19 August, 2009

Mixte Prototypes


A few VO Mixte frame prototypes have arrived. As with most prototypes there are a few small problems, fork bend, missing cable guides, etc, but overall they look great.

Details:

  • Around $700 including fork
  • Lugged, double butted, chrome molly, frame.
  • 50cm, 54cm, 57cm sizes
  • 700c wheels
  • Extra long reach brakes
  • 38mm max tires
  • Were shooting for Jan 2010 delivery.
Here are a few more photos.



47 comments:

Uncle Ankle said...

I saw a funny-looking mixte yesterday. The "top-tubes" ended in the middle of the seat stays, rather than in the dropouts.

While it looked odd I can think of a few advantages of varying importance:

-less metal.
-a super solid rear brake mount.
-improved brake cable routing?
-narrower "top tube" configuration?
-reduced seat tube flex.

Obviously it had less standover clearance.

baldsue said...

Will they come with the headset, too, like the one in the picture?

Anonymous said...

Any update on rando frame ETA?

Anonymous said...

love the seat lug, and esp. the blue color with the orange logo.

Mixte's are coming back. . . while this is still in pipeline, I'd be considering how to distinguish it from Soma and Trek Belleville and Atwood designs (the Treks will probably be a hit), and the others sure to follow.

best,
michael white

dr2chase said...

I suppose if I feel this strongly about it, I should start my own bicycle company, but I think it would be wonderful to have a non-clunky frame that also accommodated very large (60mm, 2.35") tires. The only ones I know of like that nowadays (with nice frames) are from Retrovelo and Velorbis, and they are wickedly expensive.

The fat tires are wonderful; (by my measurements) lower rolling resistance, generous inflation intervals, able to swallow cracks, sand, and potholes that cause problems with skinnier tires.

Gunnar Berg said...

Nice functional bike - the dark blue and orange might be an acquired taste.

reverend dick said...

You know I loves a mixte.

Now make me one in a 60cm, clown!

saren said...

Looks lovely, including the color! The lug details are very nice. The standard diameter head tube makes for better proportions compared to Soma's Buena Vista mixte.

Can you provide some information on the geometry?
Will this frame be able to be converted to 650B?

Great job!

Chris Kulczycki said...

The frame set will probably not come with a headset.

I'll write about the geometry and other details for all the new frames soon. I think a 650b conversion would diminish this frame and I would strongly discourage it.

The Rando frames have been ordered, but I suspect they will be a couple of months late. I am very disappointed by the many continued delays. In contrast, the Mixte project has taken a third of the time to get to about the same stage using a different factory and agent.

Iron Fish said...

The mixte is definitely a frameset worthy of revival. I like that yours, unlike my Motobecane Super Mirage and many of the custom offerings out there today, has the two thinner parallel top tubes rather than the single tube. Somehow that gives it an interesting architectural look. (Actually my Motobecane splits the difference, and morphs from a double to a single about a third of the way up between the seat tube and head tube.)

I wrote about the mixte trend and featured another interesting French mixte, the Astra, last week on my blog.

Tom said...

I 'restored' a ladies frame some months back. It was a beat down old green huffy I found in the trash.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/77448006@N00/sets/72157616227358531/

A little cleaning, new tires, and a prototype Velo Orange white saddle made it look amazing.
I sold it on craigslist within 24 hours, no haggling at all. That one ad garnered about 30 responses.

Mixte is the new Fixie.

Anonymous said...

Any chance of other colors? Orange & blue are the team colors of the local University, and is very much a cliche here.

EBEEP said...

Looks amazing! Never seen a tt to seat post lug like that before.

Marc said...

It looks awesome!. If I hadn't just found a vintage Raleigh Super Course to play with, you would be at the top of my list.

Susan B Juanito said...

Why ? I just don't get it . Are you gonna start manufacturing cottered cranks too ?

Protorio said...

Where are they made?

Rawlands will take 60mm...and those are neither ungainly nor expensive.

Tom said...

cottered cranks, and whitworth thread sealed BB's with a Ti cottered spindle are next.

Chris Kulczycki said...

I think that most mixte frames over about 57cm are too flexible unless one makes compromises that I'm uncomfortable with. This mixte should ride like a high-end bike. I hope to see one on fast club rides or brevets, not just at the farmer's market.

david_nj said...

I don't follow why this isn't 650b. The men's city bike could be 700c, but you have *that* set up for 650b. This would be a killer stonking mo-chine if it was designed for 650b's, I reckon. I'd certainly give one to the SO.

Anonymous said...

