30 October, 2009

Off toTaiwan, via Portland


I'm flying to Portland today where I'll visit the Portland Hand Built Bike show. It promises to be a smaller version of the National Hand Built Bike show, which, incidentally, will be held in Richmond VA this year. It's really amazing to see all the great custom builders show off their best efforts. I'll try to post a few photos if time permits.


Then I'll fly to Taipei and visit 8 or 9 factories. Most of them already make parts or frames for us, but I'll also see a couple of new ones that may turn out to be new suppliers.

Among the things we'll be chatting about are VO chrome stems, a new frame, VO cranks, and VO drop bars. Even now our draftsman is making final revisions on plans for some of these new things, talk about cutting it close.

I should see the final version of the VO French thread headset, which is ready to go into production. And I hope to see our new canti-version of the rando racks.

Since I'm going to the frame factories, I've been thinking changing the decal placment on future VO frames to a single decal on top of the down tube, as many constructeurs did. What do you think?



48 comments:

Gunnar Berg said...

I like it. The graphics are less obtrusive, which enhances the sculptural qualities of the frame.

stevep33 said...

agreed. the 12o'clock decal location is great.

Joshua said...

I like the idea of it on the top, but the orientation of the letters seems like it should be readable from the drive side, or vertical

skvidal said...

oh yes! thank you. moving the logo there would be great.

Anonymous said...

I like vertically stacked text decals in the 12 o'clock position like Raleigh did on one of their singlespeeds and a lot of BMX companies do, but when it's a traditional horizontal text decal it always looks kludgy. One of the style rules I follow is that everything on the bike should read right side up when viewed from the drive side. Usually this only matters for rms with text engraved on them, but you see other stuff follow this convention too -- if you ever see a team logo saddle with text up the middle it's bottom on the right, and the new sturmey hubs with screening on them are the same way. The problem is when you put a decal in this position on the down tube you either have it reading upside down from the drive side or the text starts near the BB and ends near the head tube which also looks funky.

Anonymous said...

top tube or down tube?

Kilroy said...

Greetings,

As for me, I'm partial to the early, retro-look of the vertical letters of the Trek decal. Those old style letters with a complimentary background are hard to beat.

Best regards.

Anonymous said...

Will you be looking into someone to produce a touring frame for you? While Surly, Soma and Rivendell offer affordable and solid choices, a VO touring frame would surely be appealing.

Doug said...

I agree with joshua, the placement is fine but I don't get the left-side-of-the-bike orientation. Most of a bike is set up so the drive side is better looking, and the rider already knows the maker of the frame...

Doug

Pierce said...

I rather like the VO on the head tube, I hope that stays.

Chuck Schmidt said...

I like it! It's the traditional way... to be able to read it from the left side of the bike as you are standing, ready to mount your bike or pushing your bike.

Anonymous said...

It should be just as it is on the picture. The text looks better starting near the head tube when you use horizontally stacked text. I also like the awkwardness of it, sort of like it's a mistake or making a statement of how ridiculous modern decal placement have become.

Anonymous said...

"I've been thinking changing the decal placment on future VO frames to a single decal on top of the top tube"

While my computer monitor does not have the best resolution, the accompanying photo looks like the decal is on the down tube, not the top tube. Which did you mean?

Brian said...

Top tube, or down tube?

New product suggestion: how about some additional styles of chainguards, something like the Velorbis chainguards. (Check them out at the "Dreams on Wheels" display of Danish bikes while you're in Portland.)

Safe travels!

frankenbiker said...

I think you meant 12 o'clock on the down tube,and I agree with Joshua;make it readable from the riders perspective.

EBEEP said...

Yes indeed, single decal on top of the down tube (I assume you meant down tube and not "top tube" as stated). The Singer orientation is a little weird for VO though. I do think you should rotate it to be legible from the drive side as others have suggested.
Singers have the smaller head tube decal "Alex Singer" on the seat tube as well, so the brand is legible from most viewpoints. As your head tube logo is merely initials, I don't recommend doing the same.
So, down tube "Velo ORANGE" w/ drive-side orientation, and "VO" decal on the head tube=minimal perfection!

Uncle Ankle said...

re:cranks - can you get these?

Anonymous said...

PLEASE! Make sure they will build as big as , say, 66cm?

keithwwalker said...

See you at the Portland show!

Raiyn said...

Yep, I agree. Vertically stacked @ 12 o'clock. Looks good from either side.

Anonymous said...

One logo, and with a NDS orientation (as shown) -- that's the side on which I always dismount. (Though it is true that when photographing a bike, the drive side is the default.)

Vertical stacking is theoretically good (equally readable from both sides), but can be visually awkward -- "l" is so much narrower than all the other letters of V.O., for example.

L.

hpn109 said...

Placing decal on one side is really suck because you can only see it from one side.

Anonymous said...

Yup. Would look really good if similar in concept to the "made in england" on the top of old ralieghs.
Not that that's a knock on french bikes.
mark

Anonymous said...

I really like what jitensha is doing with their logos. They are just doing the outline, I think that would like very nice.


http://www.flickr.com/photos/franklyn/3379766756/

bikesf said...

Good idea with the lettering.
Will you be doing a randonneur bend handlebar?
If it is centered, the letters should be vertically stacked, so you can read it while riding.
I think it would look cleaner this way.

Chris Kulczycki said...

I meant to write DOWN TUBE; sorry.

