01 October, 2007

Interbike Wrapup

Here are a few final Interbike notes

We also placed an order for a new line of inexpensive, but beautiful, MKS toe clip straps in brown, black, and white.

Dutch bikes are so cool that I'm tempted to stock the Batavus delivery bike shown on the right. They are orange after all. Would anyone buy one?

The photo on the left is of one of two new Suntour Superbe cranks. They are actually less than superbe in finish quality. But I'm requesting samples and pricing info.

Back to the new VO production bikes. Here are some details on the city bike:

  • The city bike is a Tig welded version of our Gentleman and Madame models. We couldn't find a factory to fillet braze them and there are simply no lugs made that will work for this design.
  • 650B
  • The bike is set up for internally geared hubs or single speed only. The tubing is very high quality and all the usual VO braze-ons are included. It will be black powder coated.
  • A metal chain guard will available.
  • I'm still not certain about the brakes. Either VO cantis or Tektro R556, or the new VO long reach calipers (that probably won't be ready in time). Opinions?
  • I would like the frame and fork to sell for around $450-$500.
  • We are aiming for quality that's better then any frame made in Taiwan. Production will be overseen by one of the most respected Japanese framebuilders who will visit the factory regularly. There will also be an outside QC expert and project manager on the ground in Taiwan. She works for a major Japanese component manufacturer and is used to expecting the best.
It was gratifying to see Velo Orange fenders on some very fine custom bikes, such as the Sycip on the left. By the way, you'll see various upgrades in VO fender hardware and finish over the next few months. We're aiming for Honjo quality! We will start to wholesale the VO fenders to other bike shops next week, so please tell your local shop owner.

We will order some Lepper saddles tomorrow.

Is it time to join the 1990s and start stocking stems for threadless forks? Would having some manufactured that look like the models in the photo above (those are out of production) be worthwhile?

40 comments:

Louis said...

The dutch delivery bike is great. How much?

Anonymous said...

Any [rough] idea when the VO Promenade and/or Italian-inspired VO bars will be available? Also, do you know what the outside diameter of these bars will be? (the brake lever clamp diameter, not the stem clamp diameter)
Thanks - and all the new ideas and products sound super!

Chris Kulczycki said...

I'm not sure about the Dutch bike's price yet. It's on my to-do list.

The VO Promanade bar will be 23.8 OD,like a road bar and will fit reverse brake levers and special VO leather grips. I was told production would be finished in 40-45 days. Add a couple of weeks for shipping.

Anonymous said...

I would definitely buy the production city bike frame at that price. Caliper brakes please!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on the VO Promenade bar, Chris...
Is the shape the same as a Nitto B-601 Promenade (with no rise)?

C said...

Definitely stock threadless stems. Also be sure to stock matching spacers! I had a fillet Nitto stem on a bike for a while and it looked horrible due to the alloy spacers under it.

Anonymous said...

Is it time to join the 1990s and start stocking stems for threadless forks? Would having some manufactured that look like the models in the photo above (those are out of production) be worthwhile?

If you mean those fillet brazed Nitto threadless stems, most certainly. They are lovely.
--sfp

Josh said...

One of the most frequent questions I see about threadless stems on internet forums is "where can I get a decent looking stem?" Seriously, just about everything out there is garbage from a design standpoint, and if you made a clean looking chrome stem in a variety of lengths, I think you'd do pretty well

Ty C said...

If the price point is correct, I would buy one of the Dutch delivery bikes for my wife. She's been asking for that type of bike.

Tim K said...

The VO city bike looks excellent. What kind of size run are you looking at?

I'm guessing us giant (<~2 meters) folks will be out of luck, but we are used to living vicariously through the frames of others!

Anonymous said...

Chris,
Those fillet brazed Nitto threadless stems are magnificent. I would suggest that you have them made in lengths up to 13cm. Current Nitto threadless stems only go up to 12cm.

Anonymous said...

Nitto fillet threadless stems - of course! Why did they ever go out of productions?

