06 May, 2008

New Brakes


We just recieved a prototype VO long reach caliper brake in our special polished, but not anodized, finish. This matches the finish of TA Pro-5-Vis cranks and many other classic components. I've mentioned these brakes before, but here are the specs. They have a reach of 47-57mm, they are CNC made from 6066 T6 alloy, and their weight is 367gm per set. You'll also notice that we now have matching cartridge brake shoes that take any standard pad. They are super stiff and very smooth. The price is not yet set, but they will compete with the better Shimano long reach brakes. I'm working on the black hardware issue. Any thoughts?

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

You know, most capitalists pay for market research, rather than asking their customers to pay for it.

ty said...

I like the look and specs of those. I prefer light grey plastic bits to black plastic bits.

anon 13:17 - in what way are VO's customers being asked to pay for VO's market research? I don't get your point.

Anonymous said...

Yep, asking customers what they want could bring down the whole capitalist system! What the hell were you thinking?

Jonah Gray said...

With respect to anon 13:17...

It seems strange to post a comment like that with such an accusatory tone. Certainly, economies are changing and Velo Orange is a pretty forward-thinking company that way, but assuming you have read this blog a few times before should you not have already come to terms with that? The idea that we are participating in the development of new products seems more exciting than sinister.

Anonymous said...

Erik's Thoughts: (hey, he asked..)

These brakes certainly appear functional, well designed and unobtrusive. Do they appear to offer any distinguishing features over the established and well-regarded Tektro R730 or Shimano R600? Not that I can really tell, other than the hidden pivot and the buttressed upper arm. Mehh.. I don't get the impression that VO/Chris's mission is to provide a plain Ketchup product line. I'm looking for the finest "dijon" Ketchup!

As far as providing free market research, if it increases the chance that VO will bring distinctive, intelligently designed product to our little niche of the market, then sign me up, comrades!

I do think that it is vital, however, that Chris maintains the vision that has brought VO to where it is, and isn't reduced to creating lowest-common-denominator kind of product that results when you ask a million people to agree on something.

Kind regards, Erik

Michael S said...

I think they look nice and I agree on non-black hardware.
As for how they fit into the market, I think they look a lot nicer than the Tektros, and about the same as the Shimanos, so if the price was somewhere in between those they'd be in a good place.
I hope fender clearance has been considered. The Tektros I have are pretty curved under the bolt, which drastically limits room for fenders. I don't know anything about these or the Shimanos, but I think a flatter underside would make a big difference.

Chris Kulczycki said...

I think these will outperform any long reach brake made so far. The fender clearance is pretty good; 45mm fenders fit, but I've not tried anything wider. My goal was not to simply offer an alternative to existing designs, but to try improving the standard.

This was a case where the manufacturer came up with the design and was looking for a company to sell it. I was very impressed with the design and stiffness. We made some cosmetic changes and specified the shoes we wanted and there you have it. This is a great arrangement since we don't need to recoup tooling and development cost. On the downside, there is a company in Japan that just started selling almost the same brake. And you may see other versions eventually.

Gunnar Berg said...

anonyme 1,

??? THis is a relatively small group of like minded cyclists, who have an opportunity to actually have direct impact on what comes to a very small market. There's a little good natured give and take, but that really doesn't sound good natured.

Cottered Crank said...

Troll 13:17 should stick with something he knows about, like "first" posts. Or better yet, learn what capitalism is.

Those are very nice looking brakes. I have some of the Tektros, and they are a great value. The hardware on them is first rate, too. This brake with hardware like the Tektros would be great.

Felkerino said...

If you've got them as stiff or stiffer (even better) than the R600 for a lower cost, then it's worth it as long as we don't have to spend another $20 replacing the brake pads with Kool Stops.

The value with Shimano is usually that there is nothing to change right away; with Tektro it's the pads which raises the final cost.

Since the R600 has gotten so expensive, I think there is a point between Tektro and Shimano that the VO can fill. That it looks better is a nice bonus. The finish looks great on the VO prototypes. The black hardware could be grey, but black is OK.

Lastly, if you could make sure the 57mm reach is accurate, that would save us some filing on bikes that require the pads at the bottom of the slots.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:17,
Is it just this particular blog entry that offends you?

Many of Chris's posts end with a request for thoughts or ideas from readers and VO customers, which, thank goodness, most of us expect and look forward to.

And may I point you to the post of 5 September 2007 for a good idea of what this site tries to do (sorry, not good with embedding html-y sort of stuff.)

Anonymous said...

I may be weird, but I actually like the black parts with the polished silver arms. It's like many other great brakes from Japan, for instance. My Mavic brakes, my Suntour Cyclone, on and on--they have the black hardware. I mean, unless you can make it all stainless, why bother with grey-- is that supposed to be subtle?

best,
mw

Anonymous said...

oh my goodness!! he is joking almost certainly!!

if anything he is making fun of the fact that these large corporations could learn alot by the way a business like velo orange is run!!

where instead of paying money to figure out what people want you respond to what people are asking for.

zman said...

