28 June, 2017

Five Ways to Mount a Bell

By Scott

I've not been a big advocate of bells until recently. Most of my riding for years was on roads - ideally small lane ways or back roads where traffic of any kind - vehicular or pedestrian - was light to non existent. Didn't feel the need for a bell if I was rolling along those sort of places, but lately I've been on more bike paths and such, where interactions with pedestrians is more common and I find myself using a bell more often.  The rise of folks wearing ear buds while out walking means that the old trick of back pedaling and clicking the brake levers doesn't seem to work when folks are walking along a path listening to the latest Taylor Swift album. My experience so far as been that our bells seem to have a tone that people respond to well.  It's not harsh like a horn, but more of a gentle reminder to folks that others are out there and would like to pass alongside them.

So I hear you saying, "Gee Scott, that sounds a lot like how my riding has been going. How do I get a bell mounted to my bike?"  Well, glad you asked, 'cause we've got a blog post to help you figure out what will work for you.

Now all these options are based on using our Temple bell, brass or silver - you choose to match or contrast the build you have on your bike. The brass striker bell will work with option #1 and 2 only.

(Tomii Cycles Hammered bell mounted on bars)

Set up #1 - Handlebars - If you have standard  road bars or flat bars, you can clamp the bar right to the handlebars. Use a flat head or Philips screwdriver to loosen the clamp from the packaging, put it on the left or right side of the bar (I'd go with the dominant hand side) and then tighten it up. Done.

(Silver bell mounted on VO quill stem)

Set up #2 - Quill stem - A 1" quill stem is the right diameter to attach a bell to. So if you have no room on the bars, you can clamp the bell around the quill portion of the stem. Same rule as #1 - set up bell on dominant hand side. Done.

(Silver bell mounted to retro spacer)

Set up #3 - Spacer replacement - We have a couple options for this. You can replace one of the spacers in your headset (1 inch or 1 1/8") with our bell spacer mount. Or you can use the retro spacer if you have a 1 inch headset without a lot of extra room.

Set up #4 - GC stem - On our top of the line Grand Cru quill stem, we have a threaded attachment point about an inch below the top of the quill portion. You can screw the temple bell right into this, in the same way that the constructeur builders of the 50's and 60's did it. Igor did a nice write up here with some great photos.

(Brass bell mounted to shifter boss)

Set up #5 - Shifter boss attachment - All our frames have braze on's on the down tube for running down tube shifters or cool cable stops. But let's say you are running a 1 X set up and the left shifter boss is not being used. Well, here's a great opportunity to put a bell there. Fasten a down tube cover to keep it looking clean. Install a set screw and nut into the bell and screw the bell straight into the boss and voila, you're ready to rock.

Anyone have another place that they've put one of our bells?

21 June, 2017

History from the saddle

by Scott

When I was in school, I loved history classes. I loved the stories of the past, the tales you got if you went beyond dry text books and delved into the stories of people who lived in that time and experienced the events.

I've been lucky to have seen many historic places from the saddle of my bike- Stonehenge in England, the Gettysburg battlefield just north of us in Pennsylvania, Gold Rush settlements in the interior of British Columbia, and Icelandic settlements that date back to 1000 AD. One of the things that I think is great about travelling by bike through these areas is seeing them at what's termed a "human pace".  All these locations were places created or had events happen there, before the invention of the car. So the landscape and the settlements were altered/used by people who walked for the most part. So when you pass through them at 10-14 miles per hour, you can take in all sorts of smaller details that you would miss if you drove past them.

The DC randonneurs have numerous brevets that take them through the battlefields of the Civil War that abound in the Maryland/Northern Virginia area. I've gotten to ride through the battlefields on quiet, misty mornings and it is quite moving to cycle through and see the monuments and try to understand what happened there.

Our good friend Mike Ross was on a tour in Maryland and came upon this sign.

Mike always sends me these photos to remind me of the local history that is so prevalent here in the east coast.

Where have you traveled by bike that had some history or story to it?

