06 May, 2011

Miscellany

There is a Twitter feed on the right side of this blog. I use it to occasionally post miscellaneous bits of information and links. I only mention this because a few folks have told me that they don't see it in their browsers, and a couple just didn't notice it was there. So they missed fascinating bits of news such as an article that explains studies showing that UV light can make you faster and stronger. Here is the direct link. There is also an official VO twitter.

We are starting work on a Mark 3 version of the Grand Cru Canti brakes. They will have an lengthened lever arm for more stopping power. Additionally, there is enough up-and-down pad adjustment to convert 26" mountain and touring bikes to 650b. With them you could use 650b wheels on your LHT or classic Stump Jumper and have access to all those wide soft tires, like the great Pari-Motos, with minimal rolling resistance.

The Mark 3 brakes were not designed with conversions in mind; we simply discovered an added benefit to the longer adjusting slots. I expect that taking an old mountain bike and having the fork re-raked might make an acceptable low-trail 650b touring bike. Re-raking is fast and easy and can be done without damaging the paint. Anyone have more experience with this? BTW, these brakes will be an additional model, not a replacement for the Mark 2.

Speaking of touring bikes, the 700c Polyvalent will officially be in the prototype stage next week. That means that we will be waiting for prototypes instead of just second-guessing all the details we put on paper (actually CAD). The main changes from the 650b Polyvalent are, vertical dropouts, slightly shorter top tube, longer chain stays, 3 sets of bottle cage bosses, and more rack mounts. Now we need to pick a color. Blue-gray? Dark gray? Custard?


We often get asked if the Porteur rack will accept panniers. Yes; the rack works perfectly with most panniers. I like to hook panniers on the inner rails, as in the photo. They can also be attached to the outer rail, but then they lean outward which looks odd to me.

30 comments:

Winga said...

Are both versions of the Polyvalent going to be geared towards touring? I know last version was supposed to be for city bikes. I'm in the market for a utilitarian bike.

philcycles said...

Chris sez: Re-raking is fast and easy and can be done without damaging the paint. Anyone have more experience with this?

Yup. I've reraked several forks. You just have to be careful, go slow and pad the mandrel and lever with rags so that you don't damage the paint. Make sure you have a stop so both blades are raked the same.
Phil Brown

Brent Shultz said...

I do believe this is the frame I've been waiting for to replace my 1983 Shogun that's headed on it's last legs. I vote for dark gray, followed with blue gray as an alternate.

Fil said...

Great to see the 700c Poly developing. Any chance that there will be 63cm size frames available? Think that would be my dream frame.

Love the look of the green from the new 650b, but guess it will be a different colour. Maybe brown? Sure would help for after rough stuff rides (: or a lighter green??

Anonymous said...

definitely not custard. dark gray is good, so is blue-grey. can't decide which is 1 and which is 2.

shorter top tube not good news to me (said the built-like-a-dachshund man), but I may want a green 650b poly anyway. the fork, color, and wheel size of v. 1 scared me away, now it's just the wheel size so I may jump now, especially if you offer the build kits again.

of course, if you offer a 63x61 in the 700c variant...

thanks for the great stuff, Dan

dwainedibbly said...

I have a used-for-6-months Ortlieb Downtown bag in Aubergine that won't work on a Polyvalent with a Porteur front rack and a Constructeur rear rack with Grand Cru cantilever brakes. It hits the brakes in the rear and won't work on the front because the top of the bag protrudes substantially above the level of the rack. I can't just lay it on the top of the Porteur rack because I doubt the bag would retain it's water blocking qualities in that position.

I didn't discover this until yesterday. (Yes, I'm REALLY taking my time building this thing up.) It's a little disappointing because I really like the bag, but I think I'm going to love the bike. Bike wins. I just need to find a nice, waterproof (I'm in Portland) bag that will ride nicely on the Porteur rack.

Anyone have bag suggestions?

brothersterno said...

Swift Industries makes a bag sized for the vo porteur rack by hand in Seattle. Yes, you can have a hipster porteur rack front bag.

http://www.builtbyswift.com/

My friend has one on his re-raked surly steamroller and he thinks it's wonderful.

Andy Squirrel said...

Here is my porteur bag from Swift: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andy_squirrel/5633134043/in/set-72157626404631185

Anonymous said...

Doesn't re-raking effectively lower the front end and also steepen your head tube angle? I'm guessing this is done in very small increments.

Anonymous said...

I think tawny is a lovely colour for bicycles.
M Burdge

Anonymous said...

I converted a 1990 Bridgestone MB-2 to 650b using brakes with long adjustment slots. With a big Wald basket up front it was a great utilitarian bike, but I did not re-rake the fork and so heavy loads made for adverse handling. Moving to the slightly larger wheel size also increased the trail (which I measured carefully) adding to the problem.

The high bottom bracket was not so great on downhills, but it was still nice when on trails.

Chris, I'm confused how you can advocate such conversions when you usually state that VO is all about impeccable handling. Re-raking a fork for low trail also increases the head angle slightly. While that's probably a good thing when it comes to most older MTBs, as an unknown quantity it does not feel in line with your stated principles.

