03 April, 2009

Sneak Peak

Here are photos of the final prototypes of the VO production Rando and City frames. These frames, and the forks, should arrive here next week and I'll have more pics then.

I think the Rando frame looks nice, but for three small things. The head tube probably will not be extended. The chain stays should should go higher up on the seat lug. That means using a longer cap (or plug), which is very easy to change. And I'm not 100% happy with the appearance of the rear dropout, though it will work perfectly well. I might search for one with more of a retro look. These small changes won't neccesitate a new prototype, so if the bike builds up and rides as excpected they should be available in about 90 days. This frame has exactly the same geometry and tubing thicknesses as our semi-custom frame.


Here is the 650b city bike. Again there are a couple of very minor changes we may want, but overall it looks good.


I don't have final pricing yet, my best guess is around $800 for the Rando and $450 for the City (including the fork). If all goes well with testing we'll with break with tradition and accept pre-orders, or at least deposits, for the first production run.

73 comments:

kilroy said...

Greetings,

I've been straddling a bicycle seat for a while now and seem to be constantly looking for items that enhance bicycling "experience". I appreciate companies like Cyclopedia, Bikenashbar,and Rivendell, to name a few, past and present. Velo Orange is evolving into quite a bicycle/bicycle parts company. VO offers quite an array of affordable and very "functional" parts for sale, and I feel this will greatly promote bicycling in all forms in the U.S. I use my feet and two bicycle pedals exclusively for transportation and am covered as far as my stock of shoes and bicycles go. But,,,,, those two new frames sure do look nice.

robatsu said...

Hooray on the rando frame. I've been on a years (decades?) long affair with vintage bikes. This is less due to love of old bikes rather than the availability of quality, well featured lugged frames at an affordable price, which this frame certainly is.

Love the top tube cable routing and long point lugs. Seatpost binder bolt area looks a little agricultural, but maybe that is just me.

Definitely agree with losing the headtube extension.

Nothing would be cooler than long horizontal rear dropouts w/adjusters, regardless of the minor impediment they add to mounting an inflated wheel on a be-fendered bike, but that may be too much for which to ask.

Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Loving both of these, especially the city bike. I don't hate the dropouts on the rando, they may look a little goofy bare but loaded up with hub, QR, fender stays, etc... I think they'll be nicely minimalist. I imagine they would look less stark on a darker colored frame.

What's up with the city bike dropouts? That's a very long sleeved section on the stays. Also, I would love to see a cutout in the big blocky section on those, but I know that's just more $ that has to be passed along to the buyer, and this frame is supposed to be affordable.

bsk said...

I like the modern/breeze style dropouts on the rando frame. But I'm happy as long as they are vertical.

Anonymous said...

they 450 price point is a good one to compete with the surly crown. Why the small wheels ?

Hal said...

Chris,

I agree with your suggestions about changes on the rando frame. The city frame is lovely. Do you plan to offer a build kit with either?

Best Regards,

hal.

Anonymous said...

Hal,

A build kit ? Why ? The great thing about a frame and of course the VO website is that you can pick and choose, a build kit is sort of silly in my opinion.

robatsu said...

Oh yeah, one small thing, esp. since this is a rando frame.

Are double eyelets, front and rear, at all possible? Makes rack/fender mounting so much cleaner, especially in the front, and would be a distinguishing characteristic.

Salvo Lutzery said...

Hey Chris,
Do you have the specs on the forks? At the very least, what will the braze-on situation be for the two bikes? I assume they will be compatible with your rando and portuer racks respectively. Nice work.
Now, how about those new front bags....?

Better to look good than be good said...

another thing , it was mentioned that a cottered crank would be much more retro-looking and looks are very is important to me as the rest of us. Maybe a faux cottered crank would fit the retro-look bill perfectly.

Anonymous said...

both look like wonderful real-world frames. I agree with your points. The problem with the extended headtube is that it extends past the lug, leading to an ungainly look and structural questions. The accepted practice would be to either lengthen the lug (by brazing on a ring, which is invisible later), OR just using longer lugs.

Having used that same dropout (on two Jamis frames) I have to disagree with you that it should be changed. . . . aside from the single eyelet issue, it's a really good dropout in practice, as good as anything I've used.

The problem with the seatstay caps is not that the stays need to be longer, it's that to get the classic look, you need a less severe angle on the plug. The plug needs to be longer, not the stay. These plugs look like some used on Nobilette frames, also some Paramounts. Longer plugs are more beautiful, to my eye.

on the whole, though, the look is great, and it should be a dream bike that you could leave in the rain if you wanted.
michael white

richard said...

is there a link to the geometry specs? did you decide on standard reach calipers? I remember some talk of cantilevers.

