steep slopes behind the church in the pretty village of Véretz, it's time to take the trails along the Cher towards the urban parks of Tours and tumble happily down Avenue de Grammont to join the first.
The welcome all in simplicity and sympathy is up to the day: a beer, a few gifts, kind words from Fabien and the other participants for each newcomer, a TV that broadcasts the arrival of the European Cycling Championships to feed a few discussions… enough to end this beautiful sporting and human adventure perfectly organized. The trace in the small onions, the kindness of the team, the services offered ... we can't wait to see what awaits us for TGC number 3!
For those who, like me, do not want to leave by car, there are a few TGVs from Paris or Bordeaux every day that accept bicycles that are not dismantled against a reservation of € 10.
Récapitulatif des événements Victoire à venir
This fall, the Victoire team will participate in several events. Find here the most important information about this program, hoping to meet you on one of these occasions.
This year, Victoire will unfortunately not be able to participate in the Concours de Machines. This technical competition between artisanal cameramen, which returned to the fore in 2016, will take place from September 9 to 12. This year, the competition suffered two successive postponements due to the health situation. We even feared for a moment that it might not take place.
These uncertainties, coupled with a period of intense activity in the workshop, shook up our program. Despite the realization of a promising first prototype, we have decided, not without difficulty, to give up the Concours de Machines 2021. Victoire has won two editions of the Competition and we know the time needed to produce a bike worthy of competition. Unfortunately, this is precisely what we missed. This is only a postponement, because we intend to participate in the following years !
The second Victoire clearance sale will take place on Friday, September 10. After a first edition which allowed us to free up space in our workshop, this day will again allow you to find many new and used parts, bicycles and accessories at discounted prices.
This time, we want to bring together in one place different local players in the second-hand cycle and soft mobility. For example, you can find with us Les bicyclettes du grenier (repair and rehabilitation of bicycles) and Vélocité 63 (association working to draw attention to the benefits of urban cycling) which will offer you parts and information throughout the day. This day of discussions will be completely free and without registration !
From Friday 24 to Sunday 26 September, in Spain, near Girona, the Sea Otter will take place, a European cycle festival which brought together a large number of brands, athletes and visitors last year. We will have a stand there throughout the three days, on which we will exhibit some of our achievements.
Our open doors will take place friday the 15th of october. On this opportunity, you will be able to meet our team and to discover how Victoire and Distance bikes are made.
Guided tours will be organized throughout the day. You will be able to see our framers in the middle of machining, welding or polishing. This is a great opportunity to try out a Distance model, or ask us any questions you have in mind !
We will keep you informed about those events on our website as on our social medias. Before all, we hope to meet you at one of those !
The light Victoire's luggages racks
The last few years have seen the arrival of a new type of luggage which is now omnipresent in the field of bicycle travel : bikepacking bags. Until then, the solution of luggage racks and traditional saddlebags was often required by default, including for short journeys requiring little equipment to be carried. Bikepacking saddlebags have made it possible to lightly load bikes that do not have mounts, making them suitable for a large audience who want to take only what is necessary while not sacrificing the mobility. There are many opinions on the question: today we are sharing ours with you.
The Victoire n°470 is a good illustration of the idea of a bike loaded in the traditional way: the saddlebags, bulky and well secured to the luggage racks, allow you to carry a lot of equipment. This type of loading (which generally has a capacity of around 100 liters) is ideal for long journeys in total autonomy. We look here less at the weight of the frame than its ability to meet needs.
The Victoire n°470 was designed to travel around the world. It is therefore advisable to take a certain amount of equipment with you because long journeys require you to be prepared for different climates and terrains. In the list of essentials, we can notably mention : Something to sleep (tent, hammock, sleeping bag, groundsheet ...), a stove, clothes, a large volume of water for arid or uninhabited areas.
Here is the opposite example: our Distance 60 Escapade edition (if you do not know our second Distance brand, also produced by hand in our workshops, we invite you to meet here !) Has a bikepacking type load. The saddlebags have a lower loading capacity compared to a traditional saddlebag and are directly attached to the frame, the seat post, or the fork thanks to a system of straps or velcro. This system therefore makes it possible to carry essential equipment without luggage racks and without fixings.
Each system has its advantages and disadvantages. At the workshop, we believe that it is possible to create a junction between these two categories. Indeed, when you are heading towards bikepacking while wishing to take a little comfort and autonomy with you for several nights, you may be faced with the main weakness of bikepacking: its bindings. The saddlebags then come to move, to loosen, or to press on the sheaths because they are too loaded. It is then also possible that the paint of the bicycle is damaged by repeated rubbing.
At Victoire, for two years we have been trying to offer solutions to circumvent the main problems that can arise from the use of bikepacking bags. The Victoire produced for the Concours de Machines 2019 has, for example, a frame bag fixed to the front triangle tubes.The solutions we propose below are the culmination of this work of reflection and research.
You may have noticed them on the Victoire n°491 : its luggage racks offer a simple, light and solid system. Designed by Julien and produced by Olivier our workshop manager, they allow the stowage of "dry-bags" (these waterproof tube-shaped bags which are closed by successive folds) using straps of the Voile straps type.
The disassembly and reassembly of the load is extremely fast: just loosen the straps passing inside the many-things cages. The same goes for the luggage racks in the photo, front and rear: only three screws in the BTR footprint are enough to hold them in place. It is therefore very easy to place them at the start of the weekend and to remove them on your return. Another strong point that these racks offer: the weight. Indeed, the saddlebags used for this configuration are light, as is the framework in minimalist stainless steel rods which allows them to be fixed.
