13 November, 2007

Questions

Here are my answers to a few questions that I often get asked.

When will the VO handlebar bags finally arrive?:

I wish I knew. The photos are of the latest prototype. So we are making progress, but it's taken over a year to get to this point. Maybe by spring?

The other VO bags are out of stock at the moment because the manufacturer of the waxed cotton fabric we use ran out of it. I don't know when they will make more, but it shouldn't be too long.

When will the production frames arrive?

I was told that late May 2008 was possible for the rando frames and that we might see the city bike frames a bit earlier. But we all know how often production delays make such estimates guesses at best. When we get closer to delivery and the date seems set we'll accept deposits for the frames.

By the way, the production lugged rando frames will use the same geometry and tubing specs as the semi-custom frames and they use standard long reach caliper brakes. The geometry is tuned for 28-32mm tires. We are shooting for a price of just under $1000. But the Japanese Yen has been rising relative to the dollar in the past few weeks, so it's hard to say what the final price will be.

Is something in stock and how much will it cost to ship?

If an item in our store can be put into the "shopping cart", it is in stock. Otherwise you'll get a "item not available" message.

The store web site will calculate US shipping costs prior to asking for your credit card info. For very light items we often charge less shipping than the store site calculates.

If you live outside the US we will send you an e-mail telling you the shipping cost when you place an order. You can then accept the shipping cost or cancel the order.

I don't mind if you e-mail me about shipping or availability, but it's much faster to simply check the store site.

Where are the STRIDA 5.0 folding bikes?

They arrived yesterday.

How about the new style bell mounts?

They arrived today. These will allow you to use a stem mount-style bell even on classic bikes. They are polished stainless steel and made for us by a manufacturer of yachting hardware here in the US. They are available with, or without, the bell.

Now my question: So how do you like the bag?



33 comments:

mike said...

Will the production rando frames be lugged? 650b or 700c? Perhaps 700c in the larger sizes?

The bag looks cool.

Thanks,
Mike

mike said...

Sorry, one more question... will these frames use the Silver caliper brake which allows for larger tires or just a standard reach brake?

Thanks again,
Mike

Chris Kulczycki said...

The frames are lugged and 700c. They use standard long reach brakes and the geometry is tuned for 28-32mm tires. I think that putting tires over 32-35mm on a 700c rando bike is not a good idea.

rinjin said...

The bags are beautiful. They look classic and simple and quietly expensive.

Eric P. said...

Very nice bag. Two suggestions - weep holes in the bottom of the side pockets so water can drain out. I've seen these on older French bags. Seemed like a nice idea. Also, holes in the flaps under the top to tie them together.

Supreme Commander said...

The side pocket seems pretty tall for it's width. How hard will it be to fish things out of the bottom of it? Will there be stiffeners for the bag?

I assume that there will be strap attachments for a a rack on the back (and bottom?) of the bag but that they were left off of the prototype along with the hooks and fasteners.

What about a map window on top? I didn't see that.

The bag looks like a good start.

Chris Kulczycki said...

SC, I want tall pockets because I use side pockets for tall stuff, Cliff Bars, bananas, and sun glasses. My camera and wallet go in the back pockets.

The hardware and the map pocket are the next round of development. It also needs a rear strap and a few other details. But first the the main pieces have to be right so cutting dies and patterns can be made.

Anonymous said...

Hello Chris.
The status regarding the 650B Randonneuse bike, is it in the pipeline? Will it take the new GB Hetre tires? Brakes cantilever or ?

The bag is very nice.

Olle

Lesli L said...

Not sure why--but I'm not entirely charmed by the look of this bag. It looks rough, unrefined to me (like LL Bean v. Filson luggage). I guess I'm not a fan of dark brown leather trim against green fabric. I'm still drawn to the superefined, finished look of these Japanese bags:

http://www.guu-watanabe.com/frontmfunky.html

I love the visible stitching on the watanabe bag (but not sure about the "funky" lining). Love brown or light tan/khaki paired with tan leather trim.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Olle, The 650b rando bike is the semi-custom frame we call the Cyclo-Tourist and they are being made.

We are also having a TIG welded city bike made in Taiwan. That frame takes 650b tires, canti brakes, and will accept 40mm tires.

d said...

I like how the bag is labelled in clear blue lettering, so you know which side is the front, and where the pockets are ;)

m webb said...

The bag looks great but I'm not a fan of the green canvas. Tan, brown, something to distinguish it from the ostrich bag would be nice. How much do you think it will cost?

thanks

Michael S said...