I'm not criticizing, I'm actually suggesting that you relax your principle of impeccable handling a bit, and more specifically offer a 650b conversion fork. I'd wager that the height of the new Poly fork is not too far off from most 90's unicrown MTB forks, and perhaps not far from many 700c forks on old Japanese frames. But perhaps I am wrong, having admittedly only taken a small sample. But slight variations in handling are easily adapted to by most riders.

There is clearly a market for such a fork, and VO is the ideal company to bring it to market.

riggs said...

I like some zip in my color. Orange! Bright Yellow! Silver is much less dreary than grey. Ruby or Garnet red is also easy to dress up.

One reason I like yellow is that you can dress it with silver or black parts and either looks good.

riggs said...

Here is one of my favorites, the old World Voyager, with chrome lugs and in Kool Orange!

http://www.bikingindallas.com/1973-schwinn-world-voyageur-in-kool-orange/

dwainedibbly said...

Thanks for the bag tips. The Swift bag looks very close to what I need with one exception: this bike is going to be a commuter, and I have probably 1/4 mile to go from bike parking to office. A shoulder strap is pretty much a must-have feature for me. I'll have to call Swift and see if they can do that. I use two u-locks, so I want to ask them about adding a 2nd lock holder, too.

And to clarify, I didn't mean to imply in my original post that I am in any way upset with VO. This is just one of those bike things that happens. Either Mrs Dibbly is going to receive the Ortleib bag as a gift, or it'll go on eBay. A rear bag really isn't right for a front-load bike like the Polyvalent, anyway.

My 2 cents on the 650B conversion fork discussion: I agree that this is something that VO should strongly consider, in threaded and threadless versions, perhaps in more than one color if doubling the SKUs is manageable. Black & chrome, maybe?

Anonymous said...

VO conversion fork
+1
Great idea not offered anywhere else.

Fred Zeppelin said...

Just get whatever Timbuk2/Chrome/whatever messenger bag you prefer and use that + bungee net. Myself and many others do this, it's waterproof and easy to carry off the bike. Bonus is if you need to pick up extra cargo, just put the bag over your shoulder and boom, you've got an empty front rack for cargo.

Kim Isaacson said...

I enjoy the background you provide on the design and sourcing of VO components. I wonder if you could consider writing a piece describing the economics behind the overseas production of components. These are small parts and fabricated by machines, so I wonder why this is not economically feasible domestically. This is not a critique of VO's process, I am just curious... Thanks.

josephine said...

Polyvalent color: Grey or Blue Grey - definitely not yellow

Steve said...

Anonymous said...

VO conversion fork
+1
Great idea not offered anywhere else.


I completely agree, and I'm happy to be publicly identified with the sentiment.

Anonymous said...

What about the Mixte. I'm wondering why you reduced the price so much and took it off the list. Was it just not popular or was there some difficulty with the manufacturing?

Chris Kulczycki said...

I don't advocate 650b conversions. But if the 26" fork is re-raked by a frame builder who understands low-trail geometry I could see how it might be a cheap way to get a 650b touring bike. It's certainly a lot better than buying a 650b fork and putting it on a 700c bike. Reverse sloping top tube anyone?

The Mixte did not sell particularly well, but I never expected that it would and so didn't order a huge number. We blew out the last dozen frames at a discount mainly to make room in our warehouse.

Karl said...

I'm just wondering as to why you are switching to vertical dropouts given all the internal-gear hubs out there, from 3-speed S-A, all the way up to the tourable Shimano 11-speed? With that plus all the people who might want a steel framed fixed gear or single-speed bike, I would have thought that horizontal dropouts would be best.

Anonymous said...

Still no downtube shifter bosses on the 700C polyvalent?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Since the 700c version of the Polyvalent will be more of a touring bike, vertical dropouts are preferable. They make wheel removal faster, ensure perfect wheel-to-frame alignment, and preserve a proper fender line.

Both versions of Polyvalent will have shifter bosses this time around.

Jeremy Pawlowski said...

Dark Gray!

Anonymous said...

That's awesome about the shifter bosses! Nice call. When do you expect to have these models available?

Anonymous said...

If you can't wait for the Velo Orange brakes, Paul Components makes a V brake with enough brake pad movement to fit 650b (and 700c) wheels on a 26" ATB frame.

http://paulcomp.com/motobmx.html

It's a linear pull brake so it's not compatible with standard road levers, or cantilever brake levers. But there are alternatives otu there too- Dia Compe makes an aero lever that pulls enough cable for V brakes.

masmojo said...

Chris, in one of the interviews you state that your Pass Hunter is your favorite bike, yet VO does not offer one any longer; is that something you are working on or will the 700C Polyvalent be a suitable replacement???

Regarding a conversion fork, assuming they would have Canti mounts maybe you could offer a couple different versions? One for mountain bike conversions and another for 700C conversions? The 700C could have a bit taller crown and slightly extended fork blades, sort of like the suspension corrected rigid forks that come on most mountain bikes these days! It appears that there's clearly a market for something like this, the quesion is: Would aiding people converting vintage frames eat into VO frame sales???

Chris Kulczycki said...

The Pass Hunter is basically a Rando frame with canti brakes. We may make a production run in a year or two.

We have no plans for conversion forks.

debaser said...

Sounds like no future VO Mixtes. That makes me sad. Liked the looks of that geometry for my 6'4" frame. Another ebay seach...