The rear rack of Victoire n ° 491 can accommodate three saddlebags. Julien even replaced one of them with his light tent !
Although not allowing heavy loads to be attached to it, these luggage racks still allow you to take your tent, your stove, your sleeping bag and everything you need to spend several days in autonomy without sacrificing the idea of comfort.
The one placed on the fork allows the attachment of light and quickly accessible equipment, such as clothes, a sleeping bag or even a pump.
Thanks to this system, it is possible to take with you more equipment than the bikepacking saddlebags would allow, while taking advantage of solid fixings that will not move when you step into the dancer! The assembly remains relatively light and allows to maintain a certain mobility. It is therefore the ideal compromise between bikepacking equipment and classic side bags.
Other models of this type are being considered or have already been designed by Olivier and Julien for specific projects. Handcrafted production here allows us to design systems perfectly suited to the use that their owners wish to make of them.
These two racks are the first born of a concept that we intend to use again on the occasion of other projects. You will have the opportunity to see them appear equipped on Victories dedicated to adventure !
Les poinçons des cadreurs Victoire
Recently, we have chosen to include an element on the Victoire frames that highlights the artisanal side of our achievements. You may have seen this element on the recently published Victoire n°491 : today, we present you the punches of the Victoire framers.
We already placed on the Victoire frames, under the bottom bracket, a plate bearing the number of the bicycle. This plaque confirms the authenticity of the creation, each number being unique. Since our new graphic identity, a marking located on the seat tube of Victoire bikes also indicates the people who have worked on the project to permit it to be achieved.
All Victoire bikes have their identification plate located under the bottom bracket.
The marking that we place on the seat tube from our new graphic identity informs the designer, the framer, the assembler as well as the series of tubes used for the manufacture of the frame. It affirms the uniqueness of the project and underlines its artisanal side.
What we are talking about today is a small piece of copper which, just like the nameplate that we place under the bottom bracket, adds a unique and handcrafted dimension to the bike. In fact, each framer has chosen (or will, at the end of a reflection which is still in progress for some of us) the choice of a symbol of his own, which he will strike on a piece before brazing it on its achievement like a signature.
It is a discreet element that measures no more than a centimeter and a half in diameter. This small part will finally go under the final varnish which will perpetuate it at the same time as the finish.
Our framers spend many days carrying out the projects they are working on. These projects, which they follow for several weeks before seeing them go to customers with pleasure, will thus contain a tangible trace of the work they have done.
The punch visible in the photo is the one that belongs to Olivier, our workshop manager. It represents a Daruma, a sacred Japanese figurine. Olivier having recently worked on the development of various projects and prototypes, it is a symbol that you will see in our future publications.
This mark will be gradually incorporated into Victoire projects and will be an integral part of our new graphic identity. It will mostly be placed on the seat tube of the projects. You will therefore gradually discover the emblems chosen by the members of the workshop over the projects !
Le départ du Love Tour des Artisans du Cycle
This Saturday July 3 took place the start of the Love Tour des Artisans du Cycle. The participants left our workshop, the first stage of the Love Tour 2021, for 21 days to discover the crafts of the French cycle.
The morning of this Saturday began with the arrival of Clinton Hill, a Clermont-Ferrand coffee shop, to serve ground coffee on site and organic cakes to the first visitors. The first guided tours then started around 8am.
The participants' mounts, loaded in saddlebags and sometimes surprisingly, are gradually placed in front of the workshop.
The bulk of the Love Tour group, which left the Cournon-d'Auvergne campsite at 8:30 am, arrives at the workshop and joins the first comers. The guided tours are lively, the questions fuse. It was a real pleasure to talk about our work to so many people and to maintain such lively exchanges.
Group by group, we have explained to you how Victoire and Distance bikes are made, from the machining of the tubes to the polishing of the cords.
Elisabeth, member of the association participating in the organization and smooth running of the Love Tour 2021, then spoke with Bruno, driver of the vehicle who will follow the participants for 21 days. Presentations, acknowledgments and organizational details are in order.
We then proceeded to a question-and-answer game focused on the world of cycle craftsmanship with Columbus accessories at its key. Columbus generously staked gifts that will be delivered throughout the Love Tour. These are organized into two categories: On the one hand, accessories (bottle cages, T-shirts, stickers, gapettes ...)
which will be issued at each stage by the craftsmen throughout the Love Tour.
On the other hand, a Columbus Spirit tube kit as well as a carbon fork allowing the manufacture of a complete frame which will be awarded to a winner drawn at the end of the Love Tour. A Columbus box will travel with the Love Tour van, in which each participant has the opportunity to slip a ballot for the draw. It will then be up to the winner to choose the craftsman in charge of making the frame of his bike, which will only have the cost of labor to pay.
In the photo above, the Columbus urn which will follow the Love Tour to its end before the draw.
The start of the Love Tour to Saint-Pourçain, the next stage of this one, was announced for 10am. The participants therefore got in the saddle and gradually set off in rather wet weather.
We would like to thank the association of cycle craftsmen and in particular Elisabeth, Bruno, Julien and Pascal for the establishment and active organization of this Love Tour! We would also like to thank all the participants whom we had great pleasure to receive.
Les portes ouvertes Victoire
Our open days will take place on Friday June 11 and Saturday June 12. These are two days during which we will have the opportunity to discuss with you and present our work to you. Today we are sharing with you the detailed program of these two days, as well as all the information about the bike trip taking place on Saturday morning.
Vendredi 11 juin
On Friday June 11, we will open our doors to the public at 10 a.m. Guided tours of our workshop as well as our showroom will start, during which you will be able to discover our know-how down to the smallest detail. We will explain to you how our creations are made from A to Z, then we will take you to our showroom. You will be able to discover our latest achievements as well as emblematic Victories such as those made on the occasion of the various Machine Competitions.
