16 April, 2008

VO Roller Hangers are Here


And they look great, maybe better than the originals. These were the style of hangers used on some of the finest constructeur bikes. You'll see them on bikes by Singer, Toei, Routens, Alp, Reyhand, Goeland, etc.

The workmanship is beyond my expectations and the polishing is much nicer than the photos show.

Annette and Heidi say they'll make nice earrings for those of you who don't have the right bike.

They are $20 a pair in the VO store. Used originals sell for well over $100 and the only reproductions made previously sell for $75. They are also available to other bike shops at wholesale prices through VO imports.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Forgive my dumb question - SUCH a dumb question that I'm going to be cowardly and post it anonymously.

These are used to attach the straddle cable on cantilever brakes to the brake cable... right?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Annon, Right, or for centerpull brakes.

AH said...

Another dumb question, from a different, and not entirely anonymous, reader:

Where does the brake cable enter? Does it come right down into the top and disappear into the hanger's innards? Or does is pass by the front, securing itself under the bolt and emerging from it, to be crimped and ferruled?

Cottered Crank said...

Those are lovely pieces of work, and the "price breakthrough" is commendable, but I've never understood the point of using these mechanisms in the first place. The usual bent metal tab is an elegant solution, and some of those are quite lovely in their own right. They can also be used as an effective quick release if need be.

BG said...

Off-topic. Sorry. Hate to see someone miss out on this eBay bike. Shipping may undo the deal though. I've seen one other like it and it is a very nice bike just a level below Golden Sunbeam quality of similar date: 220223030686

Then again, maybe people here don't care about these bikes?

BG said...

Off-topic II. Sorry again. Last time today. Promise. Drop dead gorgeous this one (even if vintage racing bikes don't ignite your passions):
360041857889

gunnar berg said...

bg,

I don't know squat about old English bicycles, though it's certainly cool.

The Zeus is pretty, but I'll be surprised if it makes the reserve. I'm often surprised.

gunnar berg said...

Jeez, now I have to throw away the quick release Dia-Comp roller hangers I recently mounted. Damn.

Anonymous said...

Very pretty. I hope modern constructeurs utilize them.
Re bent alloy comment- you can buy a toyota Yaris for 17k. You can buy a mercedes for 60k. both get you from point A to point B. with the same efficiency. The Yaris is of course much cheaper. I see these hangers overkill for a $500 mtn bike or Jamis alloy cross bike, but for a higher end handbuilt steel bike, why not? it's a little more a $5.00 hanger, but not obscenely so.
You can always ride a huffy- that will get you where you're going too.

Cottered Crank said...

Oh, I see... It's complication for the sake of novelty. Of course I had thought of that, but there was the possibility that these little contraptions were originally designed to do someting not obvious to me. Other than look expensive, I mean.

C said...

You've done another nice job of copying a needlessly expensive part and making it available to more people. Personally, I've never been a fan of the roller hangers having found them to be a little more fiddly to install but I do love the way they look.

Now on to that crankset...

;)

gunnar berg said...

Cottered,
Most of the frames and the components we hang on them are overkill. That's part of the point, isn't it? The joy?

Of course not everyone views it that way. One of the other gentlemen selling touring bikes and components loves beautiful frames outfitted with functional components. Whatever makes us happy, I guess.

Chris Kulczycki said...

There is no doubt that these are mostly bike bling. They will keep the tension on perfectly adjusted brakes even and some of the greatest bike builders of all time thought that was important enough to make them. Today we see that as a very minor advantage. Still, they look great and I'm putting them on my bikes.

C, There will soon be a post about the cranks.

lamplightsg said...

I have an early '80s Univega touring bike that came with roller hangers, and I really like them. With the bent metal hangers, every once in a while they can get off-center and cause each arm to move unevenly. No, it's not a big deal at all and it rarely happens, but the roller hanger eliminates this issue. They can be finicky to use, but I find the other style finicky as well. Regardless, I think they look great and would buy a pair if I didn't already have some. Heck, for $20 I may buy a pair anyway.

reverend dick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cottered Crank said...

Thanks for the explanations. As noted, I think these little chi chi things are very pretty, and now they are even affordable by mere mortals. I did assume that there was some sound reasoning behind their invention way back when. I do have some fancy bikes, and one in particular on which these things would look right at home, but the little pulley wheels would not do me a particle of good, and that bike has eaten enough of my money!

Anonymous said...

When I first saw the Dia Compe a few years back, I thought it a clever idea to keep things automatically balanced. But I'm not convinced. The cable gets a crease in it, and I'm not sure the roller function will compensate. Not that I have real life experience in this. But if anything, the rollers might actually allow a slightly stronger sprung side to pull more first- if it does allow the cable to shift.

Really, if one canti is pulling before the other, it's because the spring tension is not equal, or there is drag because of lack of grease.

Now, what would be really clever is to modify a chain link to serve the roller function. Indeed, some of the cycles featured in Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles seem to do just that. Hmmm...

Andrew said...

