21 December, 2006

A Few More Photos and First Impressions



There are more
photos here.

My new VO frame is built up, but there is still more to do. I need to shellac the handlebar tape, mount a bell, build new wheels, install the new brake levers when they arrive. None of that stopped me from going riding though.

The bike is very smooth and comfortable even when hammering over the pave' and cobbles in downtown Annapolis. This is surprising since Ruffy-Tuffy tires are not known for a comfortable ride.

I noticed that the bike is very easy to ride; I don't have to pay attention to staying on course. Handling in curves excellent-- effortless might be a better word. Riding no handed at low speeds is easy, but it is no easier or harder then with most good bikes. I had expected an improvement with the low trail geometry

The Paul brakes are surprising. They stop with very little effort, even with pads that are not yet properly seated. In fact I came close to launching over the handlebars until I got used to them.

Overall I'm very pleased. There will be some very minor tweaks, but this is as fine a frame as I've ever ridden.

31 comments:

Joel said...

Very nice.

The colors compliment each other perfectly. I love the brake set up. Almost forgot how nice Simplex derailers looked.

Bravo!

Andy said...

Congratulations, Chris. It sounds like it rides as good as it looks.

Goonster said...

dammit . . . that's a nice bike!

I'm thinking about the relatively short time that Velo Orange has been around, and how it has all culminated in this bike. Good job, Chris. Very good work indeed, and we're looking forward to many more good things to come.

Anonymous said...

What about headlights and taillights? Going with hitech flashing digitals to be seen?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Thanks for the kind words.

This bike will have flashlight lighting and I'm making more prototypes of retro-style blinkies.

No one commented on the cute little front pack. I'm getting to really like it for short rides when you only need to carry a vest, wallet, small camera, and tools. We might do a Velo Orange version.

C said...

The little Berthoud is cute but I still prefer my Ostrich. ;)

Lesli L said...

Which Berthoud model is it? It IS quite cute.

nv said...

I would LOVE to buy a nice, clean, simple, well made and classic looking handlebar bag that didn't have leather trim or reinforcements. I'm probably the only person with this wish but it's the time of year for wishing...
Additionally, I'm very interested in the VO Cordura bags (No black please! Already tons of those on the market) - Chris, any plans to have those made?
Thanks,
nv

Andy said...

I agree with nv (about the bags). The good bags, with their leather bits and brass dangles, are too fussy.

I'd love to see a simple bag made from something like Filson oiled tincloth. Or waxed, unwashed selvedge denim.

Glenn Ammons said...

Nice! I love the dropouts and the cable hanger up front (what kind is that?). The rear fender could be a tad longer, IMO.

Where's the bell?

Chris Kulczycki said...

That bag is the GB86. We keep trying to work on the VO handlebar bag, but something always gets in the way.

The cable hanger is an old Weinmann.

The bell is coming.

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Up to this stage, minus the bag and including the nice front rack, what would the 'total' bike price be in a package (round number estimated)?

Very nice and you looks like you could sell allot of those if capable. I don't ever think I've seen a bike that complete of a system. Most custom bike builders rarely, if ever, show detailed build pics. Your expert photography skills adds sizzle to the sell.


Thank You

Vlad said...

Chris,
Beautiful bike? A few questions: how does the bike handle no-hands? Also, have you noticed a difference in ride with luggage vs. without? Hands on the bars and hands-off?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Annon, Well the frame is $1450. The parts I used are pretty rare (hi-low Phil hubs, 49D cranks, SlJ dérailleur, etc) and I'd bet you could spend over $2000 and six months on E-bay and scouring European distributors finding all that stuff. But with more easily available, yet almost as nice parts such TA crank, cassette or Campy hubs, SX410 dérailleur, etc, you could set up the frame for $1500 or a bit more. This is just the roughest of estimates.

Vlad, The bike is easy to ride no-handed. I'm going to try a heavily loaded front bag this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Looking good, Chris. I think this is the way I want to go with my bicycles. I'll let your frames 'settle down' while I save up for one or two of them. Good things are always worth the wait.

