08 July, 2009

More on New Rims and Wheels

A lot of folks seem interested in our plans for wheels and rims, so I thought I'd write a little update.

PBP 700c rims

The first VO rim we'll be getting is a highly polished 20mm wide closed box section that looks a bit like the old Mavic MA2. It's a true double wall rim with nickel-plated brass eyelets The recommended tire size is 23-32mm tires. This should be the perfect rim for our upcoming rando frame. Weight will be around 450g. We have ordered them in both 32h and 36h. Pricing is not yet set, but we're trying to keep it under $40.

These rims have already been made and polished and are now getting eyelets and stickers. We should have them here around the end of the month. They will initially be available individually through the VO Store and through other fine shops. Later we'll offer wheels built with them.

Diagonal 650b rims

The second rim will our new 650b rim. It's also a mirror polished, but a triple closed box section that looks a little like the CR18 we now sell. Other specs are: 24.5mm wide, 36h only, a little over 500g, nickel-plated brass eyelets. We've mounted various 650b tires on these and they are perfectly sized. Again, the price we're aiming for is under $40. If folks like these we can also have them made in 700c. This is a very strong rim that could be used for loaded touring.

These rims are expected in October.

New Wheels

It's been a time consuming project to find the best place to have new our wheels built. These rims come from Taiwan so our first idea was to have them built up in Taiwan. There are several high quality wheel building operations there and the per-wheel build cost is very attractive. But wheels are bulky and in shipping them across the Pacific we would be shipping a lot of air. It turned out not to be much more expensive to have them built here so that's what we'll do. As with our other wheels they will be hand built and hand trued.

We plan to offer the PBP rims laced to Shimano 105 hubs and to a dynamo hub. The Diagonal rims will go on similar wheel sets, plus a 3-speed wheel. We are again considering making VO hubs, but does the world need another high-end cassette hub?


The photo is of our new rim sticker, but not our rim.

44 comments:

Gary said...

First vote to make a 700c version of the upcoming 650B rim!
I'd much rather have a 24.5mm wide rim than 20mm...
Thanks Chris, these sound great!
Also, any new on the Taiwanese racks? I'm waiting for the front rack specifically.

Uncle Ankle said...

Myself I'd prefer a lightweight 22 (17c) mm wide rim.

If you do make a cassette hub I would love you for making it a "5-out-of-9", for fat tires and strong wheels. Long live the 10-speed!

Anonymous said...

Yes to the Diagonal 700c's. Will be great to have the PBP's too, will have to get some as backups for the last of my MA2s.

Mel, SF

howtostretch said...

Chris,
please tell us if the eyelets on the PB and Diagonal are single or double?

What are the eyelets on the PBP made of?
Thanks
Mark

Tom said...

We use single eyelets. They capture the wall of the rim that faces the hub, and allows the nipple to bed in without abrading the aluminum rim itself.

Can anyone tell me why a 'double eyelet' is better than a single eyelet, aside from higher cost and added weight?

I don't know of a rim maker in Taiwan that uses them, and it seems to be more of a weight and cost penalty. Does it increase the stiffness? Does it add to a positive planing experience?

Porteur and Constructor rear racks are getting stickered as we speak. expect a blogpost from Chris soon....

patates frites said...

May I suggest more info on the rim label? Model, rim size, # of holes...

Anonymous said...

Tom and Chris,

DT went with single eyelet rims, and had trouble with the eyelets pulling free, cracking around the rim. Another data point, and I think Mavid also had that issue on a run of rims...something to consider

saren said...

Great news on the rims and wheels.

Regarding hubs, it would be great to see some VO hubs with the graceful radii and curves of yore. I find the more straight-line geometry of most current hubs to be quite jarring in appearance, especially on a vintage frame, where it spoils the look of a slender and elegantly raked fork.

A graceful looking mid-priced hub would be a boon to those of us who don't have the budget for Phil Wood or Campy.

howtostretch said...

RE: double eyelets. It has been my experience that the double eyelet rims distribute the stress of the tension of the spoke on both the inner and outer rims. This, for me, has resulted in longer lasting, sturdier rims. I have never cracked a rim with double eyelets. I have cracked rims with single eyelets.