I'm quite surprised at the number of either negative or so-so comments here. These puppies are gold. And so minimalist. The thing about these is that they aren't bling at all - no one would notice unless they were in the know... it's a constructeur secret handshake.

Michael S said...

I think they're beautiful, and perfect form following function.

Just what I expect from Chris...

Jeff said...

Gunnar, those Dia-Comp quick release rollers are super cool and hard to find! They're big, beefy and more functional than a Herse roller thanks to q/r. I've got those on my Heron and they're staying there. I've got the ridiculously expensive Toei rollers on my Hetchins, but I think Chris's are more elegant. I'm buying 2 pair for future projects. This is a fetish item for anyone with Herse envy.

BG said...

On topic. The VO Rollers are a beautiful looking product, Wish I had a bike to put them on. I don't wear earrings so I'm out of luck there too.

Supreme Commander said...

Beautifully executed. Subtle bling for vintage-styled bikes.

How about a polished stainless steel hanger for a threaded stem to go with them? With a quick release, if possible. The aluminum ones are too clunky for a classic bike and the current steel ones aren't nearly nice enough.

Anonymous said...

Concur w/ 'Supreme Commander' - a well executed cable hanger, with the low-drop qualities of the IRD model, is exactly what we need to compliment these rollers: http://store.interlocracing.com/lodrcaha.html

Anonymous said...

who's that cute woman wearing the straddle-cable-gizmo -earrings?...

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting a real long time for these, Chris, and I'm buying two pairs. =)

Alf

Anonymous said...

Some stunning bikes from Japan:
http://cyclesgrandbois.com/

Check out the compact double on the type-D bike - any chance that these could be procured?

Anonymous said...

Check out this Herse on eBay...

Item #110242439096

Anonymous said...

That e-bay Herse demontable is very nice. I especially like the shifters mounted on the seat tube. Of course this is a small frame, but that is a perfect, much more comfortable shifter location for tall guys than the traditional downtube mounts.

The $11,500 price tag of course is nuts!

gunnar berg said...

My guess is that when you look back on the $11,500 five years from now it may seem cheap. RH is sort of the ultimate touring bike and they aren't making any more Rene Herses...Well, actually they are, but they aren't "real" Rene Herses. An opinion.

Anonymous said...

Geez, in five years is the dollar going to be so devalued, or the bike fanciers so crazy, or both? I hope not...

Anonymous said...

Please forgive such an obtuse question, but what is the correct pronunciation of Rene Herse?

Anonymous said...

reh-NEH er-SEH

gunnar berg said...

If I recall correctly, a Herse Camper sold for something approaching $20,000 a couple of years ago. The price of French touring bikes seems to be controlled by the desire of wealthy Japanese dentists and the value of the Yen and Dollar. Maybe we should be speculating in the Herse futures market.

nordic_68 said...

For the record, the majority of bikes published in the Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles use straddle cable hangers very much like the very nice unit that Chris has reproduced. Good job Chris!

The few hangers in that book that appear similar to a chain link are unique in that both the lower and *upper* cables are looped around their respective pulleys. In other words, those bikes had dual brake cables! Even in this forum I doubt there would be many, if any, who would ask for the return of the dual brake cable.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the cables too. Best I could tell, they were acting as a 'doubler', similar to what ACS made for BMX bikes. It doubles the strength, but also the travel. I'm not sure why this would be desirable on a rear wheel.

Jace said...

Hate to nitpick, but at least based strictly on the rules of French phonetics, René Herse would be pronounced RE-NAY AIRSE, with the final "e" in Herse ever-so-slightly aspirated.

BG said...

"The price of French touring bikes seems to be controlled by the desire of wealthy Japanese dentists and the value of the Yen and Dollar."

Astute observation containing humor and fact. What eBay moniker does that dentist use?

Anonymous said...

jace,

I hate to nitpick too, but a Frenchman would never say re NAY. Only an American would pronounce it like that because all our vowels (except 'e') are dipthongs. And the difference between 'air' and 'er', well, I lean towards 'er'.

Jace said...

Anon,

I didn't mean to imply that my suggested pronunciation was ideal or as nuanced as it could be (e.g. I made no attempt to express the French "r") but, in my experience, for the average American trying to get a better grasp of the sounds, both the é and e lean more toward English "a" sounds than one might suspect simply seeing their pronunciation expressed as "eh" or "er".

Anonymous said...

If it works and makes you smile while doing it, and is beautiful at the same time, making you smile.... then it's good ----D

Matt said...

I bought a couple. Really quite nice.

I have some old roller hangers from my Miyata 1000 that had a similar function to the VO. However, the Dia Compe ones had a rear nut that allowed you to adjust the cable.

The VO hangers require a more finicky installation. You need to get the length right and trim it as it terminates inside the hanger itself - no cable end sticking out. Any further adjustment is at pads, levers, or cable stop.

Still, very clean when you get it working.

Eric said...

All else being equal in a brake set up, would these allow for a slightly higher yoke than the typical (wider?) dia compe hanger?