Chris Kulczycki said...

The geometry and braze-ons are the same as those shown for the custom Rando frame, except for the brakes. The production frame uses medium reach calipers.

michael, regarding the plugs, that's exactly what I was trying to say.

richard said...

why not spec the city frame with calipers. 700c people could us 47-57mm brakes and 650b could go with the longer reach ones. best of both worlds.

Jon said...

Hi, These look great!

What is the maximum tire width usable on the city frame?

david_nj said...

Very nice. One thing I would do *for sure*, even if it's a bit of an affectation, is just put the name once on the top of the down tube. That seems embedded in the whole VO ethos and history.

I agree that the seatstay caps need to be re-thought. The way you had Johnny Coast do them was entirely appropriate. Surely something more or less like that can be rigged here.

Will these be available with centerpull brake bosses? To me, that one detail would make all the difference as to whether I bought one.

Anonymous said...

That is a great color on the city frame. I would prefer to see vertical drop-outs to go with that derailleur hanger. Those who wish to ride the fixed wheel or on hub gears have recourse to the White Industries hub and to chain tensioners, respectively, whereas horizontals inconvenience everyone changing wide tires or trying to set perfect fender lines.

Rick said...

Me, I like the chain peg thingie detail on the rando frame.

Nathan Backous said...

In my years spent working in a bike shop I've really come to appreciate rear brake housing stops. Is there a reason for uninterrupted brake housing on the City frame? Seems like tacking on two housing stops would be easier/cheaper than three housing runners.

Anonymous said...

looking at the bikes in the background, seems these prototypes are hanging out with a pretty wild crowd--that alright with you?
mburdge

Brian said...

Love the city bike frame.

Big question- how tight are the clearances going to be? In other words, come winter will I be able to swap out the 650b wheelset with a 700c wheelset (like rawland's sogn frame)so I can run studded tires? 'cause right now, there's nothing really functional in the studded 650b category, and studs are a must up here december-march.

either way, nice work on both frames.

simon said...

well done on the frames.

for me the issue with the rando frame's seat-lug/stay cluster is the point where the stay caps join the lug. i would prefer them to end up higher and slightly closer to the binder.
longer top eyes would be better too.
it's a shame the rando couldn't be available for brazed on centre-pulls.
the drop outs are ok -i'm assuming at the price point you couldn't do brazed in ends? i'm not mad for cut and plug drop-outs.

i liked the previous location of the branding on top of the down tube, for what its worth.

simon

Anonymous said...

Rando frame. Looks good!

Please lose the extended head tube and please DON'T use an extended lug. That's possibly the ugliest detail ever used on a lugged bike, and I fully blame Grant Peterson for it in spite of my agreement with many of his ideas.

Longer seat stay cap, yes. Wrapover too, or is that too much to ask on a budget frame? Short/wide caps like the prototype actually rub the insides of my thighs (bulging muscles, yeah right).

I would prefer the Breezer-style dropouts. What's the objection, since you really can't see them once the wheel in mounted? Double eyelets would be a plus.

Please show us the fork.

Rich F.

Protorio said...

What about the geometry for the city bike? Similar to the Gentleman's City model? Low trail fork?

Anonymous said...

Not to nit-pick like many of the other poseurs, er I mean posters, but I'm wondering if it would be possible to only attach the Velo Orange decal to the BOTTOM of the downtube (facing the tire or fender). This keeps everything very low-key and exclusive. No one would know what you have unless they look underneath. No need to have to wrap electrical tape all over a new frame to hide the brand in theft-prone urban areas.

Otherwise - nice frames and a great looking start. The details will evolve but for now the main points look really good.

Anonymous said...

The frames are beautiful.

Consider a smaller/more delicate downtube graphic; right now, at least to my eye, it's disproportionally large when combined with the orange color.

John (admitted aesthete)

Anonymous said...

And...

I think a build kit is a very good idea. One of the primary limiting factors in getting others into nice bikes is the fact that to get something truly special, you have to take a tremendous amount of time researching components. How many of you have spent a few hours trying to figure out which bottom bracket fits on your bike?

I'd suggest that Chris create three component groups, using as much VO as possible--low, medium, and high. With one click you could get a complete (or nearly complete) group.

If Chris doesn't want to carry derailleurs and other assorted parts, he could also provide recommendations for what and where to buy, based on the low/medium/high scheme.