I don't think it increases the stiffness nor does it add to planing (i got your joke :o), but I do think it adds to durability. Using a single eyelet rim has got to be cheaper, that to me is the only benefit.
Mark

Anonymous said...

Larry said...

I think high end VO hubs at a REASONABLE PRICE would be superb. For wheels I have built in the past I had to scan e-bay for fairly long periods of time before finding hubs that were in good shape and price. While you are at it consider selling reasonably priced packages of spokes (36 or 40so 4 spares are included) that fit the VO rims and hubs. Makes a one stop for wheel building supplies

Anonymous said...

actually, 105 hubs are pretty amazing for the price, and silver too. Just saying.

mw

Anonymous said...

Hey people, pet Chris/and or Tom decide of the specs. If you want something different build it or have it built for you. A good quality wheel set at an affordable price is not built to please every one of you.

Anonymous said...

"Hey people, pet Chris/and or Tom decide of the specs. If you want something different build it or have it built for you. A good quality wheel set at an affordable price is not built to please every one of you."


Why do you think that they even post on this blog? Feedback is a positive thing for any business. They don't have to take the advice if they don't want to, but keep in mind that they ARE creating these products for the people who buy them...

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Would love to see curvy, polished, high flanged hubs as along as you offered them with a campy cassette option.

landotter said...

"Can anyone tell me why a 'double eyelet' is better than a single eyelet, aside from higher cost and added weight?"

It's fantastic if you're Mavic or another company still using a very soft aluminum alloy in order to push cosmetically smooth, but gimpy rims through a die. The double eyelet indeed makes the rim stronger, but it's not necessary on rims made from a proper alloy.

The rims in the blog sound fantastic, especially for restores that wanna look right. Those of you that are hankering for a stupid strong wide 700c rim can find it in the Alex DM18. It's eyeletted, 24.4 mm wide, 600g and stronger than hell. $20.


Before you kvetch about the rim being a hundred or so grams more than other rims in the same usage club, think about this: trekking tires often get into the 700g+ range. That's 350g more than a standard Panaracer Pasela! Yikes!

Anecdotal strength: I just flipped my tour ride with my hand built DM18s as they hit a hidden storm drain. The sidewalls were mauled to hell, but the wheels stayed true. Half an hour of emery paper made them brake like normal again, even though they crazy gouged.

Wouldn't surprise me if the new VO rims are sourced from Alex, a great underrated bike part company, much like the maligned Tektro.

Joshua said...

I don't think that the world needs another hub, no, but if you do decide to make one, make it high-flange. This is basically the only thing you can do to make it stand out in a marketplace chock-full of hubs.

And yes, Shimano hubs, especially the 105 variety, look great, operate perfectly, and are very reasonably priced. If you're like me and you prefer cup-and-cone hubs to cartridge type, they're also the only manufacture who is still using this method exclusively (and aren't likely to change).

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see an attractive silver sealed bearing hub set for touring and utility bikes, 130 and 135 spacing. Not necessarily a VO model, perhaps something already available in taiwan. Doesn't Grand Bois sell something along these lines? There was a photo in their blog recently. No idea what that was about though.

Anonymous said...

So what you are saying is...Chris may not pre-order a container load of 48 hole high-flange front, with wing-nuts, 27" non-hook beaded rims with heliomatic-compatible high-low rear hub, all laced to zinc spokes, to suit my whims? This is too much new information--I better sit down...
M Burdge

Anonymous said...

"does the world need another high-end cassette hub?"

Yes. Not as heavy as the Phil, and not as expensive as the King.

Stevy

David_Morris said...

Great sealed bearing hub set = Miche Racing hubs, now from QBP or available from the UK.

Lightweight 17c rim = DRC ST19. DRC also makes a nice "classic" rim too, all made in Milan.

Anonymous said...

The old Miche hubs were junk. Maybe these are better?

High flange hubs are for building stiffer wheels which is good for track racing, but not for comfort.

Anonymous said...

When you have the rims it might be helpful to post the ERD for those who want to build their own wheels up. Makes it easier to get the correct spoke length.

Flange dimensions, too, if you have hubs made...

Tom said...

I checked out the Grand Bois website. They sell a cassette hub. 7/8/9/10 speed compatible, Shimano spline, sealed bearing. For the $135ish price, it probably has a steel cassette and 3 sealed bearings. not too bad for the money. It's made by Joytech. Low flange. External quick release. Eh.

