25 April, 2011

Forks and Shirts

It took four prototypes and an in-person meeting with the president of the frame factory, but we finally have Polyvalent forks just as we wanted them. The new forks have a great bend and even include low-rider bosses. The color is a nice shade of dark green. We'll put in an order for the next production run of 650b Polyvalents right away.

We also have some new Grand Cru t-shirts. They are made from organic cotton. I'm a big advocate of organic cotton. Did you know that non-organic cotton uses approximately 25% of the world's insecticides and more than 10% of the pesticides (including herbicides, insecticides, and defoliants)?

BTW, check out the outtakes from the t-shirt photo shoot.

35 comments:

mr. dobalina said...

PRETTY FORK; HANDSOME SHIRT.

stevep33 said...

The bend is 1000% better. The long points on the inside of the crown are also nice.

Seems like you have worked very hard to get this result. Just out of curiosity, what is it that makes getting that nice low and round bend in the delivered forks so tricky? Is it an issue of tooling, skills, materials, communication, etc.???

Anonymous said...

Oh my god the fork is brilliant! After all these years! You DID IT!!!!

So, this is a 650b fork or are there/will there be other sizes? Ideas of the max tire size both diameter and width that might fit in there?

I'd love to hear the story of how you got the bend right! It's just beautiful!

Anonymous said...

The 650b fork of my dreams. Awesome! Will you consider selling this fork separately, or would that cannibalize too many Polyvalent orders?

Nick said...

This kind of green is my favourite frame colour. Matches leather and shiny steel so well.

Would love that fork on a lugged frame. Any chance the next version will be lugged?

Anonymous said...

The bend looks great. Will you sell them separately for conversions a la Kogswell?

Also: can you tell us what we can expect in the camping rack? will it be like the Nitto Campee, or perhaps have detachable low riders a la MAP, etc?

thanks for all you do.

D. W. McClain said...

Gorgeous fork. If you ever make them with threaded steerer tubes and sell them individually, I'll buy several!

Saschi said...

Looks great. Make a similar one available in 700, I buy 3.

Uncle Ankle said...

Looks very fine, indeed. Nice colour too.

My guess regarding difficulty: The trick is getting the dropout-recieving fork tube end to be in the proper place at the proper angle in the middle of a curve rather than in a straight section? So the bends need to be lined up more carefully and the cut made in a more mechanically awkward place?

Anonymous said...

Sweet, sweet fork. This next Polyvalent is like the Holy Grail. Make a lot of them.

Chris Kulczycki said...

The fork specification problems were a matter of communication and perception. The factory could not perceive that the exact bend of the fork actually mattered. None of the other companies they make forks for had been so exacting in their specifications. And it took us a long time to communicate to them that close was not good enough.

Sorry, but the forks will not be sold separately. VO is about getting geometry and handling as close to perfect as humanly possible. Putting our fork on just any frame goes completely against this ideal.

Phil said...

I understand your position about getting the geometry right for your bikes. But there does appear to be strong demand for high rake forks to be sold separately and this sure sounds like a case where the customer is always right. Either way, congrats on getting it right and the paint sure does look a million times better than the colour of the old Polyvalents.

Christopher said...

Love the fork and I am eagerly looking forward to the 700C Polyvant.
While I liked the black, the green is nice to.
For those looking for classic looking forks, Soma Fab has a line of forks available with the classic bend.

masmojo said...

Love the forks! and the color! I can certainly understand the desire people have to buy a fork for use on another bike, but there certainly are problems with that which many may not under stand! A fork with that much curve probably also has allot of offset and could be slightly dangerous on a frame that is not designed for it; without the proper head tube angle the steering could be anywhere from "floppy" on a bike with a very slack head tube to dangerously darty on one with a very upright head tube angle. Perhaps a different fork with a similar look, but less rake for retro fit applications might be in order??

Also, might you set the site up for pre-orders?

Anonymous said...

Another vote for selling the forks as singles.

bubba said...

So what I'm hearing is that the fork WILL BE sold separately.....it just comes with a free frame! :)

Anonymous said...

I fully intend to purchase a Polyvelant here in a few months after I move. I liked the frame before, but in this color, with that fork curve, and with low rider mounts, it's pretty much my ideal frame (outside of insanely expensive custom bikes, of course). Excellent work!

Steve said...

