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Cycle Monkey

Internal Gearing Specialists, Bicycle Distribution & Service Center

Tout Terrain Via Veneto w/ Pinion Gearbox & Gates Carbon Drive

Tout Terrain Via Veneto Pinion Gearbox Gates Carbon Drive

This bright purple Tout Terrain Via Veneto was built for a customer in Alexandria, Virginia, who was looking for a reliable bike for weekday commutes into downtown DC that would also inspire her to take on more weekend adventures, and maybe even a few week-long tours.

With experience as a mountain biker, she understood the value of reliable drivetrain components, and recognized their extra importance as she sought to take on a new challenge with the world of bike touring.

Her partner had been touring and commuting on a Rohloff SPEEDHUB 500/14 internal gear hub for quite some time, and suggested she consider internal gearing as the most reliable option for her new commuter. After she came across Cycle Monkey while searching for an internal gearing specialist, she reached out to discuss the options for a custom build.

German brand Tout Terrain seemed to fit the bill, with a strong reputation for reliability and utility and enough versatility to take on both daily chores and epic adventures. Pinion’s P1.18 gearbox was selected as the basis of the drivetrain thanks to its unparalleled gear range. A dynamo hub and lighting were included for worry-free year-round commuting, along with a USB charger for keeping electronics charged on the go.

Tout Terrain is often our first recommendation when customers approach Cycle Monkey asking for a versatile, internally-geared bike they can use for both touring and commuting. The touring-oriented brand’s lineup is full of steel frames designed to wear many different hats, and the Via Veneto at the heart of this build is no exception. For a complete guide to Tout Terrain's models, check out our buying guide.

In line with their design philosophy of building versatile bikes that are platforms for personalization, Tout Terrain offers a custom paint option that can accommodate virtually any request. You simply provide an RAL color sample to the factory, and they'll deliver a powder coat frame to match. Seeking something totally unique, this customer took full advantage of this option to get a frame that matched her favorite finger nail polish.

When Tout Terrain says they can match virtually any color you provide them, they mean it...

Optimized around fast-rolling 700c wheels and capable of receiving tires up to 42c wide, the Via Veneto features comfortable, natural geometry and an integrated rear rack. It’s an ideal choice for touring riders who also want to use their bike on a daily basis, and like all Tout Terrain models, it’s available with either the Rohloff SPEEDHUB or any of Pinion’s low-maintenance gearboxes. This particular customer preferred the aesthetic and feel of the Pinion’s central location at the bottom bracket, and wanted more gears than the 14 speeds provided by Rohloff's SPEEDHUB. 

Pinion's gearbox cleanly integrates at the bottom bracket for low, centralized weight distribution

Accordingly, she opted for Pinion’s widest-ranging option, the P1.18. With a 636% gear range spread over 18 speeds, the gearbox allows for easy climbing on the steepest grades, even with a full touring load. And like all internal drivetrains, shifting components are entirely encased within the gearbox, making them virtually impervious to the elements and minimizing maintenance. 

Internal gearing systems also open up the potential to run a belt drive system like those from Gates Carbon Drive. Belts are cleaner and quieter than chains, and they require no lubrication, which means no more messy hands. They also last 2-10x longer than chains (depending on application), and reduce wear on sprockets for a more durable complete drivetrain that rarely requires new components. Tout Terrain’s frames come standard with a split in the rear triangle for easy belt installation, making them an excellent choice for riders looking for a stock option that allows them to enjoy the benefits of Carbon Drive.

Gates Carbon Drive belts are an excellent option for internally geared bikes, which always maintain a straight driveline
As a daily commuter, accessories were selected to further the bike’s potential as a “grab and go” . The SON 28 dynamo hub employs a small electric generator to capture power from the front wheel, which is in turn used to power the Supernova lighting system and aftermarket USB charger. Dynamo hubs are an excellent solution for daily riders and bike tourers, because they ensure your lights and accessories continue working even if you don’t have access to a charger or simply forget to plug them in after a long day of riding.

Anyone riding daily on the Eastern Seaboard is sure to encounter wet roads from time to time, so the bike is equipped with low-profile front and rear fenders. Shimano‘s XT hydraulic disc brakes provide ample stopping power in the rain and on light dirt, with levers mounted to a wide flat bar that provides additional stability and ease of handling.

With cues taken from their mountain bike lineup, Shimano's XT Touring brakes inspire confidence in all conditions
Further comfort for long days in the saddle is achieved with an ultra-compliant saddle courtesy of Selle Anatomica. Despite the distinctly Italian name, this California-based brand produces high-end saddles with ergonomic cutouts in a variety of different materials, such as this one in classic black leather. Their saddles provide comfort straight out of the box with or without padded riding shorts, and give a sense of sitting in a hammock.

Schwalbe’s Marathon Racer tires provide a modest tread for those wetter days, with excellent rolling resistance and the lightest weight of any tire in the Marathon line. They are mounted to Ryde’s Andra 210 rims, a favorite of ours at Cycle Monkey for their reliable strength, modest weight, and approachable price point.

All said and done, we were able to work with this customer to build a low-maintenance, easy-go machine that’s made her daily trips around the DC metro area something to look forward to. We were thrilled to hear that she’s also taken the bike on a few tours!

If you’re looking for a custom build around an internal drivetrain, or want to discuss the potential of retrofitting an existing bike with a Rohloff hub or Gates Carbon Drive belt system, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. 

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Build Details: 

Frame: Tout Terrain Via Veneto/Metropolitan
Fork: Tout Terrain Steel
Headset: Chris King GripLock
Stem: Tout Terrain Black Label
Bar: Tout Terrain Black Label
Shifter: Pinion 18 spd Twist Shifter
Brakes: Shimano XT Touring
Brake Levers: Shimano XT
Grips: Tout Terrain Black Label
Front Light: Supernova E3 Pro 2
Rear Light: Supernova E3 TL 2 Rack-mounted Taillight
Seatpost: Tout Terrain Black Label
Saddle: Selle Anatomica
Front Hub: Schmidt SON 28 Dynamo
Rear Hub: American Classic
Skewers: Shimano XT
Spokes: Sapim Race
Nipples: Sapim Brass
Rims: Ryde Andra 210
Tires: Schwalbe Marathon Race
Cranks: Pinion Hollow Forged
Pedals: Shimano DX SPD/Platform
Gearbox: Pinion P1.18
Sprockets: Gates Carbon Drive CDX
Belt: Gates Carbon Drive CDX