07 September, 2010

Fillet Brazed Rando Frame


This is a prototype fillet brazed rando frame. Our frame factory has two craftsmen who are skilled at fillet brazing, one is the president. We're exploring the possibility of offering a very limited production run of these frames, maybe 25 frames. It has geometry like the current Rando frame, but it will have an upgraded fork with a nicer bend. The cost would be about $1200.

If you want a the un-ridden 61cm prototype in the photos it's available. The price, as shown (with chrome headset, crank, rack, BB, and brakes) is $1200. I had intended to build it up for myself, but I have too many bikes already.

Update: The prototype frame is sold. It went right after we posted it on the site.

 

39 comments:

Stubecontinued said...

That frame is a beauty! I love how chromed frames seem to have come back on the radar in the bike. I'm sure a fillet brazed bike would sell to as more and more cycling enthusiasts are actually interested in frame construction methods. The only thing missing is Canti posts...

stevep33 said...

An improved fork bend would be great. I don't know about the chrome; it's a little conspicuous for my taste.

Travis said...

Yes, definitely if it had cantilever or centerpull posts. Love the chrome.

Anonymous said...

Bad. Ass.

Anonymous said...

'..one is the president'?
Huh?

Pierce said...

the chrome is pretty tacky.

Le Cagot said...

Very classy frame. Add a dark brown saddle and leather bar tape and it will be perfect. And smooth stainless steel fenders and ENE tires.

Anonymous said...

Does someone know of a decorative chrome plating process which does not involve the hazardous hexavalent chrome?

bubba said...

Hopefully 'improved fork bend' means improved over the prototype. The fork bend on the prototype pictured bend leaves, um, room for improvement, shall we say?

Anonymous said...

Would rather pay $850 for the lugged rando with paint and an improved fork bend. The fork is main non-selling point on the current rando, IMO.

Chrome is kind of cute on old Paramounts and such but seems odd on a new bike.

DS

Anonymous said...

This frame looks more like a "museum" piece rather than a daily commuter. I couldn't see taking this out for a spin on a regular basis. Too flashy...almost like having your restored classic car being valet parked. Too much risk of damage.
At $1200 buckaroos? Sorry.

Anonymous said...

No thanks on the chrome, another vote for a lovely fork bend and paint. If you want a silly option, how about Ti ?
Scott G.

Anonymous said...

I'd buy one just because it would be maintenance free. It would never need re-painting. The chrome fork blades on my 40 year old frame are still perfect.

aubrey said...

i'd certainly pay $1200 for a frameset and mini-kit as pictured! another vote for a different fork bend. i agree that chrome does look odd on a new bike, but then i never saw a 60-year-old hers/inger when it was new, either. i think it would look best after being ridden 10,000 miles, or a year messengering, which ever came first. though i'd be drawn to its durability/"beausage", another vote for a less-toxic chrome alternative.

Joel said...

Anon 2:21: While I would rather not have a chrome bike, fear of damage is rather low on my reasoning list.

Chrome is much more durable than paint or powder coat.

Don't believe me, look at the chrome bumpers on an old Chevy or the chrome spokes on an old British roadster. Chrome stands up to just about anything.

Anonymous said...

Hope the price includes a pair of VO sunglasses as all that shiny chrome would blind you on a sunny day! Chrome looks cool!!!

stevep33 said...

My other issue with the prototype is that the rear drop-outs interrupt the otherwise clean lines of the fillet brazing on the rest of the frame. Can the drop-outs be made as inserts to the seat/chain stays rather than capping over them? For me, fillet brazed bikes are great because they have smooth joints that make the parts of the frame flow together seamlessly. Those dropouts don't work well with that concept.

Anonymous said...

Frame sold 5 minutes after posting. So yes, there are people who found $1200 a reasonable price. Yes, we know you don't like the fork; we've already said we've changed it.
Annette

Rick @ Bicycle Fixation said...

Chrome built up can be beautiful, though I prefer the nickel plating we did on Gina's budget randonneuse (the celebrated Vivian!).

BTW paint pollutes too. So does nickel plating, but it does eliminate the chrome and looks (to my eye) a little nicer...just a tad warmer.

Anyway, chrome has a long and noble history in the British, French, and Italian classic bike world.

Anonymous said...

This is a gorgeous bike...and to all the chrome haters, what's more toxic, a single chroming job over 40 years or 3 or more repaints with Imron (also highly toxic)?

That's assuming the painted bike wasn't discarded because of rust.

Keep up the good work! This bike is definitely worth $1200+, although an elegant fork bend, as others suggest, would be nice.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, I never noticed fork bends until reading Chris's "Designing Boats" post, now it's the only factor stalling my purchase of a new VO Polyvalent.

Nick said...

I like the chrome, but I'm more interested in lugged construction. Fillet brazing is nicer than TIG welding but not as classy as a well-made lugged frame.