But I'd have more interest in a chromed steel fillet quill stem. I know you're looking to do a Singer clone, but the Johnny Coast style stems are MUCH better looking. Unfortunately, you need to buy a Coast frame to get the stem. How about a Nitto (or other) fillet quill in that design?

James said...

That orange batavus is a civilian version of a cargo bike, their answer to the Kronan and much like the Kronan it weighs a tonne - heavier than a regular dutch roadster. At least that's what I was told.
But then it's probably not as expensive as a nicer Retro Velo or Helkama and your part of the world is relatively flat isn't it?

I'd much rather see a Velo Orange take on the theme of brightly coloured european cargo bike. A bike that looks like a Kronan but is actually nice to ride. Less expensive heavy duty factory made front and rear rack, fenders and chainguard painted to match frame. A bike that looks like it could be sold at ikea. Two standard colours, orange and danish blue. We could use something like that.

Did you see any finnish Helkamas on display? Did they bring any 650B models? Or the 550B Jopo?

Jeff said...

How about just the racks on the Dutch bikes? I wish that I had been able to bring some back. They carry passengers on them.

Michael S said...

13:10 Anon,
I think the fillet-brazed Nitto quill stem is one thing Chris is working on...


Maybe we should re-iterate a plea for people to leave their name when they comment?

James said...

Cantilevers on the VO city bikes please. A bicycle with a frame geometry that lends itself to front loading should have cantilevers to make front rack installation as simple as possible. Or might you have in mind a fork with four mounting points for a different front rack?

I'm not impressed with the Tektro R556. I replaced a dia compe center pull with a R556 in the front of a bike and it seems to be less powerfull than the center pull and had less clearance for the fenders.

Tom in Seattle said...

Chris,

I would be willing to order a "Singer-esque" fillet brazed Nitto quill stem today!! Sight unseen. Just let me know the item number.

ANDY said...

I'd love to see a VO version of the Dutch cargo bike.

I'd also love the production VO city frame/fork to be $400-450 (with cantilevers).

Keep up the hustle!

nv said...

Chris,
If you move forward with tire production, one tire I'd LOVE to see (wont hold my breath) is a high quality, light and supple 700c in a 34 or 35mm width at half the price of the Gran Bois. Yeah, the Pasela is good and it's all I ride but I'm jealous that folks are out there on these supple-cased Gran Bois tires! I'd definitely stock up on such a tire...
Thanks for listening,
nv

Anonymous said...

That Dutch delivery bike is cool and all, but where can I get some of those neon sidewall tires? My morning commute is now well into the neighborhood of dawn, and those tires would work wonders with the not-yet-awoken drivers I encounter.

Seriously now, I'd really like to see a battery powered LED taillight, motion sensitive and designed to mount on a fender. I'd buy half a dozen of those, or maybe even a dozen if they looked really French. The technology is readily available and cheap, but I have yet to see such a thing anywhwere. I've got some junk lying around, old Tire Flies and dead taillights that I have been meaning to cobble into a motion sensitive light, but it would still not be fender friendly, and not remotely Frenchy.

Thanks for all the info. Very brave of you to go to Vegas!

Z

Anonymous said...

Z: Jitensha lists the tail-light you want: http://tinyurl.com/yrv69n
But they didn't have it in stock when I asked about it.
VO: Please no cantis on the production frame.

tys

Aaron said...

nv: why not try the new Jack Brown from Rivendell? It is quite plump and rolls fast.

Joel said...

Done before you had your own brand out there, but I put Riv sourced Honjos on the lovely Sycip I made for my niece.

knackered said...

stems... i'm thinking...http://www.ahearnecycles.com/Images/SSStem.jpg

Anonymous said...

Chris, I've put my money where my mouth is and have purchased from VO. Needless to say, a good experience. So I mean it when I say yes please to extra-large half clips. I'll take two pair. If you can get extra-extra large, I'll take three pairs! Size twelve All-stars!

Dutch delivery bikes and their ilk.

One would think that I would be the ideal candidate for such a contraption; I'm tall and, shall we say, gravity acts on me more than others. I commute throughout the year, afternoon out, evening home. Almost always carrying too much; one never knows what tool might come in handy! If I'm not commuting I'm knocking about the broken inner-city roads locking up the steed where I can. So a hefty Sherman-tank of a bike should be for me.

