24 September, 2007

Bicycle Quarterly Reviews the Velo Orange Randonneur

Bicycle Quarterly reviews the VO Randonneur in it's current issue. To say that BQ's Editor and reviewer, Jan Heine, offers a positive assessment is a bit of an understatement. I would call it great, perhaps even fantastic.

A rule of thumb in journalism is that you can quote about four paragraphs of an article as "fair use", that is without violating copyright. So here are some quotes:

It combines competent handling with good performance and beautiful build quality. I found it to be a bike that fades into the background, and always seemed to do exactly what I asked it to do.

/snip/

It is stable even at very low speeds, requiring little attention to keep on a straight line. When asked to turn, it does so immediately and with precision. Adjusting one's line in mid-corner is easy. Even with XL toeclips, the Velo-Orange did not exhibit toeclip overlap.
And here is a bit more:

Performance

Built from standard-diameter steel tubing, the Velo-Orange offered good performance for me, expecially when compared to other production bikes, which usually are made from oversize tubing. I found that it "planed" well for me during hard efforts. Chris Kulczycki suggested that for a light rider like me, he would specify lighter-gauge tubing, which should further improve the Velo-Orange's performance.

Conclusion

The Velo-Orange "Randonneur" appears well-built. Its handling inspires confidence, and its performance is excellent.
And here is quote from Mark Vande Kamp's "Mark's View" a short review:
During my ride, the bike simply felt right and never drew negative attention to itself. I can't think of any reasons why I wouldn't be happy to set off on any brevet riding the Velo Orange. There are very few bikes I can say that about, and even fewer with price tags anywhere near as low as the price of the Velo Orange.

As we rode along our usual test route, I remarked to Jan that testing pleasant bikes like the Velo Orange makes the test rides enjoyable, but makes it harder to write a capsule review. It is harder to write interesting things when the test bikes have few flaws to critique.


14 comments:

C said...

I'm sold! I live in Seattle and ride many of the same roads as Jan and Mark so their reviews always have an extra relevance for me.

Of course I need to come up with the $$ for a new frame, hopefully this winter or in the spring.

Murray said...

Congratulations, Chris! I haven't received the new BQ yet, but that sounds like a great review.

So glad to see the review bike with non-OS tubing--in my experience, this makes for a large improvement in ride quality over OS frames.

Is non-OS tubing standard on the VO randonneur, or is it rider- (or builder-) specified? I'm 6'1" and 200 lb. and although I can't afford a VO-R for a while yet, a non-OS option would be very influential in my future decisions.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the great review. The build quality is obvious by examining the frames, but it is reassuring to hear that the handling is top notch as well. I am sure that an article such as this will translate into orders...and thankfully, I am already on the waiting list!

Goon said...

Congrats.

Performance aside, I thought the photo in BQ showed a bike that looks absolutely stunning. Custom brazed stem, very little post showing, perfect fender lines . . . yes, please!

In other news: Anybody catch that bit in the TA interview where the owners said they plan to keep the Pro 5 Vis in production? Please let that be so.

neil b. said...

That is a seriously good looking bicycle. PBP in four years?

Michael S said...

Congrats Chris! I've been looking forward to the review, and I can't wait to get my BQ. I'll have to make it out to Annapolis to take it out for a test ride one of these days. Now, about Saturday hours...

mpetry912 said...

I rode the V-O when Jan had it under test and I liked it! It has the stuff! The handlebars were too wide, but that's a nit. It's a great looking, well executed frame with all the cool accessories. And yes, if you're not subscribing to Jan's B-Q you are missing out. There is more solid editorial content in B-Q than in any other magazine I know of. Every issue is a bell-ringer.

Ray said...

Chris
Congrats on the great review. What is the gearing on the test bike? It appears to be 46/30 in the front. Does the Simplex Super LJ rd handle the difference in front?
Ray

Chris Kulczycki said...

Murry, Traditional size tubing is standard. OS is optional at no extra cost.

Ray, The Super LJ handles the 46/30, but we did learn that a shortened dérailleur hanger would make it shift better. I plan to try a SX610 on this bike. My next bike will have Huret Jubilee dérailleurs, just to be different.

smasher said...

Who built the test frame?

Annette said...

Smasher,

Johnny Coast built the frame. Look down a few posts for pics of his newest VO frame...

Michael S said...

We should all say congrats to Johnny as well... he does great work and it's nice he gets some publicity through BQ

Joel said...

I just received my VQ today. Very good article.

I feel the author protested too much about Paul brake squeal (he mentions it in the Bilenky review as well). As he points out, Pauls stop better than just about anything you can buy in wet or dry conditions. That is all that matters to me.

I also think he could have gone easier on your mechanical skills, though it was nice of him to give you a chance to explain you do not build your customer's bikess.

Anonymous said...

There's an interview with Johnny Coast, builder of the VO Randonneur, on the fixed gear gallery:
http://tinyurl.com/2xaboz

--sfp