10 October, 2008

Porteur Racks Are In Stock Again


We have a new shipment of Porteur racks, but I'll bet they won't last long. These racks usually sell out almost as soon as we get them in.

They are in short supply because shop that makes them for us can't increase production to meet demand. But we've found a couple of willing factories to supplement supply. There is one issue, however; one factory can make them at considerably lower cost, but can't polish them. They would come with a "sandblasted" finish. So the question is, would our customers prefer a rack that was $20-$30 cheaper, but not polished? Before you ask, we can't have both; the minimum production run would be too large. I'm leaning toward getting them polished.

By the way, the upper photo shows an older version of the rack (different back loop), but I thought the pumpkin was appropriate to the season.

Update: The racks are already sold out; sorry

51 comments:

Arleigh said...

Yes, price effective Porteur racks are needed

Anonymous said...

could you not have them shipped unfinished, and then get them powdercoated here? You could offer three or four colours--an orange, of course, and a couple of neutrals, such as black, grey, perhaps a brown or BRG or burgundy. WOuld it make them as cheap? and add variety? There is alrady enough sandblasted stuff out there, and it will date purchases the way purple Ringle components date an early 90s MTB.
M Burdge

Anonymous said...

I meant 'already.'
mb

Anonymous said...

i dont seem the harm in having the cheaper option. these are to be utility pcs anyways.

Telford said...

Order in -- been waiting to catch the new stock. BTW - I would buy a non-polished option - its going to get used and the polish will fade with time.

Chris Kulczycki said...

We wouldn't powdercoat or paint racks. Racks get a lot of abuse and chipped powdercoat or paint looks awful. If you scratch the polished stainless finish, on the other hand, it doesn't really show and you can polish it out.

tex said...

I have some powder coated racks. Seems like a pretty lame way to "finish" an aluminum or stainless steel object that is subject to wear and abuse. They look like hell in short order, just like black cranks.

I can think of a couple of places near where I live (hardly a metropolis!) that would be able to polish a sandblasted rack if I didn't want to do it myself. It really is not fun, even with the proper machinery.

Anonymous said...

sandblasted finish: yuck!! I think you should have them send the racks in rough for even cheaper. then have some local teenagers polish some of them with incrementally higher grit sandpaper and aluminum polish (between 1/2hr and 1hr of work per rack) and give others a quick satin finish by using fine steelwool dipped in aluminum polish (max 15 minutes work per rack).

I wouldn't powdercoat them, but if you can find someone to anodize them after polishing, it might be worthwhile...not necessary though, in my opinion.

Allan

Anonymous said...

Hang on, are these aluminum or stainless? my comments above are based on the assumption that they're aluminum.

Allan

lee.watkins said...

yes, sandblasted would be fine.

What would be nice to see is a downtube-mounted pickup rack, or a full-size (handlebar to axle) butcher's bike rack - like those on David Hembrow's site.

I was imagining a VO butcher's bike with the double-top tubes, super relaxed geometry, Butcher's/Delivery bike basket, one of those rectangular lift-stands that folds down from the rear rack or from under the pickup rack ...when is someone going to make those in the states?

Anonymous said...

Fair enough with the powdercoating option--however, I still stand by my Ringle comment. Of course, for the fully 'authentic' look of a mid 50s porteur rack, my guess is that a distressed look would be appropriate. Some rust, chipped and flaking chrome or stove paint, a little bit of structural twine....
It is hard to maintain the balance of fine craftsmanship and 'authenticity' on the one hand, with the competing demands of a real-time utility on the other. Especially when romanticism enters the picture. I work on a farm that is a recovery centre for addicts, and one of our tractors is a 1937 Massey-Harris. If we were to make '1937 authentic' a priority, we couldn't even pull a trailer with it for fear of damaging a vintage or reproduction part. There will always be a trade off between prettiness and utility in fine working bikes. Perhaps like Bontager's 'light, cheap strong: pick two' axiom, there is something like it in these sorts of cases: elegant, authentic, useful: pick two.'
mb

Christopher said...

I was going to jump on the sandblasted finish until I figured that the price savings would not be significant enough to justify it. Go polished and I will save my pennies

David said...

