08 May, 2013

More About the Pass Hunter

We sure got a lot of comments on that last post, so I thought I'd expound on why we designed the Pass Hunter frame as we did.

The bike is TIG welded, but with some "luggy" bits, such as the head tube reinforcement collars and seat cluster.  I can't see the advantage of lugged construction for a frame like this. Not having lugs lowers the cost by $200 to $300. Lugs are pretty, but really high quality TIG welding should be appreciated as well, and our builders do some of the best anywhere. Finally eliminating the lugs saves some weight.

The trail was described as "mid-trail". That is to say it's between traditional French geometry and modern race-inspired sport-touring geometry. It's based on extensive research and trial and error here at VO world headquarters. We had to learn to re-rake our own forks so we could adjust the trail until it was perfect. We think this geometry, which has been much praised on the Campeur, allows front or rear loading, stable high speed descending, and just the right balance of quick handling and stability.

We decided to go with the 1-1/8" fork for several reasons. 1-1/8" is more-or-less expected on high performance bikes today and we wanted to make this bike appealing to non- retro grouches. Most Pass Hunters will likely be bought by experienced cyclists who probably know exactly where to set their bars, so quick stem adjustability was not as high a priority. Likewise, the vast majority of these will be built with drop bars, or perhaps MTB bars if pass hunting on gravel roads. I also, personally, wanted to try something different, not just make what's basically the same bike over and over again. The threadless fork is a little lighter and stiffer. And a stiffer head tube and steerer tube can't be a bad thing when bombing down from those high passes. We plan to make one more frame with a threadless fork, but we also plan to keep the Campeur and Polyvalent 1" threaded, as well as the mixte (when it returns in a year or two).

The cost has not been determined, but we're trying to get it under $600. We're still shooting for fall availability.

Finally, we've decided, after reading your comments and discussing staff preferences, to make the frame red. The decals were a harder decision, but we decided to go with two. There will also be a small decal on the seat tube.

42 comments:

Steve Fuller said...

I'm thinking that red frame is going to let someone go all crazy with some cream colored pin striping. Yum.

Nate said...

If its going to be threadless, please do the right thing and leave the steer tube on the fork extra long, like really long, like Surly does. To build up the bike you'll either need a fully kitted shop or hire a ship to do it for you, so cutting the fork to your length won't be that big of a deal, Also, if all frames ship with the same length of fork, that saves trouble in the manufacturing process.

lawschoolissoover said...

Sounds like some solid decisions. I will say that as much as I value the ability to shift stem height on my Rando, it's clearly not as stiff in the stem department as my Kogswell D (1-1/8 threadless). Both are good.

Oh, and good on choosing red!

peddalhead said...

The Pass Hunter sounds like a bike to have, although I'm not a fan of threadless stems, the look is more industrial than elegant, even if it is functional.

Glad to hear you intend to bring back the Mixte, please put it on the fast track.

Scott Loveless said...

A minor nit, and one that's certainly not a deal-killer, but a second pair of rear dropout eyelets would be nice. It seems logical, given the rack eyelets on the seat stays.

7sp said...

I don't terribly mind the frame being welded, but the combination of welds and "luggy" reinforcement rings (although they go well with the head badge) is a little iffy. I say ditch the badge and keep the rings plain and minimal. A little more headtube extension wouldn't hurt, either.

Greg B said...

Super cool, sounds like a well-thought out approach.

Mike Binnix said...

Have you considered selling a version of the frame without paint? Let the buyer contract with his own shop to powder coat to his / her tastes and budget?

I also agree with two other comments above:

Ship it with the steer tube on the fork stupid long. It's not that hard to cut to length once the rider is fitted to the bike.

Two sets of rear drop outs make it easier for your customers to select diverse combinations of racks and fenders.

Trevor Boddy said...

Really looking forward to this frame, I think it will be my new all-arounder. The semi-lugged ornaments look pretty good and are a very smart cost compromise.

Wes Ewell said...

Good choices all around. I especially like the "luggy bits".

Anonymous said...

