We've been pursuing a project to make really high quality crochet-back cycling gloves for a couple of years now. After examining at least a dozen prototypes we're giving up for a while. We simply have not been able to get the quality we want at anything close to a reasonable price. We may eventually find some little factory in a less obvious place that can do what we want, but for now we'll give the project a rest.
We have also delayed our pannier project, too many quality issues with hardware. The sewing and materials are not as nice as we'd like and we need to re-think the attachment hardware. I'd like to really bump up the quality of these and may need to visit sewing shops in Vietnam or Central America to find one that can do what we want in the smaller volumes we need. I'd love to have them made in the USA, but from what I've seen it would double the cost. If any US shops are interested I'd be happy to talk.
More and more custom frame builders are using VO and Grand Cru components. We got this really nice e-mail from Greg at Milholland Bicycle who builds some spectacular bikes (check out the flicker page too):
I have been using more and more of your parts for my custom builds, and would like to say thanks for putting out great products at a nice price. As you know these parts have been unobtainable and just plain expensive for the past 30 years. I now can offer a custom lugged "constructuer" bike complete for under $3500 and that includes your Grand Cru parts. This is unheard of in the custom market.... Keep those Grand Cru parts coming!
I don't want to start another long paleo diet/health discussion, but for those interested, here are a few of the blogs I follow: DrBriffa (smart MD) PaNu, Marks Daily Apple, Hunter-Gatherer, The Heart Scan Blog (highly recommended), Health Correlator, and the best of the bunch is Whole Health Source. I actually follow many more. Using Google Reader makes it very simple; there are typically get only 5-10 new posts each morning.
It's really nice in Maryland. For the first time this year temperatures are above normal; we're getting sunshine and highs in the 50s and 60s. But we have to go to Minnesota for a weekend of snow and rain! Tom, Robert, and I are representing VO at FrostBike. Please drop by our booth if you're attending. And bring us something warm to drink.
More of our Grand Cru products will be getting stamped logos instead of laser-etched. We think it looks nicer. The photo is of the first production Grand Cru fixed hub. They should be in a container arriving in March.