02 October, 2007

Prototype Photos

For your viewing pleasure we present the new VO racks with integrated decaleurs. The constructeur racks will also be available with a decaleur. This will really clean up the front of your bike and make it easy to use a handlebar bag. In the past you would have had to fly over to Paris, dig up some old constructeur, and beg them to make one of these for you. In a few months you'll be able to get one from VO.

Next up is the brake that will, I hope, soon become the VO long reach caliper brake. It still needs some tweaking, but it's close. I'm not sure what the reach will be yet, but the goal is to have a brake that's stiffer than the Tektro R556 with almost as much reach.

Click on the photos to enlarge them. Your thoughts, opinions, and suggestions are are welcome.

50 comments:

Michael S said...

I think the integrated decaleur is a great idea. What bag/bag height is it designed to be used with?

As for the brake, I'd prefer all silver hardware to the black, and a polished finish. At this point it looks rather industrial, in my eyes.

Chris Kulczycki said...

The decaleur will fit a medium Berthoud, Ostrich, TA, or VO bag with the stock bag bar. But we will also make a bag mount with longer prongs for taller bags.

The brake will be polished and all silver. But that gold tone pebble grain finish is all the rage in Taiwan.

Murray said...

Stiffening up the R556 design is a GREAT idea, and the ones in the photos look very beefy. I assume they'll be heavier, but it's a price worth paying.

Also, the return spring on the R556 is remarkably weak, and both sets I have installed have had problems returning to the open position on the rear brake.

mpetry912 said...

Zut alors! Those constructeurs will be kicking themselves "why did'nt I think of that!"

And the cool missing link to plug in when the bag is on the shelf at home. Well done!

Mark Petry
Bainbridge Island, WA

nv said...

The racks look good.
The brake looks a bit clunky - I'm guessing this is due to it being a proto?
Any news on the production front racks (the ones you posted samples of several months ago) from Japan? I've been curious about those...
nv

Chris Kulczycki said...

The Japanese racks are, at this very moment, on a truck speeding towards our shop. They left the left coast last week so they should be here any day now.

Lesli L said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lesli L said...

Love the integrated rack/decaleur system! Not sure why but I really don't like the drilling/extrahardware/retrofitting needed to mount a traditional decaluer (especially when stem height might flux) Need to fit a decaleur to my VO mixte for use with an Ostrich handlebar bag but maybe I should just wait until these prototypes make it into production and go rack free for awhile. Ideas when these might become available?

C said...

I like the built in decaleur - much smarter than a stem mounted design. It always seemed strange that people say threaded stems are superior because you can easily raise/lower the bars but then you have a stem mounted decaleur that makes that impossible. Your design is much cleaner and more elegant.

I'm indifferent on the brakes. They're nice but I doubt they're better than center pulls.

john said...

It'd be nice if there was a way to 'lock' the bag into the decaleur. I've had my bag pop out when hitting large bumps before. If there were small bosses on the sides of the decaleur that could hold a strap of some sort that'd be perfect.

Anonymous said...

John wrote:
"It'd be nice if there was a way to 'lock' the bag into the decaleur. I've had my bag pop out when hitting large bumps before. If there were small bosses on the sides of the decaleur that could hold a strap of some sort that'd be perfect."

Why not just attach a stretchy band/elastic of some sort to the bag itself? On the other end is a small hook either fashioned from metal or cannibalized from an existing do-dad. The band stretches down and clips on the rack platform between the two uprights of the decaleur. Super quick to install the bag on the rack then a quick clip. This should keep the bag from rising off the decaleur.

Yann said...

I love the racks!
and as was mentioned by someone else there should be a way to prevent the bags from popping out.. maybe a simple tiedown of some sort

The brakes look nice, but look mostly like any other.. .what about doing something to them fun, something that would make them unique (i would pay an extra dollar or two), basically a way to brand them VO without actually writting your name on them, for a cleaner more elegant look

Anonymous said...

What the rage is today won't be tomorrow. Keep the silver.

Mike said...

For the brake reach, it'd be nice to be able to convert a 700c road bike to 650b. Typical road brake reach is something like 37-49 mm, so add in an extra 16 mm for the radius difference of 622 and 590 (650b).

Anonymous said...

If anything you should have MORE reach than the R556! I use the 556 on three bikes, and all are pretty much maxed out at the very bottoms of the slots (73mm).
I'd love to see a R556-like brake with something like 80mm reach.
I don't think there's anything to be gained by making them any stiffer, especially if it's going to make them more "chunky". And please offer them with both allen AND nutted versions!

Ryan

Anonymous said...

The new VO brake looks quite similar to the just-announced Tektro R538. From an aesthetic point of view, I'm not particularly fond of the "cutout."

Anonymous said...

the cutout reminds me of the Mavic caliper, and I'm in favor of anything that reminds me of anything from Mavic. I wonder what total range would be: could it be used on a standard (short) setup?

Glenn Ammons said...

