bicycle, commute, cross, Cycles Toussaint, gravel, pavé, randoneurring, Velo Routier
Our northern buddies at Cycles Toussaint in Calgary have introduced a new Vélo Routier. I took one out for a spin to see how it compared to my v1 bike.
My first impression was that it felt just like my Vélo Routier. I’m not sure that I would be able to tell the difference in a blind test. It felt planted and quick steering. Comfortable, not quirky. This was set up similar to my own bike, with a Selle Anatomica, Noodles, bar-end shifting, and Compass tires. This geometry just works for me. Nice bike, great brakes. They offer the v2 in 2 versions – one with braze-ons, and one without. I really like the braze-on centerpulls and the quirky seat-stay pump mount, so that would be my choice. The blue color is a nice change, too. One new quirk – there is a slotted rear axle mount now, to better accommodate IGH or fixed/single gear hubs. While this opens up the bike to more options, it may make bikes with fenders tougher to change out a flat on, but there are ways around the problem.
The next bike is a demo that is a new direction for Toussaint. I believe this is an all-round road/gravel, maybe even cross bike. It was set up racier than I would typically ride, but it was surprising in a number of ways. The tubing is all stainless steel, which gives it a fairly “ti” look. The downtube is quite oversized, as well, at 38.1mm. This seems overly stiff for my weight range, but can be offset with cushy tires. It is spec’d to take a 45mm fender, so I would assume you could put the Compass Barlow Pass tires on with no problems. It looks like a Clement MSO would fit fine for a bit more bite.
Toussaint used interesting plated fork and seat stay crowns. I like the classic low fork bend of the Routier more. To my eyes, it would be a great match for the double plate crown on this bike. The “banana” bend just looks odd to me. I assume it makes the disc attachment easier/stiffer, but if the bike could use a more classic bend here, it would be prettier.
Disks make it a great utility rain bike. I found the bike to be quite like the Vélo Routier in feel – even with a bit more trail on the Pavé (45mm). It still felt quick steering, and was light and fun to ride. I was wondering how it would be with some front or rear load. I may see if I can get an extended trial to find out.
After the ride, I am hopeful this bike would fall into a similar price range as the Vélo Routier – if you could get a bike built for the rainy NW commute, not have to worry about rust or wet brakes, and still maintain great geometry that would handle randonneuring or lightly loaded gravel adventure rides – nirvana, right there!
The Toussaint blog (with lots of good info on the tubing, geometry, etc…) is saying they hope to sell these for around $2000, so I guess the tubing makes a big difference, but we’ll see what happens if they do a production run. This is a cool, practical bike!