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Show off that Randonneur; and let's discuss the bike, the gear, the sport

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Show off that Randonneur; and let's discuss the bike, the gear, the sport

Old 03-06-09, 12:00 AM
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Oh, and while I'm thinking of it, one of the key concepts is the "integrated" bike. We have all seen the bikes where everything looks like an afterthought: lights clipped onto the handlebars, wiring wrapped around fork blades, baggage attached with clamps, plastic fenders zip-tied into place. The "integrated" bike is built from the ground up with the idea that everything will have its permanent place on the bike, with appropriate braze-ons and attachment points for the gear normally not found on a race bike. The best of the integrated bikes are very elegant and attractive, with perfect fender lines, streamlined accessories, and nothing rattling around or trying to fall off.

Putting one together is a real PITA!
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Old 05-10-09, 07:10 PM
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Old 05-10-09, 08:12 PM
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wonder how much that Ahearne weighs. It's nicely done, albeit a little on the silly side.
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Old 05-10-09, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Six jours
Late to the thread, but the topic is my favorite. Don't know how I missed it.

This one is mine:



It's not vintage; I built the frame myself a bit more than a year ago.

HTH!
Amazing! That bike has soul!

I am starting to see why people like 650b's.
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Old 05-10-09, 09:25 PM
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After reading/scanning through 7 pages of this thread, a thought comes to me. It seems from statements above that in current-day randonneuring, all different types of bikes are used (tandems and recumbents are fairly common, for example). And, in the Long Distance forum and on randonneuring forums, I find very little discussion of the "right" bicycle to be used. The original post mentions about how rare purpose-built randonneuring bikes are. Mightn't it be that they are rare because most old-time randonneurs didn't bother using them then, either? Or to put it the other way, perhaps 95% of the randonneuring bicycles ever used wouldn't be recognized as such because they didn't fit someone's current idea of what a randonneuring bike should be?
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Old 05-10-09, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jan nikolajsen
This is a project under development. My socalled RGV or Randonneur à Grande Vitesse, inspired by the commuter train between Paris and Lyon, as well as everything I've picked on this thread.

The frame, by far the most interesting part of the game, remain the big unknown. Two candidates are currently up for review: Trek 600 and Gazelle A-Frame. The goal for this Randonneur is to have a bike that is neither sluggish (read: touring geometry) nor overly jittery and harsh as many modern all-out racing bikes, but rather easily driven with adequate comfort for some of my long distance goals. With a slight bias towards speed over creature comfort the hope is to cover more ground quicker, leaving time for longer recovery breaks.

The componentry shown below is the working draft of what may be included. Some uncertainties remain. Old and new indiscriminately mixed. An equal dose of style and function was also employed in the selection. Pure function would move this post out of the C&V realm, while pure style is entirely too expensive.

Here's some of the choices, with comments:

Frame: Seventies northern European race brand with fender bosses.
BB: Campy Veloce sealed unit
Crank: Campy Veloce compact, 50-36. New, $42 delivered!
Freewheel: Maillard 7 speed 12-24
FD-RD: Mavic SSC, which just barely does this tooth configuration
Chain: SRAM 850
Hubs: Campy Record 36h from 1973
Rims: Torelli 700c
Spokes: Unknown, 3 cross
Pedals: Campy Record with chrome clips and VO straps
Brakes: Mafac Racer with Mathauser MTB pads and VO cable guides
Levers: Campy Aero
Shifters: Suntour Bar-Cons
Seatpost: Gipiemme
Saddle: Ideale 45
Handle bars: Unbranded randonneur
Stem: The ubiquitous Nitto Technomic
Headset: VO
Fenders: Esge 35mm plastic
Tires: Panaracer Tourguard 28mm
Front rack: Homemade, in concept stage






/
Beautiful collection, and it looks like a great build plan! Two comments: tell us more about the frame, and the pedals -- my feet really don't like the racing rattrap style of pedal, with two rails to rest your shoe on. I've had much better comfort with a touring-style platform toeclip pedal like the Shimano 600, the Campy C-record, or the Campy Chorus (very much like the C-record but not as pretty.) A perfectly C&V choice (and CR while we're at it!) would be the Lyotard Berthet with clips.

