25 June, 2009

Tom's Ugly Grips



Tom and I almost always agree on the products VO should stock, but there are exceptions. When he saw these new grips made especially for Dia Compe inverse brake levers Tom just loved them. I wasn't so sure. He thought they looked sleek and the groove for the housing was a brilliant idea. I thought they looked too plain and would prefer a grip with more texture. But I trust Tom's judgment and so I placed an order. Of course that didn't stop me from kidding him about his "ugly grips".

Well the grips finally arrived. The color is a close, though not exact, match for the lever bodies. The material is rubber-like and a little firmer than most grips, but not bad. And at $7.50 a pair the price is certainly right. On the down side, the rubber has an uneven sheen; it looks a little oily in spots.

So what do you think? Was Tom right? Will they sell well? There's a six pack riding on this!

One other interesting item, a VO Grand Cru seat post just sold on E-Bay for $57. They are only $45 new! Here's the link to the auction. I guess we should raise prices?

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

tom was right. but how do they match with brooks?

mw

Tom said...

They are gum hood color; the closest match to a brooks is the Honey colored saddles, but it is different. If you look with one eye, then the other, a couple times, the color perfectly matches Dia Compe inverse lever bodies. And then you get a little dizzy.

Kilroy said...

Greetings,

Obviously, Tom is on the ball and clearly knows what he is doing. The new grips are clearly functional and quite appealing. However, I feel the Dia Compe inverse brake levers are as ugly as sin and hurt my eyes every time I look at them.
Maybe you should be considering a "retention bonus", if applicable.

Best regards

Tom said...

I like double IPA's.....

patates frites said...

It may not be the most beautiful bike part in the world, but at least it doesn't look like this:

http://mantasaddle.biz/index.php/frontpage.html

Anonymous said...

I think the cable routing is great, would love to have them for this reason alone.

But maybe consider that some of us use reverse levers in this manner but don't use the gum Dia Compe ones? I'd be very happy to have them in black to match my Tektros.

I think you'd definitely sell more of these in black or even more fanciful colors. Not everyone needs to match their Brooks.

Chris Kulczycki said...

These are made by Dia Compe (not VO) and they probably won't want to make grips for a competitors levers. But if they sell well I'll ask.

K Matthias said...

Wow, Ebay is really it's own world sometimes. Even if there is compelling evidence that you could raise the seat post price, I think you should wait... at least until all my bikes have one. ;)

Benterati said...

If they would work with Bar End Shifters, and come in black, I would buy them

Anonymous said...

well, Tom...At least you have good taste when it comes to beer.
;)
Allan

Anonymous said...

They look awesome, buy that man some beer!
I'll buy a pair for sure.
However, my levers are grey, not brown like the ones in the photo.
Now I'll have to buy new levers to match my grips ;-)

Anonymous said...

About the Ebay item...

Sometimes I will buy something on ebay before VO because they take paypal. Alot of people already have funds in there paypal accounts, so it's easier to spend the money. I wish you took paypal as well. I'd be spending a fortune here!

Missoula Flood said...

I think they look pretty cool.

Christopher said...

They look OK. But I think I will go the Rivendell route and grove a set of cork grips...

david_nj said...

The reason for the inverse levers probably had to do with the fact that, on a porteur bike with a bulky load on the rack, you don't want cables and/or lever parts vertically above the rack, so that you can get as much stuff on there as possible and snug it up against the front of the bars.

With this in mind, the type of inverse levers that use an inside-the-bar routing seem to me to make much more sense. It's a real pain to drill the angled holes properly (especially in steel or heat-treated alloy bars which you might want to use since they're going to be a bit weaker with the holes). I wonder if VO might consider offering some pre-drilled bars for this purpose.

nv said...

The cable groove looks like it wouldn't be very comfortable in the hand. I prefer the following set up which I have used on several bikes: Punch the ends out of the Dimension black/synthetic blend cork grips (that VO sells) and slide them over the cable. The grips have plenty enough give so that they slide over and conform just enough to the cable while retaining a near-round shape. It works perfectly and looks and feels great.
I can link to pix of this set up if anybody is interested.
nv

Tom said...

nv: have you tried that trick on 23.8mm dia handlebars? The black VO grips fit well over a 22.2mm dia bar, and with some effort on 23.8mm dia hbars.

Anonymous said...

Since you asked ...they are butt ugly. From what I can see they are just some sort of ugly plastic. Oh well to each his own.

BTW I am not a big fan of inverse brake levers. I had installed some on one of my bike and they were connected to Paul's touring cantis. It seems like every few months the cable ends would shear off at the lever. Maybe it was just the angles or a poorly made lever with rough edges (I think the levers were made by Tekro). Any way I have retired them forever.

