15 February, 2008

Exciting New Components???


You've seen ads for "Exciting New Detergents". Were you excited? Well we just received two products that I am honestly excited about because they really are new and actually fill a need.

They are the new VO racks with integrated decaleurs. That means that your rack-decaleur combination is more solid, lighter, and less likely to rattle. Integration is the Holy Grail of constucteur bikes and I feel that these racks a big step in that direction. Both the Rando-integrated and Constructeur-integrated front racks are now available.

Racks with built in decaleurs were sometimes made by the great French constructuers, usually as a very expensive option for their finest custom machines. I don't know of any that were produced in series and sold separately, until now. The new VO racks have a "backstop" that accepts either a U-shaped plug, or a VO decaleur bag mount.

The racks are sold with the U-shaped piece, but without the bag mount since so many of you already own VO bag mounts. But the mounts are available separately.

Another new product is our Grenouille canti brakes that are inspired by the Mafac Criterium brake, or perhaps by the much loved and super expensive German/Lithuanian Froglegs brakes. They are made in a Taiwanese shop owned by a very innovative fellow named Robert. Robert is not just a manufacturer, but an inventor and lover of esoteric bike components. We hope to have more products from his shop soon.

In any case, $35 gets you a whole bike's worth of brakes and all the mounting hardware you'll need, including those very nice straddle wire carriers. The finish is that sandblasted silver that's lately the hot look in Asia. Still, what a deal! BTW, Grenouille canti brakes are also available from VO Imports at wholesale prices to bike shops.

Finally, we have some new MKS pedal dust cap wrenches. No need to mar your dust caps with pliers when servicing MKS, Campy, and many other brands of Pedals. These have been hard to find in the past, get them while you can. And they are much less expensive than the Campy version.

Let us know what you think of the racks.

13 comments:

lamplightsg said...

Chris,

The racks look fantastic! They could be a simple solution for riders who have very tall frames and don't want to try mounting a decaleur on the stem and also may not have enough room to mount one under the headset lockring (like all of my bikes). Love the brakes as well, especially for that price.

Anonymous said...

I prefer strapping an open basket on my bike, so have no need for a decaleur.

I am a fan of keeping the bike as uncluttered as possible. Building the decaleur is a very clever and practical way to eliminate a few more nuts and bolts in a very obvious area of the bike.

From the photos the new racks appear to continue the VO tradition of perfect welding and wonderful plating that so pleases me every time I look at my VO racks.

adam said...

lamplight, I like these for the same reason. I wonder if the mapcase would be as easily visible, though, as on a taller bag. Anyone have any thoughts on using smaller bags on really large frames?

Anonymous said...

Chris,

The brakes look quite nice, except for that sandblasted finish, which does not really compliment the polish that exists on nearly all components. I would happily buy them for double the price if they were polished. And "yes", I did think about doing that, but the inner surfaces would be impossible to reach.

Anonymous said...

Those brake finishes look so fugly next to anything Nitto. Why can't manufacturers make stuff that'll look good in years to come, not just trendy nowadays. I would jump on those brakes if it were not the finish.

Anonymous said...

The brakes may not be entirely up my alley, but "fugly" might be going a bit far! For the price, they have far more style than most.

There hasn't been too much activity on this post, but I bet those racks are flying off the VO shelves. I really think they're a big deal. Thanks, Chris, for getting them made.

James said...

Are those chrome plated or welded stainless? Either way very nice to look at.

Chris Kulczycki said...

James, Both racks are all polished stainless steel.

Anonymous said...

The racks with the built-in decaleur are a fantastic idea! Just one question: How high from the horizontal platform does the decaleur attachment arm rise? I am wondering if the tallest Berthoud bag (270mm)will fit.

ericb said...

The Rando-integrated racks look like a great design (not to mention the beautiful craftsmanship and materials!).

But, I am wondering if they are overbuilt. Many of the original French front racks look much less heavy duty.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Annon, The tallest Berthoud bag may require a special bag mount with extended "prongs" which we'll make if there is a demand. The vast majority of bags is around 220-230mm in height and this is what I've designed the racks for.

EricB The racks are made of 1/4" or 6mm tubes, versus 5mm which is the size used on the French racks. Of course the cheaper racks were made of thinner rod, not tubing.

franklyn said...

I bought a pair of these brakes. They look nice and are really strong. There are a couple of inconveniences:

- the two straddle-cable ends are difficult to tighten down so the straddle cable won't slip. since the cable ends are cylindrical, there is no way for me to hold it with my off hand to gain any leverage to really tighten the cable down.

- how does one center the brakes with now spring adjustments?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Franklyn, I hold the cable end barrels with pliers while I tighten the set screw.

Historically most canti brakes don't have tension adjustment screws, a fragile and needless complexity. All you need to do for minor adjustments is slide the brake shoe posts.