Philippe C.'s Victoire Véloce
Philippe C.'s Victoire Véloce
Philippe is the happy owner of this Victoire Véloce built in Campagnolo Chorus. He shares with us his vision of cycling and the genesis of his project :
Hello Philippe, could you talk about your cycling experience ?
The bicycle is linked to my life since my childhood. I have used it early as an instrument to discover new places. It is linked since this time to the pleasure of discovering many different landscapes during a ride. Later, my bike became a sport partner. I started to race in triathlon : I had a very good swimming level and I rode correctly on the bike, but I had more difficulties in running. But I loved the reunion of the three disciplines and I enjoyed a lot competed in this sport. I stopped after an accident during a race, but I have continued riding my bike. And I still do it. I never have time for long rides because of my job but I try to go out at least 4 times a week, for 50K rides, just for fun, and whatever the weather. I like the hard conditions : winter, rain, snow, frozen landscapes.
Do you remember the first time you discovered a Victoire bike ? What has convinced you to go for a bespoke road bike project ?
Some years ago, I passed in front of one of Berluti store, in Paris. My eye was not catch by the shoes but by a beautiful bicycle that remembered me the messenger bike of the beginning of the 20th century. It was equipped with beautiful wooden rims. I did some research about it and I learnt that it was made exclusively for Berluti by Victoire. So I immediately went on your website where I discovered your skills and your talent. I called the team and I ordered one of this beautiful object. It is a real pleasure to ride with it. It is smooth, reactive, and beautiful ! It is for me a piece of collection, an art object, like a a painting or a sculpture. It is even sometime in display in my house. We can feel the passion and the work of its creators. When I've started to think about a new road bike, I immediately think about Cycles Victoire, in order to think together about a tailor-made object, unique, made in France, that suits my needs.
What were your demands for this project ?
I wanted to come back to a steel frame. I had one in the past, when I competed in triathlon, a Columbus frame I liked a lot. It was maybe heavier than the carbon or aluminium frames, but it filtered really well the road bumps. I went for an aluminium frame for several years, but I still have the nostalgia of my previous bike. About the style, I wanted a bike out of fashion : in relation with the Victoire team, and after I visited the workshop, they designed a frame that fits my morphology and my needs, but also my tastes. For the specs, I went for internal routing, a seatclamp inside the seatstays, a Victoire stem, some details that makes my bike singular. To contrast with the classic style of the frame, the black parts bring some modernity. It makes the bike original but discreet. I think it is like myself.
What are your first feelings when you see the bike ?
I want to be close to it : to admire it, to contemplate it. I would say also to tame it. It will be an important moment : we will live together during many years, for better or for worse. This new partner has to be up to, and on my side I have to be worthy of it.
What are your future projects with this bicycle ?
I chose the size of the chainrings and the cassette for two reasons. The first one is my age. I am 55, that makes me anticipate a future slow-down, that hopefully will come as late as possible ! The second one is a project that will combines my two hobbies : mountaineering and cycling. I would like to join by bike the foot of the three most famous summit of the Alps, the Eiger, the Matterhorn and the Grandes Jorasses, and then climb them with a friend. After the ascent, I will ride by bike to the next one, and so on until I come back to the start with my Victoire. I've called this project "Slow mountain". It is a way for me to go against the modern trend of things that always go faster. I like to take the time. I think my Victoire will help me to resist to the time, and also to take it.
Philippe wanted a classic looking frame, with almost no sloping and a comfortable position. He rode on a Willier in aluminium. The position was not good for him and he felt a lack of comfort. After we analyzed his position on this bike during the fitting session, it appeared that it was too long for him, and he had difficulties to reach the drops. So we designed a new geometry in order to improve that.
Philippe wanted the headtube to fit perfectly the fork, with a hidden headset. We selected the new Columbus Caliper SL fork for its 1"1/8e straight steerer tube. It enables to integrate directly the lower headset bearing into the headtube. The seatclamp also is hidden as it is integrated inside the seatstays. It is the second time we make this option, after the bike we presented at Concours de Machines 2017.
Tubing was selected among the three high-end series from Columbus : the Life top tube has an ovalized and conical shape to improve the welding surface on the headtube area. Like this, it makes the headtube stiffer for more riding precision. On the other side, the tubing has a round shape on the seat tube area to increase comfort. The down tube is the lightest of the Columbus range : a Spirit with a round shape and a 38mm diameter. The chainstays are from the HSS range, for a good transmission of the power from the crank to the rear wheel. In a way of comfort, seatstays are 16mm diameter, with an integrated seatclamp brazed at their top end. This option is now available on every Victoire bespoke frame.
Philippe's Victoire Véloce is built with a Campagnolo Chorus groupset combined with a Tune TSR 27 wheelset. The stem is a Victoire steel one, custom made in our workshop.
Between two buisness trips, Philippe did a 60K shake-down ride to discover his Victoire bike :
My first feelings are happy : it is smooth, comfortable and reactive. I enjoy again the handling of steel, while appreciating the lightness of the bike. It is also a pleasure to admire its style, I never get tired of looking at it ! The bike naturally hugs the body and the effort.