Louis Garneau is a real person – not just a brand – Louis has been involved with cycling all of his life. Thirteen of those years involved racing bicycles around the world, with over 150 victories, including the Canadian Championship in the individual pursuit.
“In the fall of 1983, in his father’s garage, Louis Garneau, the president founder and his wife Monique Arsenault, started manufacturing their first cycling clothes. In 1984, after participating in the Los Angeles Olympic Games, the manager-owner decided to leave active competition and turn to business.” – the rest is history.
While many readers are familiar with Louis Garneau clothing, their line of bikes are relatively unknown, particularly in the USA. In fact, their range of cyclocross bikes was only released into the USA in 2014. For 2015 / 2016, I (JOM) spotted two models at the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Louis Garneau Steeple XC – Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of information about these bikes when I visited the booth before the Interbike show officially opened – and there isn’t anything about the 2016 bikes on their website at the time of writing. However, I believe the specification on the Steeple XC Elite bike is almost the same as their 2015 model.
Louis Garneau’s Steeple XC bikes are marketed as cyclocross bikes, but feature 40mm of tire (tyre) clearance – perfect for most gravel road cycling and racing. Both Steeple XC bikes feature RTCC 1 carbon technology – a carbon blend of higher tensile strength carbon fiber that increases vertical suppleness to resist abuse without sacrificing lateral rigidity for snappy accelerations.
Disc brakes are standard equipment front and rear, and thru-axles make an appearance on the fork – standard quick release on the rear. The fork is an all carbon monocoque affair, with a tapered 1-1/8″ to 1 1/2″ steerer tube.
Additional features of the Louis Garneau Steeple XC Elite:
- Shimano Ultegra 11 speed mechanical drivetrain, with Shimano’s excellent hydraulic shifters / brake levers, mated to the BR-RS785 hydraulic brakes. 160mm rotors.
- Pressfit bottom bracket, 86.5mm type – Shimano SM-BB72.
- Alex ATD490 tubeless disc brake wheelset.
- Vittoria Cross XG Pro Tires, 700c x 32mm – wider is better for gravel, but these are nice tires.
- 3T parts comprise the seatpost, handlebar and stem.
We don’t know the model name of this particular Steeple XC, but it is fitted with a SRAM Force CX1 (1 x 11) drivetrain, and SRAM’s hydraulic shifters / brakes. Interestingly, the wheels appear to be fitted with Shimano’s Icetech rotors. Unfortunately, there is nothing on Louis Garneau’s website about this new bike.
We’re speculating this is Louis Garneau’s dedicated cyclocross bike, if the single chainring and 11 speed drivetrain is anything to go by.
The big trend for 2015 / 2016 at Interbike was 1 x 11 drivetrains on cyclocross bikes.
These drivetrains serve well for dirt and gravel road cycling with the right cassette – although some of us like a second chainring for the heavy duty ascending.