08 October, 2014

On Choosing Frame Colors

We're working on a couple of new frames for next year and now is the time to choose colors. This is really hard, at least for me. The problem is that I like almost any color. And almost every color has been suggested at our design meetings. We have eliminated a few options. We don't want white or black. We find white boring, and black paint hides the workmanship and little frame details we're so proud of. We also don't want a color used on a previous VO production frame (the colors used on our early custom frames are fair game). We also want to eliminate colors that a lot of folks seem to hate, colors like bright green, brown, lavender. I wouldn't mind having a frame in any one of those shades, but it seems that many people would.

To help visualize shades we're considering we order sections of frame tubes painted in various colors by our paint shop. We also get prototype frames in several likely colors. We view them in bright sunlight, in shade, in late afternoon. It's amazing how colors can change in different light.

One of the new frames will be sporty, so a bright color seems appropriate, maybe the orange of the prototype in the background of the photo above. The other might be used for camping, maybe stealth camping, so a more subdued shade is logical. The blue? We'll also be doing a special edition frame that'll be sold in Asia, but we have that color chosen.

Anyway, the point of this post is to ask you, Dear Readers, what color VO frames you'd like to see?

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Red, and more red.

Jason said...

For bright/sporty, perhaps Pantone 368, 634, or 130.

For stealthy/classy, Pantone 331, 542, or 554.

All with metallic finishes of course!

Nathaniel Hoyt said...

I plan on buying a Pass Hunter when the 57cm comes back in stock. I want to make it my do-everything bike, for commuting and short camping trips. I have four suggestions for colors.

Of the bikes I own, I have two favorite paintjobs. The first is on a mid-range Motobecane Mirage. From a distance it looks mostly black, slightly brown and slightly purple. Up close, it's a very deep purple with sparkles. I love the subtle effect - unassuming from afar but beautiful up close. I disagree that a dark paintjob hides a bike's quality - quality stands out, always.

My second favorite is the old Falcon racing blue. I have a San Remo Equipe with a beautiful soft eggshell blue that's withstood the years pretty well considering its delicate color. Here is a reference: http://u1.ipernity.com/17/56/37/15595637.c3891769.640.jpg

I'd also love to have a bike that's a traditional British racing green, as seen on some old Raleigh Internationals, although I think it would need to be a glossy finish (with sparkles! Everything should have sparkles!). Here's a reference: https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6028/5918501267_0de468a515_z.jpg

My final suggestion is a gunmetal gray. It's another choice that is more subtle than sporty. I think the finish on Shimano components has been really nice lately. I just got a set of Tiagra hubs and while they're not top of the line they look really good. It'd be nice to have a bike that matched.

A said...

I really like the look of a silver-grey frame with shiny components. A classic racing green pops with honey leather. Light silvery t-bird blue is my favorite though, obviously. https://www.flickr.com/photos/92896486@N02/12665996183/

Philip Kim said...

I really like a light blue, kind of like a sky blue, but more tint of white. That has always been my favorite bike color as it matches well with leather brooks saddles and silver components. this is the color of my next all road bike.

My second favorite is sage green. Also with more tint of white.

Lavender is also cool, but more on the lighter side. I don't know, I am also enjoying my weird green Camargue. It is very fitting for the bike.

Darrell Goodwin said...

Orange is always good in my opinion. I also have seen some caramel colors that were very pleasing. Must be metallic though...

American Flaneur said...

I'd love to see a nice yellow, a bold orange, and/or a Raleigh green.

Anonymous said...

Would love to see more dark and neutral tones, colors like the green from Raleigh's Superbe or a darker shade of whats on the Pass Hunter now, making it a deep crimson. Maybe even a dark orange like the PX50 barn find you posted about awhile back (or darker!) would look nice

Mike the Bike PT said...

The red of the Pass Hunter really appeals to me but I also like the idea of the British racing green that several have mentioned. My current bike is grey. The thing I like the best about that is the grey can go with any color. At the momement, I have kelly green handlebar tape, bottle cages and a handlebar bag. I could switch up any of these things and change the visuals.

Wes Ewell said...

My favorite bike is my Surly Cross Check in "Blark Due" or "Dirty Dark Blue". I cringed at the insipid moss green on the Camargue, but it doesn't look bad with black fenders and fittings. The high quality of the paint job helps a lot.

If I were to build another bike, my first choice would be a deep carmine red.

Anonymous said...

1959 Oldsmobile Burgundy Mist Metallic
1957 Mercury Sherwood Green Metallic
1965 Ford Ice Blue Metallic
1956 Ford Fiesta Red
1965 Mercury Ocean Turquoise

Car colors, or guitar colors, whatever you wanna call them they look good on bikes too!

drew said...

My first serious bike was a 1986 Cannondale race bike, and that year one of their top line racing bikes was offered in a color they called ice blue. I drooled over that color for a long time, and have always wanted a bike painted that shade. It was a sort of frosted metallic blue/silver. It looked so good in the catalogue, and I saw one at a shop and it looked even better to me. A long-time fantasy color I have never seen anywhere else.

Anyway, that said, the other color I'd love to see from you guys is a nice orange, like Chris' old bike, basically a Molteni orange like Eddy M's old race bikes... a real orange Velo Orange would be cool

Alex Wirth said...

I'll never get sick of robin's egg blue…never ever. A sincere thank you for not bringing more black or white frames into the world.