No.

The Dutch bike is the very antithesis of the graceful, efficient, gorgeous, load-carrying, mountain-climbing, versatile randonneur bike. The Dutch bikes are heavy, usually not particularly good looking, often with unusual sizing of rims and tires and whatnot. And heavy. Hereabouts, in Toronto, attempts have been made to sell various models (Batavus, Kronan, Jorg&Olief, et al), none have born resounding success. Why? Expensive (for what they are) and heavy. Sorry to harp on that, but usually they weigh in the region of forty-five to fifty pounds for no particularly good reason. A well designed and built frame with moderately cushy tires do the trick for city work just fine at about half the weight and cost. And the merest modicum of frame care will ensure the same longevity.

You've been warned!

That's my two cents worth anyhow. Now that the Canandian dollar is at par, that's not to be trifled with either.

Chris, I appreciate all that you're doing with VO!

xjoex said...

Anonyme 19:44

I'd like to see a fender mount- battery powered- motion sensitive LED tail light too. The REI commuter bike w/generator hub and racks (pictured here: http://www.rei.com/novara) comes with one. I'd purchase one in a minute.

But that dutch cargo bike looks cool, depending on the price I'd like one.

-Joe

lee.watkins said...

Yes! Dutch bikes! When are you going to start selling / making real dutch-style bikes? I will buy that. I will love that. The Batavus Favoriet would be a great start... the Personal Delivery Bike is great too. FWI the Batavus Old Dutch also comes in a "light orange". You might sell more if you got the Delivery Bike in Black though. Just yesterday I was at City Bikes in downtown DC, and they had a Gazelle Toer Populair, sporting a B.33 saddle - I was in love...

If you got in some Gazelle Toer Populair 115 Limited Editions, that would be expecially cool. I've been thinking about getting one somehow. Gazelle has a "Basic" singlespeed old dutch in glossy Orange as well.

I'd like to see VO do more with the fully Upright dutch-style sitting position. I've altered all my old bikes to ride that way and it's very comfortable for leisurely riding to work or do errands. I don't think many americans understand the concept yet.

I think that the market for the agressive forward position is already saturated - those are the people already riding now. However, the potential market for the Upright position is potentially huge! Everyone who isn't riding right now, basicly.

I'm interested to try out the 3-spring Lepper L75 which you pictured. I assume it's directly comparable to the Brooks B.73, which I have on my daily commuter. The B.73 is fantasticly comfortable for the fully-upright position. Although it's a very soft ride, I wouldn't use it for heavy hauling, it's too bouncy on rough roads for that. For the heavy loads I'd want to use my B.135, or a B.33, as they have a much more "controlled" manner to them. Lepper has a "cruiser" saddle that appears to have lower dampening springs like the B.135 does, to elminate rebound.

lee.watkins said...

I'm surprised, that you don't stock or promote the B.72 saddle found on so many old 3-speeds. It would seem to me the perfect saddle for a mixte, camper, porteur, etc. for a couple of reasons....

Unlike the B.66, it doesn't do the uncontrolled "rocking" that the coil-springs give you, and those springs don't get in the way of attaching a saddlebag to the seatpost directly with the strap. It's also lighter, but without giving up that subtle vibration-dampening quality that makes a decent brick road into glass. Instead of awkward bag loops sticking out to snag, they are neatly integrated.

Unlike the B.17, it has enough room to sit up comfortably if you raise the bar, but without giving up the smooth top (new production, black and antique). They honey model is still available with pebbled top and brass rivets - unique to the flat sprung chasis linup. The integrated bag loops are much easier to use than the tiny wedged-in ones on the B.17. The loop-springs add a very slight and fine vibration dampening to the ride - just enough to smooth imperfections in the brick lane or sidewalk, without adding all the bulk-weight of the coil-spring setup.

Seems like the perfect saddle for VO orange bikes to me.

Anonymous said...

