velo orange

Been Campeured

It’s been a while since last writing but it’s just because I’ve been busy enjoying my new bike but honestly I have been avoiding this northeast weather. I guess it’s not so bad, I hear my hometown (Memphis) is cold AND wet. I’d rather have just cold so thank you weather patterns and topography.

Oh yeah, my new bike. This bike was put together by Velo Classique in Purcellville, VA. This shop is owned and operated by Wayne Bingham. Look him up, but his website is down so don’t look there. See his Flickr page. You’ll see my build plus his various ones. It’s an amazing shop.

Last summer when deciding to even get a bike I realized that when I rode I needed to bring stuff with me. Duh. The only thing I (and most other people I see) brought was water bottles and enough food to fit in a 3×4″ seat bag. I really don’t know how I did long rides like that. Oh yes, I remember, I starved myself and didn’t drink enough water. But, if riding a bike means exactly that and for you it is a pure fitness/anaerobic activity then great! I’m trying to combine those two.

At this point, I was still new to the bike scene and continued to visit blog pages and came along Velo Orange, Lovely Bicycle, Off the Beaten Path etc to which the latter inspired me to ditch the lightweight racer and bring some s**t with me. What transpired was a discovery of French touring bicycles from the “old days” that lasted a long time due to being well-lugged and steel, loaded with gear to allow you to bike more than 10 minutes from your chateau and all while having a classic look that is pretty nice to look at. Quick note – look at the old PBP race, still functioning which inspired Constructeur bicycles. You have to complete 1200km/745mi in 90 hours, WICKED.

The decision of going forward with getting a bike wasn’t easy due to budget constraints but through manipulation of finances and having my knees worn from pleading with my wife I/we arrived to the conclusion that it could happen. The decision was to then buy a new bike built or either buy pieces myself and then put together. I looked at LHT’s first and thought those were good to look at and then I found Velo Orange (as mentioned earlier) and discovered I could buy frames/build sets and then eventually found out through correspondence to just wait for their new frame – the Campeur. I wanted to buy a bike new but I eventually decided to piece together a bike, more expensive yes but it’s a decision for now I am glad I made. I am very proud of the fact that I chose every piece of metal for this build and in so doing I learned more of the intricacies of a bike you don’t often know just by looking at one – some are bottom bracket spindle length, cluster sizing as it relates, low trail geometry and how that effects handling, wider tires for improved handling/not slowing you down, fenders because it’s not always dry, importance of stem length, spoke count, reasons for long cage derailleurs, etc…I could go on and on. But wow, was this time consuming and confusing! Fun though, right?

So, for the bike here she goes. I wanted a drop bar bike with the ability for touring/commuting/grocery getter. Is that possible? Still finding out so in essence a general purpose bike. Also, this bike is a size bigger than I actually need because they didn’t offer my size but a taller bike is always better I think..

List of goodies in no order because there is no standard way:

  • Campeur frame – 55cm
  • Grand Cru threaded headset – because you can adjust w/o needing spacers
  • Shimano pedals – click-in/flat – because you can’t always wear cycling shoes
  • VO Seat post, long setback – because of short Brooks side rails
  • Brooks B17 Narrow – performance reasons
  • 32mm Michelin tires – more like 33 or 34mm
  • 43mm Honjo fenders
  • Downtube Dia Compe (DC) shifters – because that’s where my hands instinctively go thanks to the old Fuji
  • DC brake levers
  • Grand Cru 44cm drop bars
  • VO Cantilever brakes – ease of mounting brakes over fenders and that’s what the frame calls for
  • Sram chain
  • 9 speed 12-27 Shimano cluster – might change to 8 in the coming months
  • Deore DX NOS Front/Rear Derailleur – :)
  • VO Diagonale Wheelset with quick release skewers
  • Velox tape – this is not “squishy” tape as it looks so doesn’t stain that easily
  • Rear VO Constructeur Rack – fits my Axiom Lasalle Panniers beautifully (not pictured)
  • (Updated) Front VO Pass Hunter rack – See (LINK) for this updated photo
  • 118mm Bottom Bracket for my…
  • Grand Cru Double cranksets – because I don’t need 3 rings due to the 34t/48t ratio
  • Water bottle cages – large cages so I can fit my coffee mug/larger bottles/wine bottles/beer/water
  • Ordered today – Chain slap leather strip for rear stay, to not let the chain take paint off
  • Best Part? Wooden bar plugs from Scotch bottles:)

Now, down to the stuff you skipped down to, captions written by Wayne Bingham…

We just completed this Velo Orange Campeur for one of our customers. Robert has a nice vintage Fuji that he's been riding, but he was looking to add a bike for commuting and all-around use to his stable. Robert hand-picked most all of the components, but we helped flesh-out some of the drive train and little details. He wanted a vintage look and feel, with enough practicality for daily use.

We just completed this Velo Orange Campeur for one of our customers. Robert has a nice vintage Fuji that he’s been riding, but he was looking to add a bike for commuting and all-around use to his stable. Robert hand-picked most all of the components, but we helped flesh-out some of the drive train and little details. He wanted a vintage look and feel, with enough practicality for daily use.

Hammered Honjo fenders are a nice addition.

Hammered Honjo fenders are a nice addition.

Non-aero brake cable routing and down tube friction shifters add to simplicity and the vintage feel. The shifters operate Deore DX derailleurs over the VO crankset and a modern 9 speed Shimano cassette. The wooden bar plugs add a nice classic touch.

Non-aero brake cable routing and down tube friction shifters add to simplicity and the vintage feel. The shifters operate Deore DX derailleurs over the VO crankset and a modern 9 speed Shimano cassette. The wooden bar plugs add a nice classic touch.

Classic Profile

Classic Profile

Down the Line - Behind

So, there you have it. My new bike. The pannier bags came yesterday and fit the bike great functionally and look-wise. I tried them out last night loaded and the bike felt even more stable with them on. They were right.

I’ve Been Framed

This past week I received my new VO Campeur frame + fork along with some key components. I have looked and studied this frame many times over the past couple of weeks actually holding it was a different story. Below is a picture of the frame and other close ups.

FRAME + FORK

HEADSET

Keeping in mind the whole bike isn’t put together obviously, the frame felt relatively light but solid. I was really pleased with this. Pretty soon I’ll take it to a bike store to put the headset and brake adapter on just so the fork and frame can be forever married. Plus it’s easier to keep up with one thing rather than three. In case your wondering why a bike guy has to take it somewhere to do this, it’s because the tools costs around $50 or more and you only use them once a year, if that. Love the seatpost curve by the way, below..

LOTS OF BRAZE-ONS + LUGWORK

I look forward to the long road ahead, will keep on posting pictures as the frame is built over time. I have a feeling I will purchase the drive-train components next and then the rest of the pie from VO sometime next year. I’m researching the drive-train options right now. I plan to downgrade from a 52 or 53 teeth large sprocket to a 48 and balancing it out with smaller cogs in the rear. The only time I probably would ever love a 52 teeth would be on long downhills like I do now. Talk soon.