To indicate your presence on these guided tours, please fill out the form (also valid for the Saturday morning bike trip) available via this link.
Our team will take you through the manufacturing process of Victoire and Distance bikes, from the state of the tubes to a finished, ready-to-ride bike.
At the same time, right next to our workshop, we are organizing a clearance sale during which it will be possible to find new and used parts at discounted prices from 10am. Old and older bikes, pedals, cables, pedals, outfits, cassettes... In short, all types of products will be on sale. Our cameraman Marco, who has a stock of products to sell, will be there. will allow us to free up space in our workshop.
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be a stand of sweet crêpes (chocolate, jam, sugar and homemade salted butter caramel) at the free price. For people who are vegan or do not tolerate gluten, buckwheat paste will be offered. We will also serve hot coffee.
We will close our doors at 6 p.m., before resuming the next morning.
Samedi 12 juin
The day of the 12th will start at 7:30 am, when we will meet at the workshop to prepare the common bike trip with a coffee. It will depart at 8 am. The workshop, its guided tours and its clearance sale will resume at 10am.
It will be a gravel loop of just over 50km for 1154 meters of elevation gain that will go to the La Serre plateau. There is no requirement here in terms of pace or time, this outing is open to everyone and will be supervised by our team in such a way that no one is left behind.If you wish to download the .gpx file ( readable by GPS devices) of it, it is available by following this link.We still ask here the people wishing to participate in the bike trip to fill out the questionnaire available here, in order to allow us to organize the best way. framing of it.
Our pancake stand, which will start at 11am for this Saturday day, will be able to satiate people in return for the bike trip. We will offer (exclusively to participants at the exit for organizational reasons): A savory pancake (Egg, cheese and ham) as well as two sweet pancakes for the price of 10 euros A glass of cider at the price of 2 euros. For the public who have not participated in the bike trip, sweet pancakes will then be offered at free price from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The day will finally end at 5 p.m. If you have any questions about these open houses, the bike ride or the supplies, don't hesitate to contact us !
Meeting Rodolphe, the man behind Helmut Equipement
Rodolphe Pasciuto is one of Victoire's main partners. We have chosen to work together to offer Victoire and Distance customers several high-end bags sets and, of course, made in France, in Chambéry, where Rodolphe has set up the Helmut Equipment workshops.
Meet the one who is more than a partner.
Hi Rodolphe, could you present yourself in a few words ?
I have been an architect by training and I'm passionated about sewing since the age of 11. In 2013, I left the world of architecture for ethical and moral reasons, related to the way of building on the land today.
Practicing mountain bike since childhood, I had the opportunity to switch to professional mountain biker, to enduro, little by little. I was making enduro mountain bike adventure videos for Vaudé. In 2014 I started being sponsored, in 2015 I was paid to ride, after three years of mountain biking adventures I had a baby boy. When he was born, I asked myself whether I wanted to continue traveling every month as before. The answer was clear: I wanted a more lasting situation, one that could allow us to live properly, in a healthy professional environment, and which would allow me to stay at home to watch him grow.
I had to find a solution.
My first saddlebag designs are dating from 2015. With my experience in cycle touring and bikepacking, I saw what I could do. To travel on mountain bikes and make my films, I needed it.
But where did you get the idea of making bicycle bags ?
Since 2010, we have been traveling by bike with Carole, my partner, as pure cyclists, with side bags, cookware, etc. Already at that time the idea had matured that, since I had learned to sew since college, I could make our own bags.
Comme Vaudé, mon sponsor principal, ne proposait pas de sacoches à l’époque, je m’en suis fabriqué. Je n’avais pas vraiment le choix puisque je ne pouvais pas être vu sur les vidéos Vaudé avec des sacoches d’une autre marque outdoor !
As Vaudé, my main sponsor, did not offer bags at the time, I made them myself. I didn't really have a choice since I couldn't be seen on the Vaudé videos with bags from another outdoor brand !
In 2016, I showed my very first panniers at the Ambert Concours de Machines, on the Jolie Rouge Cycles bike. Vaudé gave me his consent since I wasn't really competing with them.
In 2017, Vaudé only offered me one project: they sent me to Scotland to present their future range of bikepacking. Earlier that year I launched the first Helmut range and started the business as a self-employed person. In 2018, all of my video projects were postponed for a year. So I had at least twelve months ahead of me to move my project forward.
There is still a big step between when you say to yourself "why not pack saddlebags?" and the one where you embark on an ambitious enterprise? How did things go in practice?
I had some money set aside to buy a sewing machine and some fabric. Some friends put me up on the top floor of their flat, where I was able to do a workshop, so I took advantage of the time that was available to me to get into it full time.
With Julien Fristch, the creator of the Jolie Rouge cycles, our project was to compete in machines, him on the bike, me on the panniers. The day we got the invitation, we said to each other it was getting serious ! Julien put the pressure on me because his bike was insane : so I had to make great saddlebags !
I was surprised at how easy it was, it was like continuing the architecture, actually. I always had facilities with my hands so sewing was very easy. Drawing a piece of luggage in 3D and 2D was easy, breaking it down to make a pattern was too, and after that I mainly had to work to make it as aesthetic and functional as possible.
In 2016, there was no one on this market, except Berthoud, while today there are plenty of small initiatives that make great saddlebags all over France. When people saw Helmut arrive, it created curiosity.
