29 October, 2012
So I've asked the VO staff not to come to work today, and perhaps tomorrow. It might get dicey driving, never mind biking. Some of us will try to answer e-mails from home as long as we have power. We hope to get all orders out by late Wednesday if power and internet are restored. Sorry for the delay.
Update 10/30: The storm center passed well north of us and we are open and shipping orders again. Phones and e-mail are working.
Posted by VeloOrange at 9:20:00 AM
24 October, 2012
First, what isn't different between tubesets (intensive properties):
- Elasticity of the steel
- Weight by volume of the steel. (A cubic cm of high-end bike tubing steel weighs the same as a cubic cm of gas-pipe steel.)
- Tensile Strength
Thin-wall tubing is very easy to dent. That's why we wouldn't recommend it for a commuting bike or a touring bike. It's also more likely to be destroyed in a crash, even a mild one. That high end thin-wall tubing may be okay for racing bikes, but you must still be careful with them.
By the way, VO uses a high quality 4130 double-butted tubing made in Taiwan (where a lot of "name brand" tubing is now also made). We feel that that the quality is equal to that of tubing from the old line companies, but by using this tubing we can knock $100 to $200 off our frame prices without losing ride quality or gaining weight.
Posted by VeloOrange at 1:53:00 PM
19 October, 2012
The new MK3 version wide-profile brakes are significantly more powerful than previous versions. This is due to their longer arms. Longer arms increase mechanical advantage. But just as important is their excellent adjustability. They now have spring tension adjustment for easier centering.
We've kept the traditional wide-profile design of the MK2. And they still have slots for up and down adjustment of the brake pad. This means they fit perfectly on more frames and forks; not all canti studs are in exactly the same place due to manufacturing tolerances or intended specification. There is also an adjusting mechanism at the end of the straddle wire for easier setup and for fine tuning pad clearance and wire angle. (You'll wonder why all canti brakes don't have these adjusters.) Finally, the brake pads are fully adjustable for toe-in and angle.
Posted by VeloOrange at 2:39:00 PM
16 October, 2012
This is a digital drawing done with a Wacom pen tablet, a sort of electronic pen. It's printed on heavy paper and signed by the artist.The drawing's size is 18x24 inches. Its shipped in a mailing tube to prevent damage. The cost is $30.
A little about Ben, "I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil, and cycling nearly as long. Over time I began to combine my two favorite things and I've been drawing bicycles and components ever since. While I often draw everything from landscapes to comics, bicycles are still my favorite subject."
Posted by VeloOrange at 2:41:00 PM
12 October, 2012
Before I go on, here is the complete build list.
- Campeur Frame: Sizes: 51, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61. More info here.
- Rear Wheel: Grand Cru 135mm Touring Hub, Diagonale Rim 36 hole
- Front Wheel: Grand Cru High Flange Hub, Diagonale Rim 36 hole
- Tires: 700x35 Panaracer Tourguard
- Shifters: Dia-Compe Bar-Ends, Friction
- Crankset: Grand Cru Triple 48x34x24, 165mm (sizes 51 & 53), 170mm (sizes 55 & 57), 175mm (sizes 59 & 61)
- Bottom Bracket: Grand Cru 124mm, English thread
- Cassette: SRAM 9 Speed 11-32T
- Rear Derailleur: Deore 9 speed
- Front Derailleur: Sora Triple
- Chain: KMC X-9
- Headset: VO Roller Bearing
- Stem: VO Quill 90mm (sizes 51-55), 100mm (sizes 57-59), 110mm (size 59)
- Handlebar: Grand Cru Course Handlebar, 44cm (sizes 51-57), 46cm sizes (59 & 61)
- Brakes: Tektro CR720 Cantilevers
- Brake Levers: Tektro RL340
- Seatpost: Grand Cru 27.2
- Saddle: VO Model 3 Touring, Brown
- Handlebar Tape: Tressostar Cotton, Brown (not installed)
- Pedals: not included
First off, the Campeur assembled in our shop in Annapolis MD.
Next, the components are what we would ride. I'd have no qualms about hopping on this bike and riding a three thousand mile trip into the back of beyond. And I wouldn't say that about a lot of mid-priced off-the-shelf bikes. On some of them you might find a $6 bottom bracket with plastic cups hiding behind a nice looking crank. Or you might find no-name hubs or headsets with low-end bearings. Then there is the seat post without enough setback for a leather saddle. We've tried to address all these common problems.
The final point I wanted to make about these bikes is that they are an experiment and we'll make only a very limited number. The reason for this is that we really don't have the staff or space to build them in large numbers efficiently. But if they sell well, we'll lease another warehouse bay and hire more staff so we can do them in quantity.
Campeur build kits.
Posted by VeloOrange at 12:55:00 PM
10 October, 2012
Highlights of the build include a Model 1 saddle, Polyvalent crank, 105 hubs, Pari-Moto tires etc. A full list follows. It's available for $1200.
