Olivier, living in New York City, reached out to us with the desire to create a bike he could use in daily. His bike had to be a tribute to old messenger bikes, while keeping in mind the notions of comfort and liveliness. From this request was born the Victoire N°442, a vintage-looking fixed gear bike, integrating modern components allowing Olivier to zip through the New York City traffic.
To retain the spirit of the old messenger bikes, the choice of the fixed gear was made by Olivier. This type of bike has an history linked to New York streets, and their dense traffic. In addition to being very fun to ride and lightweight, the drivetrain of these bikes requires low maintenance, which is why New York bicycle messengers have made them their bikes of choice. Here, for Olivier's bike, this simplicity of operation is welcome for an everyday use. The surfaces of the horizontal droupouts are left in bare stainless steel, in order to preserve the bike's finish over time.
The rear hub, like its sprocket, are none other than those manufactured by Victoire in the past, crafted in aluminum and assembled by hand in our workshop. It's a nod to our history, it was impossible for us to make a more local choice !
The front dynamo hub comes from SON, allowing the bicycle lighting to be powered as long as the bike is rolling. The wheels for this project were therefore assembled in our workshop, to allow this specific configuration ! They are both in 700C, dimension chosen according to the size of the rider.
The fork, stem and luggage rack of Victoire N°442 were entirely made in our workshop. Fork and stem have been painted to integrate the visual lines of the bike and tie everything together, while the luggage rack is simply clear-coated to keep its raw appearance, thus connecting visually with the set of silver parts.
The headset chosen is none other than a Chris King one, a supplier with whom we work on a regular basis, whose products are truly durable, and are guaranteed for life by the manufacturer. Once again, the silver finish matches the other components of the bike.
The saddle is also Made in France since it is an "Idéale" saddle, the production of which was relaunched in 2010 by Frédéric Ducès with the same requirements as the traditional products. These saddles are made by hand in Toulouse, without compromising on the quality of manufacture. The color matches the Brooks leather bar tape as well as the beige sidewalls of the tires, WTB expanse in size 700 x 32C.
This bike's paint, like all the Victoire including our new graphic identity, was done by Julien in our workshop. The shade which was chosen is an iridescent midnight blue leaning towards a deep purple, revealing all its depth in the light, yet remaining subtle The finish is highlighted by the set of silver and leather parts.
Matching this paint color with the leather and silver tones creates a vintage aspect, which was the goal with this project.
As usual, we now let the owner, Olivier, share his feedback after having received his bike in New York :
Je recherchais un vélo de ville dans un esprit "porteur vintage" pour un usage quotidien à New-York, où j'habite. Je voulais donc quelque chose de maniable et vif mais qui reste confortable and pratique. Pour rester dans l'esprit porteur vintage, j'ai opte pour un pignon fixe. J'adore le résultat, comme j'en discute ci-dessous. I was looking for a city bike for everyday use in New York City (where I live), featuring the classic look of messenger bikes. So I wanted something manageable and lively but still comfortable and practical. To stay true to the vintage messenger spirit, I opted for a fixed gear. I'm loving the result, as I discuss below.
"I loved the bike from the first photos Julien sent me and even more when it arrived in New York. The result is even better than I expected. It is true to the Vintage messenger spirit and the paint job is perfect. It is my first custom bike and I felt the difference from the first pedal strokes. Everything fits perfectly and falls naturally under the hands (or feet). The position is perfectly natural and super comfortable. The more impressive is that, because of the distance and the pandemic, the fitting session was done by phone and email."
"The choice of frame material is also perfect for ensuring the liveliness that I was looking for but, at the same time, without feeling all the many defects of the New York road network. Brilliant!"