16 September, 2009

Plans and News


I thought I'd write about some of the projects we're currently working on.

  • We've just approved prototypes of the new VO hammered and polished fenders. These, like Honjo fenders, are reproductions of classic French fender designs. They will initially be available in 45mm and 50mm widths for 700c wheels and 60mm wide for 650b wheels. More sizes are likely in the future.
  • We are also working on three new VO bags. A new VO British-style saddle bag is in the prototype stage. It's shaped roughly like a Carradice Nelson Longflap, but a little narrower. It will be heavy black canvas with lots of brown leather trim, including leather edge tape and piping. It will be called the "Inverness bag".
  • A small rack-top bag, the "Eclair bag" is also on the way. It will use the same materials.
  • After months of indecision we have finalized a VO Pannier design. It will be in the general style of the Ostrich and classic French panniers and use the same materials as the other VO bags. It will be taller and narrower than the classic bags to provide better heel clearance. Depending on how many rounds of prototypes it takes to get these three bags exactly right, they may arrive in 4-6 months.
  • The VO Rackaleur is close to going into production.
  • We will be working on a high end riding glove, as pictured above.
Please don't ask me when the new parts will be available or how much they will cost. There are simply too many variables to give a reasonably accurate answer.

In other news, the first shipment of the new Porteur racks will arrive next week. These will be priced at $160 including the rail and all hardware. The US made racks, including the rail, used to cost $235! And the quality is of these is great. The first 50 are coming by air and may sell out, but the rest will arrive by ship in about two weeks

The container due at the end of the month will include several new products, among them:
  • VO cable housing and cable kits in various colors.
  • VO squeal-free brake pads. These have received great reviews from everyone who has tried the prototypes, super stopping power and no brake squeal or your money back.
  • VO threadless stems in 25.4mm size.
  • New chrome plated expandable bar plugs

46 comments:

Dottie said...

Love the crochet riding glove. I'll be keeping an eye out for those going on sale.

Alan said...

LOVE the look of the gloves. In the early 1980's Cannondale made very nice traditional gloves and I was too cheap or poor or both to buy a pair. To this day I have yet to see a better made pair. Your gloves may now move to the top spot.

Brian said...

1. Love those gloves. Covet, covet covet.

2. About the saddle bag- Please please please try and design it so it doesn't need a bag support. there's got to be a way.

Pop Richmond said...

I was considering buying Rivendell's glove, but your's looks so much nicer that I'm willing to wait. Any idea on when they'll be available and price?

Anonymous said...

those gloves are beautiful! around what price range are you targetting?

Allan Pollock

Chris Kulczycki said...

We are new to the glove business and really won't know the cost until the factory completes final prototypes and costing. Maybe $30-$40??

mw said...

A little off topic, but the headlight diagram visible in your photo makes me wonder if you've considered making a "vintage look" headlight. Maybe something similar to the Retroled, but brighter? I know, greedy of me, but there seems to be a scarcity of options out there.

WickedCold said...

Please, oh please, may those gloves be available before next spring. I need new gloves. I've just about wrecked the "modern" Pearl Izumi gloves I bought and I want something that will last longer and not have big wads of "gel" padding.

Anonymous said...

I won't hesitate to buy a pair of those gloves if they come in under $50 as you are guessing and they are as nice as they seem in the photos

Allan

JO said...

Will the container at the end of the month contain the 'mid summer' shipment of Moderniste polished water bottle cages?

Greg said...

Is the Porteur rack polished stainless or chromed steel?

Tom said...

the new Porteur rack is Polished Stainless, like our Decaleurs and Rear constructor racks.

patates frites said...

I was hoping I could buy the porteur rack without a rail for a lower price. I really have no use for it. What about mounting lights on this one? Same as the old model?

Tom said...

There are 4 mounting points for the removable rail like the US made version. So, there are 4 points to mount a lamp or light on it.

Simon said...

Another message of support for the gloves - I had a pair of the old Cannondale Carbon LE which got wrecked in the rain, and I'm currently using the new Giro Zero. Both nice gloves, excellent fit, and (the best thing) no padding, but nothing like as lovely looking as the prototypes you've pictured...

Kevan said...

The gloves look great. I would buy a pair provided they have very minimal or no foam/gel padding. I recently had a pair of Trek gloves the doubled the leather at contact points to provide a little more padding... nice solution.

Justine Nicholas Valinotti said...

Alan: I remember those Cannondale gloves well. If I'd known then what I know now, I would have bought second, or even third, pair and stored them.

Then again, I was poor and if I remember correctly, those gloves were like $30 a pair.

I'll definitely be looking for the VO gloves. Please: No Gel!

Anonymous said...

+1 on the gloves.

Chris Kulczycki said...

The Moderniste cages have been delayed again. We made some small changes and switched to a larger factory. That caused delays we didn't expected. I don't think we'll see them before December, but once they start rolling in there should be no more shortages. It's the same old story; I always manage to underestimate demand.

Jan said...

+1 on the gloves! I love the look.

benny said...

The Chiba gloves I'm currently using have pull loops to facilitate easy removal. I highly recommend this feature in any VO glove.

rob hawks said...

I really can't tell from the photo if there is durable padding on these gloves. I favor using the crocheted cotton mesh gloves with leather palms. Performance used to sell this style that was'good enough' to last long enough to make the $10 price be a good deal(translation, they lasted longer and performed better than you would think a $10 glove would). Performance seemed to have dropped those gloves. Then a similarly styled model came up on Nashbar, but those seem to be just what you'd expect from a $10 glove. The padding becomes little more than two layers of thin leather after one or two long rides. (I have used the gloves that Rivendell has sold in the past, but found those gloves to be a huge disappointment. The gloves would stay soggy after a ride and never dry out and were extremely slippery all the time as a result.)