13 June, 2017

Campeur Rear Rack Overstock, Swift Campout, and RAAM

by Igor

We hope you are enjoying your summer or winter (for our friends living in the Southern hemisphere)!

Long story short, we ordered a bit too much of some products, and are putting them on sale:
No coupon code required. Sale will only be around for a limited time.

Swift Campout is a global call to go bike-camping on June 24th, 2017. For the third year in a row, thousands of adventurous spirits will load camping gear on their bikes for a weekend adventure.

Adrian and I are camping out at Assateague Island where wild ponies roam, Clint is shredding some gnar on his mountain bike, and Scott is doing a C&O Canal ramble. Other adventures are still in the works. What are your plans?

RAAM (Race Across America) is an ultra-marathon cycling race which enters its 36th year. Riders from over 35 countries start in Oceanside, CA and race to our fair city of Annapolis, MD.

Riders take on 3,000 miles and 175,000 feet of climbing in this test of physical and mental endurance. Keep an eye on racers and teams here: http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/live-tracking.html

We'll post photos on our Instagram and Facebook as they arrive to an emotional finish.

07 June, 2017

Container Day with New and Redesigned Products!

by Igor

The container has just been unloaded and checked in. Within there are new products and a few restocks of popular offerings. We also have a VO Bulletin signup towards the end of the post for those interested in getting VO news before it is released on the blog.

Klunker Bars

Get your Klunk on. They're wide (680mm), have lots of sweep (45°), and are mountain rated. They're also available in Noir and Nickel finish.

Piolet Forks

Triple bosses on the blades, fender and rack mounts, and big tire clearances. You asked for it, and now we're offering our triple-butted Piolet Forks for sale separate from the frameset. There's a limited quantity available and they're all painted in Deep Gloss Black. They're available in 26" and 29er/27.5+.

Redesigned Front Racks

Our front racks for handlebar bags are now stronger and more easily installed on a bigger variety of bikes. What's not to like?

The decaleur (the upright portion which receives the bag mount) gets even more integrated into the platform of the rack. Stresses from stuffed handlebar bags and rough terrain are dispersed through the entire length of the tube and aft of the rack. The included adjustable tang makes fine tuning easier as well.

With these new redesigns, we decided to simplify their names to better reflect their intended use. Here are the details:
  • Randonneur Rack with Integrated Decaleur, Cantilever - This rack mounts to your fork's cantilever brakes and fork crown. Also available in a version with just a tombstone if you plan on just strapping down a dry bag, you live that #basketpacking life, or have a custom decaleur in the works.
  • Randonneur Rack with Integrated Decaleur - This rack mounts to your fork's 3/4 braze-on eyelets and fork crown. If you don't have eyelets, you can use the included p-clamps to create some pseudo-eyelets. We're getting the non-integrated version later on since we still have good stock of the MK1 version.
  • Constructeur Front Rack - This rack mounts to your fork's dropout eyelets and fork crown. 

Handlebar Shims

These 2-piece shims are super simple and work with both 4-bolt and 2-bolt (like the Cigne and upcoming 31.8 Quill Stems). They're available in Silver and Noir in both 31.8-26.0 and 31.8-25.4 to dial in your build.


In addition to new products, here are the products that are back in stock:

Lastly, we're trying something new for VO. We're working on sending out e-mail Bulletins for upcoming products, sale coupons, future events, tips n' tricks, and general goings-on. We'll only send them out once a month or so, and they'll be short and sweet.

Everyone can sign up here and dealers have one, too.

26 May, 2017

Closed for Memorial Day

by Igor

VO is going to be closed on Monday, May 29th for Memorial Day observance and to give our fantastic staff some time off.

Orders placed after 3pm EDT today (5/26) will ship out promptly on Tuesday, May 30th. So if you need anything to go out today, submit your order soon.

Have a great weekend, and please enjoy this 60cm Polyvalent Disc build which a local, very tall rider will be trying out for a while.

24 May, 2017

Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy

By Scott

Like a lot of you, I have a box or two (perhaps three) of bike stuff in my garage. It's stuff that has been collected over the years, mostly taking it off bikes and putting it aside for "that" project that I hoped to do one day.

