05 January, 2007

My Bike by the Beach, and Frame Notes


It's been unseasonably warm here in Annapolis, so I've been riding one of my favorite loops. It goes along the shore of Chesapeake Bay and through the back streets of Annapolis. Yesterday I stopped to take a few photos, not of the scenery, but of the bike. One thing I wanted to show was my new Mafac super light brake levers. I also love the macchiato elk hide handlebar wrap; it matches the Brooks honey saddle perfectly. There are more photos here.

Johnny and I have been talking about the frame and decided to make two small changes. The seat stay caps will be changed from the long flutes to a flat semi-wrap style which will give the bike a more French look. Though if anyone wants the flutes on their frame, I'm sure Johnny will be happy to use them instead. We will also eliminate the cutouts on the fork tangs of the Richard Sachs fork crown; they just look too Italian.

Judging by the number of requests for order forms we've been getting, I expect the current 5-6 month wait for a Velo-Orange frame to increase. Johnny says, based on his shop's experience, that many people wait too long and there is a big rush to order frames in early spring. Unfortunately that means that delivery is near the end of the warm weather riding season.

Finally, the amount of e-mail we get here is growing at an amazing rate and occasionally a message gets blocked by the spam filter or I forget to flag it for follow-up. So if we don't answer in 48 hours, please accept our apologies and try again.

22 comments:

neil m berg said...

Both changes are good choices. The flutes were beautiful done but just wrong. Is the silver a traditional French color? When are we going to see the Maxi-Cars? What are the rims going to be? Gentleman?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Neil, While we do want a French flavor, there is no reason to make a blatant copy of a Singer or Herse. I find it's a hard thing to balance a unique style with a traditional look.

There are certainly plenty of silver/gray constructeur bikes. Does that make it a traditional color?

My poor Maxi-cars appear to be held up by customs. The rims are now going to be Rigida 1622s. I got this great deal on a NOS pair ;<)

neil m berg said...

Me too.

Joel said...

The bike is quite a looker the way it is. Does the heart good to read you are not resting on your laurels.

Good for the many people who enjoy your vision and are getting ready to order a frame. The frame deserves to sell well.

Your pictures are doing more than sell your frames, however. My VO ser of Simplex derailers should come in the mail today. On seeing how good those Mafac levers look, I think I will just have to order a set of the CLBs.

e-RICHIE said...

"We will also eliminate the cutouts on the fork tangs of the Richard Sachs fork crown; they just look too Italian."

bwaaaaaaaaaa. i can supply them with eiffel tower cutouts for the same price atmo. oui/non?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Monsieur Richie, La tour d'eiffel semblerait gentille. Veuillez oui.

Anonymous said...

Chris -
Do you have pix of aa example of the flat/semi-wrapped stay caps? Are they similar to those found on en Ebisu?

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris, I might prefer the flat semi-wrapped stays. Are you going to have some done soon? I'll be waiting for pics.

I'd agree on the cutout fork tangs too.

Probably in five years when the frame styling has settled down, and when I can afford one...yippie!

Be careful. Could it be that the customs inspector knows what Maxi-cars are, and...

-Alf

Chris Kulczycki said...

Here is a nice bike with flat semi-wrap stays:
http://www.reneherse.com/RedRH1969.html

david_nj said...

The semi-wrap stays look, in my super-humble opinion, infinitely better. Good call.

How hard would it be to do the internal cable routing like the Herse bike?

Lastly, I found a Herse-like threadless stem from an old bike store for the princely sum of $2.50, I'll send in a picture. Unless Johnny Coast objects for some reason, I wonder if a threadless setup wouldn't be a little more a propos.

Chris Kulczycki said...

David, Send in the photo. I like those old stems.

We can do internal brake cables easily; that is to say: it's easy if you pay extra. Internal dérailleur cables are possible too, but I've been talking to builders who have installed them and the word is that they are a real pain to do. Functionally I really don't think there is a single advantage to internal cables and there are a some disadvantages, primarily weight and complexity, though they do look cool.

frederick said...

I once owned a Daccordi that had an internally routed rear brake cable. It did make the bike look cleaner, but it also made the action at the lever spongy and the brake harder to operate.

It's also two extra holes through which water can enter the tubing.

Not something I'd recommend.

frederick said...

Chris, do you know what'd be nice?. A forum.

That fact that you can add comments to the blog is cool, but they're just about the topic in hand.

It'd be nice if we had a place to talk about Velo Orange and cycling in general.

neil m berg said...

I have two bikes with internal brake cables. They have a light gauge stainless sleeve which the cable housing runs through, so water infiltration is not an issue. I've never noticed the sponginess Frederick mentions, but the two foot of extra cable has to cause some additional friction.

Chris Kulczycki said...

I guess I should admit that the city bike will have an internal brake cable, but that is so it's easier to carry and so you can sit on the top tube.

We're also working on a fancy version of the rando frame with stainless steel lugs and dropouts and internal wiring. It will also an have internal brake cable. We should see the first one in about 6-months.

frederick said...

Neil, sounds like the kind of routing you have on your frame is different to what I had on the Daccordi.

Basically at each end of the top tube there were little tubes going directly into the top tube at around a 30 degree angle. This caused some rather sharp bends in the housing, causing the problems I stated above.

Can you upload some pictures of your routing?

david_nj said...

I had internal routing on three racing bikes, two Gios steel frames and one rather recent Giant TCR alu frame. It worked great in each case; the entry and exit angles were pretty shallow and it didn't affect the braking feel at all. These setups don't leak water or anything; they insert an internal tube in there. Simple. I rode all the time in the rain without any problems. The Gios frames had a detail where the cable exited kind of like the Herse ones; the modern Giant just had an angled hole.

That being said, I probably wouldn't favor doing the shift cables internally, since they need to move with great precision. Just the rear brake.

neil m berg said...

Something has been bothering me about the VO...it finally hit me. Those red plastic bar end plugs should be wine corks...French wine corks.

nv said...

Chris,
How well do the Salsa cages mate with the Kleen Kanteen bottles? I'm currently using Delta cages - and they are great with Kleen Kanteens. I'm thinking of trying the Salsa cages on my VO and wondering if they fit the KK's as well as the Deltas.
Best,
nv

Chris Kulczycki said...

The Salsa cages work great with, but if you use the tall bottles you should bend the little top loop out a bit. I can do that if you remind me.

Anonymous said...

Chris -
Can you please tell me the BB drop on your frame?
Thanks!

Chris Kulczycki said...

BB drop is 70mm.