Phillip

Justine Valinotti said...

Since I don't yet have a set of inverse levers, and won't until I build a new city commuter, I consider myself more-or-less neutral. And I say they look pretty good.

I don't drink beer, so I can't attest to Tom's tastes in that category!

Joel said...

Anonymous 2:19:

But is the ease of using eBay worth $12.00? Plus no warranty. My guess is that whoever bid on the seat post flat out failed to do a little research.

The auctioneer is guilty of one of my big pet peeves: included Rivendell in the title to sucker in eBay seachers.

I like Rivendell bikes and products. But the whole Rivendell cachet has gotten completely out of hand. Great classic Italian and French bikes as well as bikes by iconic custom builders will be advertised as Rivendell-like.

eBay rules say misnaming tactics break the rules. Apparently they feel if it has lugs (or in this case is shiney, I guess) it is Rivendell like as they have never listened to my complaints.

Travis said...

I'm sure you understand this as an obviously savvy businessperson, but just because there is someone out there willing to spend $57 on a $45 seatpost doesn't mean that everyone would pay that price. Now if you were selling out of the Grand Cru seatpost and many people were paying these prices, then you might be on to something. Either way, it sounds like it wouldn't be a bad idea for you to put some parts up on ebay, if only to at least correct the secondary market.

BTW, I'd love to see the Grand Cru seatpost in some other sizes, particularly 27.0 or 26.8. I'm not really the reaming type, and the niceness of available seatposts in those sizes is definitely lacking compared to the Grand Cru.

nv said...

Tom,
I have the black Dimension grips on 4 bikes, two are 22.2 and two are 23.8. The only bike that currently has cable housing running under the grips is a 23.8 bar (although I've done this a few times in the past as well). I rotate the grips while pushing them into place using rubbing alcohol as a lubricant - it's not that difficult.

Anonymous said...

Why not sell some of the plastic derailleur cable covers - or whatever they are called - for use over brake cable on moustache bars with reverse levers? If you plan on taking advantage of a moustache bar's multiple hand positions you might use tape or cloth farther from the lever. The plastic cable covers could be used in such case. By moustache bar I mean all types, french, rivendell, upside down north road etc.

Elliott said...

Please do not raise prices based on ebay trends. I don't often need seat posts, but I value Velo Orange as a source for quality product and fair prices.

Ronald Rump said...

You owe no one anything, it is your responsiblity to take whatever the market will bear.

Justin said...

Sometimes I will buy something on ebay before VO because they take paypal. Alot of people already have funds in there paypal accounts, so it's easier to spend the money. I wish you took paypal as well. I'd be spending a fortune here!

One of my favorite features of Paypal is their one-off credit card creation! I use it whenever I order from Peter White Cycles since you have to call or send him your CC info in an email.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Anyone who has read this blog regularly should know that my comment about raising prices based on an E-Bay sale was tongue-in-cheek.

My basic principle regarding pricing is to base prices on making a reasonable profit, not on what the market will bear. There are a few exceptions, such as the porteur chain cases, that we offer at a lower margin simply because I think they are so cool that someone should make them.

Steve said...

How about PayPal, Chris? I'd love to see that as well.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Paypal is evil! It's a pain to process with our system and very expensive. That's why few large companies accept it. E-Bay or individual-to-individual transactions are really what it's designed for.

Anonymous said...

Just a quick thanks. You folks at VO kick some serious tail when it comes to bringing something to the market that nobody else will. Few others seem to understand that a bike can be a thing of beauty as well as practicality.

Simame Ugoobooga said...

Chris, I appreciate your comment about the evil nature of Paypal. It is refreshing to see a person not pull punches when speaking of a large company. My hats off to you.

Anonymous said...

Well, sorry Tom, but as much as I'd love to contribute to the enjoyment of a sixer of double IPA for you (the fact that you like that indicates you do have taste in some matters, at least), those grips (and levers for that matter) are some of the ugliest things VO has offered yet. COunt my vote a nay.

Mel, SF

Andrew said...

I would buy them and then wrap over them with cloth tape. I usually use track grips in this manner, but I like the cable groove on the dia-compe grips. Also they are cheaper and I wouldn't have to cut them down to length.

Preston said...

I like the grips, but mostly I just
want to know who wins the six pack.

Preston said...

I like the grips. When do we find out who won the six pack?

Anonymous said...

Why do folks think PayPal is evil? I regularly take it from customers of my business, and if you are a heavy user of PayPal, it can cost as little as 1.9% to accept it.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, the levers are not pretty.

