31 March, 2009

Little Things

I often write about the larger projects here at VO, things like new racks or frames or bags, but we spend a lot of time on some very minor improvements to our parts that few notice. For example:

This is a new dust seal for our upcoming French thread bottom brackets.


Here is a new, but more retro, design for the top of our VO alloy headset.


These are some of our new fender hardware bits.


What do you think of this new fender stay design we're testing? It's very easy to adjust and does not require cutting.

New Velo Orange hang tags; you might soon see these in your local bike shop.


And, finally, this is a new alloy chain guard we'll be importing. Our version will be silver.

47 comments:

reverend dick said...

The fender stay looks heavy and unnecessary. Cutting is simple and light. If you want some swappability between bikes, just leave a little extra on there.

-1.

Thanks for the opportunity to put in input.

Anonymous said...

You know, the packaging actually looks nice. Simple and elegant. Good work.

cleve said...

The fender stay design is interesting but not elegant. Also, it's one more bolt to come loose.

I'll be watching for the chainguard in silver, to see what it actually ends up looking like and how it attaches. Although the design has a simple elegance, it could perhaps benefit from some zeppelin-like styling. I assume this is for a single chainring only?

And once again, thanks for all you do.

Kathryn
Eugene

Andy M-S said...

As someone who is constantly messing around with things, I kind of like the new fender stay. I'd have to handle it to know for sure, of course!

Anonymous said...

ETA on the headset? My bike is heading to the powdercoater today and I need a new headset for the rebuild, this would be the bee's knees.

DS

Anonymous said...

Fender stays:

Very nice take on the ones Planet Bike used on the "Full" series fenders, but done without the PB pinch bolt. I think it's an old concept, though.

I assmume that the eyelet tube in internally threaded and that the nut is only a locknut, so even if it loosens, nothing falls apart. That can't be said about the Honjo style clamps.

With threadlock compound or a nylok insert to the tube, the locknut may not be necessary.

The Honjos also adds a mass of hardware right at the eyelet. On a one-eyelet dropout that can interfere with rack mounts, light brackets, and pannier hooks.

Tinkerers (yes, like me) also tend to change tire sizes or swap fenders from one bike to another. Honjo means for you to cut the stay, limiting alternate applications, unless you don't mind an extra inch of stay sticking out of the clamp. Adjustability is good.

One more thing - compared to the stay system of SKS or the PB "Hardcore" series, ANY of the above ideas are incomparably elegant!

Rich F

patates frites said...

I like the adjustable fender stays too--good idea. Is the chainguard suitable for use with a front derailleur? If not, are you still working on one that is?

Thanks

Chris Kulczycki said...

The fender stays weigh about 20g more than the current version.

The new headset design will be available sometime this summer, but it's the same as the current version other than the cosmetics.

The chain guard is for a single ring.

Mr. Blank said...

That chain guard looks great, I'm excited to get one.

Anonymous said...

I think the fender stay is
acceptable in appearance and would
be a good convenience, so I'd be
happy to buy a set and try them.
Preston

Jan said...

ugly fenderstays.

Raiyn said...

I like the new fender stays. Clean, simple and allows people who change tire sizes to adjust without purchasing a new stay. You can't do that with cut stays.

christopher lee said...

if that fender stay could have a star washer or a locking washer underneath for it, i'd be way in to it! it would allow for microadjustment which some people i help on a regular basis can not wrap their heads around.

chestery said...

That chainguard looks great -- I like the ones you sell right now, but I'm actually looking for a matte black chainguard (for a Redline 925). Any chance that you might want to sell your demo unit once you're done testing it?

Ian Dickson said...

The adjustable fender stays aren't pretty, but I do have an ugly bike with fenders. They look useful to me.

Hal said...

The VO hang-card is nice. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I like the looks of the fender stays. I have SKS fenders on two of my bikes right now, and I don't feel the cut stays (even with end caps) look appreciably better.

hal.

Lars said...

How long is the chainguard? Hopefully this model will work on bikes like the P/R, unlike the model you sell.
How thick is the chainguard's bb mount? Thick enough to require a european chaincase compatible bb?

david_nj said...

Those fender stays look just a bit wonky -- but they'll work great. They may also be part of the solution toward a folding fender for use with a fixed gear with track ends, as folks were talking about some months ago.

Anonymous said...

A bit off topic, but whats the word on the handlebar bags?

Anonymous said...

Adjustable fender stays are not nice looking. You have already screwed up the fenders by adding predrilled holes and brackets, what happened to keeping it simple? Most of your newer designs have moved farther away from what was so great about VO products, simply stuff that worked great.

robatsu said...

Headset definetly looks nice, I'd buy some.

While I admire the intent of the fender stay, I'm less than enthusiastic about the look and especially the underlying principle.