+1 on the Ti cottered crank!
Blue anodised is possible. Under $35 please I am going on tour in a week--will it be ready then?
Also, biopace (a la Sheldon!) for my Chater-Lea chain mech please, 51/49T if possible.
M Burdge

Anonymous said...

it's obvious that not offering blue cottered ti (avec orange ano dustcap, bien sur) would be a serious omission . . . I'm not going on tour now or ever, but someone has to stick up for practical solutions for velociste problems . . .

mw

Anonymous said...

We really need some Ashtabula cranks and Spanish BB's.

Ok, thanks!

Kilroy said...

Greetings,

To each his or her own, mostly, but I fail to see the appeal of a mixte frame. In my opinion they are unattractive and I would feel like I was riding a "girls' bike". Different strokes for different folks. This seems to be a fad similiar to single speed bicycles with those bullhorn handlebars.

Best regards.

Joel said...

Kilroy

Excepting that Mixtes have a long tradition of use whereas Bullhorn handle bars historically were only used by time trial racers. Otherwise it is just the same.

As for your thinking riding a Mixte is riding a girl's bike - sounds like a personal issue to me. In Europe and Asia Mixtes are used by male or female. They are most popular with riders who mount and dismount frequently, such as delivery people or even people out doing errands.

mixteman@yahoo.com said...

Chris, yes the fork bend needs some artistic re-shaping. I have many mixte frames; check chain
clearance from small cog to tri-lateral at rear drop-out. Will
it be possible to mount centerpull brake with straddle cable around seat-tube; as the classic mixte should.

Matt Surch said...

I personally don't want to add a mixte to my collection, on account of my perception of them as ladies specific bikes. This, however, is actually nonsense. But still, its in the back of my head. On a ride quality note, my wife's '80 Bianchi mixte with mono top-tube is one of the best riding bikes I've encountered. Yes, it is small and has lots of toe overlap for me, but it is extremely fun to ride. There's something about it. On the aesthetic front, one of my favourite bikes ever is a grey Herse mixte, featured in Jan Heine's book on constructeur bikes. Amazing lines.

Chris Kulczycki said...

As a matter of fact we spent yesterday checking drivetrain combinations and clearances. With a small tweak even 10 speed cassettes might work. We are trying centerpulls and they should work, but I am not yet sure of a few cable routing details, there are some minor variations we need to try. I considered setting up this frame specifically for Dia Compe 750s or Paul Racers, but some may find that too limiting.

Anonymous said...

Is this the mixte based on an existing design you found in Taipei? Is that why it has fast back seat stays that appear to have been welded on?

Anonymous said...

Another request for Chater Lea threaded stuff. Also my cranks don't match my tweed socks? Help?

Garth said...

I like Mixtes. Especially the twin top tube versions. I'm happy to see this one from Velo Orange.

From an aesthetic perspective, I would like to suggest a less cluttered color. Perhaps a soft blue or blue green? An aqua green? Or even a coral color, but not too dark.

I appreciate the functionality of the fender, water bottle and luggage rack mounts, but to note, I think they add to a feeling of clutter also.

Really, though, the extended head tube worries me. It looks as though a short section of cast iron gas pipe has been added on.

I also notice the seat stays end below the seat lug, making for a "disjointed" triangle.

If these last two aspects could be rectified, along with a softer, more sophisticated (less collegiate) color, I think you would have a very elegant frame on your hands.

Also, kudos on the slotted rear drop-outs!

Great work!

p.s. I think brake bosses for centerpulls would also be super, but also understand the concern for limited brake choice.

Mark S.R. Williams said...

Chris, given the types of elegant cycles that you create, perhaps the Velo Orange branding doesn't necessarily need to be in orange? I don't really see orange decals working aesthetically with any of the variations of blue that would look good with this frame.

For everyone who doesn't get mixte frames.....my wife has two very high end, well-designed mixtes, which both handle as well as any of my bikes. For her, the main advantage is that she can ride in a skirt when she needs to.

Anon of Florida said...

http://bikeportland.org/2009/08/18/yesterday-and-todays-influence-seen-in-electras-new-ticino-bikes/

Competition?

Anonymous said...

Anon of Florida said...
http://bikeportland.org/2009/08/18/yesterday-and-todays-influence-seen-in-electras-new-ticino-bikes/


there's no doubt that the niche is now the growth market. The first thing a shopper will see, entering his/her lbs this year, will be the Trek or Globe city bikes . . . and every major brand will have at least one funky commuter with racks, bells, fenders, etc. This is the year things change on a massive scale. I would think it's a pretty good thing for VO, having a solid line of parts and frames in place to support the market.

RoadieRyan said...

Just checking is the headset 1 inch? Also is the upcoming Rando also a 1 inch headset?

Anonymous said...

along with david_nj above, i'm curious as to why this one isn't 650b, since it would seem like that would be a natural combination. just curious...

Anonymous said...