Then I had the chance to unwittingly meet the right people at the right time. Fate suddenly turned to me, introducing me to all the people I needed to get started at the right time. At the Concours de Machines, I didn't know anyone; I come from mountain biking, and the road, I knew absolutely nothing about it... I'm not even interested in the Tour de France !
But at the Concours de Machines, I met Julien Leyreloup, from Victoire, and Mathieu Lifschitz, already known in the field with his blog Manivelle.cc, who told me: "I am leaving for the Transcontinental Race in 15 days, do me a pair of saddlebags.” When he came back from TCR, packed, he ordered a complete kit : it immediately appeared in magazine 200 and I was a little overwhelmed by the influx sudden orders.
It was there that I created the Helmut company, with the help of my family to buy the raw materials from the start, which are obviously the first item of expense, and the most important when starting out.
Your choice of fabric is quite particular, almost radical, in relation to the ethics that seem to guide you.
It's quite difficult, because you can't find everything in France. But there are two things that make sense to me : when you have to call a supplier to order materials, if you can find someone 50km or 500km from your house and that speaks French, you will chose him. I'm not going to learn German just to buy fabrics. Knowing that in France there are plenty of companies that manufacture raw materials, especially the fabrics that I use, which come from the nautical world and manufactured in the North of France.
All the standard range and the current range are made with fabrics manufactured near Lille. For technical reasons, I also use X-pac, like the luggage that equips the Victoire bike at the Chris King Open House.
Some are reassured by the X-pac for reasons of strength and waterproofness, and it allows me to have a different product design. But these are fabrics that are made in the USA, so it doesn't always make a lot of sense to me. But sometimes you have to compromise. The notion of the location of the product you buy is very important to me. Would it be logical and sustainable for an American to buy my bags?
I try to stay local as much as possible, except for the injected parts, the loops, which cannot be found here. The straps are made next to Saint-Chamond, so is the twill. The woven rubber, which is called hypalon, and which is zodiac canvas, is made on the Belgian border. I go to the simplest. I haven't even looked at the prices ...
To make my patches, for example, I typed on the Internet: "Savoie embroidery" because I just wanted to go get them by bike. I found a young woman who has a small clothing workshop, I make them at her place, we've been working together for three years, and even if I could probably save some money, I stay with her and I try to have this approach for almost everything, even if it is not always easy.
Helmut Equipment is growing very quickly, what are your medium and long term goals ?
Until confinement, I was on my own. I had the idea of hiring to meet demand, because I made the choice to have an open website and it became more and more difficult for me to fill orders. So I wanted to gradually create a small team of three to four people, but not so quickly. It's the quantity of orders that forces me to move to three people this year: Michèle, who sews, and an order picker who will be there in the coming months. It’s a lot of stress and I have two hopes now: to hold out for a long time and that it becomes more comfortable.
I feel like the more good products you make, the more you sell, the more you can grow. When I see the workshop today, I am amazed at what I have: I bought two sewing machines, I am starting to have a pretty insane workshop! I project myself on industrial machines that I would never have imagined buying, I am offered industrial partnerships ...
Today, we have more than a thousand bags packed. It's a development that seems pretty amazing to me, but I don't want to grow too much either, especially as I don't intend to let go of production to just be a manager.
We'll see, it's very hard to project yourself. My goal is to stabilize things, to perpetuate the jobs that have just arrived and to make days a little less insane than these last months.
What reassures me is that the products are popular and that people are talking about them. I never do any communication other than one post every three weeks on social media by me and an advertisement in 200, because I get along well with Alain Puiseux, the editor-in-chief and we share the same values.
We can still see on social networks several cyclists with whom you are launched in a sponsorship relationship, very human partnership. How do you choose them ?
I had to be careful of that. Since I was a pro in mountain biking, I know what it's like to brand and get sponsored. When I developed Helmut, I wanted to find ambassadors. Some would contact me, I would go to their social networks and if it was interesting for Helmut, I would go for it. But you have to differentiate between real projects and guys who call you because they want to take a bike trip and get free luggage.
Among the serious projects, which are almost life projects, there is Gaëlle, who came to see me before leaving for a bike tour of Europe. Helmut had only been around for four months. She explained to me that she was going for a tour of Europe in winter, passing through the Alps, therefore under the snow, and returning through northern Europe. She was an architect and we hit it off really well. So I offered him a price, which was roughly the cost of the raw material, and I made him a set of saddlebags.
Mathieu Lifschitz, it was the same. He wanted to buy my luggage, not for me to give it to him, and for us to be in a real exchange.
Visibility is important if you want to sustain yourself, develop reasonably and earn yourself a regular salary. So I try to do this sensibly and choose the right ambassadors with the human encounter at the center of it all, as an essential value.
Speaking of human encounters, can you tell us a little more about the collaboration between Helmut and Victoire, then Distance ?
With Julien Leyreloup, we met during the Concours de Machines 2016. We hit it off right away because we have a fairly similar past, me with mountain biking and architecture, him with BMX and his engineering profession. He stopped everything to make a first bike, I stopped everything to pack the first saddlebags, our routes were pretty close. Plus, we hit it off right away.
Since my goal is not to shop around for companies, I didn't feel like going looking for someone else and I don't respond to other requests for collaboration, which are quite numerous. With Victoire we immediately collaborated and we offer tailor-made luggage to customers.
For Distance it's different. We wanted to offer a range of luggage adapted to the brand, with an ease of construction specific to the series, starting from what I was already making. We took some very reliable black X-pac fabric, and off we went. It is an interesting human partnership but also a real professional exchange because Victoire has a very good image and our clients have similar values.
Loyalty is an important notion for me and I am proud of the relationship we have forged between Victoire and Helmut.
