12 November, 2007

TA Pedals and VO Frames, Good and Bad News


The good pedal news is that TA pedals are once again available, or will be in a few weeks when our order arrives. Here is what I wrote about them last year:

TA Specialites pedals are, arguably, the nicest pedals ever made. TA pedals were an expensive and rare upgrade on Rene Herse and Alex Singer bikes.

They are completely rebuildable. The cages and "flick tabs" are replacable. They use inboard roller bearings. They have grease ports so you don't need to dissassemble them for re-greasing. They are, in a word, superb.

We stock them in both road and track versions. the track model has gray cages, the road model has silver. These may be in short supply; in fact it's surprising that a product like this is still made. So get them while they are still available.

We can sometimes get these in French thread; please e-mail.
The bad news is that the our price has gone up to $157 per pair; list price is over $200 now. The price will likely go up again soon, so you can reserve a pair from this shipment if you like. The other bad bit is that finish on the pedal bodies is still not up to current Japanese standards, but mechanically they are as good as ever.

On the frame front, the semi-custom Velo Orange Randonneur , and other lugged steel frames are selling like the proverbial hotcakes (crepes?) . That's good for us, but it means that delivery time is over a year for new orders and will probably soon rise to 18 months. There will also be another frame price hike this winter. Johnny and I think that the newest frames are really getting dialed-in and are even better than the well-received early frames. Johnny's already superb work is getting better with each frame. I really appreciate that he is concentrating on build quality and ride quality rather than on over-the-top embellishments. I find his clean and minimalist style very refreshing and it meshes perfectly with our own VO aesthetics..

17 comments:

z-man said...

I'm glad I got in line when I did (the wait was estimated @ 8 months).
You're right Chris, the devil is in the details. Take care of those and all else falls into place. having a back-log of orders is not a bad problem to have.

nv said...

"Johnny and I think that the newest frames are really getting dialed-in and are even better than the well-received early frames."

As a happy owner of one of the very early framesets, I'm really curious as to how the recent framesets have improved. Are you simply referring to finish?
Also, any progress with the production frames out of either Toyo or Taiwan? I'm extremely curious to see either of them!
nv

adam said...

As someone who got in line when the wait was listed as eight months, and has some randonneuring plans in mind for summer 2008, I am both very excited to get my frame, and very hopeful that it won't be TOO long a wait.

Chris Kulczycki said...

The newer frames are just a bit cleaner and clearances are more exact.

The VO production frames are in the hands of the shops that are building them now. All specs and details have been sent and the orders placed. All we can do now is wait.

Adam, Me too. I'm also waiting for a new frame and am in line just like everyone else.

SJB said...

Chris,

Can you publish more details about the production frames?
Specs, geometries, colors and maybe even the cost?

Steve-who would hate to buy a new frame soon only to find a better option is in the works.

Andrew said...

Has anyone else who has used TA pedals had the right side pedal come adrift from the spindle? The retaining nut came loose on mine and the pedal fell off. I think this may be a design fault and that the right side pedal should have a left hand thread on the outboard end of the spindle (as does the left pedal thread). It's a bit hard to explain without seeing a pedal with grease cap taken off.

Rob said...

What is the width of the TA road pedals? I'm a wide footer and I normally hate the little tab thingy on the edge. On cheaper pedals I bend them over but if I'm going to plop down $175 I don't think that's an option.

oldman said...

Andrew,
I had my drive side TA pedal loosen on me after my local Brevet series this past spring. I thought it was the nut loosening as well, but it was the inner roller bearing cartridge that had gone out of adjustment on me. I am currently waiting on a replacement pedal from TA. Its nice that they stand behind their products. Great pedals.
Chris, great to hear the frames are moving so well. I for one cannot wait to see the frames from overseas.

Anonymous said...

Is this 'loosening' a problem? Because I'm looking to get a pair of nice pedals and I don't want a very expensive problem on my bike.

I did mention before, VP, a Taiwanese firm, makes pedals that have removable cages, can be rebuilt, is double-sided, and as hard wearing as the TA.

I've had a couple of pairs and they never loosened on me after many years of hard use.

And they cost around 10 bucks, give or take two. Really!

Chris, if you're looking to make a nice VO pedal with all the above features, you might want to give them a call.

Alf

Chris Kulczycki said...

Rob, the TA pedal cages are about 110mm wide.

Anonymous said...

My TA pedals had the cage come loose and I lost one of the allen head screws that holds it on. I was worried that I would have to order some obscure screw for it, but I went to my local hardware store here in California and it was a standard metric screw, so I got two so they would match & it's fine. I have size 11 (45) feet & the pedals were indeed too narrow, but not being a collector, just a rider, I filed those little nubs right off & they have worked fine. I'll watch them more carefully in light of the above comments on other parts loosening.

Anonymous said...

(Reposting to more appropriate area)
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.

david_nj said...

Andrew, I had that exact same issue of the RHS pedal unthreading. All you need to do to fix it is put a dab of red Loctite under the nut. (Loctite, used in moderation, can be great stuff, although there's very rarely call for it on bicycles -- but it's essential in motorcycling and old sports cars.)

That being said, w/r/t TA pedals, I'm gonna be the Emperor's New Clothes guy here. I have owned a set of modern TA pedals, and I don't think they are one bit better than any other good quality cage pedals that you can get, including basic MKS road pedals. I couldn't care less about retro-ness or not, but there's no way better road cage pedal than a Campy Nuovo Record -- the steel cages last absolutely forever and the bearings are buttery smooth. Sure, the pieces on TAs are removable and replaceable, and I suppose that's great but there is no way they merit the high price. I respectfully submit it's absolutely hype. I sold mine with my old bike.

Note to Specialites T.A.: a business makes things tough on itself when it prices its output on cost rather than value.

Anonymous said...

In defense of T.A.....I always get the sense that they really would like to discontinue some of their "classic" components..BUT every time they announce that a batch of something is the last, a load of orders pours in prompting them to do "one more run". It is very clear that many of the molds are well worn...which necessitates alot of handwork to clean up the resulting casting to make a finished product (like the pedal bodies over the last 10 years or so)....

Anonymous said...

I am thankful that I got in the queu when the wait was 8 months or so..In any event, it is going to be a tough wait over the winter with plenty of build time available....AND all of the parts sitting in boxes waiting....

wannaberando said...

Chris

I'm thinking seriously about ordering one of your semi-custom randonneur frames. I've got a few questions.

Can you install S&S couplings on a frame? When would I pay the balance due? What is your current backlog time? Sounds like a great frame!

Thanks much

Chris Kulczycki said...

wannaberando, The wait is about 14 months. We can do S&S couplers. And the balance is due when the frames is finished and ready to ship. If you e-mail me I'll send a measurement/option form that has more info.