I'm curious. What's the difference between the yellow labeled SLJ on your bicycle and the silver labeled SLJs that I got from your store?

Alf

Chris Kulczycki said...

Alf, Thanks. The later Simplex SLJ dérailleurs usually had silver labels, while the earlier ones had gold.

Anonymous said...

Where can I find out about copper plating frame like Richard Pressel's 'Copper Bopper'? All I've been able to find is copper may be a base coat on steel to add nickel and chrome on top of that. I like the subliminal rust color copper, so as not to attract thieves, since rare frame finish. Pragmatic use of a bike, one of its better cariovascular aspects, requires it to be locked up for a period while optimizing time multitasking.

As well as a vendor(s), I was wondering how destructive it was to finish it in copper: leaving front and back forks chromed, and just plating 531 main tubes and lugs.


Thanks

Brian said...

This is beautiful! I nice set of Mafac 2000s would look great too!Where do you find the braze-on studs for the centerpulls?

Jim Crux said...

Try Mike Barry at Bicycle Specialties in Toronto. I'm currently having Mafac centerpull braze-ons done on my Bertin randonneuse to accomadate a set of Mafac 2000s.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Any frame builder can modify canti braze-on studs to work with centerpulls. We're looking into having some made, and I have a line on a bunch of NOS centerpull studs.

david_nj said...

Those Paul brakes are growing on me. Where can such things be had? I believe they're also available in center-bolt (i.e., non-brazed) versions, correct? (As a bit of a joke, I'm running Mafac brakes on my road bike with a modern drivetrain, but I'm not really thrilled with their stopping power for pack riding -- they don't really give you quite the tight modulation you need. They do stop the bike reasonably well though.)

Chris Kulczycki said...

There is this company I know that carries them. E-mail me and I'll give you the details. I actually need to put in an order for a bunch of Paul brakes later this week so if anyone else wants them...

Lesli L said...

We'll need a set for for the VO rando frame. Any news on whether you can purchased the polished version?

david_nj said...

Whoops, looking at the pics more closely, it doesn't look like you can bolt on one of those little TA racks with the Paul brakes. That's what I have on there to support the front bag, for better or worse. So I guess I'll have to stick with the Mafacs.

A related issue: why are the Mafacs a little less than stellar in the braking department? Is it just the pads? I put what I thought were some good modern pads on there but they really don't help. Otherwise, why should one brake stop better than another? Flimsy caliper castings?

(Also, are the Paul brakes more suited to modern brake levers? E.g., modern Campy levers pull notably less cable for a given amount of motion that the old Mafac levers. To make it work, you have to use those really wide cyclocross-type straddle carriers, otherwise it just doesn't move the pads in and out very much.)

Chris Kulczycki said...

David, Most folks think that Mafacs on braze-ons, if carefully set up, are superior to modern sidepulls. Getting the right cable length and the proper pads is important. The Mafac castings may not be as stiff as the Paul's castings, but they are hardly flexible. Someone put up a long post on the ultimate Mafac setup on the CR list yesterday; it's worth a search of the archives.

Leslie, I forgot to ask about the polished versions, but I will.

david_nj said...

Sorry, what's the CR list? Jamais entendu ...

Chris Kulczycki said...

Classic Rendezvous. You can search here: http://search.bikelist.org/

This is a link right to the post:
http://tinyurl.com/3he86

neil m berg said...

Care with that CR list, David. You might be walking unaware into the world of $10,000 bicyles ;-)

david_nj said...

I like $1 bicycles.

campagnolo said...

Chris, the bike looks fantastic. How does it look without fenders, though? I am in California where most of the riding is on dry roads and I don't expect to leave fenders on the bike during the dry part of the year. Do you have photos of a fender-less Velo Orange bike?

Chris Kulczycki said...

I'm sorry Campagnolo, you'll have to move to a wetter climate to ride a VO ;<). I'll build up anther frame in a few weeks and try to remember to take photos before the fenders go on.