Johnonymous

Garth said...

my thoughts on the rando frame alterations were matched verbatim by yours, Chris.

The silver looks nice. I'm not a 650b person, but it looks like a nice tigged frame though I think the blue is too dark.

Is it prohibitive to make holes for internal wiring on the rando frame?

Also, a "proper" v-o headbadge would finish them off nicely.

Congratulations!

Garth

Anonymous said...

Someone asked about the brake cable runners, which probably seem out of place on a Randonneur, but it makes a bit more sense on a city bicycle where you spend a lot of time with one foot on the ground and your body pressing up against the cable or cable housing. With exposed cable you quickly get a line in the the toptube paint.

Anonymous said...

also about the top tube cable guides: the one thing enclosed cable offers is more weather resistance, right? and a bike like this would be the place to worry about that.

one more comment on extended headtubes: it's still a worthy idea. Many of us end up making stem choices and/or spacer choices that are forced by short headtubes. So many designers, from Pegoretti to Sachs, are consciously working in long headtubes. For the rest of us, there would be no Technomic without short headtubes. Technomics are great, but on some frames I wish I had more stem options. Richard Sachs' lugsets, the most beautiful in the industry, have extended sleeves to address this. So there actually is a need for longer headtubes, especially among the aging boomers who would be drawn to these bikes. How to respond to the need is the question. The silver bike moves in the right direction, but is perhaps not a complete aethetic success, that's all.

best,
michael white

best,
mw

leaf slayer said...

Chris, I'm intrigued by the rando bike. Will it be available in larger sizes, say 62cm--64cm? What are TT lengths for these sizes? I take it the rando frame uses a 1" threaded fork? I imagine the rando frame is optimized for using a HB bag.

Thanks!

Inspector Javert said...

YES to an extended headtube.

madhatter said...

Lovely frames!

Rando: For the sake of its many benefits, I would hope there is a way to save the extended head tube. The small aesthetic concession (compared to a classic frame) is worth the increase in stem options. IMHO, the only real issue with this frame is the one you identified with the seat stay plugs...

City: Seems the extended head tube would be an even bigger boon on this type of frame, no? Here it's the rear dropouts that are the major aesthetic (and possibly structural) offence.

Sure it's silly to quibble over such minor details when our world seems to be falling apart, but the length of those tube sockets (and the corresponding shortening of the stays) is upsetting to both my modern and classical sensibilities.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Nice singer blue on that bike. Is that going to be the factory colour?

David_Morris said...

I like both the frames, but the Rando frame is getting really close to US custom and is definitely in the UK custom ball park. British frames start at 300 pounds inc 15% VAT....
David

Anonymous said...

I am in favor of the extended head tube for the reasons iterated above. However, I think it would look much better if the lug were longer so it extended up to the top of the head tube. Look at a rivendell to see what I mean.

Matt

Michael S said...

No No No No No headtube extension. It completely ruins the elegance of the frame.

I assume the fork is threaded. Why would anyone need to get their bars up any higher than a technomic deluxe would allow?

Maybe you could design something like the Serotta heads-up for the people who need a taller head tube.

Emily Zeitgeisterberg said...

Dude, you be selling some high-end tyres . Can you explain to use what the proper wheel:tyre proce ratio should me ?

Emily Zeitgeisterberg said...

I mean beto say:

Can you explain to us what the proper wheel:tyre price ratio should me ?

Steve said...

Michael S a dit...

No No No No No headtube extension. It completely ruins the elegance of the frame.


You will forgive me if I strongly disagree. Here's my Velo Orange Randonneur -- with extended headtube -- and it's perfectly elegant, thank you very much!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/97916047@N00/sets/72157606169015639

Steve said...

Emily asks about a proper "wheel to tire price ratio". Do you believe your choices in wheels and tires should be dictated by some arbitrary mathematical "rule" (beyond that the tires should fit the wheels, of course)?

I've got two sets of tires I use on my Velo Orange Randonneur. During the winter, when the roads are likely to be more cluttered with foreign objects and sharp trash, I use the Panaracer Pasela in 700x32. It's a very nice riding tire, quite sturdy and resistant to damage by road trash, and at $15 each on sale, about the cheapest tire you can find that fits. During the rest of the year I use the Grand Bois 700x30, which is the same size as the Pasela, a bit faster and "racier" but a lot less puncture resistant and a lot more expensive. Are you suggesting I should stop using the Paselas because the wheel set "deserves better"?

Emily Zeitgeisterberg said...