Just to be clear, I'll be walking the show, but VO is not displaying.

Uncle, I can get those cranks, but I think they cost around $400.

Sami said...

I still favor keeping the graphics small and in the traditional side location. Will the frame have a classy head badge?

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris, if you're into coffee be sure to checkout Albina Press, it's a great coffee shop. And if you have time, you know, like 12 extra hours, be sure to go to Powells. There's not much more to life besides family, cycling, books and coffee.

Anonymous said...

definitely small and on both sides of the down tube (3 and 6 o'clock). the logo on the top of the down tube will just kill the photos i plan to take of the bike. say what you want, but i want to see the that great logo on the side when it's leaning against the cafe wall!

Ian Shopland said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Uncle Ankle said...

Ouch.

I guess a clean, unassuming square taper double is a luxury these days.

BTW: 167,5? How cool is that?

Marc said...

I like the position, but vertical letters would look better.

Forgot my Decal said...

I think that you should ship the decals unapplied so that we can place them ourselves, at 12 o'clock or 6 o'clock or on our workstands or beer coolers.

I'm happy to evangelize VO's wonderful products at every opportunity, but for honest-to-Pete "city bikes" there is value in both discretion and the humble but powerful aesthetic of a simple, unadorned, anonymous bike, used hard every day.

Rick @ Bicycle Fixation said...

I like it fine as it is--agree with Chuck S. Of course, I personally would prefer no downtube decal at all, only a headbadge (and maybe a seat tube decal), but I know I'm in a tiny minority on that one!

Ian Dickson said...

VO kindly left the downtube decal off my Pass Hunter, and it looks fantastic. People like it. On the other hand, they always have to ask me what kind of bike it is. I would favor a top-of-downtube placement, but with smaller, less ornate lettering.

Filigree said...

I am not too particular about the downtube decal placement. The way you have it looks good, but if it were facing the other way that would be fine as well.

Does this photo mean that the frame colour will remain silver as originally planned? I remember reading somewhere that you decided to switch to blue. If it's staying silver, that is great news.

Brian Park said...

I think the downtube top-mounted decal could look good... its the Velo Orange typography that I think is uncharacteristically unattractive.

surfimp said...

I do not prefer the top-of-downtube logo placement regardless of text orientation. I like seeing the manufacturer's logo on either side of the downtube, so long as the logo isn't ridiculously large or in some obnoxious font.

Been holding out for the Randonneur frame, how much longer before we can see some specs and similar?

mander said...

Chris,

I'm still excited about the possibility of VO compact square tapered cranks... please keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

I like the top-of-downtube placement but would prefer smaller letters. Your font and colors are fine, just a bit large.

Be great if the randonneurs came this way.

Dan

keithwwalker said...

One point that people missed is that with the 'top of downtube' placement, is that the decal will be destroyed within a month of vertical bike rack useage.

So if you use the bike to commute, it is a terrible location.

Stejdor said...

Any which way, it doesn't matter so long as the frames are readily available, not out of stock not too expensive and ride well. My favourite bike has a 23yr old Shogun Tange frame that cost $30 s/h. It rides better than all my other road frames, incl an RSR Merlin, Surly LHT, Bob Jackson 531 racer and a Carlton 531 Mixte!

Joshua said...

Honestly, as much as I hate to say it, I agree with the other poster about not caring for the VO typography on a frame. It works well on the website, but something about it doesn't sit well on a frame for me. The mix of cases and the choice of color isn't doing a lot for me, either, although the orange does look better on the silver Rando frame pictured here compared to the dark coloured polyvalent you showed us earlier.

Joshua (the original one) said...

If Velo-Orange makes a drop bar, it would be wise to make a reasonably priced version of the Nitto Soba. That is to say a light-weight, heat-treated aluminum drop bar with the smooth transition on the ramps to produce a flat top from the bars to the hoods. As far as I know, Rivendell is the only person selling these, and they're nearly $76 per pair.

An inexpensive Taiwanese version, available to shops through VOI and directly online, would likely be a huge hit.

david_nj said...

I think the top-of-down-tube position that you show in the photo is perfect. Elegant and sophisticated. It matters zilch whether it is rotated to the right or left side. I think just that single decal, plus a head tube "VO" decal, is all that is needed ... understated and timeless.

I also think the font that you have chosen is attractive and appropriate. That being said, for some frame colors, I would think black or white would look better than orange, visual pun notwithstanding.

Jesse Schmal said...

Chris - will the French headset look like the other VO headsets? What's the window of time from your final okay to availability to us poor French-threaded weirdos?

i.birch said...

I think the placement is good, it's unconventional and buyers will be less likely to remove it. It works more like a signature or hallmark than a brand stamp which is nice. Can we see, better pictures of the Polyvalent frame especially the dropouts? Seriously interested in the frame but there are no good photos on either the site or the blog.

Steve said...

Joshua said:

If Velo-Orange makes a drop bar, it would be wise to make a reasonably priced version of the Nitto Soba. That is to say a light-weight, heat-treated aluminum drop bar with the smooth transition on the ramps to produce a flat top from the bars to the hoods. As far as I know, Rivendell is the only person selling these, and they're nearly $76 per pair.


There already is such a thing, and both Riv and VO sell it: the Nitto 177 "Noodle". http://www.velo-orange.com/ninobar44.html $55 in 42 and 44cm. The 177 has the typical Nitto sleeve; the Soba is bulged instead, but the shape of the bars is the same.