Velo City: Bicycle Culture and City Life

A New Dawn: Thierry’s Sunn TOX MTBMX

A New Dawn: Thierry's Sunn TOX MTBMX

It’s been nine years since we featured French photographer Thierry Vincent’s Gitane Expresso de Ville, which has since been mounted with a baby seat on the top tube. But rather than get sent out to pasture, Thierry built himself this hot Sunn TOX resto-mod.

A New Dawn: Thierry's Sunn TOX MTBMX

Thierry can usually be found capturing glamour shots of highly desirable vintage cars and motorbikes, he’s just got a passion for fast machines. Especially French ones, like the Gitane Tour de l’Avenir that became a donor bike for the Expresso de Ville.

A New Dawn: Thierry's Sunn TOX MTBMX

Before the Gitane was converted into a family truckster, it could have held its own at the early Wheels & Waves events held in Biarritz. Those who were reading the EXIF sites back then will remember them well.

A New Dawn: Thierry's Sunn TOX MTBMX

A few years ago, Thierry was given another iconic French bicycle, this time a vintage Sunn TOX, a 1994 addition to Sunn’s catalogue — the same year team riders Anne Caroline Chausson and François Gachet won their Downhill World Championships.

A New Dawn: Thierry's Sunn TOX MTBMX

As well as bikes that actually rode really well, designed by Max Commençal, Sunn had flair and fashion (read: Chipie and Nike) on their side and the TOX answered the market’s call for a MTB with a champion’s DNA that caught the eye at the local races.

A New Dawn: Thierry's Sunn TOX MTBMX

Thierry was pleased with the acquisition and was looking forward to restoring it when along came COVID-19. He saw the spare time a lockdown offered as an opportunity and proceeded to dismantle it. He got as far as the entry-level one-piece Shimano crankset.

A New Dawn: Thierry's Sunn TOX MTBMX

After a childhood spent drooling over the coolest Haro freestyle frames, GT, Mongoose and DiamondBack race bikes, “the almighty Raleigh Burner” and Skyway wheels at his LBS, Sunn came along and his attention turned to the MTB scene.

The lockdown was spent staring at his TOX frame and figuring out how to turn it into his perfect ‘regressive’ custom. His aim was to combine a BMX, cruiser and MTB into something that was practical for his current needs and terrain.

A New Dawn: Thierry's Sunn TOX MTBMX

He collected a couple of “half-dead BMXs” for the stem and bars, along with various parts on eBay and Le Bon Coin — the French Craigslist — for the rest of the parts. Laurent at l’Atelier Vélo in Argenton-sur-Creuse provided immense support and advice.

A New Dawn: Thierry's Sunn TOX MTBMX

Countless hours were spent brushing, sanding, painting and polishing the parts until he was happy with them, then he proceeded with the assembly. It was a labour of love, art and sentimentality, but he finished it and proudly rode it Laurent’s shop.

A New Dawn: Thierry's Sunn TOX MTBMX

It rode exactly as he wanted it to and it’s the perfect vehicle for his needs and purposes. It captures an era in a personally relevant, customised and surprising way, and we wish we could see more builds just like it. Thierry, thanks for keeping our dream alive.

Thierry Vincent | Facebook | Instagram

A New Dawn: Thierry's Sunn TOX MTBMX