I ride one of these 'heavy' Dutch bikes. It doesn't slow me down and the ride is amazing - smooth and controlled. Plus because of the strength of the bicycle, you can off road with no problems.

Anonymous said...

That Dutch bike looks a lot like the bikes I used to rent and ride everywhere over there. Sure, they're heavy, but you wouldn't believe how useful these bikes are. Rolls right over curbs, railroad tracks without flinching. Load it up with a week's worth of groceries . . . It's the most useful vehicle ever invented, probably. What would it cost?

I love the VO city bike. I have no problem with the Tig joints; that's probably what they do best in Taiwan, anyway. I would really, really, really hope for a real crown, preferably flat. Nothing screams cheap like a Tig bike with unicrown, even though some of them ride very well. I would also hope for reinforcing rings on the headtube; that might be too much to hope for. I would say canti's for this one; save the longreach calipers for a rando.
OH, and a red one.

best,
michael white

Anonymous said...

tys: Thanks for the tip on the taillight. It even looks French, in a 70s Renault sort of way. Sure hope they get some in. They had the neatest headlight for fender mounting listed for a long time, but never seemed to have any of them. I didn't see that when I rummaged around the site yesterday. Oh well, at least somebody somewhere is making my taillight.

Z

Joel said...

Maybe instead of the Dutch cargo bikes you might want to try these. They are looking for dealers:

http://www.civiacycles.com

nv said...

aaron,
The Jack Brown looks intriguing on paper- but $45 per tire is too rich for me. Especially when one can pick up the ubiquitous Pasela for well under $20.
I had a pair of Rolly-Polly's and never liked them - they felt dead and sluggish. I feel the Riv tires don't truly offer anything that their Panaracer counterparts do not.

n"purely subjective"v

MichaelT said...

Another taillight for anonyme is the Spanninga SPXba.
I picked up one of these the Saturday before PBP, and used it on the ride. Me and my riding partner would use it to guide us when to turn on the lights and don night gear. When it turned on, it was time! The instructions it came with were useless, but it can be figured out pretty quickly. Hard part is finding them in NA. The only place I found them on the internet is: http://tinyurl.com/ytnuwe
but shipping is crazy.

Chris, the constructeur rear rack looks great on the bike, thanks for producing them.

Michael

david_nj said...

Those Jitensha auto taillights work great and they mount up pretty high on the fender. Perfect look. Except that when you have the bike on a car at night, the taillight is flashing.

For the stems, I would strongly urge that they be of a pop-top design. There are a number of ways to lick that, but at any rate having to undo everything on one side of the handlebar just to remove it would make it a non-starter for me no matter how attractive.

Anonymous said...

Dutch Bikes: You'll probably sell a lot more of them to buyers in the Santa Clara Valley than in San Diego. When I visit my parents in Los Gatos, I can go on a ride almost to Alviso and have all of about 300 feet (guessing) of elevation change IF I purposely go searching for hills over the course of a three or four hour shopping ride (tough finding those Planet Bike SuperFlashes in the middle of summer!). I didn't feel slow riding my mom's old electroforged step-through Schwinn Suburban, either. In San Diego, my workplace is about 350 feet higher than my residence, and there's a fun down-and-up on the quickest path....

Anonymous said...

as for the stems:
I probably wouldn't buy one, though they are beautiful. My threadless bikes are modern, and it makes sense to use a light alloy stem for them. But if you could come up with a stem that looked just like that, but was instead a threaded stem made to Technomic Deluxe dimensions, and if you could undercut the lugged stem price considerably,
now that would be nigh irresistable. (to me.)

Naga said...

Suprised I haven't seen any response to the MKS query. I am intriged by the idea and am getting tired of moving pedals around. I would even get and extra EZY for a second bike.

jotm said...

I do understand you like the orange Batavus bike especially because of the colour, but I must say I like the grey one even better.
http://www.batavus.nl/collectie/stadsfietsen/Personal+Bike/Personal+Bike+Delivery.aspx

jotm said...

By the way, myself I ride a Gazelle bicycle and has done so almost all of my life.
http://www.gazelle.nl/nl/ /
http://www.gazellebicycles.us/