I don't find these VO gloves nearly as attractive as other commentators here do, but still more desireable than other 'modern' gloves on the market. I recognize that personal taste plays a large role here.

rob

paul said...

+1 on gloves, but please add some sniper padding ala certain high-end UK velo sartorial brand.

benny said...

+1 on the Rapha sniper padding. As one who loves the look of cotton bar tape, I need some quality padding in my gloves for longer rides and touring. I am thinking thin but dense and resilient.

eriq said...

Are you going to still carry US made porteur racks? I would gladly pay the (very little) extra money to buy a US made product..

Anonymous said...

I really like the gloves that you've designed. They are quite classic in appearance.

I also think that the designs you're working on for your panniers and saddlebag are right on. I presently have a set of the Berthoud GB799 panniers. They're beautifully made but too small to be particularly useful.

The panniers that you're designing appear much more practical (they obviously owe much to the classic French Sologne bags in appearance).

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Definitely like the look of the gloves with the snap and no Velcro. My vote for no gel padding, too. GREAT job on all the VO products!!!

Anonymous said...

Please make the crocheted gloves. My old Euro-Asia Imports pair is wearing out and I've been searching everywhere for a new pair.

tys said...

I'll definitely get the 60mm 650B fenders, maybe a couple sets.
Count me in for the "squeal-free" pads, too. If they shut my MAFACS up, you'll be my hero!
Hopefully brown will be one of the options for the cable housing?
The gloves look awesome, and will probably be a big hit.
+1 on copying Rapha! I've got a pair of their Grand Tour gloves and they are super nice, not really "padded" but they've got extra leather in all the right places and are the most comfortable I've used. I could even loan you my pair for "inspiration".
Keep up the great work!

Pierce S Boaz said...

I don't know how I feel about a longflap clone, I understand that it's hard to get Carradice stuff in the US, which just makes me wish you could import their bags. I bought a Carradice bag for only $35, which is pretty good for something handmade in england & great waxed canvas / leather. I love VO stuff, but I rather see original or out of production stuff be made, than taiwan clones of nicely crafted products. but thats just my two cents.

Pierce S Boaz said...

Actually heres a much more positive comment on the saddlebag: it could be much better than a nelson longflap, I've added velcro to my carradice which makes it much more useful if it's not packed tight. Also they lack any kind of shoulder strap which for city riding, would make it much more useful off the bike.

Anonymous said...

Hello Chris,

Longtime admirer of your products and website. Love those gloves!

I have a rather obscure and random question for you (as you are one of the few people who might be able to answer this).

Would the daruma screws that come with the honjo fenders work as replacement brake holder bolts on Mafac racer brakes? I may be way off on that but they look quite similar. I just reconditioned mine and the brake holders are the only part permanently corroded.

Thanks,
Eamonn

Anonymous said...

Chris, I love your traditional style bags, but I do most of my centurys & short brevets on vintage racing bikes that lack eyelets for racks and would be unbalanced by larger bags. Would it be possible for VO to produce a vintage style handlebar bag in a smaller size? (similar in size to the Detours Metro or Shuttle) I currently use a smaller Detours bag, but would prefer a more traditional look.
Thanks, -Tony

Alan said...

Justine, according to the 1982 Cannondale catalog the gloves were $29.50. That was a lot of money in 1982 to a poor college student living on Ramen noodles. The quality of the leather in the gloves was outstanding. My roommate bought a Cannondale bike along with a pair of the gloves and I was always envious of the gloves.

Anonymous said...

Slightly off topic here -- what coffee are you folks running through the espresso machine? You do have one in the shop, right? Just tell me you don't use the steam wand to degrease derailleurs and chains.

Chris Kulczycki said...

We buy coffee from the local roaster down the street, Caffe Pronto ,or Illy.

Also, we may have just a few new racks without the rails.

Tom said...

I think you may have stumbled upon a new use for an espresso maker- steam cleaning parts, and steam lubing the parts too! I'll let you know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

Gloves - great design. I haven't had a good pair of crochet back gloves in ages and I much prefer it to lycra. However, I've never gotten more than a year out of any leather cycling glove. I think I have fairly acidic sweat. Do yours address that sort of thing, or could you perhaps make a version with a synthetic palm? I've run a couple of pairs of Pearl Izumi (amara?) gloves into the ground and the palm holds up much better than leather.

Rich F.

patates frites said...

CK,

a few new racks without the rails? How much for those?

Filigree said...

I love the riding gloves and the other items in the works! This post fills me with anticipation.

Anonymous said...

Squeal free brake pads?!?! Man, Mafac and cantilever users are gonna love these.

Bike Ride Stories said...

Put me down for two pairs of gloves.

Anonymous said...

This isn't trolling, but may I ask a dumb question?

What is the point of gloves without any padding? Prevent calluses? I like the way they look but I'm not sure they would do anything useful for me.

Also, would love some winter gloves, like the ones on the Alex Singer website. Unfortunately, they've failed to get back to me, whether I write them in English or French....always curious about how they've managed to stay in business.

lavashlavash said...

Love the gloves. Please, please make them available in black as well.

Anonymous said...

Nice old school gloves. I'll buy them.

Justin said...

Summer's on it's way, I sure could do with a nice pair of crochet mits...