I was thinking about this the other day when Igor was working on a shop build- a Disc Pass Hunter for the show room. He had a vintage Sun Tour Sprint rear derailleur. Looked great, but it didn't have quite the range to work with the cogs we were going to use on the bike.  So he said fine, I'm sure I have a slightly more modern derailleur I can use from my bike box.  This got me thinking about a term called S.A.B.L.E - Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy.  You can use this term for a lot of things. I have probably more pens at home than I'll ever use. I justify them by the fact that each is slightly different then the other- thinner lines, thicker lines, pressurized ink for writing upside down in the rain (if I need to do that, I think I'll be writing a good bye letter). But surely, I have enough pens and yet, a couple of times a year, I buy another 5 or 6 pens at an art supply store or online. I figure it's a cheap hobby.

When it comes to bike stuff, it's interesting what I have a SABLE of at home. I have lots of chains. At one point I was leaving a job that gave me access to bike bits at wholesale and I didn't know what the future held. So I bought a bunch of chains. I figured those are an easily consumed item, that having on hand would not hurt me financially. I was heavy into randonneuring at the time and that side of cycling eats through chains.

But looking deeper into the boxes in the garage, I found stems, tubes, bars, and map cases that I had collected over the time since the last move/purge and I wondered - will I use all of this?

Is there one particular part/accessory that you have more then a life time supply of at home? Is there a reason for it or is it just dumb luck to end up with all of those 26 x 1.5" Schrader valve tubes?

18 May, 2017

20% Off Hydration Sale

Update 5/22/17: The sale has concluded.

It's a million degrees outside and keeping your hydration up is of great importance. You probably don't need to know why you should drink water, so here are some interesting facts about our good friend H2O:
  • 75% of the human brain is water and 50% of a living tree is water.
  • Hot water freezes faster than cool water.
  • Each day, we exhale about 400 ml of water.
  • The first water pipes in the U.S. were made from hollowed logs.
  • It takes about 2,641 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans.
To celebrate the arrival of the warm season, we're offering a 20% off sale on all water bottle cages, bottles, and mounts. This sale applies to both retail and wholesale customers.

From Thursday, May 18th to Sunday, May 21st (11:59pm EST) use the coupon code: THIRST2017.

Here's how to use the code:
  • Add all of the products you want to your cart, just as you normally would.
  • Click on "My Cart" to review your products.
  • Enter the coupon code - THIRST2017 - in the little "discount codes" box in the shopping cart page.
  • Click on "Apply Coupon".
  • Go ahead and check out as normal.
Stay hydrated!

17 May, 2017

All You Need For An Overnight

By Scott

As bicycle camping season kicks into full gear here in the Mid Atlantic, we thought it might be good to look at what's involved in going out for an overnight. Now, this list is just about an overnight trip. Certainly if you are going to ride from PA to OR, you'll need more stuff, but as a starting point, I think the following things are a great beginning. I've organized this list similar to a list I read years ago in Richard's Mountain Bike Book. Nicholas Crane, a British author and cyclist whose travels have taken him to the Himalayas, Africa, and all over Europe and the UK, developed a basic list of items for any bicycle trip. I'm using it as the inspiration for our list:

Basic level 1 - A bicycle - Yep, that's the absolute minimum you need to do an overnight. You can ride to a friend's house a few hours away and enjoy a shower and a bed. Nothing extra, just you and your bike. OK, fine, toss a spare tube and tire levers in a pocket and you're covered for a flat.

Basic level 1.2- A credit card or cash - You can choose your own end point for the day and pay for it with cash or card, as well as handle paying for food along the way.

(First overseas tour, Tasmania 1990)

Intermediate level 1 - Change of clothes - An extra top and shorts make life a little more comfy. A spare shirt or pants for off the bike in the evening add a bit of civility. You can put these in a bag and strap it to a rack or throw into a handlebar bag.

Intermediate level 1.2 - Tent and sleeping bag - Now you have control of where you can stop. You have shelter and something to keep you warm at night.