Exploration of the Vercors high plates with gravel bikes
Xavier, owner of the Victoire N°417, recently rode the Vercors singletracks with his brother Aurélien, also equipped with a Victoire gravel bike, and Nicolas Joly, (a photographer, who works with us on regular basis). This ride was the subject of a publication in the magazine Bicycle Quarterly N°74 (available by clicking here), which we briefly told you about on our blog a few weeks ago.
Here is the story of the adventures of Xavier, Nicolas and Aurélien.
Text by Xavier d'Almeida
Photos by Nicolas Joly
In September, between the two lockdowns, my calves were begging for exercise. After a summer traveling the gravel paths of the Massif Central alone or with Julien Leyreloup, I wanted a change of scenery.
My brother Aurélien, also a happy Victoire-owner, recently moved to the Vercors, in Villard de Lans, the homeland of a well-known photographer from Auvergne : Nicolas Joly. The perfect team for an exploration was complete. After many discussions with Nicolas, a fine connoisseur of the place, we designed a gravel course crossing the South-West of Vercors and later the Hauts Plateaux reserve, the largest nature reserve in France.
I already knew this place from having crossed it on Nordic skiing while towing a pulka. It is a wild, empty, almost hostile place, with almost no water point, with only a few marked trails... and wolves watching you out of the corner of their eyes. I had been really impressed to find their tracks in the early morning snow in front of our cabin, and I was secretly hoping to encounter them last summer with my bike.
It's impossible to know what we were getting into. About 130 kilometers of gravel, a water point, between 2200 and 3000m of vertical drop, most of the area is unknown... These were the few data in our possession. It was the adventure we needed for an intense day. After a first short glimpse of some areas a few weeks earlier, we were sure this ride would be epic. You don't have to go far to find adventure : the unknown was waiting for the members of the trio at their doorstep. And I just had to jump on the Paris train, with my Victoire bike under my arm.
The story of that day was published in the Winter edition of the excellent magazine "Bicycle Quarterly" from Seattle, told in English by Nicolas Joly. Here's a shorter version, more focused on how I feel riding my dear Victoire Chris King, the most eclectic bike I've ever ridden. The rendez-vous is given at 6 am, at the top of the Gorges de la Bourne, a windy road between two cliffs. It is chilly and to store our things (as well as the much needed food for the day), Aurélien and I are equipped with Helmut Equipment saddlebags, Victoire's luggage partner. If the meeting is early, it is because we do not really know how things will go on the grassy paths and the old, broken Roman roads of the Vercors ...
Very quickly, the adventure begins. Especially for me. My lamp decides to play a trick on me and I am forced to ride between my two friends to take advantage of their light.
The stability of my bike amazes me and the sensations are strange. I only see Nicolas' beam of light and the parapet to my right, which seems to call for my pedal. I am not great at riding downhill, so I let myself be carried along by Nicolas' trajectories, I have the impression of floating in the dark. I will remember this for a long time.
The sun rises gently on the walls, the mist seems to cover the fields with thick cotton, and the stars stand out against a fabulous blue sky at dawn. We all have silly smiles on our faces..
A crossroad, and we leave the busiest road of the day (we came across at least two cars, that's outrageous!), To go up towards "Saint Julien en Vercors" in a rather magical setting. After a few more kilometers, we start what we had come to seek : the gravel part.
The track that goes up to the Carri pass is steep, made slippery by the morning dew, and we progress slowly. I am still in love with the responsiveness of my frame. The knobs on my tires are a huge help, as much as my huge Eagle cassette. I am happy to have spent so much time on my mountain bike to keep my balance on this slope punctuated with huge logs!
After this impressive view point, things got tough. Singletrack, then uphill, then technical before an enduro downhill, one of our rare bad choices of the day.
The anarchic arrangement and the sharpness of the pebbles cut like arrowheads from the Neolithic era got one of our tires, but I admit enjoying this little technical exercise. My painting will bear some scars, my arms too. Fortunately, the steel of my frame absorbs some of the shocks, like my large under-inflated tires.
At the bottom, a new rolling track awaits us before a magnificent and steep climb in the middle of the woods. The old road sometimes shows itself between two sheets of foam.
As Nicolas says in his article, it feels like a fairy tale.
Moreover, surprise, at the end of the trail awaits us a small hut equipped with the only water point of the day and ... very practical and clean dry toilets! The perfect place for a picnic break.
We are 50 kilometers away, believing that this escape would be easier than expected.
But what lies ahead is frightening. After the pass, here we are in the old Roman road of "Col de Rousset". Steep, rocky, we are sending it on this path cut raw in the cliff. Everything is dizzying here, even the sensations, incredible. My 47mm tires are doing wonders, I feel comfortable and am still happy with the versatility of my Victoire.
After a short road lift, we pass the Col de Rousset ski resort, which looks like a ghost town at this time of the year. In front of us stands a grassy wall which rises for almost two kilometers, straight up the slope, at almost 20%. Brave fellows, we try our luck until gravity catches up with us and forces us to push for almost an hour. Exhausted, we only advanced a few kilometers in an hour.
Only the sublime sight that is offered to us softens the slight worries that are starting to gather under our helmets. We can see the Grand Veymont, over there, in the distance, and we will have to go under it before starting the descent towards Villard de Lans !
I know this area in Nordic skiing, but also in mountain biking. This is the start of an incredible single track descending along the balconies of Glandasse. Memories of sliding and slipping arise and still make me want to come back ... In terms of sliding, we will find ourselves on bumpy terrain that will spare us nothing, especially the shoulders, arms and thighs. Each straight line without an endless false flat in this desert of rocks and meadows punctuated by rare pines. We almost imagine ourselves to be the future prey of the large birds of prey circling above us, or the wolves if we can't get out of it before dark! Delirium lurks as the reserves run low. No shade, no water until the miracle of a well in front of the last refuge of the reserve. We must admit, despite our GPS, we are almost completely lost.
