23 February, 2007

Blue Obsession (a guest blog)


For those of you on this blog who weren't aware of this, I am Chris's wife and the Annette who packs your orders and sometimes emails you when I screw them up. As the owner of the Blue Frame, and wife of the Silver Frame, I have the rare opportunity to compare the frames side by side and to compare them to other production frames that we own.

I simply don't like the blue color; I think it's too "different" to be associated with VO, to be the "Velo Orange blue." I want to get it right for our future customers. Hence, my decision to have it repainted.

I know from our days in the boatbuilding business that different colors simply go on thinner or thicker than others. It was not a surprise to me that the silver looks thinner than the blue; for that matter, the silver looks thinner than Chris's orange Ebisu. I would not reject the Blue Frame because of the paint coverage. Had I not seen the Silver Frame or read the comments on the post below (A Blue Frame), I may not have even noticed the "thickness" (partially because I was so blinded by the blueness...). I'm not sure I agree with Chris when he says the Silver is a bit thin.

Color is such a personal thing; it's very scary for some of us. I wear mainly denim and black, simply b/c I can't make a decision. Many of our walls are white. To offer quality frames at a competitive price, we thought it best to narrow the VO color choices to four established Imron colors. We're still adjusting to get those four colors just right. One problem is that the actual Imron color chart is rather rare and costly, too costly to provide to every potential customer. And a pdf of the color chart just doesn’t do it. Therefore, we’ve given ourselves the unenviable task of choosing these colors for you.

These are early days at VO, and we appreciate your patience and input, though it does seem at times that I’m living The Truman Show.

For what it's worth, Alec's (our 7-year old) immediate reaction was, "Suweeeeet!" but I suspect he just liked hearing himself say it.

28 comments:

M.A. Fairbank said...

Judging from the images appearing on my laptop screen, the blue is too electric and tarp-like. The silver looks like the classics you find in The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles. While a blue makes sense because it is a complimentary color to orange, I for one would prefer a creamy grey-blue (the sort of blue that sage green would be if it could be blue)or the silver blue that Rivendell uses. Keep up the good work.

joel said...

I have a Riv in silver blue, it is nice, but does not necessarily do the lugs any favors.

I think getting a little more grey or cream in the blue you have would work. As you mention in your reply to Blue Bike Frame, the VO orange decals look great against the blue. It would be a shame not to have a blue among your color choices.

By the way, my VO orders are taken, packed and shipped quickly and well. Notices are prompt and informative. You are very good at what you do the VO customers.

neil m berg said...

Once you do finalize the colors it wouldn't be hard to spray a few sheet metal color chips of each color for serious buyers. Actually, I suppose small lengths of tubing would be more accurate.

Anonymous said...

"Suweeeeet!" I couldn't have said it any better. The other blues have been done. Either imitate others or set a new trail.

I truely envy both of you as the parents of such a wise young man.

There is a rainbow of colors. Why you must imitate others bikes is beyond me. I would just have one or two to pacify those who follows others. And then evolve the other two until you start your own tradition.

Hint, look at BMW motorcycles wide range of colors. Never the same, almost always a classic. Listen to the little Buddah as well.

Anonymous said...

Especially check out BMW F800, only produced in Europe so far. Fabulous colors, and even a blue like your followers may like. The best bike colors I've ever seen yet to date.

Anonymous said...

What shifters do those braze ons fit, Simplex ratchets?

May I ask how many mm each step is, and thickness of any washers in between shifter?


TIA

Anonymous said...

Of all the blues in the world, there is one obvious one that would be most appropriate for a Francophile frame like the VO randonneur: bleu fonce, as shown on P.59-61 of The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles.

Anonymous said...

veering away from the colour blue:
my question is regarding Schwalbe tires. I have got marathons with an anti-puncture belt in them on my cross check, and I still get a flat a week. Anyone else experience this sort of thing?
M Burdge

dbrk said...

A sort of "thick" paint coverage is typical of the traditionalist French frames, as you likely know: look at Singer, Herse, you see an enamel-like look that resembles the flat colors (not the metallics) at Mercian, Mariposa, or Ebisu. A thinner paint look would not be as traditional but it's also really nice. I have a bike painted the exact color of those very light, baby blue VW Beetles (I can get you the code number). It is a perfect, perfect update of Herse blue but it's a thinner look and it's not a metallic. So I say, much lighter or quite a bit darker, like Singer blue. I think picking the VO bike colors is a very good thing. More bike companies should be aware of how they want their bikes to look rather than Anything Goes or even remotely closer to that Very Bad Idea. I love these bikes. Thank goodness for you and Chris and your sssccchweeeet chillin'...yrpal,dbrk

Anonymous said...

Or MOTOBÉCANE "Grand Record" colors. What about the black with red trim! Impressive to say the least, and it matches black plastic fenders nicely too(!).

Anonymous said...

http://www.tiny.cc/Impressive

Anonymous said...

I repainted my old trek a bmw "ice blue" which is one of my favorite colors. Very similar to the blue K75 from the late '80's. They have a nice Brittish Racing Green, as well, though they are Bavarian, and the green is of Brittish decent, and this comany focus's mainly on the French dendencies.

Chuck Schmidt said...