The hubs VO was looking at were hi/lo flange hubs, 4 sealed bearings, shimano splined, alloy cassette body. It would have the same OS hubshell like 105/ultegra. It would sell for about $150.

A 105 hubset (looseball, not top of the line, but still good quality and utility) sells for $110 a pair. And you all can probably find them for less, in 10 different websites.

Having a hubset made to our spec: high flange, cassette (or freewheel for that matter) sealed bearing (or loose ball) cromoly axle, our QR, would require us to open tooling, probably $6-10,000. The factories will gladly take our money for tooling and production but they expect purchases of 1,000-10,000 hubs annually for it to make sense for them.

There's not much motivation for us to do the research, hacking and tinkering, finance the tooling and commit to thousands of units annually when the sales will just not match what we have to buy, especially based on the price we would have to sell it for. We are still a tiny niche of a market in the big picture. And we are fickle; we can't come to a consensus on what we want: looseball or sealed bearing? Thread on or cassette hub? Solid or QR axle?

Chris Kulczycki said...

If we did hubs they would be low flange or hi-low, sealed bearing, with VO QRs.

The way I would do it is to use an existing hub shell and then spec the bearings, cassette body, axle, and finish we wanted. The hub body is the expensive part, but there are dozens and dozens of molds for them already floating around. That would give most of what we want without a huge investment.

By the way, I remember that I very happy to get low flange hubs after racing and touring on high flange for years. The low flange hubs were lighter and more comfortable.

Tom said...

I'm looking at the Miche hubs in the QBP catalogue. I'd be very surprised if they were actually made in Italy, especially for what they are selling for as a set. Busy graphics, red anodized dust covers and a cheapo quick release make me think it's Taichung, not Milano. There's nothing wrong with where it's made- American Classic, WTB, Surly, DMR, Industry9, Sturmey Archer, and many many other brands have their hubs made in Taiwan often with better quality than when they were made domestically. The Miche hubs are priced where these brands are; EU and US made hubs are hundreds more.

I see road hubs made by Phil, Campag, King, DT, and Shimano. Those are the Big Guys. There are a many smaller players: American Classic, Sun Ringle, and brands such as Dimension, Surly, Soma, etc. Do we really want to defend sales in this area, with a hub that is largely similar? We could play the snazzy graphics game, but that's not our bag. With the exception of Phil, none of these brands- big or small, are interested in selling just hubs. They are all seeing big sales pre built wheel. Our own sales of hubs and rims vs complete wheels point us in that direction too. DIY wheelbuilding, while romantic, is a shrinking market.

ChrisCullum said...

I would have liked to see the 700C rim in around the 22-23mm width range to better go with the 28-32mm tires that are popular with this crowd. In terms of rims there is a lot of 19-20mm wide road rims and then there's wider, heavy touring rims, not much in between other than the Velocity Synergy and CR18 (which is a bit utilitarian for a nice bike). Can you say who is going to make the rims?

ChrisCullum said...

The cassette hub is an interesting idea. If you're worried about whether this is already adequately covered, how about a 7spd width cassette body? This would be unique, result in less wheel dish, allow one to use modern shifters by using 8 of a 9 speed cassette cluster or old school by just using a 7 speed cassette (which is less finicky for friction shifting). Both types of cassettes are still readily available. I know this can be done by transplanting a 7spd body on a 8-9-10 speed hub but that requires digging thru parts bins, ebay, NOS, etc. That could be a good niche to fill.

thechammp said...

Is there a reason for not using butted spokes? My understanding is that they are lighter and that the added flexibility actually makes them more durable.

also, I was going to mention my interest in 27 inch rims, but I guess that the cr18 is really about as good as it gets. Look a little clunky on a lightweight though.

giant hogweed said...

Okay now that there's a 650B rim, you need some nice 650B tires. Will you be selling Kirk Pacenti's new Pari Moto?

Tom said...

Butted spokes would add about $50-60 to the cost of the wheel. A CR-18 is a fabulous rim in 27x1 1/4" It's really the best ever 27" rim made.

