02 December, 2009

Polyvalent Frames Arrive

Polyvalent frames arrived today!  And they are now available in the VO store. Judging by the number of e-mails I've gotten about them, I don't expect them to last long.



The frames look great with fine quality and alignment. But there is one glitch; the paint is the original matte black instead of the dark gray we thought we'd specified. I think it looks fine, but it will be changed in subsequent production, so early adopters will have a rare color. How's that for spin? The paint is not exactly flat, but not glossy either. It's like the black paint you'd see on a SLR camera.




I'll post photos of a built up bike later today. Details can be found here and a geometry table is available here.

The cost of these frames is $400, but there is an additional $20 oversize shipping charge. Any parts ordered with the frames get discounted by 10%. (This discount will be added after you check out.) The price will go up on the next production run.



 In other news:
  • Two more parts shipments should arrive within the next 10 days so some of the parts we've been out of will be restocked. This includes seat posts, porteur bars, 
  • I will have updates on the arrival date of the Rando frames soon.
  • The Mixte frames are due to be shipped around the end of January and should arrive about a month later.


    39 comments:

    j.schwartz said...

    Can you Please talk a little more about the proper sizing for this frame?
    Is the Stand over height really that useful of a measure? I'd like to purchase one for my wife and am stuck between the 51 and 53...is it better to go big or small on this frame? She was sized at Rivendell for a 52 in "their sizing".

    Chris Kulczycki said...

    There are two basic things to look at in sizing. Stand-over height is important, but you also need to consider reach. What sort of bars will be used on the bike and will the top tube length be OK with a reasonable length stem. If someone is "short-waisted" it may be wise to drop down one size to get a shorter top tube. With city bars this is rarely necessary, but with drop bars it should be considered.

    Anonymous said...

    i hate to make you speculate, but do you have any idea what the price (ballpark) for a complete polyvalent might be, when you offer them as such down the line? trying to plan my purchases in advance...

    Anonymous said...

    i would never choose matte black, but it actually looks quite stunning. congrats!

    Anonymous said...

    Regarding the finish,
    Have the Frames been clear coated or is that contrary to a Matte finish?
    Could they be?
    Would polishing do anything?
    I guess it will never be shiny black?

    Joel said...

    For the urban rider who frequently locks the bike on crowded racks, the matte is a plus. Small scratches and dings are not as obvious.

    Anonymous said...

    It looks great! Have you ever thought about making a VO headbadge?

    Chris Kulczycki said...

    My guess is that the complete bike will be around $1800.

    The frame is clear coated.

    I'm not crazy about head badges because they are a sign of a production frame. Most constructeurs did not have them, preferring to hand paint their logos on the head tube. I like that understated look, even if it's a decal.

    Jim G said...

    I came up with the name, and never even got a simple thank you. :(

    Chris Kulczycki said...

    Thank you Jim.

    Anonymous said...

    matte black looks great!!! esp with the VO decals!

    Anonymous said...

    of course, most constructeurs 'constructed' their own bikes, in their own shops, with their own hands. I realise Taiwan is a reality for the bike biz now, but 'constructeur-style' that is built by others is kind of the equivalent to blown-fiberglass dingies with moulded-in lapstrake lines. Am I wrong? I mean, Chris I love the clean lines and simple-seeming but innovative designs of VO, and I have a deep appreciation for the innovative business model that seeks a dialogical approach to bicycle design, not to mention an admiration of the good will you personally extend to the whole VO group. But to appeal to the construction ethic of Singer, Herse, and the others (Goeland, &c)--and not just the design aesthetic--as direct ancestors of your admittedly lovely bikes is perhaps stretching a bit farther than it can go,eh?
    That said, lovely bike. If I was in te market for a new bike, I would defintely consider the PV.
    M Burdge

    Anonymous said...

    Flat Black huh, very Ninja

    ablejack said...

    Shame there's no shifter bosses for us retrogrouches.
    I'll wait for the VO 650b fully lugged camper that was voted as a next project. Baby blue, black, or even a "band-aid" color with baby blue panels- size 58. would be fine.