I agree, it would be a wonderful thing to have the fork available separately for conversions. I do understand your concerns regarding the handling of VO bikes, but in this case the VO brand is not in jeopardy -- forks are pretty anonymous -- and this would actually help improve so many bikes. I'll bet when the word got out in the right circles, it would be a very popular item.

riggs said...

I have a mint unused Voyager SP frame in a very large size but is devoid of a fork. Same problem, no decent forks out there with those gorgeous braze ons and brake bosses.

ChrisCullum said...

I think it's real missed opportunity to not offer this fork as a separate aftermarket item. This fork could really improve the handling and versatility of a lot of existing frames. I think the frame designed for the fork is a bit of a red herring because let's face it the Polyvalent is not a constructeur bike. Pretty much every bike on the market these days has a stock (usually carbon) fork that is added to the frame at least this would be giant improvement on what is currently available. BTW I am very positive about the fork it looks great.

Tom said...

Another thing to consider is this fork is for a 650b wheel. Retrofitting this to a 27" or 700c frame is an extraordinarily bad idea.

Slapping a low trail fork onto your old high trail Trek frame does not make it into a sweet low trail rando bike.

Anonymous said...

whats up with the t-shirt sizes? theres no small, it's all 90's bagginess.

Phil said...

Tom has an excellent point. Most people are not going to be interested in buying a separate 650B fork. However, whenever the 700C model becomes available, I would really hope that you make that one available to purchase separately. Do you have any more details on the 700C model?

jsk_online said...

Please explain what, exactly, is the new "great bend" supposed to do for the bike, anyway?

Anonymous said...

+1 for selling the new fork separately for 650b conversions. There are many old frames that would benefit.

Anonymous said...

jsk_online: Like a nice curve found anywhere, the new fork curve makes the front end look beautiful by directing the eye along a sensuous and harmonious path.

Steve Mattson said...

Selling the fork as a separate item is a good thing. We could sell those in our shop.
Having a 700c touring fork as well as a purchasable option would be awesome as well.
Keep going...
You are doing great work.

masmojo said...

jsk, The bend not only looks nice it also should help to take the edge off sharp bumps (like expansion joints) because the curve absorbs some of the impact! A straight bladed fork or one with mild curve will allow the shock from the impact to travel up the fork to the frame stem and handlebars more directly! ;-)

Anonymous said...

No offense,but the fork crown is a real disappointment.

ablejack said...

Like others have mentioned, it is a beautiful curve and will absorb more vibration than a straight fork. Furthermore, by pushing the wheel forward, the tire patch of contact will be closer to the theoretical point of contact of the imaginary extension of the head tube to the road. The difference between them (usually in mm's) is known as trail. A lower trail will better handle with a front loaded bicycle (such as the Polyvalent)
goog "low trail bicycles" or Porteur Bikes for illustrations.
Anyone who wants a fancier or more specifically different designed fork can always have one made. A shop like Bilenky for example can probably build or mod whatever you like. VO has specced this fork nicely for it's intended frame.

Anonymous said...

@ablejack -- just an FYI, Bilenky built me a replacement fork for my bike, with a nice curve, rather standard fork crown, and charged $350. So, yeah, it can be done, but for a price. Oh, and that is unpainted.

Dan

masmojo said...

For those looking for a 650B fork I would suggest looking at your local shop or on Epay for an old mountain bike fork! early MB forks had investment cast crowns and although a caliper brake probably won't work, you can have the old canti boss's removed and new ones added for less then the cost of a custom fork! the wont have nearly as nice of a bend to them, but they should work fine!

Riggs said...

@steve matson

I really have searched high and low for 700c threaded touring forks done well, with proper braze ons etc. It's really just custom for a high cost. A fork with a standard offset would be ok as most folks who are smart would choose the frame based on head tube angles. My Raleigh R300 and my Fuji Grand Tourer SE are totally different rides. The Raleigh is great with a front load. The Fuji you can hardly turn a corner with. It likes straight ahead, and that's it. I got all nerdy and got my protractor and tape measure out. It finally made it click in my noggin about how trail/rake/angles all relate

masmojo said...

Chris, someone mentioned the fork crown and while I don't find it ugly, I certainly think that the Pacenti Dual plane fork crowns would be the ultimate for this application from anesthetic perspective! My latest bike has one and it's SWEET!! Of course I could be a day late . . . .

John Hurley said...

Presumably if a person needed (or just wanted) a replacement fork for their existing VO Polyvalent frame, they could get one of these new ones from VO?