Perhaps, yet still not you mention what makes your wheel cheap ..

Steve said...

Emily says:
Perhaps, yet still not you mention what makes your wheel cheap ..


I neither said nor implied my wheel set was cheap. Does that mean I can't/shouldn't use an inexpensive tire like the Pasela with it? Or if it was an inexpensive wheel set, does that mean in your opinion it wouldn't benefit from using a Grand Bois tire?

What makes a tire good, makes it good irrespective of the cost of the wheel set on which it is mounted, I think.

Anonymous said...

I would have thought spending, say, $130 for a set of tires to put on any bike I own woukd be a waste of at least $100. I have never ridden on expensive tires. I do not know. Does anyone think I would get the same value out of an expensive set of tires as soneone with a nice bike with nice wheels? If so, please elaborate.

I think that is what Emily is asking.

Michael S said...

Steve,
a head tube extension, as shown in the prototype, is entirely different from a head lug extension, as seen on your Randonneur.

Either way, I think people should sacrifice the useless "standover height" and get a bigger frame if they want their bars higher.

Steve said...

An anonymous poster said:

I would have thought spending, say, $130 for a set of tires to put on any bike I own woukd be a waste of at least $100. I have never ridden on expensive tires. I do not know. Does anyone think I would get the same value out of an expensive set of tires as soneone with a nice bike with nice wheels? If so, please elaborate.


Those Grand Bois tires will get you lower rolling resistance than most other tires of the same size. You'll feel the benefit of that lower rolling resistance whether you have "nice" wheels and a "nice" bike or not.

Obviously, if the wheels have so much resistance in the bearings that any difference in rolling resistance of the tires would be lost, then there would be no point at all.

But I don't think that's really the point. If you don't want to spend fifty or sixty bucks a tire, you certainly don't have to: the Pasela is a perfectly nice tire, and I bought mine for on sale for fifteen bucks or less; and I wouldn't think it stupid to use those same fifteen buck Pasaleas on a six thousand dollar touring bike. Likewise, you could build an early 80s Specialized sport tourer you got on ebay for two hundred dollars into a bike that could really show off the best qualities of the Grand Bois Cypres.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Steve.

I do not own a set of 700c wheels that set me back more than twenty dollars including the bike and tires that came with them. At that price point, even the Paselas can seem an unnecessary extravagance.

I know there are reasons people spend much more for wheels other than just to show how much they have to spend. I would have thought the advantages of premium tires would have been obvious only with premium wheels. If you say otherwise, I will accept that.

Emily Zeitgeisterberg said...

I to be enjoy the less much dollar tyres as I find anything be prefer to sew-uppages that pop to me after a few miles. They do cost me much coin, and I now to feel Panaracer Pasela Tour Guard do me just like fine. I to be of opine that steel frame and approximately 7 atmospheres pressure ride like love.

Sandpaper books said...

After seeing the photos of Steve's bike I think the extended tube is beautiful and give it a thumbs up.

Andy M-S said...

My wheels were (to me) pricey. Ultegra hubs (one now replaced with an even pricier dynohub), Mavic rims (I forget which) and nice, DB spokes. I don't scrimp on rim tape, either (you all know what I mean--velox or nothing!). But after side-by-side tests with $40 (a few years ago) Michelin Carbons and $12 (or so) Michelin Dynamics, I ride exclusively on the Dynamics. I've tried others over the past few years, and always come back to these. If only they were folding! But as they come 23-25-28-32, they're just fine by me.

david_nj said...

It's really a pity that the semi-custom randonneuse/ Johnny Coast project cratered. I was so looking forward to owning one for life. I'm thinking the VO mass-produced frames will be more or less like my Kogswell model P (which isn't a bad bike since I swapped in the low-trail fork, just not an amazing one).

BTW, it's cool that these have the chain slap pins on the chainstay. Does that mean that there's now a source for those? I remember reading on this blog that those rubber things are NLA.

As to a second pair of eyelets on the fork, I say mais oui. As to the extended head tube, I say NFW!!

Anonymous said...

Keep the extended headtube and can the discussion about wheels, tires and costs. It's like there's a bunch of 12yr olds on here.

Emily Zeitgeisterberg said...

Anon:

why can not the talk of tyres ? is not function of import to orange peoples?

david_nj said...

Steve et al.: methinks you've been punk'd.d "Emily Zeitgesterberg"?!?

Anonymous said...