I think the blue you should be shooting for Chris is the "blue foncé" associated with French construteur bikes; looks like a very dark blue. Even though my '60 Alex Singer sportif is painted bubble gum pink (not kidding) I associate dark colors or full chrome with the construteur bikes.

Anonymous said...

your son likes it because it probably reminds him of one of his toys or a tv show he likes. its loud and very vivid. if that is what you are going for then by all means. but if youre going for a more classic look more in line with the old world style then its not right at all.
i would agree with one of the above posts that blue sets off orange very well but if the tone of the two colors is equaly bright its going to look sort of garish (imho). a darker deeper blue would contrast and complement the orange much better and also have a much more classic (and classy) look

Anonymous said...

your son likes it because it probably reminds him of one of his toys or a tv show he likes. its loud and very vivid. if that is what you are going for then by all means. but if youre going for a more classic look more in line with the old world style then its not right at all.
i would agree with one of the above posts that blue sets off orange very well but if the tone of the two colors is equaly bright its going to look sort of garish (imho). a darker deeper blue would contrast and complement the orange much better and also have a much more classic (and classy) look

Anonymous said...

If French classic is the only population you want to tap from, then 4 out of 4 historical French colors may be fine. French customers may exclusively like French colors, and no other. Color, for some reason, is number one factor in bicycle selection(?). Also remember that German and Japanese are the most popular vehicles in a bi-modally distributed marketplace, so that is a significant market to tap from.

From what I remember, the order of events, until French color Nazi's dictated their displeasure, was BOTH parents were preliminarilly satisfied on color research to highlight the company brand name/color, attract mass appeal, and provide a memorable high quality finish to associate with the final frame product. Then to beta test true emotions that not had been yet corrupted with worldly money and sins, the child was asked for his opinion, which was given without asking (strong results).

For mass appeal, I think this color combo is a winner whether altered slightly or not. But I would take much wider consumer samples. Market resarch on web shouldn't be difficult with Adobe Photoshop, etc.. making different colors.

In summary, if only ONE color for Brand Name recognition was available, I'd say you are very close. If you are restricting you market, then maximize that market. Before you repaint it, it might be worth loading component and strolling into town to see what 'non-experts' on the street think as inexpensive marketing research.

But if your brand name is going to be tied to Rivendell colors and Rivendell past customers, then you should adhere to the color Nazi's for 4 out of 4 of your colors: and your brandname will be lost within tens of other similar companies.

To a pragmatic value customer, a historical color only justifies a color they do not want in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Is this getting a little silly? It's a bike. It's blue. It's a blue bike!

Anonymous said...

Nothing silly about Brand Name, market share, never catching up as a imitator, or being an innovative leader. But yes it is a blue bike.

neil m berg said...

If Chuck Schmidt thinks it should be "blue foncé", that's good enough for me. It should be "blue fonce". He's probably forgotten more about color and graphics than most of us will ever know.

(And I think "Brand Name, market share, never catching up as a imitator, or being an innovative leader" is silly.)

Chuck Schmidt said...

Neil, you make me blush (specially since I misspelled Bleu Foncé).

I think making a traditional bike like a "construteur randonee" style bike that Chris is doing with Velo Orange is complimented by traditional colors associated with the classic construteur randonee bikes.

Chris is all about getting the details right and the exact color is just another one of those details. Bravo Chris for "sweating the details."

nv said...

While I agree that "Bleu Foncé" would be an appropriate color for a VO frameset - and that it's a nice color in general - I'm thinking that it works best as a semi-gloss or matte finish. If Chris wants to keep the [very] high gloss that is currently on the blue frameset, my instinct would be to go much lighter - such as the powder blue seen on many of JP Weigle's bikes.
nv

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I would leave complementary or brightly contrasting color schemes to the more avant builders.
Muted, classic colors for this type of bike . . . British green, burgundy, silver or bronze, powder blue, black, etc--those are the colors that will keep it real. Tone on tone contrasts are nice, too. I would keep the graphics as modest as possible.

michael white

Anonymous said...

The blue you've chosen looks way too much like my blue Rivendell Rambouillet. I am not a particular fan of this electric blue anyway, but it looks just like it!
Why don't you send Boy out to find the empty shell from a robin's egg this Spring. Then go forth and match that sumptuous blue-green "robin's egg blue".

Anonymous said...

Color is a tough thing to articulate.
Compounding the difficulty: the color on the paint chip, the color on the sample bike, the color on my monitor, the color on your monitor, the color on his(her) monitor- all different.
Bugatti blue is classic frog.
But then the color of my hen's eggs are nice too- 4 subltely different colors btw.
I'd err on the side of understated myself.
FWIW

Chuck Schmidt said...

How do you keep all the guys named Anonymous straight on this Blog??? I'm totally confused with the whole Anonymous thing...

Chris Kulczycki said...

I'm with Chuck on this anonymous thing. As the blog's readership grows it is hard to keep the anonymous comments straight. How about using a nickname or initials.

nv said...

I'm with Chuck and Chris - the anon thing has been getting really confusing (and annoying).
Chris - is it possible to customize the settings on the blog and get rid of the anon option to at least encourage a name/initials?
nv

neil m berg said...

Repton Blue. It's the color of vertigris without the yellow. Be really nice on a bike.