These are very nice looking and most certainly performing brakes. Kudos to Chris for pushing forward and continuing to source these new products.

Anonymous said...

If these brakes work as good as they look Chris -- You have hit the nail on the head once again. I would also like to say that I am very impressed with your goods and services overall. I have told a lot of my cycling friends ( most of them outright fanatics) about Velo Orange. Thanks for your dedication --you must be having a blast making all this happen. Ciao----DG

Anonymous said...

Leave it silver. It's bad enough there are very few vendors outside of Nitto selling silver anything anymore.

Anonymous said...

you now, most socialists -- like me, and most Americans (even if they dont realize it and cling to ideologies that neither adequately describe or explain) -- assume we'll be involved in production and creative decisions of all kinds, because participatory democracy demands it (and participatory democracy is just another name for democratic socialism, ofthe sort found in all really democratic countries: Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, etc, etc).

The brakes look great and I will buy a pair the minute they are available!!! Thanks!

Ian Dickson said...

Nice looking brakes. I agree with MW about the hardware. If it has to be plastic, I prefer the strong contrast (black) to the weak match (light gray).

Cody said...

the brakes look great. Please continue to make parts that dont have a clear anodized coating on them. That way you can either polish to your hearts content or hit them with a scotch brite pad to make them more of a matte finish. Ive spent way too much of my time removing the coating on cranks to polish them out.

tys said...

That ain't long reach!
Give us something like 60-85.
I'm glad Chris asks us what we want rather than some "expert"

Anonymous said...

If that singing frog is anything near the size of the singing frogs I have seen in the hippy stores 'round here, that brake is HUGE! The ones I have seen at folk fests and other bongo and bead stores are about the size of an orange. If so, that brake could stop a wagon.
mb

Christopher said...

They look nice, I like them.
Unfortunately I am stuck on center-pulls right now. Does this manufacturer make those?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Tys, I don't think that brakes with reach longer that 57mm make sense on the sort of bike VO tries to build. The are more flexible and heavier and very few bikes can use them. They are used mostly for conversions and for bikes that must have really wide tires for trail riding, and for a few 650b frames. But cantilevers or centerpulls are usually a better option on those frames. Look at the bikes built by the best rando frame builders; they usually use 28-32mm tires and 57mm reach is more than enough even with fenders. Just because a wide tire is good, doesn't mean that an even wider tire is better.

Anon, That's a small frog, a tree frog perhaps.

Christopher, We are working on VO centerpulls.

Gunnar Berg said...

Netsuke?

superfreak said...

i prefer single pivots, simpler, better looking and prolly cheaper to manufacture so i pass on these brakes chris

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just the picture, but to me it looks a little cheap. Not at all like the other VO stuff, which looks great.

Anonymous said...

Chris will the SKS 45mm fenders fit
without touching ?
I ended up using Riv Silvers on a bike designed for 57mm brakes just to get a wide enough brake arch for 45mm fenders with GB 30mm tires. The high leverage qr on the Silvers is good too.

Scott G.

Anonymous said...

Why not anodize them? Does anodizing cause them to lose some of their ability to shine?

tys said...

I use the Tektro R556 on most of my bikes. It's something like 55-73. I have no problems with it (it's the best I've used, actually) but it's nice to have options, and I'm sure VO would make darn nice one. And while you're at it, why not add a little extra reach? Even if VO doesn't want to build bikes for long reach brakes, I know many of your customers would still have use for them. A 32mm tire is too skinny for my tastes, even on the road.
Also, make it with interchangeable bolts for both nutted and allen frames.
A nice single pivot, like superfreak suggested would be nice, too, but it doesn't make a huge difference to me.
Keep up the good work!

Jeffrey said...

If you can source this with the little bits in metal, that would be much nicer than the plastic. Black bits would be fine. All IMO of course.

One small item: I'd verify that the hardware fastening the cable is well-designed. I had a set of sidepulls where the groove where the cable rests was machined too deep. Thus, it was impossible to get adequate pressure on the cable... I just bolted down the cable on the opposite side, but was none too happy to do so.

Anonymous said...

I think they look great , I support chris in his efforts to create different useful parts .. I am just finishing up my peuguot rebuild and he had the simplex parts that I needed, he is a hero in my mind just for having those parts . keep up the great work chris , I surf your site daily ..

TomCat said...

'You know, most capitalists pay for market research, rather than asking their customers to pay for it.'

Actually, customers do pay for it. that's what the 'Value Added' is. It's more transparent here. Shimano does it with athletes and factory workers, SRAM does too, as well as every single other company in the world.

Anonymous said...

Chris,
I would prefer silver hardware,
but the black is O.K. Just as long
as they work well, I'm happy.
Preston

nutty said...

