27 September, 2011

Carbon Fiber and Boat Happenings

The cable hanger above may be the first VO carbon fiber component. The idea is that the carbon fiber absorbs vibration that contributes to brake squealing and shuddering. Does it really work? We'll let you know in a few weeks, but it was developed by the same bike racer/engineer who designs our brakes and he has a pretty good track record. This guy is also designing and making components for at least one major European professional bike team. So when he says we should try something, we do.

On another subject, the boat above is not made from carbon fiber (it's wood-epoxy-fiberglass composite), but the mast is CF. It was just built at Chesapeake Light Craft, the company I started 15 years ago and later sold, just a few doors down from Velo Orange. It's a modern Pacific proa named "Madness" designed by John Harris, my old shop manager and now owner of CLC. There's a section about Madness on their site. Watch the video if you're into sailing. There's more on their Facebook page. Madness is a radical and potentially super-fast sailing craft, yet it's based on an ancient Polynesian concept. John will have lots of fun with Madness.

I've been fascinated by proas since boyhood. In fact I recently joined a local club and started paddling in a six-man outrigger racing canoe, an OC-6, which is a little like a proa. OC-6 paddling is a great complement to cycling and it's fun to do a team sport again.

Update: The hanger had only minimal effect, so we won't be stocking it.

21 comments:

camp6ell said...

What does a track cyclist know about brakes anyway?! Haha.

Anonymous said...

I may be able to use something like this to stop my squealy (in the rain) and chattery brakes, so I'm interested in how this works. Been waiting to replace the pads to see if Koolstops would work better. I've had my eyes on thgose Grand Cru cantis as well.

BTW, wherer are the Ostrich handlebar bags?

C said...

Nice.

I actually just ordered plans for a stand-up paddle board from CLC and met them at the Wooden Boat Fest in Port Townsend a couple of weeks ago. Nice people and looking forward to my new winter project.

VeloOrange said...

C, The CLC stand-up paddle boards are very nice and have a good reputation. I also SUP and wish I had the time to build the 14-footer for myself. I've found SUPing to be a great all-around workout and it really improved my balance. SUP racing is getting to be a serious sport around here.

Anonymous said...

A life long cyclist I started outrigger paddling in the San Francisco Bay 3 years ago. I love it and I'm totally addicted. It is a wonderful community and everybody works hard and paddles hard. Be careful, it does add a lot of mass to your upper body. Mahalo

Anonymous said...

I second the Ostrich handlebar bag question?

C said...

I'm in Seattle so in the winter it's a choice between building a SUP in my warm garage or riding in freezing rain in the dark. Hmmmm....tough choice! ;)

I tried out the Kaholo board at the Pt Townsend fest and liked the ride. Bit more stable than the shorter boards I've been borrowing. Prefer to do real surfing but the combination of no waves and cold water really doesn't work so well for that in Seattle. After the Kaholo I plan to build a Duckling for my kids.

WickedVT said...

I'm still trying to figure out what I'm looking at and how it works.

Anonymous said...

WickedVT, think of it as a pointy plywood bathtub in which people can sit, the whole shebang being propelled by the wind via large sheets tied to the top of the pole... ;)

But seriously, it took me a moment as well. Looks like a front brake cable hanger, where the big hole (seen to the right almost completely in profile) is for the steerer tube. Seems the brake cable housing would run down into the slot on the left most piece, and the bare brake cable would come out the bottom of it... Hope that helps you visualize it.

VO, is that a threaded bolt or a smooth notched pin with set screw/pin that holds the thing together at the top? Because it would seem that a threaded bolt would be putting some undesirable outwardly directed forces on the inside of that carbon tube. But I'm sure you'll be putting this thing through some harsh testing, if only to ease the minds of we engineering types who see at least two possible points of mechanical failure on this design compared to a forged cable hanger...

Uncle Ankle said...

I would like to hear the rationale behind actually using cantis instead of v-brakes (besides brifter compatibility, which sounds non-VO to me). Please don't say tire/fender clearance - I've used v-brakes along with 2,35" Big Apples WITH fenders and it worked just fine. Power, modulation and adjustability are simply superior with v-brakes. Is it just about looks?

Anonymous said...

How does a cable hanger contribute to brake squeal? The possibilities of CF absorbing vibration and cutting down on squeal sounds intriguing, but just don't see how the hanger has any bearing on this. Maybe CF pad holders would help more if they would hold up.

@Uncle Ankle - why use cantis over v-brakes you ask? Because they look so cool! That's good enough for me.

Thanks, Chris!!!

Greg said...

@Uncle Ankle:

Well V-brakes over canties sounds non VO to me. It's all about style, man.

Anonymous said...

Uncle Ankle,

My feelings concerning cantis over v-brakes are thus: 1) Cantis allow greater rim clearance (in case a rim goes out of true while on a long ride; 2) Brifter compatibilty (I use them on one bike of three that I own ... I like them; the other bike has Suntour Commandos, the other is a fixie mountaiun bike with v brakes). I've heard that the mini V brakes don't allow much fender clearance and I'm unwilling to spend the money to find out whether or not they do; 3) The cantis I use work well... I just want to see if they can work better, as in not squeal and chatter when the pads wear down a bit (As mentioned I'll try different pads when I'm ready to change them and wait for the results on this new fangled carbon fibre do-dad); 4) The cantis were what was most readily available for reasonable cost when I built the bike at my LBS,,, they had no mini Vs and I didn't want to not use the brifters I had and buy some other shifters (the build was a light touring/rando bike; The Suntour Commandos are on a camping-style, more all-road type bike); 5) I love VO stuff but I don't care what's 'non VO' or not, just as long as it works well, and to a lesser extent looks ok/good on the bike.

Collecting opinions about the best gear over the internet is tricky; I'm still having a hard time deciding between a VO handlbar bag or an Ostrich (if they'll ever be available again). Took months to decide what saddle bag to get... that's how I roll :)

Anonymous said...

That damaged area along the bottom right edge in the cable hanger photo is not too encouraging...

VeloOrange said...

I have not had extensive experience with V-brakes, but I don't think the modulation is as good as cantis. I've ridden, maybe, 600 miles with v-brakes and they just felt like they grabbed too abruptly. We hope to eventually have a brake that, we think, combines the good qualities of both types, at least that's what one of our testers said.

BTW, the hanger is not damaged; that's some sort of reflection in the photo.

As for the hanger: squeal is a well tuned vibration or harmonic resonance, like running a bow over a violin string. The hanger is a vibration dampener. Only 2 days of testing so far, we'll see...

Alec said...

Anon @ 4:52 - what you're seeing is a piece of glue that's keeping the hanger from falling over while the photo is taken. No need to worry.

Anonymous said...

How is a cable hanger going to effect brake squeal or fork chatter? Squeal is fixed by changing the toe-in (and is sometimes unavoidable no matter what under certain conditions) and chatter occurs when the brakes have too large a contact patch on the rim. A flexy cable hanger can't possibly improve braking performance.

Alec said...

Anon 8:13 - I'm skeptical myself. I believe the reasoning is that the squeal is the result of high-frequency vibrations, and carbon fiber is supposed to be good at dampening that sort of thing.

So far, I don't really have an opinion, but it doesn't seem to have any immediate negative effects.

Sooth said...

It's actually Micronesian concept, not Polynesian, to be spacific.

Jeremy Burlingame said...

update on the testing of the hanger?

Patrick said...

Indeed, can we please have a status update? These look great and I am curious to know how they worked and when they will be available.