21 April, 2008

Frame News

Here are a couple of shots of frame prototypes.

The fork is the prototype of the one for our production TIG welded city bike. This bike will be very similar to the VO Gentleman frame that we now offer. A mixte version is also in the works. This frame is, more or less, on schedule and I still hope to see them this summer.

The lugged frame is another prototype that's much like our city bike, but may eventually morph into an all-around model. It may become our third production model.

The production Rando frame has hit a roadblock. The Japanese company we ordered the frames from has simply taken too long. So I just canceled the order and gave it to a company in Taiwan. The design work is done, lugs are selected, so I'm hopeful we can get it into production soon

We also plan to offer this frame as the basis for a complete bike that will include a generator hub, Brooks saddle, front rack, etc.

16 comments:

Timothy said...

sorry to go off topic on the first post (the pics look great, and I'd be thrilled to see a complete bike offering from VO), but have you ever thought of having either of the following manufactured?:

--> A nice, simple 22.2 quill stem with faceplate? Seems like the VO target crowd loves swapping out parts, playing with different configurations, etc. Could our retro grouch aesthetic make a minor concession to convenience? Or maybe someone already makes such a stem? I guess Nitto is unlikely to be tempted by such a product.

--> aluminum (hammered or fluted?) "shorty" fenders? The kind that mount on the brake bridge and under the fork crown but don't use stays (not of course those monstrous plastic doodads that clamp to the seatpost and hover 3 feet above the rear tire) .

The roller hanger discussion made me think of this since this too is a yes-its-kinda-functional-but-also-its-basically-bling sort of thing.I am aware that shorty fenders don't provide much coverage but:

A) the old steel ones you see on some Schwinns look really cool B) since you don't need to mess with fitting stays they become a 30 second procedure to add some bling and some functionality C) (or B2?) they do add some functionality since they shield the headset and saddle a bit. If I only had one bike I would have full coverage fenders, but for a fair-weather bike shorties could be lovely.

nv said...

Frame & fork look really good - how much clearance on that fork?
I'm often frustrated by tire clearance limitations. I understand some framesets are designed for a target tire width but why not build a frameset with as much clearance as possible then strongly recommend said tire width and let the user/purchaser decide what they want to ride? I say go as wide as possible with the fork crown - the more room the better.
nv

Joel said...

I saw the Pass Hunter number 1 in production in Madison a few weeks back. How is that coming along?

Anonymous said...

timothy,

Shorty fenders would be a waste of time, effort and resources. All the shorties do is keep crud off the lower headset bearings in the front and do nothing in the back.

VO seems to pride itself in selling "real" fenders that give full coverage. In fact, the VOs and the Honjos are quite a bit longer than most so-called "full" fenders you see in most bike shops.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your frame endeavors! The tig frame sounds pretty interesting. I appreciate the clean lines of my old tig-welded frame. Are you using a 1" threaded steerer, though?

Timothy, faceplate stems are great for saving time. I like the regular ones for the opposite reason; it lets me work on my bike longer! :) Also, I love the cleaner lines of the old type.

Anonymous said...

lovely design on the fork. fender mount, cantis, and the holes on the fork tangs . . . all very lovely.

Anonymous said...

While we are talking about ideas for new products....

How about some short reach brakes that allow for fenders - the arms sweep out abosultely horizontal from just above the pivot boltand then gracefully sweep down.

How about some shiny large flange hubs - 135mm freewheel or cassette, I don't mind.

What about a VO tool kit: those Alu tyre levers, a couple of allen keys and 8 / 10 mm spanner in a nice leather tool roll that can be mounted or carried in some clever way....

I'll come up with a few more, I just need to open another bottle of Sancerre.

a+

Stevy

Anonymous said...

I like Stevey's idea for brakes.
I put the Riv Silver brakes on a
Trek 620 to fit 45mm SKS fenders with Gran Bois 30mm tires.
The pads are at the top of the slots, looks dumb but works.
Something you can't do with Shimano
57mm brakes.

Scott G.

Timothy said...

anonyme 22:45 -- waste of time, effort, AND resources? Are you saying Uncle Sam needs my shorty fenders? :)

anonyme 1:49 -- I hear you; I prefer traditional stems. But this particular suggestion came from the trauma of needing to cut off some perfectly aged, shellaced tape when I needed to change a stem. The good news is I get to shellac again, which is a fun excuse to play with shellac, but I still mourn having to dismantle the old set up. It might have even been a waste of time, effort, and resources (if beetle secretions count).

K Matthias said...

Frames look great, Chris! I can't wait to see the production Randonneur frames. I'm waiting on any bike purchase until I see them.

I second the high flange hub notion of a couple of other posters here. I bought the high flange Pelissiers you had for sale in the fall, and built them with a set of Super Champion rims. They are just awesome and look brilliant. Next set of wheels I build will likely be for a wider frame, though, and having a class look high flange hub would really be awesome.

Anonymous said...

Any idea what the TIG welded city bike frame is going to cost? Or what sizes/geometry it will be available in?

Chris Kulczycki said...

No short fenders sorry; there is simply no point to them.

The new frame should fit 40mmm tires. It's designed for 32-38. I hope it will cost under $500, but the dollar is still falling. It will be available in 52-62cm sizes with the same geometry as the VO Gentleman.

Pass Hunter #1 is at the painters getting a gray-green color.

Regarding hubs, we are working on a silver hi-low rear hub and a matching low front hub with world-class sealed bearings. The price is a little high, but I think we can get them.

The VO long reach brakes are already on order! And they will be non-anodized and highly polished and stiffer than anything Tektro or Shimano make. It will probably be several month before they arrive because the small factory making them already has several VO projects ahead of them.

There may be some VO stem related surprises soon. I'm still waiting for a few details and pricing info before letting out details.

The tool kit is a good idea. Just what I needed, a project for my spare time.

C said...

"I guess Nitto is unlikely to be tempted by such a product."

Actually Nitto has already done it. Back in the 80's Nitto offered a quill stem with a removable face plate. It was a bit chunk but I loved mine for the same reason I still love removable face plate stems. My guess is people who don't like removable face plate stems have probably never worked in a bike shop! ;)

Anonymous said...

that crown looks like the LC19; i can't quite tell from the photos. if it is, what's your thought behind using a "piste" crown which takes round blades, chris? it definitely is a great looking crown, though, whatever it is.

gunnar berg said...

timothy
It's a given that you and your shorty fenders are completely crazy...but...if you really do want them, you could cut down one longer fender and put the hem on the ends. I've done it and it's really not a hard as it might seem. You just have to bend a flange and slowly work it with a hammer against a wood block until it's bend over and flat. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

hi chris,

what is the lowest standover height of this production bike? is this a 650b bike?

thanks,

rene