John's french randonneuse
John is a cyclist from Portland (USA). He has discover Victoire’s bicycles at the 2019 Chris King Open House in Portland where we presented the Victoire 417. He dreamed of a light and modern randonneuse with a "French touch". He took advantage of a trip to discover the French vineyards to come, meet us, and carry out his postural study.
John has entrusted us with the entire realisation of his bike, inspired by the Victoire 417, 491 and the randonneuse from the 2016 Concours de Machines.
We have been using stainless steel for ten years. In our opinion, it is the best material for bicycle frames. It is stronger than the best steels and offers the same dynamic and comfort.
Its stainless steel character makes the frame timeless and allows the weld seams to remain visible. This has gradually become our trademark, and many customers, like John, choose stainless steel for precisely this aesthetic reason, which pays tribute to the craftsmanship of the framer.
John wanted a traditional looking randonneuse. However, its construction is modern, with oversized tubes with a hydroformed profile. Hydroforming is an operation that transforms the shape of the tube to optimise its behaviour according to the direction of mechanical stress. The bike is also equipped with disc brakes and a 44mm carbon fork with tapered steerer tube.
John's Victoire is equipped with mudguards, essential in a wet region like Oregon, of which Portland is the economic and cultural capital. It also has a front pannier and dynamo hub powered lights.
The front luggage rack is the result of many hours of work in the workshop. This original piece, made of stainless steel, is very light. It has an integrated shifter to fix the Helmut pannier, and a Sinewave lamp holder with lamp protection, already used on the Victoire 490.
John wanted to be able to increase his load capacity for longer rides. So he chose the lightweight rear rack designed by the creator of Cycles Victoire for his 491. Like the front rack, this one is made of painted stainless steel and is very light. It can hold three "manything cages" type fasteners to fix bags or clothes.
For a cyclist from Portland, it is impossible to imagine a bike equipped with any other brand than Chris King! The Victoire n°501 is therefore equipped with a headset, bottom bracket and hubs in the limited edition black/gold colour scheme of the Oregon franchise, a historic partner of Cycles Victoire.
John's choice of bearings is American, but the drivetrain on his randonneuse is European. The bike is equipped with the Ingrid derailleur, associated with the same brand of crankset and Campagnolo shifters. Made in Europe and fully removable, the Ingrid derailleur goes against the grain of current production by opting for cable transmission instead of electronics.
The rims, stem, handlebars and seatpost are supplied by Enve, a brand we use frequently for the reliability of its products.
At John's request, Rodolphe, the founder of Helmut Equipment made a front bag and frame bag especially for this project, out of black XPac canvas, which is lightweight, durable and waterproof.
For the painting, John's wishes were: sobriety, discretion and visibility of the hair cords. To emphasise the raw stainless steel, we selected a slightly bluish grey. The gold Chris King markings and the tyre sidewalls are reminiscent of brazing.
The geometric transition from grey to raw metal adds detail to this very discreet bike, whose aesthetic complexity is revealed as you approach it. The mudguards, fork and stem have been painted in the same tones.
"One of my friend, who works in the bicycle industry, introduced me to Victoire. I immediately liked the incredible level of detail and intelligent construction of all the models. I was seduced of course by the tailor-made work, which means that each bike is really meant for a different cyclist, with different uses. But the first thing that jumped out at me was the incredible soldering work between the Columbus stainless steel tubes.
My project was unfortunately delayed by the health crisis of 2020, and I was looking forward to seeing it through. The postural study and bike design sessions with Julien were extremely thorough. He helped me decide on a touring bike suited to the wet winters of the North Pacific coast of the US, with its often rough roads and many elevation changes. Together we designed the paint and components to make a traditional French bike."
When I saw the bike of the first time, I was speechless at the quality of every detail. This is the most incredible bike I have ever seen. The brazing and articulation of the steel tubes show the great mastery of the framers. This frame is a work of art! From the very first turns of the wheel, it's as if I've been put into a computer program and placed in the perfect position to pedal. The efficiency of this machine is outstanding. I immediately went on my favourite ride, which is a mixture of a tarmac road in a forest, gravel tracks and a few technical singles. The bike remained very stable throughout the ride but is also very playful, which allowed me to take some corners more aggressively than usual. In a ride of over two hundred kilometres, the frame and wheels make a real difference. It's as if the dirt roads and bumps were getting smoother... What comfort! I can't wait to go on much longer rides with my Victoire.