If I'm honest the confirmation of TIG construction and threadless is a huge letdown after the last post.

Good choice on the red though...

mike bike said...

What a great bike all around. Looking forward to purchasing it when it comes out. I also really like the idea of a "maxi" build kit to go along with it. Kudos to the VO team for a well thought out reasonably priced rando!

John Hawrylak said...

Could you add a 3rd set of water bottle bosses on the underside of the down tube? Can carry an additional 16 oz of water.

PS I like the red color

John Hawrylak
Woodstown NJ

Anonymous said...

Any clues on tubing choices (diameter and wall thickness)?

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Why not go 1" threadless so folks can choose--leave it the way it is or have a frame shop cut threads for those of us (myself included) who'd like a quilled stem. Richard Sachs has lots to say about 1" vs 1 1/8" head tubes, the short version is there's no big "performance" difference, and there are adaptors for 1 1/8 threadless stems.

Dave

Kyle said...

Will the small sizes be 650B?

Dave said...

Thanks for your explanations. In trying "to make this bike appealing to non-retro grouches," you'll lose some of your current loyal retro-grouches but I understand your rationale. As I age forward from my current 54 years I know that I'll want to continue raising my bars and will need the adjustability of a threaded stem to do that. Threadless is simply a deal-killer for me. To others, though, threaded seems to be a deal-killer for some reason I still can't understand, so you have to choose.

Clint said...

This looks great. I'm thinking of switching my cross-check to SS and make this my brevet bike. Sorry if this is a dumb question though but how do you mount fenders and rack with a single rear eyelet? Both into one?

Marcin S. said...

Thank you for the update. Good choices in my opinion. I wish you switched to threadless fork in Campeur. I think threadable 1 inch steerer would be good compromise.

lawschoolissoover said...

@Clint:

You can pretty easily mount both into one, or you can do as I did on my Rando--the rear rack I use has plates near the bottom of the rack legs, so I drilled those and mounted the fender stays to the rack at those plates. 1,200 miles later, no problems.

Don S. said...

All that frame for 600 is outstanding. Thank you!

Don S. said...

As for threadless, maybe you could offer your tall-stack stem in different heights and angles as well as lengths. Challenging in terms of setting inventory, but one way to mitigate retrogrouch backlash. : >)

Tim K said...

The last thread had some requests for large frames. Here's another vote for a biggie (65+cm) and massive uncut steerer tube. Pretty please ;-)

abrownfield said...

I will most certainly be buying one of these and pre-ordering is possible. Yay!

Anonymous said...

I've always been reluctant to buy a V-O frame because I don't like threaded headsets. This is fantastic, though I wish it was more low trail i understand why it's not.

Confidential to all you geezers who are crying about a threadless stem and singly eyelets on the back:
V-O *currently* produces a frame which would suit your needs perfectly: It's named the Campeur, and aside from the ridiculous spelling, it is a wonderful frame on which to mount your quill x trunk bag collabo. Please stop begging for a homermobile.

Anonymous said...

that seat cluster is beautiful! very elegant

howtostretch said...

Is there a kickstand plate? My guess would be no, I don't like them ( makes frame look cheap, to my eyes, sorry if I offend).

VeloOrange said...

No kickstand plate, sorry.

Anonymous said...

I've been wanting a Campeur with threadless and more tire clearance, thanks! Here's some low-cost things I think few would dislike and many would like...

I recommend:
Under-downtube bottle mount Lowrider fork mounts ala Campeur
Rear double eyelets ala Campeur
Fork double eyelets ala Campeur

Thanks, John

bekologist said...

Sensible, broadly appealing call on the 1 1/8 inch headset standard on the Pass Hunter. I applaud your practicality in this matter. Am already amassing parts for a build of this frame.

Cheers,

Mike Beck
'bekologist'

Ken said...

It dismays me that you are not going to have the Passhunter come with a threaded fork. I take the following from your blog on December 10th 2009 under headset basics:

Are threaded headsets better than threadless?