Recommend you consider a smaller size, say 47cm. A continuing comment I hear from boomer females is the lack of quality bikes that reminds them of the ones they rode in earlier days. Plus they often mention that bikes in the LBS are just too big.

Lovely Bicycle! said...

Wow. A lugged mixte with twin lateral stays is a rarity nowadays; thank you so much for working to develop this. I would gladly get in line to order one of these frames, but I have a couple of questions:

Is the frame fully lugged? It looks like parts of it are welded, but that may just be the photo.

Can the design of the rear stays, where they connect to the seat tube, be made more elegant?

I don't know about this blue. I would prefer a softer colour scheme on a mixte, like the classic Rene Herse colours. A sage green would look so nice with an orange VO logo IMO. But if the blue in your photo is set in stone as the official production colour, will there be an option for custom colour?

Finally, in what country are these frames made?

Good luck with the project and I look forward to the results!

Garth said...

As I recall from Chris talked about earlier, this frame was not a "ground up" VO design, but rather one that was available from a (Taiwanese?) manufacturer.

Part of the economy is probably that it is an existing design. So, I'm not going to expect that major frame design changes such as the head tube lug and seat stay lug or the wheel size will readily change w/o a price increase. (?)

But at any rate, I would really encourage a different color, and that would make a big difference.

Some possible additions that would be useful might be the spring that goes between the frame and forks that I saw recently on some of those Dutch bike? They really helped to keep the wheel and handlebar straight when you have a load on the front. I wished I had one on my touring bike.

The other useful addition would be a provision for wires. Whether this was some sort of internal wires or little mounts, I'm not sure.

Anyway, glad to see the ever so useful threaded head set!

Sincerely,
Garth

Anonymous said...

Awesome frame, unfortunate choice of colors (in my opinion).

"Red and Green, Blue and Orange, Purple and Yellow. These are the colors directly across from each other on the color wheel. Don't let the name fool you, they rarely look good when used together. They're called "complementary" because, when used together, they become extremely vibrant and have heavy contrast.

Complementary colors are useful when you want to make something stand out. For example, if you use a green background and have a red circle on it, the red will jump off the page and be almost blinding."

Chris Kulczycki said...

A few things:

With mixtes there is almost no choice of lugs. You must use the few that are available. That's why most others are TIG welded.

Everyone who has seen the frame in person really likes the color. I do!

This design started as a stock design from a Taiwanese company, but we ended up changing a lot of details and some geometry.

A mixte appeals to a limited audience. To make it 650b would further limit the pool of potential buyers. We need to have enough made for a proper production run or the price would be too high. Of course if these sell really well we might do a 650b version. But I would rather work on having them available as ready-to-ride bikes for next year.

Lovely Bicycle! said...

I am not a fan of 650b, so I am fine with your tire choice. If custom colour is available, I have a feeling people would be willing to pay extra for that, or receive the frame unpainted if that's possible. I like the lugs as they are, but I think the welding of those rear stays can be changed, no? To have a flatter or "spooned" surface? That would make a huge aesthetic difference IMO.

Anonymous said...

the argument for 700c wheels for the inaugural run makes sense. thanks for explaining.

i agree with others about the fastback stays. a traditional treatment would be so much more fitting with the style of the frame, and worth a few extra bucks.

go mixte!

Anonymous said...

ummm, at that price range, the fastback stays would probably be the better option. Maybe it's just me, but a solid welded connection to me just seems cleaner than a cast plug. Now, when it comes to the really labor-intensive hand-made scalloped stays of a custom bike, that's a different story. . . but the plugs are really just an aesthetic reference to the hand-made joints, and don't do much for me. The fastbacks, as on the old Raleigh Pros, or my Colnago, used to be seen as an upgrade, heh heh.

mw

Marc said...

I looked at the photos and read the comments, looked at the photos again and I think the blue with orange decals should be your signature combination. That is, until you change your mind.

Justine Nicholas Valinotti said...

Pluses:

--Connection of stays to seat tubes
--Dropouts
--Lower head lug.

Minuses:

--Seat cluster
--Color scheme. I like that shade of blue and I like the orange decals. I just don't like them together.

Make it in lilac. Better yet, make it in Motobecane's "silver lilac". Or, the Mercian "flip-flop" purple green. From most angles it looks like lilac; from others, it looks like a sort of sage/mint green.

Of course, you couldn't use orange decals on those colors. But an orange bike is a state of mind, anyway.

Anonymous said...

The next bike for this guy will be a 'girls bike'. My biggest difficulty at the end of a long brevet is getting a leg up. So please bring it on...

borgbike said...

Ditto to the last comment on a girls bike. I just finished a re-build of a Kuwahara mixte that was originally built with 24" wheels. It was a pain in the neck to sort replacement alloy wheels for this bike but the end result looks awesome. It is a nice quality ride (without going overboard) for my daughter.