Sorry, three! I'd hunt down a vintage Campy Record (I think NR is correct) seatpost with the two-bolt adjustment. It will really facilitate finding teh proper saddle angle. Park had a tool for reaching the two 10 mm setting bolts, but on a Brooks I "lift the skirt" and use a standard 10 mm box end. wrench.

Last edited by Road Fan; 05-10-09 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 05-11-09, 05:23 AM
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In process build

I have a Claud Butler (no provenance) frame I will be building for touring. Somewhere in its past, it had cantilever posts added, and mounts for 4 water bottles. I am using Campy Euclid brakes, Stronglight cranks, and a Campy BB. As the frame has zero documentation, I am using either what components I have on hand or can find relatively cheap. I have a wheelset from my Miyata tourer that I'll alternate between frames. The rear is a Chris King hub with Shimano 14-32 cassette, the front is a SON 20 hub. Both are laced to Fusion rims.
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Old 05-11-09, 05:42 AM
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Oh boy. Well, you know what's going to happen now, don't you? The majority of posters will be confusing the activity of "randonneering" with the "randonneuse" type of bicycle, or they will be confusing touring bikes with randonneuses. Randonneuses were a very specific style of bike, designed for rough roads and with front geometry that was tuned for using a somewhat heavy handlebar bag. English bikes assumed any load would be carried in the rear, and while the French made all kinds of bikes, the randonneuses assumed a load would be carried in a handlebar bag. These are not the same as full load touring bikes, which in those days would not have been called a "randonneuse", but a camping bike. For the randonneering activity, the sport of randonneering, any bike can be used, and I think it's safe to say that the vast majority of bikes in a randonneering event are not "randonneuses".

The traditional randonneuses were never the main type of road bike in France. They were a style, very much a minority one. That they were for fast riding is a bit of a stretch. They were for casual riding with a handlebar bag from village to village by a rider smoking a pipe, without any atheletic pretensions whatsoever. An existentialist philosopher might have ridden one :-)

I call them pique-nique bikes.

Last edited by Longfemur; 05-11-09 at 05:48 AM.
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Old 05-11-09, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Longfemur
The traditional randonneuses were never the main type of road bike in France. They were a style, very much a minority one. That they were for fast riding is a bit of a stretch. They were for casual riding with a handlebar bag from village to village by a rider smoking a pipe, without any atheletic pretensions whatsoever. An existentialist philosopher might have ridden one :-)
With the occasional detour into a ditch from not paying attention to the road!

I've been thinking about this difference lately as I'm selling off one of my touring bikes and hope to buy a frameset that's more of a randonneuse. To me, a key difference in addition to where weight is carried is the tubeset. The touring bike has a fairly stout tubeset, appropriate for carrying lots of weight but one that is relatively heavy and quite stiff. I'd rather carry weight up front and have a lighter tubeset (and lighter bike overall). That'll serve me better as I meander down the road thinking about the meaning of life.

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Old 05-11-09, 07:01 AM
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I love the randonneuse style, myself. They do have a wonderful, classic, all-together and well-proportioned look. You can put wide tires, fenders and all that stuff on a sport touring bike, but it's not the same. Oddly enough, in France itself nowadays, this style of bike seems to have graduated toward more of what today we consider to be a sport touring bike with 700c x 25 tires (judging by what little remains of a French bicycle industry). Natives even tour with 23 mm wide tires there.

Much as I love the look of the bikes, when I'm out riding, for whatever purpose, I always end up preferring a sportier bike than what a randonneuse represents - even if my primary intent is not to go fast. Maybe it's because I'm a child of the 60's and 70's, and to me, a bike is still a 10-speed, albeit a more refined one with more speeds. When it comes to classic road bicycles, I'm always torn between French and Italian. I have the same problem with picking a wine.