Regarding the seat post: I have a Jaguar on my Toei and a VO on my Rivendell. They're equally functional, but the VO seat post is definitely better looking. The laser-etched VO logo looks cheapo, though. Maybe you could engrave instead?

Someone's going to shoot me for saying this, but VO is ridiculously inexpensive, particularly considering that VO is the sole supplier for many of the parts we need.

You should raise your prices substantially. Not because I like paying more money, but because more capital means more products. Someday I'm hoping to have a completely VO-equipped bike. I want VO hubs and derailleurs, and drilled aero brake levers, preferably with something more subtle than that ugly laser-etched VO logo.

Kilroy said...

Greetings,
I'm beginning to "O.D." on all this bruhaahaa about handlebar grips, paying with PAYPAL, some rube paying more on ebay than from the source.
I've got better things to do.
But,....
An idea has been born from this stimulating conversation.
Let's bypass Paypal and paying money altogether(we are in deep financial trouble), and use beer as a replacement for money-the V.O. barter system.
We could even send Tom an extra special double IPA for special service as a kind of tip.
This would stimulate sales of your porteur racks to further transport the new "money" from the grocery. It's a win-win situation.
I'll drink to that!

Best regards.

bikelovejones said...

Chris -- you ever been to Portland? Lemme treat you to some Stumptown Porter next time you're out this way.
Because those grips are OMG-Hideous.

keithwwalker said...

I also have the Grand 'Crouton'(!) seat post.

I happen to prefer the laser etching, it is very discrete, like Chris King's new sotto voce laser etching on thier head sets (google it and see).

The only question I have is whether there is a clear coat over the anodizing? There is a slight rainbow-ish hue, you can see it in the photos in this blog article...

Major Taylor said...

What is so ugly about them? I think they are kind of HOOTTTT!

SAREN said...

To the Anon above with the Toei and Riv: Consider yourself shot. So VO should raise its prices to what the market will bear? What a cliche. I'm so glad it is a businessman like CK and not an armchair capitalist like you who are the force behind VO.

Unlike you sir, not every VO customer has the means to pay top dollar for his bike jewelry. You may be hanging yours on frames worth 3 large a piece, and wish to have matching names on all the aluminum bits, but I suspect many of us here are riders with a taste for Champagne but pocketbooks only thick enough for IPA.

I personally am hanging my VO on vintage production steel and am more focused on functional finesse than your platonic perfection.

And do you really think that all who post here would be so ready and willing to give feedback and suggestions were VO trying to squeeze every last dollar out of the demand curve for Grand Cru seat posts? I think not.

VO is low hanging, delicious fruit, and I hope it stays that way for a long time to come.

john said...

Since you're asking...the grips aren't so pretty. They look like something I would expect to see on a department store bike.

Rick @ Bicycle Fixation said...

I've used PayPal for my own little business and in a medium-sized business where I was in charge of internet sales. In the latter I also accepted credit cards through a processor.

PayPal was not only always cheaper for us (by about 1/2%) but had much better fraud protection. We NEVER had a bad sale with PayPal, working in an industry notorious for fraud (photo equipment); we lost in the five figures through our credit card transactions.

PayPal always had our back in a problem--and problems were rare. The CC companies basically told us to get lost.

For me, at least, PayPal works. I couldn't afford to pya CC processing fees otherwise and still stay in the bike clothing biz at my stage of the game.

Anonymous said...

I got the anti theft skewers in the mail and a few things stood out.

The key is pretty small and pretty unique. Shouldn't you get a duplicate or make one available?
It would be great if it could be put on a key chain. I used to use the pitlock and kept one socket on my keychain and a spare in my toolbox. It is a pretty short allen tool and seems pocket friendly, so why not make it keychain compatible? As it is I'm not sure where I'd keep it. Loose in a pocket? In the saddle bag? I'd rather not.

Mine seemed poorly machined in places and the allen tool was a poor fit on one skewer. If the allen tool only goes part way in and at a slight angle might durability not be questionable?

The hole in the allen tool wasn't centered properly. I'm also worried about the strength of the material. I've seen both pitlock and lesser anti-theft skewers suffer from key and nut deformation. Perhaps it's less likely with a short tool, but I'm still concerned.

Seems like a good idea poorly executed. Perhaps VO should specify higher grades of steel and better quality control.

jimmythefly said...

What size is the security hex? Google "security bit set" and you'll find many places to obtain those types of bits, as long as it's a fairly common size. you'd still need something to drive it with, like and old 1/4" box end wrench or something.