That Watanabe bag is beautiful, but when I enter the price conversion into google, I get that it costs around $450!

+1 on not green canvas. I thought the plan was for TA-like tan?

C said...

I say TA tan or a slate color. It will help differentiate the bag from the Ostrich. Plus I think tan or slate will look nicer with a wider range of frame colors since they're more neutral tones.

Chris Kulczycki said...

It will be tan. This is just the first prototype made from what was on hand.

I think the price will be comparable to the Ostrich bags, but we're still far from the setting prices part of the process.

adam said...

It's also a bit hard to visualize without the hardware, but it certainly looks promising, and will fill a need... I like the slate idea a lot, but tan sounds great too.

adam said...

Oh, and how about sizing? How tall will the tallest bag be, and what sort of volume?

Anonymous said...

Could you give us some info on the city bikes? What type of brakes? Step trough frames as well? How many sizes?

Benjamin said...

Maybe it's just because I'm from Seattle but I worry what this bag will do in the rain. It looks like water will run right inside the main compartment. Is there a way to design the main flap with a bit of an overlap to keep water out?

Anonymous said...

Hello Chris,
The bag looks great! It's time that someone gave the $225 rotting canvas TA bags some competition! Fresh new leather and canvas...m-m-m. My humble suggestion would be to create a leather logo patch for it that mimicks the ole TA patch, but with VO, of course...cheers, Mark, Atlanta

Yann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yann said...

If you make a 68cm frame c-c I will buy one... it might be a bit more trouble, but there are many of us tall ridders that have been ridding bikes way too small or of poor quality because we do not have 1600+ for a custom frame... thanks

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the plan originally to set the production randonneur up with canti brakes? Has that changed? For fender-mounting, etc., I'd prefer canti mounts.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Yann, 63cm will be the largest size in the first run. We can't make just one bike of a given size. If these frames prove popular we will try to add smaller and larger sizes in subsequent runs.

Anon, Based on many customer comments, we decided to go with caliper brakes.

I'm also kicking around the idea of having an all-arounder with canti brakes and slightly more tire clearance made in the future. My own next frame from Johnny will be a prototype of this geometry.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Annon, The City bikes will be available in both men's and mixte styles, 5 men's sizes and 3 mixte sizes. They use 650b wheels, canti brakes, and internal geared hubs. The color is basic black and the geometry is very close to, but not identical to, our current city bikes. The tubing is light so they will be comfortable. There are chainguard braze-ons and we will have a nice inexpensive metal chainguard for it.

With lower bars, or even drop bars, this frame should also make a very nice all-around utility bike that can be ridden on shorter tours, gravel roads, or canal tow paths. The main purpose, though, is as a comfortable, elegant, and refined city bike.

Anonymous said...

Will the city bikes frames be available or only complete bikes?

Anonymous said...

Chris-I can't believe getting such a simple-looking bag is so much trouble-but I'm not really surpised. It's subdued and doesn't scream, "LOOK AT ME!" like too many cycling products.I hope it's a lighter weight and color canvas. I'll take two! Darcy, SW Ida-ho

Chris Kulczycki said...

The City bike will be available as a frame for around $500 if all goes according to plan.

Thanks Darcy.

Anonymous said...

Ever had any problems with the threads on TA BSC threaded pedals? I founds the threads were too short/cropped so they came loose. I stopped using them which was a shame since they are otherwise nice pedals.

Bill Gibson said...

Light canvas shades; tan, khaki, for my bags; I need them to reflect sunlight or the bags become a solar ovens where I ride. Of course, they will show road grime more; so that may be a regional and stylistic preference. I once spray painted my black vinyl Schwinn-approved saddlebag bright white for that reason; it worked very well, and I didn't mind being unusual; my primary aesthetic has always been form following function.

And the hardware: like TA, simple, light replaceable elastic and hook closures, long leather buckled straps to dangle it from the handlebar, or an option for a plain mounting area for your fine decaleur, and a clear plastic panel on top to hold the map/cue sheet? If only some non-toxic organic material existed for that purpose... ;-)

Joel Solomon said...

Chris,

Excellent news that you are going to produce an Ostrich like bag in waxed canvas! Tan looks good to me. This may finally make me pull the trigger on a front bag.

Best

Joel

david_nj said...

Aren't these pretty much like the Berthoud bags? I have one of those and it looks a little bit light in the loafers but it works fine. On a quick glance, I don't really see the difference.

c.f.g. wheels said...

Chris, bag looks great...Keep up the good work(don't forget the drain holes)