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Handmade in Brussels

Gaëtan's custom self made all-terrain 26 inches touring bike prototype... oh yeah !

Gaëtan grew up in Brussels riding and playing around with rigid steel mountain bikes from the 90's. He's also been repairing and exploring bike mechanics for over 30 years. A few years ago he decided to take it further and become a trained frame builder. This smashing bike is one of the prototypes for a touring/adventure machine he's been developing lately.

Do you know what "Baroudeur" means ?

When I ask Gaëtan about the concept behind this bike, he uses the french word baroudeur which refers to a person who's always ready for an adventure or trip, versatile and mobile, ready to take the backpack and go. With the right equipment, this bike could take you swiftly to work and to the market as comfortably as it could take you across continents, on different surfaces and terrains. In Gaëtan's words: "Le bon compagnon qui ne te laisse jamais tomber, le vélo à tout faire" / "The good companion who never lets you down, the do-it-all bike"

Frame and fork

The choice for the tubing is double butted Reynolds 631 which is higher quality than the widely used CrMo 4130 (even the iconic Surly Long Haul Trucker is built on 4130) Reynolds 631 offers more strength than 4130 for the same density. Basically, this bike is plenty strong without any extra weight penalty.

The bike can carry rear and front racks with panniers, it has all the necessary mounts and the right chain-stay length to assure stability and heel clearance. The top tube slope allows for higher stack for more control off-road and more stand over clearance.

Gaëtan has chosen to build a beautiful vintage segmented fork. The reasons aren't primarily aesthetics though, unlike the market standard unicrown fork or the classic lugged fork where the crown is prefabricated, the segmented fork allows him to build every part himself and therefore customize every angle and measurement using tubes. This might be one of the few "limited editions" though, the construction of a segmented fork takes much work and time so it probably won't be replicated in the long run.

The stem

The cherry on the cake or la cerise sur le gateau is the handmade stem, built in the very same way and painted to match the rest of the bike. It eliminates or at least reduces the need for spacers. Nonetheless, spacers in the exact same color would be provided with the bike or frame. It's an elegant and unique way to finish up the composition.

Components & equipment

This prototype bike is equipped with Shimano Deore XT 3x10 drivetrain with a Stronglight Impact Compact square taper crankset. Disc brakes are Shimano Deore XT Hydraulic.

The frame accepts 26" wheels as well as 27.5" (or the gravel version 650B) both up to 2.5 inches width. This particular setup is 26x2.2 inches Panaracer Smoke MTB tires.

The bike is well equipped with solid steel Tubus rear and front racks and a dynahub to power up rear and front Busch&Müller lights.

The stunning leather saddle Selle Italia Flite adds both a classy, sporty, and contrasting touch to the whole.

Where to find Gaëtan ?

Thanks to Gaëtan for sharing his creation and for all the interesting technical information he provided for this article. Would you like to know more about Gaëtan's Brussel's workshop L'Ecurie ? check out this article !

L'Ecurie is located in the commune Forest not far from Brussel's South Train Station. He works on appointments that can be taken on his website


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