As Nicolas writes, every glance at our GPS is heartbreaking, we don't seem to have moved forward more than in inch. This portion is the only one of the course where we wish we had hardtail mountain bikes. Our shoulders will remember it for a few days...
And then suddenly, a small path leaves in the pines at the foot of the Grand Veymont. The slope is gentle, but downward. Smiles are coming back, the opportunity to see that our teeth were not loosened in the chaos. We find the cross-country ski trails that Nicolas crosses in winter, he the former Nordic skiing champion.
The terrain is smoother, our bikes are picking up speed along with our muscles, and the speed is increasing.
Thirty kilometers remain in the fading daylight which gives a fabulous light as a backdrop to the wonder of an abandoned road which rises above the valley. A last road pass to "Bois Barbu" and it's the descent to our starting point. We have just enough gas (and will to drink alcohol) to make it to the top of the village, to enjoy a beer at Nicolas's place, a beer with the taste of adventure and friendship.
The perfect ending for a day that will not be forgotten anytime soon !
Between pure mountain biking, road, rolling gravel, rough climbs, my Victoire once again amazed me with its versatility. It seems armed for each surface and that's exactly what I was looking for when I approached Julien the first time : a bike capable of taking me on cross-country courses, of making me accelerate when the asphalt comes to replace the gravel paths, in short, to feel free when I am at the handlebar. There is no doubt about this Vercors adventure: subject to conditions quite extreme for a gravel, it more than fulfilled its mission !
Victoire Paint Shop
At Victoire, we like the idea of being able to work on a project from end to end. This is why we now have our own paint booth, in which all Victoire bikes including our new graphic identity are now painted.
This allows us to have continuity in the realization process but also to fulfill all the client's expectations for the project. Also, this allows us to produce paint works the way we want to, to choose the best products and to devote the time that is necessary to this work.
First, at the end of 2018, Julien completed a training at Coale Coatings, a European benchmark in terms of bicycle painting. Following this, Victoire made a significant investment supported by the NEF, an ethical bank that only finances projects that are socially or environmentally beneficial. It allowed us to buy our painting tools. Finally, the very first bike painted in this booth was none other than our award-winning bike for the Concours de Machines 2019.
Since then, we have gradually integrated painting into our projects, in parallel with an increase of our production rate.
Here, Julien is sanding the primer applied to the frame in order to obtain a grip surface to receive the next coats of paint and clear coat.
The painting takes place over many stages which must be carried out with care. Here is the general process for the completion of a Victoire painting:
- The frame is first degreased, then sanded by hand to achieve a mechanical grip for the primer, then is degreased again.
- Application of an epoxy primer which eliminates the risk of the appearance of rust.
- Application of a 2K filling primer to homogenize the surface finish.
- Sanding the primer to obtain an adhesion surface perfect for applying paint.
- Application of different layers of paint and masking to obtain the final rendering.
- Application of a first protective layer of clear coat.
- Frosting of the clear coat layer to create grip for the protective clear coat layer.
- Application of the finishing coat, glossy or mat.
Julien selects his paints and carries out his clear coat preparation according to the project and the desired finish.
A masking work is then carried out to cover the areas that will (or will not) be painted on the bike: Number plate, inserts ...
This step also makes it possible to obtain the graphics present on the final rendering.
Masking, allowing us to paint or not paint an area of the frame, is used both to preserve unpainted areas of the bike and to create graphics on it.
Here, Julien creates vinyl masking for the graphics of Victoire N°465. These are also printed and prepared in our workshop.
Then come the different layers of paint and clear coat that will bring the desired result to the bike. These different passes are punctuated by the addition or removal of stickers to reveal the desired patterns.
Some projects are more complex than others. For example, Victoire N° 455Certaines réalisations sont plus complexes que d'autres. Par exemple, le Marco's Victoire N°455 (lien) required 8 layers of paint in order to obtain the desired result.
In addition to the frame, it is possible to paint the bike's fenders. This allows a better visual integration and gives the bike cleaner lines.
Claire's Victoire N °217 is a good example of what Victoire can do in terms of painting. Having recently been repainted in our workshop, it features a geometric fade effect, two shades of iridescent paint, and many small graphic details, all wrapped under several layers of clear coat loaded with glitter.
Claire's bicycle paint is quite expressive and lively, thanks to its iridescent paint, glitter and glossy clear coat.
Each Victoire frame, in steel or stainless steel, is manufactured using exclusively stainless steel contact areas. Thus, frame brackets, bottle cage inserts, head tube reinforcement cups are machined from stainless steel and brazed to the frame. The contact surfaces are then sanded and polished after the paint job so as to leave the contact area bare, and thus limit the risk of damaging the paint during assembly or during a fall, as on the outside paws.
Here, the contact areas are bare in order to preserve the paint of the bike, always with the aim of offering durable finishes over time.
We are currently in the process of developing a catalog of specific colors, as well as various exclusive paint schemes, which we will gradually reveal to you on the website. The Victoire team also offers you the possibility of a total surprise during the delivery of your bicycle. Just give us three words to describe your new paint and we will create a unique paintwork that meets both your expectations and the spirit of Victoire.
Photo made by Nicolas Joly.
The possibility of making our own paintwork is relatively new for the Victoire team. We are gradually entering this vast field which constitutes a profession in its own right, and we keep experimenting again and again to perfect our know-how.