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Old 05-11-09, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Longfemur
Much as I love the look of the bikes, when I'm out riding, for whatever purpose, I always end up preferring a sportier bike than what a randonneuse represents - even if my primary intent is not to go fast. Maybe it's because I'm a child of the 60's and 70's, and to me, a bike is still a 10-speed, albeit a more refined one with more speeds.
Ah, that's my era, too, but somehow most bikes have ended up be 3-speeds for me from those days (as an adult) of working on and riding Raleigh 3-speeds. I find that on most of my rides, no matter how many gears I have, I usually use only 3. Now, if I were riding mountain passes or any sort of hillier terrain or were at the end of a long day, I'd want the lower gears, but that's not the kind of riding I've been doing for the last couple of years. I should also add that my primary bike for several years was a Columbia middle-weight single speed w/ a coaster brake. I took it everywhere and passed many a roadie going up hills (and was subsequently passed on the descent).

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Old 05-11-09, 04:45 PM
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Well, I disagree with the idea that a randonneuse is "...for casual riding with a handlebar bag from village to village by a rider smoking a pipe, without any atheletic pretensions whatsoever." At the time (40s through 60s, or thereabouts), the top finishers of the famous brevets were almost universally mounted on what we now think of as the traditional randonneuse. Many records were set on these bikes, with their light weight, "racing" tubesets, etc. Today we see fenders, front bags, wide tires, etc. and think "slow" but when you are riding all day and night, without resupply, in the rain, over lousy roads, those "slow" items make a big difference in how fast you can go while minimizing stops. Even today, folks like Jan Heine are "winning" brevets and setting course records on these bikes.

Just because I'm a lard-butted pipe smoker riding from town to town with no athletic pretensions whatsoever doesn't mean my bike isn't capable of a whole lot more!
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Old 05-12-09, 06:36 AM
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In hopes of reducing my confusion, and at the risk of adding to the confusion of anyone else who might read this thread, I went first to the Long Distance forum and found there is a US organization, Randonneurs USA. They have a website www.rusa.org, which has a glossary at https://www.rusa.org/glossary.html.

They have definitions of a lot of the words we're using here, such as randonneur and randonneuse. Randonneur and randonneuse are respectively a male or female participant in an allure libre event. Randonneuse is used to refer to the bicycles used as well, after the female gender assignment (la bicyclette) in French. It really doesn't go into the specific design features.
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Old 05-12-09, 06:43 AM
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They also define randonnee (need that little accent mark) as

"A long ramble in the countryside, by foot or bicycle. In common cycling usage, it means a touring ride, often somewhat strenuous, at least compared to commuting or running errands around town. In the United States 100-mile "century" and 200-mile "double century" club rides would be considered somewhat similar to the French events, but compared to an official randonneur event, they lack the strict time controls. To be precise, one could go for a low-key randonnée or ramble, or it could be on a formal randonnée like Paris-Brest-Paris. On the other hand, a brevet would always have time controls."

I'd assume in Velocio's time with the overall quality of roads, a lot of riding would have been on unpaved roads. To go from point A to B, you have to use the roads that are there. So I'd assume the bikes were a little more like what we now see as an all-rounder, with capability for all roads paved or not. Today we tend (I think) to depend on paved roads with attendant bias in bike design and feature selection.
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Old 05-12-09, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Longfemur
Oh boy. ... They were for casual riding with a handlebar bag from village to village by a rider smoking a pipe, without any athletic pretensions whatsoever....
I like the picture, but it lacks verisimilitude. It is actually very difficult to smoke a pipe without at least one free hand. You have to hold it in one hand while tamping it down with the other, or you'll be stopping to relight it every couple hundred yards....
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Old 05-12-09, 07:19 AM
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Old 05-12-09, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by nlerner
Originally Posted by Longfemur
Oh boy. ... They were for casual riding with a handlebar bag from village to village by a rider chewing on a pipe, without any athletic pretensions whatsoever. ....
There, I fixed it to match the picture!

