Our reader today is Benjamin from France who has made his passion for cycling his work by producing his own carbon wheels for an ever growing clientele in France. Recently he’s increased his business to carbon frames as our man in France, Chris recently found out on a training ride where he came across Benjamin on a very flashy looking red, Basaltwheels RLX Blackline.
I just love riding bikes and as a competive cyclist who has lived, ridden and raced all over the world for almost 30 years I’ve ridden with some pretty passionate cyclists during that time but Ben here from France would rate as one of the most passionate. I recently came back from an enforced layoff of 12 months of no riding and happened to come across Ben by chance as I set out on a first ride back. Despite our obvious fitness differences he rode with me, encouraged me and generally just made my suffering on my first ride back much more enjoyable. When I asked him about the very flashy looking bike he was riding he became even more passionate and I immediately thought – this guy would be perfect for Readers’ Rigs as he embodies what Readers’ Rigs is about, the simple love of a bike and riding. – Chris
Name: Benjamin RUELLOUX
Location: LE BOSC, France
Bike: RLX BLACKLINE
Groupset: SHIMANO DURA ACE
Wheels: BASALT WHEELS
Pedals: LOOK KEO
Saddle: PROLOGO KAPPA
Other: Handlebar/stem FSA
When did you buy it?
I bought this bike only about two months ago – but I actually change bikes a lot! In fact the RLX bikes are my own brand so I change them all the time to test new models.
So what made you get into the bike business then?
Well I’ve been a racer for many years and just love the sport with a passion. I have an engineering background and the technological aspect of the sport truly fascinates me. I started about 15 years ago doing my own wheels just for me, then for close friends and it’s gone on from there. In 2015 I decided to concentrate myself fulltime on my passion and created my own bicycle wheel business. I searched for a longtime for the best suppliers, setting up a workshop to put the wheels together, offer the best range of wheels possible etc.
So what made you choose this bike then?
I work with a big factory in Xiamen in China that provides some great carbon product for my wheels and in working with them I also discovered some really nice frames that I could develop in my own style and paint jobs and I thought it would be a nice addition to the wheels.
What modifications/additions have you done?
None because everything is custom for me! I do regularly change out the wheels and various components for testing new things though. It’s also good to go out for a ride with friends and write it off to the wife as R&D time!
What components are you running?
I’ve got a full Dura Ace mechanical setup on this bike and in the photos I’m running my latest Basalt C50 Carbon kevlar wheels.
How many miles/kilometers do you do a year?
Despite the demands of an up and coming business that takes enormous amounts of time I try to get out and about as much as possible and I normally do about 10000kms a year. As you know I live in an incredibly good region for riding with challenging terrain, amazing scenery and great weather so the motivation to ride is always there! Ed’s note – The Hérault region in the South of France truly is a cycling paradise.
What do you love about this bike?
I love the profile of it, the lines, the integration of cables, the responsiveness of the frame and I love the color that I chose too.
Favorite riding experience on your bike?
Without a doubt it was a stage of the Tour de France this year in my region where myself and a group of 9 other riding buddies were chosen to be a part of the ‘Rand’eau Vittel’. Just before the pros come through everyday there’s a demonstration ride organized for some local riders that get to ride the stage with ex pros David Moncoutié and Jerome Pineau on the closed roads with the crowds and everything – it was really cool. I provided wheels for the whole crew – including the pros with some of my wheels to try out! They loved them and to get some really positive feedback from guys like that was a big source of satisfaction after the hundreds of hours that I put into building the wheels, sourcing the materials etc – it was an unforgettable day.
Favorite riding area?
Despite the region where we live I still love the flat. Give me a long flat road and I’m a happy man as I’m a sprinter first and foremost.
I’d like to get some Rotor oval chainrings and I’m currently working on my timetrial bike too…
I just love riding and I’m so happy that I’ve been able to turn my passion into my job. The satisfaction I get from seeing guys out and about on my wheels and loving them is huge. Recently there was a Canadian guy out here living for a year, Uli who joined the local racing club Team Baudille Cyclisme, bought some of my wheels and then went and won the regional championships on them! He’s now gone back to Canada with the jersey of champion of the region on his back and a pair of my 38 wheels on his bike.
You can check out my wheels that I baptized Basaltwheels at www.basaltwheels.com I called them Basalt wheels because Basalt is a volcanic rock that is very present here in my region around the beautiful Lake Salagou and it’s also something that is often used in wheels on the braking track so I thought that was kind of cool!
Thanks to Benjamin for sharing his ride with us. Got a bike that you’re proud of? Well how about sharing it with fellow PEZ fans and getting it featured in Readers’ Rigs so we can all stare at it! Contact us via the Comment box below, or send us a Readers’ Rigs submission direct to firstname.lastname@example.org and your bike could be featured in all its glory here on the pages of PEZ.