Dear Emily,
as professional academician, I am fully accredited to address matters pertaining to zeitgeist. I would like to apologize, first of all, on behalf of all Orangist forums. It is unexplicable wherefore you are treated with such hostility. The matters you reference are in fact well known to all insiders such as ourselves. It is well-known trade secret that all professional rando bicycles, including the illustrious Richard Sachs squad, are shod with Panaracer Paselas rebadged with name of professional sponsor. Thus there is no purpose to purchase any other brand except for sheer vanity, as has been extensively well-documented under strict peer review. To your other tire/wheel ratio inquiry, and thank you for asking, I usually use today's conversion rate from USD to Pounds Sterling applied to tire over rim rounded to nearest equivalent, as I find this infallibly reflects greater global market relationships in material goods; however it must be noted that this only applies to Anglican endurance cyclists. I wish you good day. Please send photo.

your faithful servant,
mw

Anonymous said...

Why does not no one speak English very goodly on this forum?

Emily Zeitgeisterberg said...

MW,

you are very funny.


Borat

sam said...

in regards to the city frame, it looks very nice (minus those strange dropouts) but I feel a slightly lighter shade of blue as well as removing the outline on the downtube graphics would improve the looks. just my .02

kilroy said...

Greetings,

I've been watching the back and forth banter between Steve and poor Emily about tire value and performance. I don't have a Phd in bicycle tire expertise, but I may be able to help.
Here's the scoop: "Buy the tire you can afford. It will perform well. At least, well enough for you to lead a productive life."

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
August Stringberg said...

The expensive Grand Bois is my only vice and my last remaining pleasure. Without it my throat would have to be slit.

Anonymous said...

Tires. I use Bontrager RaceLite Hardcases in 700x32c. They're so puncture-resistant I forget my last flat on that bike. I also carry a tire bead jack on that bike, and I think the tires run more true than the Mavic A719 rims...

Protorio said...

Why not set up the City Bike to take Hetres (42mm) with fenders?

Michel Houellebecq said...

It's funny and sad how the aspergers patients on this board never recognize the joke posts. "zeitgeisterberger" come on, that's obviously not a name. City of the spirits of the time does not a last name make. I've seen so many French pop stars on here, dead French historical figures and evil captain Kirk, it almost hurts to see people take their posts seriously.

American cyclists are the most difficult and least fun people to talk to. Hipsters with some form of autism.



-

Sherman Tanque said...

This bike has an intersting tire configuration--though not aesthetically as pleasing to the VO crowd as could be--though it is very practical and functional. Pansela panaracer TG in front, and a bullet-proof IRC tandem in the back. Note label is lined up with valve stem---very , very VO.

Sherman Tanque said...

oops ,Panaracer Pasela TG

Sherman Tanque said...

Damn I am stupid, I forgot the link to the bike of which I speakhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/17479504@N07/3391606682/sizes/l/

Sherman Tanque said...

easier to cut and pass:




http://www.flickr.com/photos/17479504@N07/3391606682/sizes/l/

humorless quant monkey said...

"American cyclists are the most difficult and least fun people to talk to. Hipsters with some form of autism."

Don't hate us because we're earnest and quantitative. I constantly remind myself that God loves ironic foreigners such as yourself, and I should too.

Anonymous said...

"Michel Houellebecq a dit...
It's funny and sad how the aspergers patients on this board never recognize the joke posts. "zeitgeisterberger" come on, that's obviously not a name. City of the spirits of the time does not a last name make. I've seen so many French pop stars on here, dead French historical figures and evil captain Kirk, it almost hurts to see people take their posts seriously.

American cyclists are the most difficult and least fun people to talk to. Hipsters with some form of autism. "

Wait, Mrs Zeitgiestburger isn't real? You mean her English speak better? And so what if Americans like assparaguss? I don't know where you're at but here in Real America we like are head tube extenders and we like'm tall. And as for tires... I just get whatever they have at Target. Now that VO has packaging I'm really looking forward to picking up a randonearcycle for each of the kids next Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Any details on available sizes, geometry, and trail on the city bike frame? I've been looking with no luck for the perfect 650b conversion or purpose built frame without going custom. I'm short and need something on the order of a 49cm road frame and want to try the low trail thing.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I like the color scheme quite alot. Sure the dropouts could use a little refinement but going horizontal is perfect in my view. If this ends up being available in the right size and is a low trail design, I'm pretty sure I'll get on the list.
Thanks,
Todd Schulke (anon just above - can't read french or figure out how to make it english).

Anonymous said...

One last comment, please, please, please ensure clearance for Hetre or Fatty Rumpkin w/fenders.
Best,
Todd