I love the rack. In my dreams, the bag mount would have four holes, spaced to match the Berthoud decaleurs, so I wouldn't have to fret about punching new holes in my bag and plugging the old ones. Seriously, what is the spacing of the holes?

I like the look of the brake. It needs a nicer barrel adjuster, though.

Joel said...

Racks are very nice. You should have another hit on your hand!

Andy M-S said...

I like the rack--I assume one would use P-clamps on the fork blades. Is there room for a light? I don't see any mounting provisions, but of course that can be handled.

As for the brakes--I like. Polished silver is always nice, but as the owner of a 1st-generation Kogswell D, I'm always interested in brakes with a little extra reach...

Andy M-S said...

Nevermin'. Yup, places for lights. What's the cost likely to be?

Chris Kulczycki said...

The new racks might arrive in 8 weeks; that's just a guess. I have to see how busy the fabrication shop is. They just finished the Portuer racks and are working on our rear racks and courier racks. So it's busy over there. The cost might be $140?

I'm not inclined to add too much reach to the brakes. If you need 80mm of reach on a road bike the bike's designer has some splainin' to do. A bike like that should have cantilevers IMO.

While I'm all for converting old frames to 650B, that's not what VO is about. We want brakes for a perfectly designed frame with sensible tires, not too narrow, but just as importantly not too wide. I feel that the best range for all-around bikes is 27-32mm on 700c frames and 32-38mm for 650b(obviously a little wider for touring/camping bikes). Once you start going outside that range you need to modify the bike's geometry if it's going to handle as perfectly as we intended it to.

Anonymous said...

One of the great things about randonneur bikes is the thought that goes into the designs...of the whole bike as well as each part. These racks are a real high water mark, in my opinion. Nice work.

Anonymous said...

I love the rack with the integrated decaleur. But the new brakes have too squarish a shape. The edges need to be more rounded. Also the finish needs to be smooth; perhaps not super shiny polished, but definitely smooth.

C said...

"If you need 80mm of reach on a road bike the bike's designer has some splainin' to do. A bike like that should have cantilevers IMO."

Amen!!! I really don't get the super long reach side pull brake. The long brake arms have to endure a lot of stress and as a result need to be made stronger which results in a chunky, heavy brake. Better to simply use cantilevers or center pulls.

Also agree about ideal tire size. I don't get people who ride 700x36+ tires. Where are you riding that you need that much cushion?? Even for loaded touring I've never seen the need for anything wider than 30-32mm.

Rory said...

I don't want a sidepull. I want a centerpull that doesn't require the hanger, similar to the time trial version, but with longer reach:
http://www.tektro.com/02products/09r725.php

and as a response to this
"I don't get people who ride 700x36+ tires. Where are you riding that you need that much cushion?? "

The Iron Horse unpaved trail, a nice long unpaved trail that is a great alternative to riding over snoqualmie pass.

C said...

I ride the Iron Horse as well and usually use Michelin Jet cross tires. I also like the CdV 650b for that sort of stuff. However, I don't consider the Iron Horse a road - it's a trail. I'm talking about people who ride wide tires on asphalt.

BG said...

"You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can't please all the people.."

Anonymous said...

I would second what rory said about centerpulls -- long-reach sidepulls are pretty clunky to me, whereas centerpulls work great, look good, and that new design from tektro eliminates the hassles with hangers and straddle wires. Something like that with longer reach would be huge .
Dan S.

Anonymous said...

I originally built up a bike with 38mm tires for riding dirt roads and trails, but after discovering how sweet they are on asphalt, I'll never go back to skinny tires even on a road bike.
Plus, much of the so-called "pavement" I ride on is rougher than many of the trails!

Anonymous said...

Dan & Rory,
That Tektro "side-pulling" centerpull is interesting, but looks way clunkier to my eye than the R556. It seems to me that the modern "dual-pivot" brakes are essentially centerpulls that have been re-styled to look like side pulls.

Ryan

Rory said...

Ryan,
you're right about dual pivots beinjg just reconfigured centerpull brakes. however, i see 2 problems with the dual pivot configuration.

the pivot location for the arm that holds the cable housing barrel seems overly short in relation to the arm that holds the pad, creating a less powerful brake. this is before any ME analysis, but i swapped my 556 brakes back to centerpulls for part of this reason

the 2nd is the shape of the centerpull is much more friendly to riding with fenders and racks. when mounted adjacent to a tubus fly rack, the arms won't be pushed out of alignment by a pannier like my tektro 556 did. also, the arms dont pivot towards fender possibly smooshing them, but rather away from the fenders.

the elegance, i agree, but then the ones chris posted looked way to industrial for my taste, and i eve like the paul racer centerpulls

rory

nv said...

Chris,
What are the dimension of the VO front rack platform? Do these dimensions vary from model to model (US made, Japan made, Decaleur, etc.)?
I've poked around the blog and store and see no dimensions listed.
Thanks,
nv

Christopher said...