I'd go polished, for all the reasons listed above. Let's sum-up:
(a) It's the VO way, as I understand it,
(b) If a Joe is willing to drop $150 for a rack, he's prolly willing to drop $175,
(c) It looks SO much better, and holds up well, and
(d) the PAA (Purple Anodized Argument).

Anonymous said...

+1.

$175 is a lot of money for some people, and $145 is still a lot of money for those people.

Brian said...

Why not just get the unpolished racks and sell them with a "free" tube of simichrome... that way, you get the cost savings and if you really want it polished, no one is stopping you...

Anonymous said...

Polished! The rack costs $175 anyway, it would be a shame to cheapen it to save $25. The reason I like VO products is because they don't skimp on the details

lamplightsg said...

I wouldn't mind a dull version as long as the shiny version was still available as well. What about a chrome-plated fillet brazed version? I bought the chrome versions of the standard VO racks and they look incredibly good. Better than polished and welded stainless, in my opinion. And of course the price helps too! One thing I've wondered, and it's kind of off topic: Why don't the "struts" on the porteur rack terminate at the outside corners of the rack like the old French ones did? Seems like it would be a tad stronger. I still want one of these racks, I just haven't figured out which bike to put it on yet. :D

jimmythefly said...

If the unpolished were maybe $50 cheaper, that'd sway me. As it is, $175 or $145 I'm still not in a position to buy either, and if I had the $145 I'd find another $30 for the polished.

jimmythefly said...

PS, to me "price-effective" would mean something on par with Jandd or Blackburn. Either polished SS or powdercoat AL, something in between doesn't seem to make sense.

Telford said...

I've priced around for a quality porteur rack. A mass produced rack is hard to find - most are from custom builders. From what I've seen, $175 and stainless at that is a pretty good deal. A rack from Ira Ryan starts at $250. I've yet to find anything on par with the workmanship of the VO rack anywhere near the price. CETMA makes a very primitive version - not much to look at - and its $125.

Andre Citroen said...

Is the rack compatible with bus bike rack arms?

I'd stick with the existing manufacturer, the price is totally reasonable for the design and quality.

Anonymous said...

The polished has a nice classical appearance, I have already purchased one and plan on purchasing another. I really like the idea of a rack made out of stainless steel, instead of brazed chromoly less prone to rust in the inside. Have had some problems in the past with chromoly racks rusting. CFG WHEELS

Jan said...

Polished!

Joel said...

Jimmythefly:

The Porteur racks are not more expensive than a Jandd or Blackburn because they are more shiney. Rather, they are a superior design.

Making them out of aluminum is not an option. The braces would have to be twice as thick as steel to hold the same amount of weight. There is no point in having a Porteur rack that cannot manage a heavy load.

As others have pointed out, powder coat alone is not going to bring the price down to the mass market fits all racks. The CETMA is as utilitarian as they come, uses Wald basket supports, and still costs a bundle.

Chris:

At present - 10/11/08 10:02 Eastern, your site says the Porteur racks are out of stock. Did you sell out already, or has the system yet to update?

yann said...

when i was in the netherlands recently i noticed some super cheap/strong porteur style racks that you could even buy in grocery stores.. what are the chances you could import something like this? They were not that pretty but they were cheap and looked pretty tough.

jimmythefly said...

@joel

I see. I was thinking that who/where/how they are made is what affects price. Considering the Jandd expedition rear rack($73) is aluminum and can take 50lbs, but their front rack will only take 25, I must be missing something. Clearly they did not double the thickness of the braces on the rear rack. What is it about the construction of porteur racks that is trickier? Wide load platform, fork attachment points? I'm genuinely curious.

Telford said...

Fabricated by hand in the US. Made in small runs. Constructed of stainless steel. Polished. A Surly Nice Rack (front) sells for about $140, is made in large runs in Taiwan, is made of chromoly, and is painted or powdercoated. The rack surface on typical front racks is much smaller (think pizza box vs. shoebox). I can quickly bungee a gym bag to the porteur and go - pop it off and take it into the office. Strap a milk crate to it and go shopping - two bags full. In the end - and probably the best reason of all...its just damn sexy.

BTW - looks like they're out of stock again.

david_nj said...

For these racks, isn't it a dubious idea to have them bolt underneath the fork crown like that?