Anonymous said...

great that you will be selling 20mm 700 rims , I have been waiting a long time for this now I can replace my old 70's , Grand Bois already make the wider 23mm rim

Anonymous said...

I would like to see a nice classic looking hub for campagnolo now when campagnolo has stoped making polished hubs , there are so many options already for shimano

Garth said...

What Chris Cullum is saying about the cassette hub is, in my opinion, right on. By using a shorter free hub that allows for less sprockets from a cassette, you can respace the rest of the hub to allow for much better dish. A seven gear cassette is also much easier to shift than a nine speed, though I have found the eight speed cassette not too bad (friction shifters).

The only thing holding me back from the Phil freewheel hub at this point is the price.

If Velo-Orange can fill this niche, I say go for it. Otherwise I concur we don't need something that Shimano is already providing in the 105 or Deore.

Btw, I was really floored to see a two-speed freewheel is being made. I was thinking about such a thing and lo and hold, there it is!

Anonymous said...

The new 650b rim sounds great, it will be nice to have another 650b rim alternative. I would like to clarify a few things, Industry9 hubs are made right here in N.C. USA. That Miche hubs are really made in Italy. The Miche track hubs are probably the best deal going. They cost $10 more than surly, and the tall flanges look great on a retro build with the stickers removed. Any chance for a light weight 650b rim made for narrower tires?

ChrisCullum said...

The Grand Bois rim is not a double box section rim. If I had to choose I would take the CR18 over the GB.

Tom said...

I call the GB singlewall rims 'open box' rims, as that's what they resemble.

saren said...

Would it be possible to make a VO hubset based off of the castings for the Shimano 105-5500? Those are the ones without the OS axle/body, and are far better looking than the 5600, imho.

Having the hub body significantly larger in diameter than the fork end tubing diameter is poor proportions contributing to poor esthetics. I'm not saying the current 105 hubs are hideous, but they look out of place on a lightweight steel frame. The proportion of hub body diameter to fork tubing, and the radius of the fillet leading into the flange are the two important esthetic issues.

Retaining the look of a vintage hub is more important to me than the possible added stiffness of an OS body/axle. Wouldn't offering a standard body, nicely filleted hub be a significant market differentiator for VO?

Anon of Florida said...

As far as hubs go, why not drill in Maxi-car style keyholes on the driveside.

Also and on a separate unrelated topic, why not make an adapter spider for TA-style cranks, that fits 110 bcd cranks. The idea being that the spider will be in the same position as the outer ring of a 50.4bcd crankset. From what I see, the selection for outer chainrings is rather limited, and quite expensive. So as to promote this very small bcd, promote the idea that different spiders for different bcds, oddball combinations, ect. can be used with the same crank, all with a very simple to change spider, nothing fancy, just bolts.

David_Morris said...

Actually, I am sure that the Miche hubs are Italian made. Remember that they really are no more expensive than Veloce/Mirage hubs used to be. They are also the hubs that the confrerie de 650b specs for it's bikes. Here is a link to the UK distributor....
http://chickencycles.co.uk/index.php?cat=40&sub=102&ord=2

Miche doesn't just make track hubs :)

david_nj said...

I've never owned a pair, but to my eye the super high flange hubs that Herse and some others retro-fitted were the last word in cool. I can't imagine they're more or less comfortable than any other hub.

(That being said, what was actually the point of said high flanges? Did it make the wheel stiffer? If so, how come the modern high-end racing hubs are all low-flange? Just curious.)

Tom said...

The ERD of our 700c rims are 606mm.
I weighed a few rims and they are all around 450g.

Anonymous said...

A minor quibble, but folks often talk about 'molds' for things like hub bodies. Do you mean forging dies? As a nerd Engineer, it is like hearing fingernails screech on a blackboard (to my geeky self, anyways) when I hear about 'molds' for forgings. Can we call them forging dies, pretty-please, avec une cerise au-dessus? :-)

Chris Kulczycki said...

In much of Asia the term for developing almost any tooling is "opening a mold". It can be a CNC operation, but you still "open a mold" and pay the "mold cost" when developing a new product.

Anonymous said...

Bummer. C'est la vie, I guess. Vive la difference, er, traditional terminology, er, curmudgeonly stuff.....

OK. That's different. Never mind. (as in: Emily Litella).