I like the brake, silver satin would be my choice for color. The rack looks good, it looks like I could use it with sidepull brakes?

XO-1.ORG said...

I'm not sure this is really a decaluer. To be one, it needs to attach to somewhere on the bike, such as the stem or headset. Those little front racks are not meant to support all the weight and sway of the h'bar bag. They are a support, an anti-sway device. The decaleur, mounted to the stem or the headset, is really doing 90% of the work. If I'm not mistaken your intended design puts all the weight and torque on the little rack and those three points of attachment, all beneath the bag, and the the generally "slight" design of the rack means it won't be up to the job. Or maybe I'm missing something about your design that isn't so far obvious. I love your products and use several of them, so this is offered in good faith.

Chris Kulczycki said...

X01, You've got it reversed, the decaleur keeps the bag from falling off. The bag's weight should be on the rack. The problem with the modern plastic handlebar attachments it that they put all the weight up high on the handlebar which id detrimental to a bike's handling.

Glenn, Drill two more holes in the bar if you need them, simple.

Big Head Red said...

Where's the new, non-integrated, lighter weight decaleur project at?

I like your integrated rack design, yet already own the Nitto M12.

John

James said...

I'm not sure that "generally slight design" is a good description of the small front racks from VO or Nitto. More than a few people use these front racks and even the Mark's rack to support wald baskets with loads far heavier than anyone should be carrying in a handlebar bag and very often on poor urban roads.

While I'm on the subject what this world needs is a larger nitto front rack that would be a better support for the "medium" Wald basket. If such a front rack (call it a mini porteur) were available (along with an enlarged bungee tarp) you'd have a pretty simple and weight efficient solution. A bit simpler and less expensive than say buying a fancy front rack and a custom made porteur bag (which would have to be removed whenever the bike is parked). Baskets are generally more usefull than flat racks even though they lack the snob value of the classic porteur rack. An Idea for the VO city bike perhaps?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Red, The new decaleurs are a lot lighter than the originals. Ever production run has been an improvement. All that's left is to fill them with helium.

James, We may soon have something better than a regular old basket. A secret prototype is being made at the hush hush VO skunk-works.

Anonymous said...

why not an updated version of the old MAFAC centre-pulls? The Paul ones look alright, but neither those nor the Tektro time trial things have the elegance of the original designs.

patrollers said...

The rack with integrated decaleur looks great. Only problem is my frame's being built next month so I won't wait for your new rack. Will the frame mounts be similarly dimensioned so the decaleur and non-dec front racks are interchangeable?

As for the brake, my knee jerk reaction is that the "breaching whale" profile of the front caliper arm is a no-go aesthetically. Count my vote for an elegant centerpull instead. There's a big price gap between Dia Compe and Paul.

Other than Paul, what centerpulls do you folks generally prefer for your 700c randonneurs?

Anonymous said...

I have the headset spacer decaleur. It is not affected by handlebar height, and it is surely structurally stiffer than the integrated decaleur because the head tube is much greater diameter than the integrated decaleur's two vertical tubes. With a tall bag and a lot of weight, it is conceivable that the bag would sway.

I use a bungee to hold the bag pins down in the decaleur. When I forget to slip the bungee over, the bag occasionally pops off. This is potentially dangerous. A snap in place lock mechanism would be nice.

I agree that a centerpull brake priced between Diacompe and Paul's and shorter in reach than the ultra-long Diacompes would be a better addition to range of products currently on the market than would another long-reach sidepull like the Tektros. I'm going out on a limb here, but I've got to say it: the Paul brakes are really ugly!

Anonymous said...

The integrated decaleur is somewhat similar to one shown shown on page 141 of the classic "Data Book" of cycling components. The big differences are that the integrated rack/decaleur in the Data Book is attached to the stem at the top, has the two vertical tubes attached with the U-piece and has the decaleur tubes welded to the sides of the vertical rack members.

A design like the Data Book's would give the integrated rack/decaleur better lateral stability. I'm concerned that the V-O version will see significant stress at the joint with the horizontal member of the rack.

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Change of topic. Has anyone made a longer cable hanger for the rear canti brake that hangs from the seatpost binder bolt?

The stock ones I have are too short, and I can't find longer ones anywhere.

Alf

Jonah said...

Another excellent possibility for a product: a seatpost binder bolt cable hanger for centre-pull and canti brakes similar to those beautiful ones you always see on the Toei bikes.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the brakes:

You might wish to consider a version that can be used for frames that can only be through-bolted.

Anonymous said...

Chris--

Great work. Ever consider designing some new non-aero brake levers with large, comfy hoods like the cane creek scr-5 levers? The drawback of the older levers is usually the uncomfortable hoods. The drawback of new, aero levers is usually the annoying cable under the bar tape. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

The brakes look great. Fill the need Tektro has left and offer a nutted version... please!

lynnef said...

when will these racks be available?

Chris Kulczycki said...

The racks will arrive in December.