Something that is adjustable, that carries additional weight/complexity, does so because over its lifetime it likely will be adjusted many times. Hub cones, stems, seat posts, brake pads, etc, these are all things that are tweaked by different owners, maintenance, and so forth.

In principle, fenders are installed once, correctly, then never need adjustment. In practice, one perhaps could make an argument that changing tires could warrant a fender adjustment, but Occam's razor suggests installing the fenders for the largest tires likely to be used.

Or, use the inherent adjustability by leaving a smidge of extra stay. A 1/4 inch is not unsightly and is what I leave for a bit of margin should I bend a stay.

This seems a bit like a clever solution, and it is doubtlessly a clever design, in search of a problem.

I'm almost certain that others may identify this or that bike bit that is also similarly one-time adjustable as an exception to this principle, but why add another exception.

That's not to say that you may not be able to find a market for them, though. I am quite sincere in saying that I find them an interesting little widget.

Uncle Ankle said...

French bottom brackets!

You are my heroes! I had just about decided upon jamming a threadless BB into my Peugeot.

Alloy cups, Cartridge bearings, right? What spindle lengths?

kilroy said...

Greetings,
The fender stays are functional, yet unfashionable.

Best regards.

Raiyn said...

" Anonyme a dit...

Adjustable fender stays are not nice looking. You have already screwed up the fenders by adding predrilled holes and brackets, what happened to keeping it simple? Most of your newer designs have moved farther away from what was so great about VO products, simply stuff that worked great.

01/04/09 01:09"

Yet another reason to ban anonymous comments.

Have an opinion, but have the huevos to sign your "name" to it.

Anonymous said...

Is the new headset based on your Gran Cru or the cheaper VO version?

Chris Kulczycki said...

The chain guard will fit most frames with stays over 40cm long.

The bags will be here soon, very soon.

It's the VO BB, not the Grand Cru.

Tom said...

the French thread BB will be just like our gran cru BB- cromo spindle, alloy cups, sealed bearings. We also etched thread directions on the cup so you know how to remove it.
The Gran Cru threadless headset remains unchanged; we are not making a cheaper version.

Tom said...

and the threaded headset in the drawing is something we are working on. Not sure if we will go forward with it. If we do, it will have alloy cups and locknut with caged bearings. And it will be in a box.

Brian said...

Don't like the new fender stay design. Looks overly complicated, especially for a part that gets so thoroughly soaked, covered in road salt, dirt, sand and mud. My guess is that on one of my bikes, the new design would be rendered useless after about one season. Anyone who can't figure out how to cut fender stays should probably just get the esge fenders from Riv.

I do like the new chain guard. could be pretty. is it aluminum?

Anonymous said...

You ignored a couple of valid questions. Your current chainguard is too long and has to be cut or bent to fit common chain stay lengths. Check out ANT photos if you don't know what I mean. The chainguard was designed for what, beach cruisers? That's the problem and I think that is what Lars was referring to when he asked about its length.

What about the bb mount for the chainguard? Dutch bikes use a bb designed specifically for that purpose with a thinner flange. Or is it not an issue because it is only as thick as a common spacer?

Rick said...

"We also etched thread directions on the cup so you know how to remove it."

Brilliant!!!

alex said...

Not only are those new stays ugly (compared to the current stays), the design creates a large stress riser where the stay threads into the eye-bolt part. Maybe the stay is over built enough that this won't be a problem, but a flaw has definitely been designed in.

garrett b said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
garrett b said...

Commenting on the adjustable fender stay end, and assuming the female "eye bolt" is theaded, why is a locknut necessary? Attachment to the fender eyelet should prevent rotation thus setting the adjustment.

This same adjustable stay can be used for racks.

patates frites said...

garrett b,

Yes, the Surly racks, for example, use the same idea and they use lock nuts too. I think it helps with vibration (remember, unless the adjustable insert is in all the way, it's loose) and also keeps the adjustment in place if you ever have to remove the fender/rack/whatever and reinstall it.

Garth said...

Wow,

Well, I also have mixed feelings about the new fender mounts. I think you should make them, because at least half the people will buy them.

I need to do something about the Honjo mounts on the rear of my Waterford dropout Heron so that I can mount the constructor rack. There's interference.

I like the alternative mounts that Jitensha sells, but don't feel like drilling out the threads in the drop out to make it work.

I think what I have to do is trim off the 3/16" excess and turn the little clamps so that the rods are on the bottom. Does that make sense?

Actually, I'm still trying to think of my own clever solution that is simplistically elegant.

Tom said...

Anon typed- 'You ignored a couple of valid questions. Your current chainguard is too long and has to be cut or bent to fit common chain stay lengths. Check out ANT photos if you don't know what I mean. The chainguard was designed for what, beach cruisers? That's the problem and I think that is what Lars was referring to when he asked about its length.