Typically that's only a 5mm bolt either into a brazed-on boss or on of those "Daruma" hangers etc., which are just designed to hold the fender on. With these porteur racks, we're potentially talking about very hefty loads.

I realize you need to have a mounting technique that works on most bikes right out of the box, but I wonder if it wouldn't work better to figure out a more substantial means of affixing them to the frame. If the rack fails, one's case of beer falls onto the ground and one gets a little peeved.

David said...

The fact that they're sold out again is reason enough to stick with polished, seems to me.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the off-topic, but what are those lovely bars?

Michael S said...

Echoing David, how many attaching tangs have broken? I've heard it's a problem with some Nitto front racks.

Chris Kulczycki said...

The new ones will be polished!

The Porteur racks use a separate bracket that attaches to the brake bolt. I've not heard of a single failure of a tang on any VO rack. Those tangs are pretty beefy.

Also, the racks will eventually be pre-drilled for both 700c and 650b bikes making them easier to install.

Silke said...

Are these compatible with bus bicycle racks?

Justin said...

Anonyme:
Sorry for the off-topic, but what are those lovely bars?
They look to be the Jitensha studio custom flatbars from here in the East Bay, CA. You can order them online. I love them. Very practical and feel just right in your hands. Perfect for a mountain bike that needs some class or an-around-town-der.

Carice Pingenot said...

Dang,
Tried to order them Friday, hadn't even seen the post that they were back in stock. Now they're out of stock again for who knows how long. Chris would you consider taking back orders so that I can get in line for the next shipment?
I understand that you don't want people pestering you about "when will my..... be in" but for such a unique product with high demand, I would be willing to wait patiently.
Although I know you specialize in french bicycles, I would love to find a source for a dutch style rear rack substantial enough to carry a friend a couple of blocks pillion. Steco makes them, no one here sells them.

Joel said...

Jimmythefly:

Physics. The design of the rear rack holds more weight than the front.

Either rack would hold more weight were they made of stainless steel - as these racks are - or cromolly.

The Porteur rack in steel is an exceptional design for carrying heavy weight. The triangles underneath support a wide base.

I have put over seventy pounds on my CETMA rack - which costs well more than the Jannd as it is made out of steel and steel costs more to make into a rack than cheaper grade aluminum, but less than the VO because it is not nearly so good looking.

Moreover, my humble Tubus front rider - black and ugly cro-molly steel will take 70 pounds across country. Try that with an aluminum Jannd.

david_nj said...

Oh, that makes sense. Cool. Maybe there could be different rear tab pieces to mount to the brake center bolt, or two canti bosses, or to centerpull bosses. Seems like that would make for a neat installation and be very strong.

C said...

Sorry but I think a polished porteur rack is just silly. It's a pretentious affectation. To me it's like someone polishing a hammer. It's a tool, not a jewel. I really don't feel like paying more for a rack than I spent for the bike. Also consider that if you actually use the rack as intended (and not as a fashion accessory) it will be hidden by whatever you're carrying so it really won't matter what the finish is like.

tex said...

What about polished rims, then? Polished seat posts? Polished stems, handlebars, cranks? I'll take Pretentious Affectation over Soviet Industrial Affectation any day.

david_nj said...

c. They gotta be polished. You could just get a CETMA rack if you want something utilitarian. I have one on my around-town bike. It's huge, steel, and weighs a bit, but I modded it a bit to make it less agricultural, and it's really functional now. Plus, you couldn't ask for a nicer guy than the fellow who makes them. So let's let these VO racks stay polished, and if you are into the industrial esthetic, get a CETMA!

BTW chalk me up for a polished VO porteur rack next time they're available.

C said...

"What about polished rims, then? Polished seat posts? Polished stems, handlebars, cranks?"

Depends on the bike. For my nice road bike I absolutely love nicely polished parts. However my errand running utility bike I don't care about. It's going to get scratched and dinged up from being locked up around town. Like I said, it's a tool and when was the last time you saw a carpenter polishing a hammer??

tex said...

Actually, I am a carpenter, and though I don't polish things like hammers, I am as particular with my tools as I am with my work. I don't buy crap and I don't use junk. I do occasionally polish my truck, which is a more reasonable analogy.