Most bike manufacturers now make frames that use threadless forks and 1-1/8" threadless headsets, a size that was originally developed for mountain bikes. It is true that 1-1/8" threadless headsets are stronger than 1" threaded, but road bikes don't need the extra strength. It is massive overkill. The big disadvantage of threadless headsets is that they don't use quill stems, which allow easy up and down adjustment. With the threadless system you cut the fork steerer to length and then adjust the height by using a different stem or by shuffling spacers. If you cut and set up your fork correctly it's fine, but if you need to later adjust handlebar height upward it gets expensive or even impossible.

So why are threadless systems popular? They are promoted by big bike manufacturers to lower production cost. Only one size fork need be made for each frame and it does not need the additional steps of cutting a keyway and threading. Then the fork steerer is cut to size by the customer or bike shop. This results in a huge cost saving for a big bike manufacturer.

With threaded forks, like those used by Velo Orange, forks are made for each frame size. Beyond the adjustability of a quill stem, an additional benefit of making a specific forks for each frame size is that it allows us to make slight rake adjustments for smaller frame sizes. This results in optimal handling for those small frames.

I have learned a lot about bicycles and frames from your web site. I would hope you reconsider to have the passhunter with a threaded fork..

David Pearce said...

Dear Velo-ORANGE,

I see you spell your name without the "-", the dash, but as Samuel Johnson said (I think) "Show me a man who can spell a word only one way, and I'll show you a boring man!".

Anyway, I'm building up my bike with your Polyvalent frame, and at first I had much regret at not having a lugged frame. But as I go along, and I am a shorter bicyclist, I appreciate that with a smaller frame, the head tube still looks normal when TIG welded, as opposed to looking too small when the builder is forced to use lugs.

Also, we should embrace modernity. Let me rephrase that: We should embrace new good design. For example, I am building my randonneur with a Campy Veloce Triple Groupset 9-speed c. 1998, with Ergo levers. After using my Shimano STI levers on my old Trek road bike, how could I go back to friction bar-end or down-tube shifters, and why would I, when Ergo-Power style shifters are so much quicker and efficient.

I have not yet graduated to the electronic shifting or the carbon fiber components of the latest Campy & Shimano lines, and perhaps never will, but I do think we can use modern improvements, when they help us do our bicycling job better.

David Pearce,
Washington, D.C.

Anonymous said...

Small 650B wheeled sizes?

Grady said...

Interesting possibilities.

So how much tire (700x) will I be able to run on the Pass Hunter?

VeloOrange said...

The frame is designed for 32mm tires with fenders, or 38mm without. 700c on all frame sizes.

Anonymous said...

What kind of tubing will be used? Lightweight tubing was mentioned, I believe; but does this mean that it will be double butted? I know it's a lot to ask at the proposed price point but I'm just curious. Thanks.

VeloOrange said...

We use double-butted cro-mo in all our frames, including this one.

Anonymous said...

Will be interested in seeing geometry figures. Would I be correct in thinking as no 650B wheels and only 700c that in smaller frames will result in steeper seat tube angle and a higher standover height.

Anonymous said...

How difficult is it to design for larger tires? There are some very nice tires in the 700x42 range, for on road and off.
Eric

VeloOrange said...

It would make little sense to design a bike like the Pass Hunter for 42mm tires. The Pass Hunter is primarily a fast road bike, though it is designed for both paved and unpaved roads. Though some may tell you that you can run a wide range of tire sizes on a particular frame, every frame is optimized for a particular tire size and going smaller or larger degrades handling to some extent.

Anonymous said...

take my money! While I've bought and installed a lot of VO parts, I haven't been tempted by VO frames in the past. I just checked in to look at parts options for a new build while deciding between a (very) few suitable frames and you've stopped my project in its tracks. Can't believe I'll have to wait until Fall for this. I need it now! Just echoing some other comments:

Would love an unpainted frame, could probably be convinced to pay the same as a painted frame.

Thank you for keeping the price right - welding is an art too!

A second rear eyelet would be incredibly nice on a fast tourer/very fast commuter and of course, pass hunter. And they can't weigh much...

Thanks!

Tim C said...

I think you should refer to the process as "trail and error"