What about the bb mount for the chainguard? Dutch bikes use a bb designed specifically for that purpose with a thinner flange. Or is it not an issue because it is only as thick as a common spacer?'
################
The guard is anodized blue, not black. We will try to get our guards in a silver polished and un-anodized finish, but we may have to settle for the bead blasted and silver anodized finish.

ANT bike Mike specs our steel chainguard on his bikes, among other parts and components. He mods them to fit. It's a little longer than ideal, but with the range of stay lengths and applications, it's hard to make a one size fits all guard. There will be some mods at your end. If we made it too short, there can be interference with the chain, so it's better to leave it a little longer for a wider range of fits.

We are hacking up the alloy chainguard today to determine the best length though. The chainguard length will be dependent on chainstay length- The longest we've encountered here and on most VO style bikes are 44cm stays. The shortest useful stay length is 400mm. Are there other assumptions I should take into account?

The BB mount is steel and it's flanged to increase rigidity without making it super thick. It should affect chainline by 1-1.3mm at the most.

I'll have more feedback later today. and maybe pictures.....

robatsu said...

"I like the alternative mounts that Jitensha sells, but don't feel like drilling out the threads in the drop out to make it work."

I love those things, I'm assuming you mean the ones with the allen clamp screw.

I've been figuring out how to use a set when I get around to ordering them, what I think will work without drilling is, assuming they are M5 threaded as they appear, is to screw them into the eyelet, use a rubber or compressible washer to take up gap between eyelet and frame that may exist when the eye is in the proper orientation.

Then use the lock nut on the back side. This will work fine. If there isn't enough clearance, cut the bolt down a little and use a thinner nut. If there still isn't enough clearance, cut them down a little more and "pin" the thread with a tiny punch.

These don't have to be really secure anyhow, probably could just screw them in, again, assuming M5 threads, forget about backside locking - when the stay is inserted, they aren't going to screw off or anything, that would be impossible. The allen screw holds the tension on the stay, not the threaded connection into the eyelet as on more common p clamps.

The key is whether these things are M5. Anyhow, they are the best looking stay mounts out there now, imo.

Anonymous said...

For the fender stays, what about a lower sleeve that the upper part slides into, with a grub screw to hold it in place? That way you could adjust fender line while everything was in place, instead of removing, tweaking, and re-installing.

- Jeff

Anonymous said...

Any word on when the french bb's are coming in? my father's u08 is just languishing in my basement after being powdercoated!
-Robin

Anonymous said...

Cutting a chainguard isn't so bad if it's ss or alu, but not chrome plated steel.

The only bike I could find that has chainstays long enough for your chaincover was dutch and not the sort of bike that needs an aftermarket chainguard.

SprocketScientist said...

I sort of like the new fender stay. Looks are not everything. And I imagine it will work and install fine, and allows for fairly fine adjusting.

If nothing else it's distinctive. And I haven't seen any other equivalent right now. Sell it!

Charlie said...

I really like the adjustable fender stay. People say you shouldn't need to adjust, but I find I do:

1) Changing between studded tires for winter and slick for summer.

2) If the fender gets bent, tweaking the stay length to stop it from rubbing the tire is easier than taking the wheel out and bending everything.

Yes, you can leave extra length with other systems but the extra sticking out is ugly and sticks out to catch on clothing, bushes, etc.

On the other hand, why bother with a chainguard rather than going all the way and getting a chaincase. Chainguards are for toy bikes used to ride the the cafe on sunny days. Chain cases are for utility bikes that are ridden in all weather.

Greg said...

Yay, French thread bottom brackets! I'm excited that they're being offered but I'd like to have a bit more information from Tom and Chris before I can make the decision to purchase one.

How did you determine the widths for your French bottom brackets (110mm, 116mm, and 122mm)? The spindle tapers are JIS, not French/ISO, right? Were these designed to be used with ISO or JIS taper cranks?

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/bbtaper.html

It might be worth mentioning to customers that it's not a simple substitution; the threading of the bottom bracket isn't the only consideration.

Thanks, Greg

Tom said...

The tapers are JIS. We used the same spindle and spindle lengths as on our BSA thread bottom brackets.
Opening tooling to make ISO taper spindles is something that is beyond velo orange's budget and sales.

A lot of bikes with french thread BB's have cottered steel cranks, so you would end up replacing the crank anyway.

We will make it clear that taper style should also be a consideration when buying a BBset and figuring out spindle length.

geetus said...

I too like the looks of that chain guard, but, will the bottom bracket mount mess up my nice, straight chainline?

nick said...

so whats the ETA on the french thread bb's? thanks for producing, Chris!