    Chris Kulczycki said...

    M,

    Of course our frames are not custom constructeur frames, but the geometry is very much the same and the quality is actually better than, at least some, period constucteur frames. So why not strive for the same look, especially since many of us like simple paint and graphics?

    saren said...

    Looks lovely! And Chris, I have to admire your capacity to take such huge surprises as the mistaken color in stride. I guess you never know what you're going to get when you open those containers!

    Anonymous said...

    Is the fork 1" threaded? Based on response so far do you anticipate expanding the frame sizes offered on the next run? I'm on the cusp of needing a smaller frame.
    Thanks,
    Todd

    Monsieur Clouseau said...

    Flat Black is incredibly stylish, but I dare say it accentuates the less-than-stylish properties of your graphics.

    Rick @ Bicycle Fixation said...

    Lovely bike! If I were in the market I'd order one up right away, even though I dislike canti brakes. Matte black good, long top tube good for the likes of me, even with drops, as I'm built like a gibbon.

    Myself would like a long dropout but the one it comes with would work anyway.

    Damn fine work!

    Chris Kulczycki said...

    The paint is not really flat; it's not glossy either, but halfway in between.

    The fork is 1" threaded.

    We will add frame sizes, but we don't yet know when they will be available. I think the larger sizes may be 700c and there may be one smaller size eventually.

    Kilroy said...

    Greetings,

    I'm partial to the sleak,clean simplicity of a black frame/fork. The graphics are simple and stylish and complement the unassuming appeal of the bicyle. In my opinion, you should stick with black, at least as a choice with the gray.
    I would consider the 650b lugged camper with racks in a similiar color. I can't believe I'm thinking about buying a bicycle, yet,.....

    I would think a suggested component list for the frame, maybe several, would be a good idea. It's always good for me to know what's an appropriate component for a specific frame.

    Is it too premature to place an order for this new "camper"?

    Best regards.

    Richie Poore said...

    flat black frame, pearlescent grey graphics would be the proverbial bomb .

    scott said...

    Hi Chris,

    Nice work on the frame set!

    Would it be way too much work to have the decals created locally and applied locally? That way you have more room to adjust for unexpected changes, like matte black vs. grey frames. Also you can control exactly how the stroke weight of the typography translates to decal media.

    Anonymous said...

    Chris,

    I'd love to see low-rider mounts and rando rack mounts on the forks in the next run.

    Gunnar Berg said...

    Damned Austro-Daimler Vent Noir.
    Classic. Nice

    Anonymous said...

    I love how involved VO customers are... Chris can honestly do whatever the hell he wants, yet here he is always fielding our absurd questions and comments. I love you all!

    Now I'm gonna go play polo on my René Hérse until VO makes me a dedicated frame :)

    Anonymous said...

    Chris ... would you consider offering the frameset with one of your headsets installed? It's really the only part I'm not equipped to handle myself, and I have to say the local LBS guys here aren't too keen on threaded versions, so my confidence in them doing it right is low.

    Thanks for considering it!!

    Felkerino said...

    Just wondering, however. Really, does the factory just ignore your order for grey, and paints them black, and sends them out without a second thought? I'd be afraid to open the boxes when they arrive!

    Anonymous said...

    "I'll wait for the VO 650b fully lugged camper that was voted as a next project."

    You mean the VO 650b fully lugged *demontable* camper, right?

    Not kidding...all I want is a production demontable bike--any style you choose. Preferably with quick-release joining mechanism (like the classic demontables).

    Oops, probably in the wrong thread.

    Anonymous said...

    i love the matte black and the orange decals...

    but i digress:
    what does "dialogical" mean, M Burge?

    and is it really possible that VO could come up with an affordable frame that breaks in two? S&S couplers are MORE than the cost of a Polyvalent or a Long Haul Trucker, etc., and that is ridiculous!