Advanced level 1 - Stove and food - You now have the ability to heat up food and have it wherever you want. Cold food and hot food has the same level of calories, but there is certainly something to be said for having a hot cup of tea or coffee first thing in the morning with a hot breakfast to get you moving.

Advanced level 1.2 - Map/phone/electronic device that tells me where to go - In lots of places, if you are trying to get from A to B (or even to C) via roads that are not the main thoroughfares, there are small signs to help direct traveler's. I'd usually write down a couple of the major towns between me and my desired destination for the next day. Knowing the smaller destinations, allowed me to not have to think of the whole distance, and also allowed for interaction at junction towns, where I'd ask folks the most interesting way to get to B, rather then the fastest.

(Sweden 3 years later, still too much stuff)

So yes, I've simplified a packing list down to a very basic level, but that is one of the great things about touring by bike - so long as you have a destination, you can figure out a way to get there. Sometimes it's not even the destination, but rather getting there that makes the memories. I think we often take too much stuff, witness my old photos. The old adage, lay out all the things you need and then toss 1/2 is a good starting point.

Have you pared down your cycle touring gear list over the years or added to it?

15 May, 2017

Job Opening at VO

Velo Orange has a Job Opening!

Spring has sprung and we're looking for some additional help in the warehouse and office. The position would be full-time and permanent, with the morning spent performing warehouse duties, and the afternoons spent in the office. 9-5 Monday through Friday with opportunities to attend trade shows for qualified persons.

A passion for cycling, knowledge of bicycle mechanics and our parts, and being a generally cool guy or gal are at the top of the list in terms of skillset. We're a relaxed, open office environment, but work hard and focus on innovation and progress. We try to involve everyone here in designing and testing products. So if you're interested, you'll have a chance to influence and evaluate our new frames, components, and accessories.

Experience in warehousing is a plus, but more important is experience in the cycling industry. As this position does involve warehousing duties, you must be able to lift 50lb+ overhead onto shelving. Benefits include paid leave and 401k.

Interested applicants please send your resume to info@velo-orange.com

We look forward to welcoming you to the Velo Orange team!

12 May, 2017

New Wide Rims, Not Tubeless Compatible (And I Like It That Way...)

by Igor

These prototype triple-box section rims have an outer width of 28mm, inner width of 21mm, and are suitable for tire sizes ranging from 40mm to the mid 50s. Basically, they are made for the meat n' potatoes of touring, commuting, and gravel riding. Not only can they take floaty tires, they are also the widest rim you can use while still being able to implement a normal rim brake setup.

We'll be testing them on our Polyvalent Disc prototypes in the months to come. Wheel building and tire installation was a breeze with the bead seating perfectly the first time. I picked double-butted DT Swiss spokes with brass nipples and Velox 22mm Rim Tape. Right now they are wearing the new WTB Byways for double-duty road and trail use. When inflated to 55 40psi (I should have had my afternoon coffee, max for these tires is 50psi), the tires measure true at 46.8mm while 56ft above sea level.

Ok, so are they tubeless compatible? No, and I prefer it. It's not because of any retrogrouch tendencies. I'm more than happy to accept new technologies when they provide a genuine better level of cycling enjoyment. Electronic shifting is nifty, pinion gearboxes are snazzy, and disc brakes are the bees knees.

But tubeless doesn't really do it for me. You still need to carry a tube, pump, and extra fluid if you're out for longer adventures. Carrying these things negates the argument that tubeless is lighter. Heck, I just carry a basic Rustines patch kit on daily rides and an extra tube for longer treks. Yes, you can run lower pressures with tubeless, but you have to watch out for burping in tough corners.

In addition, a rim standard hasn't been widely adopted yet, so not every tubeless tire and rim combination is compatible. I feel like I'm seeing "standard hasn't been widely adopted yet" more and more nowadays in the cycling industry.

If you want to run a heartier setup but you don't want the hassle of tubeless, you can remove your valve core, dump some sealant into the tube via an injector, swish around, and inflate.

Do you use tubeless? What sort of conditions do you think tubeless is 100% necessary?