- Frame: 59cm Polyvalent MK1 frame & fork
- Rear Wheel: Shimano 105 hub, Diagonale Rim, 650b, 36 hole
- Front Wheel: Shimano 105 hub, Diagonale Rim, 650b, 32 hole
- Tires: 650 x 38b Pacenti Parimoto, virtually brand new
- Shifters: Dia-Compe smooth bar-ends
- Crankset: VO Polyvalent Double, 170mm, 46x30T
- Cassette: 8 speed
- Rear Derailleur: Tiagra
- Front Derailleur: FSA Compact Double
- Headset: Grand Cru Sealed Bearing
- Stem: VO Threadless Adaptor + 80mm threadless +/- 6 degree
- Handlebar: Grand Cru Course 46cm
- Brakes: Tektro CR720 Cantilevers, Grand Cru Constructeur Hangers
- Brake Levers: Tektro RL340
- Saddle: VO Model 1, Honey
- Handlebar Tape: Tressostar Cotton, Brown
- Pedals: VO Touring
- Bell: Brass Spring w/ headset spacer
- Kickstand: VO Porteur
Posted by VeloOrange at 1:54:00 PM
09 October, 2012
This is the time of year that we go over our costs and pricing. As expected a few things have gone up. But the big news is that when analysed frame costs, including development costs, we found that we could lower them substantially. So we re-priced the Polyvalent and Campeur at an even $500. That's a $100 drop for the Campeur and a $50 drop for the Polyvalent.
By the way, those of you who bought a frame from the VO web store or in our showroom at full retail price in the past month will get a VO gift certificate in the amount of the price drop.
In other news:
More here. Nice job Gabe!
I noticed the recent blog post about your "other touring bike". I wanted to point out that you also have "that other rando bike". My Polyvalent MK1 has been a few different things since I got it, but it has developed well with my recent interest in Randonneuring. It still remains the most affordable 650b frame on the market, and it's a bonus that it fits fast 42mm Grand Bois Hetre tires with fenders. Maybe my favorite part is it's stable and consistent handling with even the largest Berthoud bag loaded on a front rack after a full day of riding. I've only done a Populaire and a recent Permanent course rid with Seattle International Randonneurs, my local club in Olympia Washington, but I don't plan to stop any time soon. I've lived in Olympia for a year and my Polyvalent has taken me to most ends of our city on local rides and commutes, so randonneurring is my next step in discovering more of the pacific north west on a busy work schedule. It seems that the Polyvalent has really filled a gap in the market, and truly lives up to its name for your customers.
Posted by VeloOrange at 11:34:00 AM
05 October, 2012
|Here's Igor's build.|
|1940's style bottle cage mounting.|
Posted by VeloOrange at 2:53:00 PM
03 October, 2012
A local customer, Scott, wrote to remind us that we actually make two touring frames, In addition to the Campeur, there is the Polyvalent. Polyvalent means multi-purpose and that is exactly what we designed it to be. Scott recently completed a camping trip from Vermont to Montreal and back on his new Polyvalent. The entire e-mail follows.
I see there is lots of fuss on the VO blog over the arrival of the new Campeur frames, as well there should be, they look to be an excellent design, but let us not forget that the workhorse Polyvalent is also capable of doing a fine job at loaded touring as well. This summer I assembled a Polyvalent using many VO parts with my eye on making it an all-rounder - one equally adapt at commuting, loaded or unloaded touring, or using on club rides. So far it has met all my expectations quite easily, the only exception being that it was a bit slower on the club rides than my other bikes, no matter though as my desire to keep up with the hammer-heads get lesser all the time. As for it being a capable touring/camping rig, or a daily commuter, I couldn't be happier.
As a christening tour my friend Lydia and I set out on a week long, cross-border bike camping trip from Vermont to Montreal and back. Most of the riding was over flat terrain with about 30 to 40% of it on gravel bike paths or roads, and the rest of the time on pavement, including the very bike friendly city streets of Montreal. A more thorough test aver a hilly route is next on the list but one thing I am sure of is that for me, the 650b is the way to go on a touring or city bike. Over the years I've used 26", 27" and 700c bikes, with fat, medium and skinny tires but the Polyvalent with it's cushy riding Col-de-la-Vies really make me smile. It seems to be just the right combination of frame geometry and tire size that suits me. Currently the bike is getting a good workout as my daily commuter. Here are a couple of pictures towards the end of our trip;
The other bike is a rescued-from-Craigslist and repurposed Nishiki roadbike, eighties vintage, originally 27" but converted to 650b using VO wheels. This conversion is something to consider for anyone wanting a low budget, load capable bike, this one worked great for us and will be getting a lot more use after a few minor tweaks.
Posted by VeloOrange at 10:38:00 AM
01 October, 2012
- Big Agnes Seedhouse SL2 tent
- Mont-Bell 30deg down sleeping bag
- Thermarest Pro-Lite 1” sleeping pad, full length
- Gore-Tex Paclite waterproof shell
- several t-shirts, thin wool socks (one warm pair for sleeping), underwear, nylon shorts, thin wool long underwear and wool long-sleeve shirt, zippered Capilene overshirt
- Salomon Gore-Tex mid-height hiking shoes
- assorted drybags for packing
- Thin wool hat and rag wool gloves
- Lightweight down jacket
- Sil-nylon VBL inside sleeping bag
- Packable rain pants and thin waterproof mitten shells
- Merino wool neck gaiter
- Gore-Tex gaiters in snow and mud to keep feet dry and warm
- Crank Brothers multi tool
- tire levers
- patches, tube
- needle and thread
- one brake cable (works as der. cable)
- Presta valve adaptor
- Lezyne Pressure Drive mini-pump
- Pro-Link or T9 chain lube
- 6” adjustable crescent wrench
- cone wrench
- diagonal cutters
- spare spokes
- spare bolts and nipples
- Phil Wood bearing grease
- Stan's sealant in tubes in SW states
- 0.8L aluminum cookpot, beer can stove, pot stand made from stainless steel spokes, windscreen from aluminum dryer vent
- cheap steel spoon, Swiss Army knife
- fuel (alcohol) in plastic drink bottle
- enameled steel mug
- 64 oz. Klean Kanteen, and several plastic bottles for water
- water filter
Posted by VeloOrange at 11:04:00 AM