C said...

I do woodworking as a strictly amateur hobby and totally get the value of buying good tools and spending the time to keep them clean and properly serviced. My first table saw was a cheap model bought from a big box store. It worked well enough but I eventually upgraded to a Jet costing several time more money and haven't regretted it at all. I have no problems paying more for a VO rack than an alloy Nashbar rack because I know the VO rack will be stronger and last longer. However, I fail to see how polishing a rack does anything to increase the effectiveness. It's just added cost in the name of cosmetics.

tex said...

Again, the same can be said of any polished part on any bike. My truck has a shiny grille, but the truck would work just fine with a piece of chicken wire in there, or even no grille at all.

I once broke table saws down in terms of bikes for a friend. It was kind of interesting, and it's probably still as useful now as it was several years ago. It goes like this:

For about $100 you can buy a "table saw shaped object" that will not be suitable for much of anything but occasional cutting of stuff that doesn't need to be smooth or precise. Trying to do anything "advanced" with it would most likely be dangerous.

$250 saws are not crap, exactly, but don't expect them to last very long.

$500 gets you a good solid saw (even a portable one) that does most things well enough and doesn't piss off the operator very much.

Spend $1000 and you get lots of cool features, great bearings, smooth precision and excellent capacity.

$2000 and you are in the big leagues. The fence will spoil you.

$5000? Ooooooh this is nice. This is either owned by a cabinet shop, a yuppie, a lottery winner or some total nut with a table saw fetish. Good for him!

I use a $500 DeWalt portable for just about everything, but I'm a carpenter and cabinet installer so it needs to fit in my truck. I have used all of the above types, and if I had a shop I'd have something in the $2000 range. And one less bike. :)

Telford said...

My new VO Porteur rack arrived today. Workmanship is excellent and the polished stainless looks great - just shy of a chrome plated appearance. Well worth the wait. Thanks!

Tom said...

If VO imports was purely about utility, then a wald heavy duty basket would suit everyone fine, and be under 50 bucks.

C said...

Tex you're so right on saws! I started with a $300 Ryobi which worked really well all things considered. For the price it was actually a really well built saw (once you got a good blade on it!) Built a couple of vanities, bookshelves, mantel and built-ins with it. I moved up to the Jet and it has more power which is handy on hardwood but really it's just easier to use and stays in adjustment. Also has greater capacity and a MUCH better fence. Actually looked at the DeWalt portable but figured since I had a full-sized basement I might as well go big. Thought about blowing the big bucks on a Powermatic but after trying one out I realized it's a huge chunk of money for improvements that were hard for a amateur like me to appreciate. Even if I won the lottery I can't see dropping that much on a saw. I'd get more bikes instead!

yankee_dollar said...

what is "price effective?" If you purchased the chromoly tubing here in the US it would cost 80-100, then there's bending, brazing, cleanup, and some sort of finish. $150 isn't bad although it's a lot to me. VO's demographic must have a pretty decent income, or obsession, not sure which, considering how fast these sold out.

Anonymous said...

yankee dollar- if chris could pull off a $90 US retail rack made of cromoly tubing, don't you think he'd do it? It's at least a couple of hours to fixture, cut, bend, mitre and weld up a portuer rack, if not more. I don't know any welder who would work for less than $50/hr these days, and the detail and workmanship for one of these racks requires more expertise than someone who is more accustomed to welding trailer hitches. Material costs are not that much; it's the welders- an experienced high end welder- time that makes it expensive. Personally, I think 175 is a bargain- a Cromoly Cetma is 140, with a rattlecan paint job. Pass and stow racks are cromoly and sell for 240. A hand brazed, surgical grade Stainless Steel Velort Orange portuer rack that is then polished to a gleam is 175? Would he sell out any slower at 275?

Anonymous said...

another point- the cetma uses a wald strut- Cetma is welding up the platform. I'm not discounting his work- it does take time and effort to do what he does, and he's probably pricing it accordingly. But the stays that hold up the platform will be prone to rattling after some time. It's not really an even comparo to the cetma. The Pass and stow is more appropriate, and that's 75 more, and it's made of cromoly, which is heavier than stainless. I would venture to say there's a 75-100g weight savings with the SS VO rack.

ktz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.