09 May, 2017

Seatpost Setback - A Scrutiny of Styles

By Scott

With Velo Orange expanding our range of products over the last few years, one of the newer items that we've developed is a Zero Setback Seatpost. Now, if you're a long time roadie, you may wonder why someone would want zero setback? So let's look into the mysterious world of bike fit and design to see why someone would want a zero/medium/long setback post.

Road bikes for years have had posts with setback- a seatpost where the clamping area for the saddle was behind the centre of the post that came up from the seatpost. The theory behind this was to allow for proper weight distribution (ideally 60 % on the rear of the bike, 40 % on the front). Assuming a 73 deg seat tube angle, the setback allowed one to fully engage the hamstrings and glute muscles more efficiently.

For most setback posts, the standard set back was around 25 mm or so. Why? Good question. My best guess is that it created the "medium" amount of setback that most people needed. With the costs of tooling to create different heads to the seatposts (this is all done with forging and dies), most folks went for the middle of the road to deal with the average.

Touring, city, and recreational riders tend to need more setback then a racer does. The more upright position requires more setback to put your legs in a more efficient bio-mechanical place.

The other factor is the rail length of the saddle. This is the ultimate limiting factor when it comes to proper position of the saddle, which ultimately effects where your knee and foot end up. Different saddle makers have different rail lengths. Traditionally Brooks and other leather saddle makers have had very short rails, thus the need for more setback in order to get the knee positioned correctly. In these cases, our Long Setback Seatpost is a winner. Our Model 3 Saddle  and Model 6 Saddle offer longer rails, so that you can choose which post style you'd like to dial in your riding position.

So why, after reading all this (thank you), does one need a zero setback post? Surely the above reasons make sense. Well, the rise of MTB's is one of the main reasons. The slacker and longer geometry of MTB's means that having zero offset puts the rider in the middle of the bike, rather then well behind the centre of the bike. Having more weight forward helped prevent you from toppling back on steep climbs and allowed you to move your butt behind the seat post on the steep descent. So MTB's tend to come with zero set back posts as standard. Zero set back posts also work if you have a short femur. The zero offset helps to put those folks over the pedal easier. Zero offset posts also work well if the top tube (real or virtual) is longer then ideal. Moving the seat forward reduces the distance between the stem and the saddle.

If you've got a theory about the relationship between setback, position, fit, and performance, let us know in the comments.

05 May, 2017

Polyvalent Goes to the City

by Igor

Adrian and I are heading up to New York this weekend for some ultimate city riding and to check out the New York Bike Expo. We haven't attended before, but it looks to be a great time.

Are you going to the show or participating in the 5 Boro Tour? Hope to see you there!

29 April, 2017

Garage Sale This Weekend & 20% off Coupon Code

By Scott

This Saturday (4/29/17) is our annual garage sale. A chance to grab a deal on some sample parts, prototypes, dinged frames as well as get 20% off any new items in store. We'll open the doors at 9 am sharp on Saturday. We'll have donuts, coffee from Ceremony Coffee and tea from Adrian and Scott's collections for folks to munch and sip on while you browse.

Update 4/30/17: Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by! It was a ton of fun.
Update 5/1/17: The sale has concluded.

Now we can't go and offer all our sample bits on line, but we would like to extend the 20% sale on new items to folks who can't get here. The online sale will run from 4/29 9am EST to 4/30 11:59pm EST.

Just to be clear, you get 20% off on all in-stock frames, wheels, parts, accessories - everything except gift certificates and items that are already on sale - but only if you follow the steps below:
  • Add all of the products you want to your cart, just as you normally would.
  • Don't check out yet! Instead click on "My Cart" to review your products.

  • Enter the coupon code - SPRINGTHING - in the little "discount codes" box in the shopping card page, as in the screenshot below.
  • Click on "Apply Coupon".

  • Check out as you normally would and enjoy your savings!

27 April, 2017

Fresh Container, New Products

by Igor

With the arrival of our latest container we received several new products.