    If Ritchey can make a bike that breaks into two pieces for $1100, why cant VO do it better for less?...

    poor person said...

    At a minimum what would you race and chase and what would you leave alone ?

    Tom said...

    poor person- We built up one frame so far, and checked a number of others at random.

    The BB shell is faced and chased at the factory before painting: the BB shells are parallel, the threads are cut. The shoulder of our BB nestles against the shell perfectly, without any gap and threads in without too much effort. The threads were covered so there isn't paint or primer inside. The faces of the shell do have paint to safeguard against the beginnings of rust formation.

    The seattube, headtube and fork steerer are in the same condition: reamed, faced and chased before painting; threads and interior shielded against overspray; the headtube faces do have paint to protect against corrosion.

    Canti pivot studs are round and are a raw surface without any paint or primer, as they act as a bearing surface. They were covered before painting.

    I did chase the dropout eyelet threads as there was some overspray which made it dificult to effortlessly thread in M5 bolts. That's pretty common though. Plugging those holes before painting and then removing the plugs is usually more trouble than it's worth- picking out paper or cardboard or flushing out the grease; painting fully and consistently around those areas with the plug 'media'; etc.

    Chris Kulczycki said...

    For now we won't install headsets; the frame won't fit in the box with the fork on. But VO Dealers will sell them with installed headsets.

    There is no frame prep required. The dropout eyelets threads, however, have paint in them (as with all frames) so you might clean them when mounting fenders or a rack.

    Anonymous said...

    By "installing headsets", I think he meant pressing the headset races on.

    I think that this would be a good service and some people might forgo the 10% discount on the headset in order to have your folks install the races.

    Allan

    I. Birch said...

    Looking at the rear wheel/axle it seems there is a weld seam between the eyelets for the fenders/rack and the dropout, where they added later? If so why can't this be one piece?

    Anonymous said...

    "I'm not crazy about head badges because they are a sign of a production frame. Most constructeurs did not have them, preferring to hand paint their logos on the head tube. I like that understated look, even if it's a decal.", says Chris.

    I've got to disagree with that. A metal headbadge speaks of much higher quality to me. Understated is good, paint seems like corner-cutting. I wouldn't expect metal for the price of the Polyvalent, for instance.

    Painted versions of headbadges were more often a cheapening process as the builder moved from small framebuilding to larger scale production. Sometimes it was small guys who just couldn't afford to have a run of badges made for them. By the way, some of the French constructeurs did use headbadges.



    Aside from that, I'd add a vote for a demontable. The price difference between a Cross Check and a Traveler's Check is $700 to $800. I know that the actual cost of the couplers is high, but that's insane. If you could do a take-apart frame for reasonable money you'd have a real winner. Using one of the less-expensive frames as a basis, like the Polyvalent, would be better than high-end ones since travel bikes lead a tough life. 650b or even 26/559 would help because the wheel diameter would fit smaller suitcases.

    The Herse quick-release sleeve style may be the answer - it can't be proprietary or patentable after all this time.

    Rich F.

    Anonymous said...

    Man, I love my Long Haul Trucker for commuting, but if this frame had been available when I built the bike, I would not be a Surly owner!

    Joshua said...

    I'd love to pick up one of these frames while the black color is still available; and while I have most of the parts I need, I'm missing one crucial bit: 650b wheels. I have some bits to build up a wheelset, but I wonder - think this frame could be made to work with 26" (ATB) rims? I have a set of those with nice street tires that I could drop right on until I get around to making a a 650b wheelset...

    Rex said...

    Old post but I'm just sayin... I love this bike. I doubt I will be able to get one this year so I will probably miss out on the black paint but c'est la vie. There's no accounting for taste but I love the black paint and understated logo/decals. For what one vote is worth, I say keep the black!

    On a side note, kudos to VO for making a TIG'd frame. Lugged frames are beautiful but not everyone can afford one and to be able to get a great bike that has everything one would want short of lugs is a beautiful thing. Please don't stop making a frame I have a chance of affording in the next 12 - 18 months!