We hope that the read pleased you. See you soon for another news coming from the workshop !
Victoire is appearing into the editions of 200, Bicycle Quarterly and Peloton of this month !
Nothing equals a little reading rich in beautiful images to start the year !
We were pleased to find that Victoire appeared in 200, Peloton and Bicycle Quartery magazines in this month's editions. On the program, you will find as usual with these two references : some bikepacking, some travel, a lot of landscapes, beautiful mounts and many other things.
Matthieu Lifshitz, about whom we spoke a little while ago in our article "Some news from Manivelle", appears riding his companion Gaby on the cover of 200 (winter edition 2020 - 2021). Woody will also appear inside it for a special ride in which handlebars and oars go hand in hand. You will also find the Victoire N ° (?) on a trip starting in Italy composed of ten stages. Finally, Soph' ends the 200 N°27 with a comic which includes a wink to Victoire.
We also see the editor-in-chief Alain Puiseux on his Victoire during a report, and the Foucauld's one during a trip from Italy in ten stages. And to finish, Soph' ends this edition N°27 with a comic book including a winking adressed to Victoire!
Inside Bicycle Quartery N ° 74, you will find Xavier and his Victoire 417 during a tour of the Vercors on though and climbing paths.
These three magazines are on newsstands right now, we warmly recommend them !
The entire Victoire team sends you its best wishes for the year 2021 !
Our company is now member of the program 1% for the planet !
The 1% for the planet program is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, the founder and owner of the Patagonia brand, as well as by Craig-Matthews, the former owner of the Blue Ribbon Files. They created the organization 1% for the planet in order to facilitate the process for companies wishing to involve themselves into ecology.
Here, in addition to donation willing to contribute to the preservation of our ecosystem, the goal is to prove that a business can be flourishing and a player in an ecological investment. Finally, this makes it possible to facilitate the process of environmental donations to companies because the organization brings together approved associations that have proven their ecological involvement.
Concretely, the companies participating in the program agree to deliver 1% of their turnover (whether profit or not) to partner associations of the organization, which carry a real ecological and sustainable commitment.
Our membership in this association reinforces our approach aiming to reduce the ecological impact of our production. Whether for Victoire or Distance, our desire is to produce bikes that are durable over time while reducing our ecological impact as much as possible. For this, we set up several devices :
- Our main supplier of tubes is Columbus, located in Italy about 600km from our workshop
- All of our production is designed, machined, welded, polished and assembled in our workshops in Beaumont. The bikes are painted in our premises (for Victoire) or locally (for Distance), 10km from our workshop. This proximity between the different stages allows us both to be reactive and to greatly limit the use of carbon transport.
- We only produce what we sell. We have no stock, and each Victory or Distance product only goes into production once it has been sold. This therefore allows us not to produce unnecessarily.
- Aware of the importance of the durability of our bikes, we guarantee for life for the first owner each frame that leaves our workshops.
- We supply our workshop with the energy supplier ENERCOOP ', a cooperative offering clean and renewable energy, recognized as a “truly green” supplier by Greenpeace.
This integration delights us and therefore extends our desire for commitment !
Find the association's website via this link
Find the list of associations approved by 1% for the planet via this link
Find the list of French companies participating in the 1% for the planet program via this link
This integration, in addition to our other positions taken on the subject are answering to our humble desire to be a responsible and modern solution to the actual cycling industry. What is for sure is that many procedures are still to set in place, and we're open to any new idea or proposal that could help us to progress in this direction. For that, don't hesitate to get in touch with us, and even to come and meet us in person to the workshop : We would welcome you with great pleasure !
News from Manivelle
Matthieu, also known as Manivelle, is a graphic designer, artistic director of magazine 200, Victoire ambassador, and above all a passionate cyclist, especially when in comes to riding long distances. We have been working in close collaboration with him for several years, both in terms of graphics and sport.
As the year is coming to an end, and while we are updating our website with Manivelle's bikes, we wanted to keep you posted about what these three compagnons have been up to.
Season 2020 marks the arrival of Gaby
Despite the sanitary measures, with a little organization and lots of faith in my lucky stars, the 2020 season has gone much better than I hoped. I was able to participate in four major long distance events, whether you call them ultra-distance in full autonomy, bikepacking race, or timed extra-long courses .
The arrival of Gaby was a game-changer.
Thanks to all the bicycles that Victoire made available to me in previous years, we were able to develop a machine that perfectly suited my practice and my body, with the right equipment. The result was obvious: I immediately felt much better efficiency during my last Transcontinental Race in 2019, where I was able to go through all the mountain courses without incident and at race pace.
After this first impression, I was keen to train and progress for the following season. There is nothing better than to dive head-first into difficult races: in 2020 I have chosen three climber events as well as the traditional Born to Ride to maintain endurance between these adventures.
Picture by Manivelle
This was the goal after the first lockdown. A sort of revenge to be taken on a short year.
My goal was rather vague to have a nice ride without really knowing what to expect with this brutal and constant elevation gain. Training is one thing, but it never really reflects reality. Yet everything went wonderfully. Despite a chaotic start where I took a long time to find my rhythm, everything settled down as if by magic, the mountains, the counties and the bivouacs followed one another with gentleness, precision and conviction. Gaby didn't flinch, she was discreet and loyal throughout these endless climbs and arriving in relatively good shape at the end of the challenge galvanized me for the rest of the season.
