Randonneur bikes are fast becoming the sensible and practical choice for riders who recognise that while racing is not their chosen profession, there is a flexible alternative in touring style bikes. Racing bicycles are obviously very specific tools for a very specific job, making them impractical for certain riders whose needs are vastly different to a pro-racer. In fact the rando fits the needs more fully of the every-day cyclist who commutes to work, than a race bike does. The randonneur can double as an urban bike for a bit of social riding round the city. When dreams of days getting out of town for some long distance country touring becomes a reality then Credit Card Touring as it's sometimes known, highlights the allure of the custom made steel frame, purpose built for long distance country cycling. Keith Marshall from Canberra's Kumo Cycles worked together with Shaun Cruickshank to build a custom made bike which Shaun could use for a few different purposes. The genesis of Shaun's custom steel bike frame began when he first saw Keith's work last year.....
I came across Keith at last years Pushies Galore. His Kumo Commuter caught my attention and I fell in love with it, it was everything I wanted in a bike. Around the time of the 2012 Pushies was when I began immersing myself in bicycle culture after getting my dads old Europa road bike rolling following its retirement to the shed for over a decade. This reconnection I got from rebuilding the Europa sparked a new interest.
In December, 2012 I came into a position which abled me to build a new bike. I immediately contacted Keith. What I desired from this build was a bike for everyday (night or day) use which could carry all my gear, with the potential to go touring and would last long enough to pass down generations. Following the bikes functionality, from integrated lights to frame mounted pump, I wanted it to be aesthetically pleasing. Most of this comes from the work Keith does but the finishing element of paint came down to choosing a colour which was subtle and brought out the details. The final colour turned out perfect and is similar to the original Europa's paint.
It was incredible seeing it completed for the first time at Pushies Galore. I found it hard looking at all the other bikes on show. It came together perfectly for what I need and is a dream to ride - actually better than a dream, I dreamt about it and the real thing exceeds it by miles!
I've dedicated and named this bike after my late Great Aunty Freda who's generosity made this build possible.
When you put together a custom made Randonneur you get a made to measure machine with every component purpose built to suit your every day needs. The racks are an added convenience and permanently mounted Honjo Koken fenders will be a luxury when it's wet. Shaun used the Velo Orange Porteur rack up front, a large capacity rack where the design was based on Parisian newspaper delivery bike racks. This large capacity rack illustrates how in consultation with your frame builder, your randonneur can be designed to meet the correct load ratings applicable to your needs. Choose a race bike and it can't have as much flexibility as a randonneur offers.
There's some great alternatives for handlebars, Shaun's choice here were the Velo Orange Course Classic. Nitto Noodles are an ever popular choice too, providing a very comfortable drop bar.
Guided by your expert frame builder, you can create as Shaun says a bike to be handed down the generations. You'll still be able ride it fast enough if you wish, yet the same bike, properly set up will give you so much more than a full on race bike, it's worth thinking about next time you're up for a new bike. Or you could have both in your shed alongside all those other bikes. Now more than ever before we are being spoilt for choice with bikes, custom bike builders like Keith Marshall widen the horizons even further with their constructeur approach to building.
Photography : as Shaun says here he was a bit excited about picking up his new hand made steel bike, and at the end of the day when it was almost a reality I stole it away for a twenty minute photo shoot, once done he finally got his hands on his new pride and joy. Thanks to Shaun for being so patient and letting me photograph his bike, also a big thanks to Keith for allowing me access to another one of his constructeur quality bicycles. All images by Robert Cobcroft
FRAME KUMO CYCLES Custom randonneur. Investment cast lugs and dropouts from Llewellyn. Columbus Spirit for lugs tubing. FORK Columbus Spirit for lugs. Fork crown from Keith's collection "Something old that I picked Up" PAINT Baked enamel HEADSET Chris King STEM Custom stem with custom machined bell mount and cable hanger - Llewellyn components HANDLEBARS Velo Orange Course classic round bend handlebar BAR TAPE Velo Orange FRONT BRAKE Polished Paul Centerpull "Racer" CNC machined based on the classic Mafac centerpull REAR BRAKE Polished Paul Centerpull "Racer" CNC machined based on the classic Mafac centerpull BRAKE LEVERS Campagnolo Veloce FRONT DERAILLEUR Campagnolo Veloce REAR DERAILLEUR Campagnolo Veloce SHIFT LEVERS Campagnolo Veloce CASSETTE Campagnolo 10 speed Veloce CHAIN Campagnolo Veloce CRANKSET Campagnolo Veloce CHAINRINGS Campagnolo Veloce 50/34 BOTTOM BRACKET Campagnolo Veloce PEDALS White Industries TOE CLIPS MKS TOE STRAPS Patebury BIDDON CAGES King CageFRONT HUB Schmidt SonDelux SL Version REAR HUB White Industries FRONT RIM H Plus Son TB 14 REAR RIM H Plus Son TB 14 FRONT TIRE Grand Bois Green Label 26c REAR TIRE Grand Bois Green Label 26c SADDLE Brooks LEATHER TOOL KIT BAG belonged to Shaun's dad, Shaun found the kit in his shed and restored it himself for re-use. Re-stitched and new loops re-made. SEATPOST Paul’s Components Tall and Handsome SEAT BINDER integrated into the seat lug with a M5 stainless bolt BELL Universal "Sound Bell" LIGHTS Schmidt Son LED headlight Edelux FRONT RACK Velo Orange Porteur tweaked for mounting and drilled for cabling REAR RACK Velo Orange Campeur tweaked for mounting and drilled for cabling FENDERS Honjo Koken hammered finish PUMP Another one of Shaun's dad's items restored