I am assuming these new brakes are made in the "recessed" allen nut style. Is there anyway to get an adapter "kit" made so us knuckle draggers who still ride old bikes can install these new brakes on our trusty steeds? Yes, we may have to drill the holes to make them bigger for some longer recessed allen nuts or something, but let's come up with something, anything. Nobody makes regular nutted brakes anymore, and foraging around for old parts is a hassle.

Gunnar Berg said...

I appreciate it when people like Preston sign their posts. It contributes so much to sense of community to have a person attached to the thought. It carries so much more weight than just "Anonyme". From their writing style, I can tell some of our Anonymes are regular posters. Others just seems to jump in, lob a shot across the bow and then retreat to their caves again.

Thank you.

nordic_68 said...

All I see when I look at these brakes is a breaching whale. Sorry to be such a dissident. But it's a breaching whale!

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/staticfiles/NGS/Shared/StaticFiles/animals/images/primary/humpback-whales-breaching.jpgl

Jim G said...

Redesign the q/r lever so the brakes open up super wide to clear fat tires, ala the q/r design on some of the newer Tektro brakes like the R556. Also make 'em in both nutted and recessed mounting styles. And whatever else you do, spec 'em with salmon Koolstop pads.

Anonymous said...

Most market research isn't honestly asking customers for what is best for them. Most market research asks how they can make the most money off of 'suckers'. (my opinion). I love Chris's Velo Orange. I was happy to see it appear after MomoVelo went under. I have a few of my own ideas I might send Chris's way. Ideas I don't have the money or resources to patent and have produced in quantity. I can hide these ideas away, or share them with my fellow cyclotourists, who have shared with me.

I don't have a cycle that uses these brakes. When I was a freestyling kid, the bomb brake was the ACS BOA. It used ball bearings. I think the person who wanted ultra reach brakes could look toward the bmx world. Dia Compe also makes a nice centerpull, the 990 long reach. I think a quality non-aero lever, another Gran Compe copy, would probabaly be successful. And I'm still rooting for tastefully colored tires. At least natural. ciao!

Anonymous said...

I really love the products you source and create, your prices are great as well... I just wish you could keep things in stock or give a notice when you decide to stop stocking something...
You no longer offer "Grand Bois" tires in almost any sizes.. the B&M lights are no longer offered with a standlight but no switch (for people with bottle dynamo's)
If people are not buying something and you chose to not restock or if you are running low or its a difficult product to source, a little note on your blog here would be very very helpful (the grand bois tires are near impossible to find)
-Ean

Jonah Gray said...

I'd like to cast a vote for a nice pair of non aero brake levers as well

Jonah Gray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cottered Crank said...

Many of the things Chris sells have only been available in the past on a "catch as catch can" basis, and he has done a great job of making them more available. The supply part of his business (and Riv and many others) is the thing that keeps most people from even trying to sell the stuff. It'll drive a person nuts trying to stay on top of it. It's almost like buying handmade jewelry. Tourists are advised "If you see it and you like it, then you'd better buy it, because you probably won't see it again."

I'm just happy Chris is able to offer the things he does.

Anonymous said...

I agree with "Nutty" that a kit
of bolts to convert allen mount
brakes to nutted would be very
helpful. Good idea Nutty.
Preston

Cottered Crank said...

I like that Nutty idea, too! All that's really required is a nutted brake that has more threads on the bolt, and an allen type nut included. Then the length of the bolt need only be trimmed to the proper length. If the installer does not have a hacksaw and a file, it's an easy job for any good bike shop. Some would no doubt be put off by the threads extending into places they "shouldn't" on an older frame, but there's always someone worrying about trivial matters. :)

Anonymous said...

I'll second JimG's thought - the QR should provide a greater delta - open/closed for max tire clearance.

I would also vote for a cast in or engraved "Velo Orange" on the forward arm to add to, IMO, the visual appeal. But please, no painted on model or logo.

K Matthias said...

Yeah, ditch the black parts and I'd be very interested. Looks like a great brake, Chris!

--Karl

johnson said...

silver barrel adjusters are easy enough to scrounge off of old rear mechs. my old 105s have salvaged silver barrel adjusters, and work well.

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Current offerings in 57mm side or dual pivot calipers are all in the "mid-fi" range. Your Rando frame is standard with Paul Racer center pulls. Why not really "go for it" and come up with a no holds barred, cost no object 57mm side pull?

The market for NOS Campy normal reach calipers is $350 a pair or more. Nobody is offering the custom market a high end choice in the category. There are several boutique brands fashioning short reach calipers for the gram counting crowd. Why not commission one of them to make a 57mm offering? You'd be the only game in town! (for a while)

Anonymous said...

X2 on the above. I can't think of a current production top shelf 57mm caliper brake either. There are many bikes custom built with tire/fender clearance needs, outfitted with the best of the best. Right now the only choices are canti's or Paul Racer center pulls.

Given a choice, wouldn't a bike like this:
http://www.mariposabicycles.com/bike-for-mountains.html
have been spec'd with something far more refined? Just one example of using Tektro's because nothing better was available.