The Vergers Massif is an ancient section of rock that pokes out of the southeastern corner of France. By ‘poke’ we mean its highest point is the 7,680 ft Grand Veymont. It is an incredibly spectacular mountain range and the home to Nicolas Joly, a French skiing and cycling photographer, and his new ride, a golden Victoire Cycles Bellevue, which he photographed on the nearby le Col de l’Arzelier.
The Bellevue is one of the frame models offered by Victoire Cycles and is available in various tubing selections. For Nicolas, Reynolds 631 was chosen. The golden colour is a result of the sulphured clear coat finish, a perfect choice that allows the excellent fillet brazing to shine through. The result is a frame that’s virtually a piece of jewellery, but is also a real workhorse.
Nicolas had been considering a custom frame for many years and finally concluded to acquire one through Victoire Cycles, located in Clermont-Ferrand, after photographing their former workshop and becoming familiar with their style. Living in the French Alps, Nicolas does a lot of climbing — and descending — on a lot of bad roads that have been eroded from constant exposure to sun and snow.
The geometry of his last bike was replicated and slung out a fraction for extra stability. Rather than tacking on a carbon fork, a matching front end was made from Reynolds blades and a Pacenti crown. From there, it was a short journey to a custom stem as well, creating a complete ensemble — not to mention another opportunity to observe the fine construction.
“In the meantime,” Nico tells us, “I went from the idea of a Di2 group to the timeless Campagnolo. Julien at Victoire convinced me (easily) that for many reasons it would be a more coherent option and he was right. For budget reasons, I go with a Chorus. I never try Campy before, but I am amazed by the feel and performance. It’s so smooth and so quiet, with no chain noise. The levers fit better than any other, the braking is powerful with a very good feel that gives confidence for ultra-late braking.”
A reliable wheelset completes the frame, built from 32 hole Mavic Open Pro rims, Chris King R45 hubs and 28mm Grand Bois tyres. After 400kms, Nico was blown away by the bike’s performance, likening the compliance of the steel frame to a skier’s camber, giving a lot of stability and an “incredible feeling while cornering”. It’ll feel right at home in those French Alps.