Silver, polished pedals may not go with every bike, so we're now offering our popular Sabot Pedals in the Noir colorway. Details include a polished black anodized pedal body, silver rounded pins, and a silver spindle for contrast. Three sealed, cartridge bearings make a super smooth spinning pedal with loads of real estate to support any shoe from bulky hiking boots to minimal sandals and everything in between. The rounded traction pins won't tear up your leather-soled dress shoes, either.

Similarly to the aforementioned Sabots, a polished, silver headset may not go with every bike. Plus, black is faster, second only to red. It's science. Grand Cru headsets have oversized, sealed cartridge bearings and lightweight alloy construction. Split crown races make installation a breeze and maintenance is basically non-existent. Easy-peasy.

Maybe you don't think that downtube cable stops are exciting, but these little guys from Dia-Compe are incredibly handsome. The ridges on the barrel make for easy micro-adjustment while in the saddle or in the workstand. Button head mounting screws are included.

Yellow Cable Housing

You'd be surprised how often we get asked for yellow housing, so we made it. Bam! Available in both Shift and Brake Kits.

I love low-profile brakes for touring bikes. They don't interfere with luggage and have excellent stopping power. These 710's from Tektro are good quality brakes. They don't have the adjustability or high-quality brake pads that our Grand Cru Zestes have, but they do have an adjustor barrel and are a cinch to install.

We also re-stocked on other items such as fenders, brakes, hardware, and cable housing. Here's the full list:
If you're in the area and are planning on going to our Garage Sale this weekend, be sure to sign up for the Facebook event page to stay updated!

All right, now get out there and enjoy your day!

21 April, 2017

Polyvalent Update & Rando Rack Facelift

by Igor

Our trip to Taiwan and the Taipei Bike Expo not only provided a look into new products being introduced for mainstream cycling culture (be on the lookout for the new Velo Orange full-suspension e-mtb) the trip also gave us an opportunity to visit our factory partners. We discussed new product ideas, production techniques, and the general climate of cycling. There were a lot of projects we wanted to discuss, two of which were frames and racks.

Polyvalent is going through one more design and testing iteration before we are good to go to production. First, a new fork design is in the works. The current, bi-plane fork crown is ok, but its width makes the downtube attach further up the headtube making for less room in the main triangle. Prototypes should be here within the next couple months.

We're also making the top tube a bit more slender in all the right places. Does a skinny top tube make a bike plane? I don't think so. To me, the concept of planing has more to do with a combination of several factors lining up rather than one or multiple bike frame properties. Food intake, wind direction, hydration, road quality, etc all play a role in your experience on your bike. Anyway, a properly dimensioned top tube minimizes luggage sway without compromising performance or weight.

Adrian has hers built up as a flat bar Porteur. Bullmoose Bars, Pari-Motos 650bx42mm tires, and Shimano trigger shifters.

Clint/I have a stripped down Urban Day-Tripper with a mild riser bar, WTB Horizon 650bx47mm tires, and downtube shifters.

Scott has his built up as an any-path-will-do setup. He went with 26" wheels rather than 650b for a bit more mud clearance and a lower bb for offroad stability. Dajia Far Bars, Shimano bar end shifters, and a special proto crankset to round up his build.

We'll delve more into the individual bikes and builds in due time. They'll be at the garage sale next weekend for some one-on-one eye-ballin' and maybe even some test riding to get you into the mood.

Since you guys and gals are riding rougher roads and bigger tires these days we decided to give our front racks a facelift. These new changes are designed to mitigate stresses from load and rough terrain, make installation a heck of a lot easier, and allow for a wider range of bike fitment.

The decaleur (the upright portion which receives the bag mount) gets even more integrated into the platform of the rack. Stresses from stuffed handlebar bags and rough terrain are dispersed through the entire length of the tube and aft of the rack.

Don't mind the wire nest. It has worked perfectly for many years.
The included adjustable tang makes fine-tuning easier, too.

These changes will be applied to the Randonneur and the Pass Hunter racks. Similar changes will be made to the Campeur (improved platform) and Constructeur (adjustable tang). We're currently looking at early June availability.