Nice randonneur bike....
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Old 05-12-09, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm
I like the picture, but it lacks verisimilitude. It is actually very difficult to smoke a pipe without at least one free hand. You have to hold it in one hand while tamping it down with the other, or you'll be stopping to relight it every couple hundred yards....
I used to try that! I found it either went out or burned furiously, wanting to burn through the wood. Plus the road vibration went straight to my teeth.

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Old 05-12-09, 03:02 PM
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My old bike is what I would consider a sports tourer. The frame angles were spec'd to the racing angles of the time but the chain stays are 1.5 to 2 cm longer than the racing stays. Many years ago I put a handlebar bag on it but it totally changed the ride and I took it off. Never to even consider re-installing it. If I get the need to carry more than my little seat bag holds I will try a rear rack and trunk. It would have to be better than the handlebar bag.
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Old 05-12-09, 03:26 PM
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Since this thread was posted, I have been looking into this subject quite a bit. Actually, the week after this thread was posted, I rode my first 200k and I'm about to ride a 400k this weekend. So the OP has a lot to answer for.

The framebuilder email list got spammed with the subject of randonneur geometry recently, and that made me look into it again.

The thing about what is now called a randonneur is that it basically is a racing bike from some point in history, usually with a front rack added. So when you go to a brevet and see a batch of current racing bikes with seat bags on them, that is not any different than what you would have seen at a brevet back in the '50s or '40s. BQ is successfully promoting the interest in steel rando bikes, but only a minority of riders are buying into that idea so far. After 100 miles, the idea of losing 5 pounds off the bike seems to be fairly attractive to a lot of people.
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Old 05-12-09, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen
Since this thread was posted, I have been looking into this subject quite a bit. Actually, the week after this thread was posted, I rode my first 200k and I'm about to ride a 400k this weekend. So the OP has a lot to answer for.

The framebuilder email list got spammed with the subject of randonneur geometry recently, and that made me look into it again.

The thing about what is now called a randonneur is that it basically is a racing bike from some point in history, usually with a front rack added. So when you go to a brevet and see a batch of current racing bikes with seat bags on them, that is not any different than what you would have seen at a brevet back in the '50s or '40s. BQ is successfully promoting the interest in steel rando bikes, but only a minority of riders are buying into that idea so far. After 100 miles, the idea of losing 5 pounds off the bike seems to be fairly attractive to a lot of people.
I made the 200k attempt with my LHT late in March. I'm trying again with my old Fuji Finest with a 34/48 chainring next time. That will save me well over 5 pounds.
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Old 05-12-09, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm
I like the picture, but it lacks verisimilitude. It is actually very difficult to smoke a pipe without at least one free hand. You have to hold it in one hand while tamping it down with the other, or you'll be stopping to relight it every couple hundred yards....
Problem solved!
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Old 05-12-09, 05:09 PM
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As for geometry, the only practical difference between current race bike geometry and classic French rando geometry is 2-3 cm of chainstays and about that much fork rake. The fellow with the sport-tourer can have his fork raked out a bit and then know exactly what the old Frenchies feel like -- especially if his is an upper-end sport tourer made with light tubing like 531 or SL.
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Old 05-12-09, 05:13 PM
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I'm sure some people might have raced with randonneuses-type bicycles in some kind of races at some time or other, but that is really not the market these bikes were made for. No matter what kind of race, I'm inclined to think that there would be little advantage to riding a 650B randonneuse. Even if we stay within the classic bike world, I think that a 700c-equipped sport touring bike with a similar kind of frame is probably more versatile in the real world. But hey, I would own at least one of every kind of bike if I was rich.

Anyway, enough talk. Let's see some pictures! And in case you didn't read my first post, touring bikes are not randonneuses.

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Old 05-12-09, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Longfemur
Even if we stay within the classic bike world, I think that a 700c-equipped sport touring bike with a similar kind of frame is probably more versatile in the real world.
Why? I don't think there's a difference that amounts to anything, tire availability aside.
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