Picture by Manivelle
This was about confirming what I would call "cruising speed". I already knew what was in store for me at the end of the season and I approached this edition with confidence. Of course, everything was not so simple and a few well-felt topographical traps on the way spiced up this French journey. Here too, Gaby's reliability was disconcerting, it made me wonder where the catch was, but there was none, everything was fine! I was able to focus on what I had to do and fully enjoy the road while meeting other participants.
Picture by Manivelle
For issue #26 of 200 Magazine, currently on newsstands, with Alain Puiseux and his son Benjamin, we set out to take on this incredible challenge.
The difficulty here seems obvious: There is nowhere to rest. We are in the high mountains, with no escape. The only option available for breathing a bit is when going downhill, and this is not easy either. While a bike suitable for climbing long mountain passes with ease due to its geometry, materials, weight and adequate equipment is certainly needed, the machine will need to behave just as well going downhill, if one hopes to recover a minimum before the next pass.
For that, Gaby is perfect. Lively, stable and well planted on its wide section tires, it connects the laces without fuss, with precision, thus allowing to breathe while taking pleasure in raising the speed safely on these endless slopes.
If our French passes, wide, sumptuous, are breathtaking places and often laden with history tied to sports, I must admit that it is the Italian passes that moved me the most.
Having chosen Briançon as our starting point, these passes were tackled at the end of the first day, before switching back to France the next day at the end of the morning. Traveling these tiny damaged roads with grazing light transports you, teleports you into a story where reality blooms with myth.
Picture by Manivelle
It was THE race of the year.
It‘s like everything I’ve prepared for the season has to come to fruition here. The level of the international riders was insane, the topography formidable, and the cut off demanding. It is still a little early to tell all that happened during the race and a dedicated article will be available in January, in issue #27 of Magazine 200. What I can say on a technical aspect is that the season was brilliantly closed, and I can proudly say that Gaby was able to take me without any mechanical glitch and make me progress where I wanted, moving once again the needle towards further possibilities for the 2021 season which is already potentially full of exciting events!
Throughout the trials and the training sessions that preceded them, Gaby has confirmed her qualities and she clearly meets the specifications of our vision of a sporty all-road bicycle.
While it's hard to decipher the chemistry that makes such a versatile bike, there are still some avenues.
- Obviously, “the stroke of genius” in the design. Knowing how to develop a dynamic, reassuring and predictable geometry while remaining playful, you simply cannot wing it, just like the know-how of the frame builder that will turn the drawings into reality.
- Choosing the right steel is also important. While I admit that I have a lot of love for stainless steel, I have realized with the Véloce all the advantages brought by the Columbus Life tubing, of which gaby is also mostly made from. It is a light steel, easier to manipulate than stainless steel, with mechanical properties close to shamanism. The way the machine gives you back what you give is disconcerting, like a constant inertia, a pact of a given for a reward. It is an absolutely satisfying feeling to know that every effort you make will have a positive impact.
- The numerous mounts are also beneficial. Gaby was designed for adventure, and it is without complex that it sports a fork with inserts, mounts for the frame bags, tools and even a fender, which is a nice thing to have when you spend night and day in the rain, fighting against the clock… All these ancillary elements thus find their place naturally without excess straps or poorly secured elements which could prove very annoying over the kilometers. Everything has its place, which means less worries.
- The components also play their part in this extreme versatility. A wide and comfortable handlebar, reliable and excellent quality contact points, a proven and easy-to-maintain drivetrain are such valuable elements.
- The wheels, a top-of-the-line custom assembly, are light and robust, therefore good allies. Thanks to the clearance of the frame, they allow me a wide range of tire sizes ranging from the smooth tire to the large knobs, giving me the possibility of adapting my tires to the terrain mainly encountered. Their reliability has never been faulted, which is a success.
I think the best proof of these wise choices is that I haven't changed anything since Gaby was "born". I only replaced the wear items like the chainring, the cassette or the bar tape. That's it!
Of course, Woody didn't stay in the garage either. Initially designed as my "all-rounder" bike, it has found its place in a more leisure-oriented practice. The multiple mounts, the almost indestructible custom fork and its stainless steel material make it a formidable all-terrain mile-crusher that fears nothing and no one.
With the 650B wheels and knobby tires, I take her everywhere in my region, loaded with my low rider bags for bivouacs in 4 star tents. Also, very recently we experienced Bikerafting for the first time. It is a rather strange practice which consists in transporting on one of the racks an inflatable raft / paddle / safety equipment set, making it possible to create improbable paths between road and river descent by simply removing the two wheels of the bike and securing it firmly on the front of the raft.
It is a unique sensation to be able to cross disciplines and afford inaccessible courses or memorable riverside bivouacs. This adventure was documented for the magazine 200 and will also be available here in January!
Plans for the year 2021
2021 is upon us and just like this year, I try not to be affected by the possible cancellations and postponements of events.
So I have already registered for several challenges, and while the calendar will grow as the weeks go by (and depending on the pandemic) I will be in very exciting events where I will do my best. I am set on having fun and building on the progress I made in 2020.
Race Around Rwanda — February
All Road race Gravel / Tarmac
Complete article in 200 Magazine to follow in issue #28
Three Peaks Bike race — July
Torino Nice rallye — September
The Trans Pyrénées Race No2 — October
All Road race Gravel / Tarmac
Depending on the final dates or the delay of TPR, the option of returning to the third 2VS is on the table:
Two Volcano Sprint 2021 — October
Road Race with a few gravel traps
2020 therefore ends as a year rich in experiences and adventures for Manivelle. You can read more about his stories in the current issue of Magazine 200, as well as the next ones. The story of the Two Volcano Sprint will also appear in la gazette Café du cycliste. Year 2021 presents itself as a blank sheet that our trio will certainly know how to fill. See you soon for new stories!