14 April, 2017

Cigne Stems are Back in Stock

By Igor

We just got an air shipment of Cigne Stems. You all have been wonderfully patient waiting for them. Find links to each of the styles below:
In addition to the Cigne Stems, we got in more cranksets and rings:
Quick note, the adaptors for 1" threaded headsets are on order and are expected to arrive early-June.

Have a great weekend!

Cross Buns and Cross Chaining

By Scott

When I started riding, one of the "rules" of cycling that was passed down from more experienced cyclists was never to have the chain in big and big or small and small. This meant you did not want the chain aligned with the largest cog in the back and the largest ring in the front  or the smallest size cog in the back and the small ring in the front.

(big and big)

There are certainly some good reasons not to do this:
  • This combination puts more strain on the chain. Chains run best when they are as straight as possible.
  • It also puts more stress/wear on the chain rings and cassette.
  • Some rear derailleurs can't handle the range of the cog and the front chain ring, and if the chain is short, putting it in big and big could do damage to the rear derailleur
  • When using small and small with a compact double, the chain can strike/rub against the large ring due to the angle that the chain is at as well as the size difference between the small and large ring.
  • It can make a hideous noise due to the chain being at an extreme angle
So instead of being in big and big, you should be in a small and mid range cog. The big and big gear combination (46T x 28T) works out to a gear inch of 42.7 inches. If I use the inner ring and a middle cog (30T x 18T), I get a gear inch of 43.3 and a much straighter chain line.

(small and mid- better chain line)
Now while chains have certainly become stronger over the years, some things have stayed the same. More folks seem to use the larger cogs while being in the big ring. This might be a reaction to the increasing popularity of 1 X systems. Just make sure your chain is long enough and most drive trains can handle it for a short period of time.

(small and small)

Small and small is still something we don't recommend. The chain can get caught on the pins on the inside of the large chain ring (they are there to help shifting on 10 speed set ups, due to the narrowness of those chains). Typically the gear ratio that is the small and small is replicated by using the large ring and a middle cog in the back, similar to our earlier example of big and big.

If you want to learn about gear inches/ratios the late Sheldon Brown's site has the best set up for figuring out the gear ratios on your bike. You can find it here.

Owing that it is Good Friday, our resident baker Clint, took it upon himself to bake some hot cross buns. We'll be enjoying these today at the office with a coffee or tea.

Recipe can be found here

12 April, 2017

Bike Build Ideas: Urban Day-Tripper

by Igor

Road bikes converted to flat bars are gaining a lot of popularity in urban environments. The combination of an upright position and ease of control makes this type of build a great option for those riders who mainly ride in the city and want to be a bit more comfortable on group rides.

This Pass Hunter Disc setup is our interpretation of an urban day-tripper to conquer any road condition that may crop up. We laced up some 650b wheels to be the basis of our build. By using the smaller wheelsize, we could increase the cushion of air the bike rides on. We selected the WTB 47mm Horizon tires, which end up being about the same circumference of a narrow-tired 700c wheel. Cobbles and potholes are vanquished, and hopping on and off curbs poses no threat.

The Postino handlebar is a great bar for converting drop bar road bikes to flat bars or just as an all-around city bar. It's the goldilocks bar for city rides - not too wide, not too narrow.

We opted to go with a wide range gearing because Annapolis and the surrounding area does have some hills. Our 50.4bcd 46/30t up front and 11-36t in the rear - enough to climb a tree.

Clint scrounged up some super clean Campagnolo downtube shifters which we mated to our shifter mounts to make the dangler and pusher move around.

The 7700-series Dura-Ace derailleur was never designed to work with a 36t cassette, so we used a Wolftooth Roadlink to extend the range of the cage. Shifting is fine, but not quite as fast as pairing the same derailleur with a 11-28t cassette. Then again, you're not shifting all that much around town, anyway.

You may have seen this constructeur-style stem that we were thinking about re-making on a previous blog post. After a couple samples, it ended up being far too heavy and expensive. But it looks really cool.

I'm thinking of making the "Bike Build Ideas" a more regular addition to our blog. We have several demo, sample, and show frames around that we look forward to building and re-building to give our readers some ideas for their own projects.

Complete build list: