Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vittoria's Randonneur

I usually don't feel compelled to write about a product. I figure most things get due praise without my two cents. There's a ton of killer bicycle parts and accessories in the marketplace today, and from all indications plenty of cool stuff coming in the near future.

I built up an old Raleigh Grand Prix, I recently acquired. It started life as a ten speed with pretty shitty Simplex gearing. Most of these seem to have come stock with drop bars, but this one had a factory set of steel cruiser bars. I decided it was best not to change too much of the original stuff and came up with this:

It's still a vintage cruiser, but now it's fixed with a nice Shimano 600 crank and sealed cartridge bottom bracket.
What's I like most about this bike, almost enough to make me want to keep it for myself, is how it rides.
I installed Vittoria Randonneur's after initially installing white CST 700x23 tires. The Vittoria's cost about twice the money. They have a double casing and heavy wire bead which makes most tires pretty fucking hefty. I'm a stickler for tires having low rolling resistance. I'm not the fastest guy out there and don't need a sluggish tire slowing me down even more. Even though the tire is fat at 28c it's still pretty fast. The weight doesn't hold these tires back one bit. The best part about them...they ride like butter. They max out at 85psi which keeps them fairly soft. You could ride on these for many hours in real comfort. I got caught in the rain with them and one thing I noticed was how well they dispense water when rolling. Lot's of road and almost all race tread tires just kind of get wet and ride on top of water. With automobile tires they call it Hydroplaning. The double casing will also save you a few bucks on tubes as they have superior flat protection for this type tire.
If you're planning on commuting this winter, (i sincerely hope you are) this would be a good all season tire to install. I know they come in black, but not sure about any other colors. Trust me your ass will thank you.

They're kinda cool lookin too.


  1. Velo Orange said Simplex's big mistake was putting on the plastic cages, if the Simplex has plastic, those are the bad ones.

    But they say a steel caged one is okay. Maybe.

    Looks like your Grand Prix is green. Nottingham?? They made a few in Holland and Ireland too. I am curious. We came up with an imaginary color scheme that said, Red were Dutch, Blue are English but your Green is probably English too, vs. say being Green for Ireland and out goes our little theory.

    It looks real good.

  2. Actually it is a Nottingham. Like an idiot, I sold it. Two days before the tweed ride. I found a light blue Nottingham and it just isn't the same. Call me foolish