What I would like to see is a fully lugged touring bike from VO. It would have the necessary braze-ons for classic camper style low-rider racks (which VO should make). Any plans?

Anonymous said...

Make it 650B with centerpull bosses and I'd be all over it!
I like the chrome, but paint's good, too.

Anonymous said...

+1 on a VO touring frame. With or without lugs...chrome or paint...PLEASE!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Reminds me of my old 1978 Paris Sport ... All chrome.

monty8867 said...

What is the top tube length? Would you sub one of your 50.4 cranks?

Anonymous said...

chrome is beautiful but too shiny for those of us who suffer from light-triggered migraines.

Chris, you are working on a camping/touring frame with French geo, right?

Anonymous said...

Very nice. I think fully lugged would have really been the icing on the cake. To the folks who are dissing the chrome, well, have you any idea what VO is all about? I mean, geez, they sell new centerpull brakes and porteur racks! How outdated! ;)

Anyway, great looking frame. I agree that a more radiused fork would have been more aesthetically pleasing.
This will make a really nice ride with a heap of nostalgia thrown in for good measure.

Bernard said...

Beautiful frame, and in my size as well. I seriously considered buying it . . . until I saw the vertical drop-outs. Of the 13 bikes I own currently -- some of which are prototypes and one offs -- none has vertical drop-outs as these prohibit a fixed gear set-up. Horizontal drop-outs are fine, rear fork ends are good, but vertical drop-outs are the ultimate dealbreaker for any bike afficinado. They make sense when one needs to save 0.4 seconds when changing a wheel during a race, but under no other circumstances

Garth said...

Pretty cool. Chrome is cool in many ways, especially mixed with paint. The durability of chrome varies with both the initial quality as well as the maintenance it receives. If cheaply done it will peel. If not wiped clean and waxed, it can pit and eventually rust. It can, even, given enough usage, wear through. Irregardless, if you want a chromed frame, this looks pretty cool.

johnson said...

"... vertical drop-outs are the ultimate dealbreaker for any bike afficinado. They make sense when one needs to save 0.4 seconds when changing a wheel during a race, but under no other circumstances..."

Are you kidding? They make great sense if you are running fenders, they make great sense if you are using a contemporary shifting system, they make sense if you like a degree of added stiffness to the rear triangle, they also make sense if you like your axle wrapped in more than 1 degree of steel dropout material. There are more reasons vertical dropouts make sense, including but not limited to ease of brake alignment and tire size limitations with forward facing dropouts.

If you do not understand any of these reasons, perhaps your credentials as a "bicycle afficinado" should be called into question.

Karl said...

Having owned three fillet-brazed frames, though none currently, they can be every bit as elegant as a lugged frame. The key is the filing and finishing, which should present a smooth transition from tube to tube. Otherwise there is little to recommend it over a nice, tight TIG weld.

One Lyonsport and one Bilenky (both inexpensive and the latter something of a frame experiment) had unfiled brazing and to my eye were lumpy and unattractive. The third, a "Signature" quality Bilenky was very smooth and the only frame I've had that gave my Mariposa a run for its money looks-wise.

I'm not sure that the photos here really capture the quality of filing, so perhaps a couple more could be added.

Also, $1200 is surely a reasonable price for all the work involved. A fillet-brazed frameset built in North America would likely run $1000 more than that.

Uncle Ankle said...

Love the seat stay caps. Too much chrome, though; chromed fork + right chain stay + maybe head lugs is the way I like it.

Anonymous said...

@ Bernard

I used to feel the same way about dropouts and thought vertical were horrible. After owning a frame with them I'm now a convert as they make wheel removal easier and sooooo much better with fenders. Horizontal are certainly best for fixed conversion, but on a dedicated geared road bike vertical are worth reconsidering.

Tom SVDP said...

Speaking of chromed forks, yes, you see them around, on the net and at the bike shop where I got one recently. Someone needs to write an article concerning weight issues, forked crown vs. sloped fork, etc. and on what to look for if one gets a fork as a replacement for one in Reynolds 531 or others.

doug said...

Nice frame ... but that fork bend is awful. It looks like the fork on my Jamis Aurora. Like the bridge, though.

Tom SVDP said...

It's already a head turner but imagine the effect of a Solida crank with Lyotard pedals, a reserved understated look of class.

Nick Cecchi said...

I'm with the above comment on rear-facing track dropouts. They let you slam your wheel closer, especially if you are running a variety of tire width sizes. This bike with rear-facing track ends AND a deraileur hangar would be epic.

Also, if I'm going to drop $1200 on a gorgeous frame, I kind of want the option to run it fixed or SS for winter training, etc... then throw my deraileur on and a different rear wheel, and bam, back to a summertime road bike again.

chrome plated prototypes said...

I think its main attribute rust no,yes of course that's true of any chromed metal.It's just that chromed rarely used in everywhere & chrome is a most durable & expensive finish.