Anonymous said...

Twin-tone metallic colours like seen on early 80's nishiki continentals. With some handpaitend double square-boxes.

Peatbog said...

I like bright colors for any bike I am riding in automobile traffic. Any bit of higher visibility is appreciated.

philcycles said...

Mt favorite color is a sort of sage green-pea green sort of color. French and Belgian bikes of a certain age tend to be painted those colors. See my website for the color on my French inspired bike.
Also robin's egg blue. I saw a Urago painted that color many years ago and it's stuck with me.

Patrice Lehocky said...

and now all I want is a lavender bike...

Anonymous said...

RAL 7021 blue/grey is nice
https://www.flickr.com/photos/mralistair/6145611056/in/photostream/

actually might be 7016,

Velonut said...

I agree with a few others the Cannondale blue of the mid80's was a great color for a bike. My second choice would be the Schwinn Cool Lemon of the 70's How about a sporty frame designed to use the dia-compe center pulls with a rear bridge for the cable?

Anonymous said...

I love orange but have had three orange bikes and got sick of them all. That said, am planning to paint a new frame orange.

Blue is always good, I have a light blue (ral 5012) that is just beautiful, never get tired of it.

The early blue stumpjumpers are a great color.

Yellow can be a great color. The 1993 RB-1 and the Ocean Air Rambler yellows are very nice.

Anonymous said...

I had a brown ~1984 Bianchi Limited, and when the light hit it just right a burgandy would come out. It was nice. But to answer your question "of course" Orange.

Anonymous said...

I agree with avoiding black and white colors for the aforementioned reasons (I have bikes in both colors and appreciate them both).

The bike colors I truly admire have metal flake. Not pearlescent, but a metallic paint with a more grainy flake. I find just about any metallic color appealing but hunter green, silver, and blues definitely catch my attention.

Two-tone schemes look great, like many of the old Fuji's and Nishiki's had. And it's even better when combined with silver alloy components.

Raiyn said...

I redid my Schwinn Resto-mod project in RAL 1018 Yellow http://www.prismaticpowders.com/colors/RAL-1018/ral1018/ with a "Biggs Silver" http://www.prismaticpowders.com/colors/UPB-6018/biggs-silver/ top coat. It's by a good measure my favorite color on a bike so far. The subtle top coat is what really makes the paint job, just enough pop to go with the strong color It started out as a "Kool Lemon" but by the time I got it looked like a "Bruised Banana"

Anonymous said...

There is no accounting for taste. All opinions are equally valid (unless the opinion is wrong, but that's a different issue). Some like metallics or pearlescents. Others prefer glossy enamels. Yet others like matte finishes. Shiny and sparkly, or subdued and muted. Colors go in and out of fashion, whether in cars, guitars, clothing, appliances, or houses. Nobody has suggested a color like the 1970's Harvest Gold found on refrigerators and ovens, nor has anybody suggested a 1950's bright turquoise or a salmon. How about 80's pink to go with those Kelly green accessories? That's what I ran back in the late 80's---I figured if I were ever involved in an accident nobody could argue they did not see me. Your products are "traditional" only in the sense that they emulate products from a certain time era. There is no such thing as a 'timeless' color choice. Some will love your decisions and others will hate them. I love the way my Velo Orange rando frameset looks, but it could have looked great in almost any other finish chosen.

Anonymous said...

Merckx Orange.
And I know white white is boring but I've really come around on creams, reconsider, they are slick.

Anonymous said...

I like a more gold yellow, like PANTONE Spectra Yellow 14-0957 TCX for the sporty one. For the more subdued/stealth I'd go with PANTONE Smoke Blue 17-4412 TPX which is a soft blue/gray.

Joe dulyaphat said...

vote for yellow!!!

Anonymous said...

That orange is perfect for a sporty bike. For the other, my suggestions are Pantone 331, 344, 3375, 352, 559, 547, 572.

Anonymous said...

Metallic Ice Blue/Silver
Metallic Light Blue/Silver
Pearlescent Sky Blue/Cream

All the above with silver/polished components.

WindRider

Anonymous said...

I would pony up to build an orange CX Pass Hunter to go with my red Rando Pass Hunter. Great do everything bike but tired of swapping out tires and bags.

Gabe DeFelippis said...

Olive green with peach accents

Ian W said...

How about 2 colours like this...

http://velocolour.com/portfolio/hammond/

http://www.cycleexif.com/greg-curnoe-bike

Anonymous said...

French Blue.

A light,neutral gray with brown lettering, pinstriping?

Olive green.

Go with the favorite, traditional colors of the past master framebuilders.

Kilroy

Matt R said...

Metallic teal would be a really nice color.

Anonymous said...

Any chance the new sporty frame will be a 650b with a lightish tub set? I love the green on my Polyvalent, but I'm also a fan of sunflower yellow.

Anonymous said...

I love dark neutral colors: charcoal metallic, dark silver metallic, very dark green, very dark blue, very dark gold. To me, these can be beautiful in themselves, and are more likely to go well with and complement flashes of subtle color elsewhere, like bar tape, worn brown leather saddles, or dark green or dark tan canvas bike bags. My minority opinion is that bike colors are too often clownishly bright, combined with large, flashy and discordant decals of brand names and logos that would be suitable for circus use.
FWIW, neutral colors have topped choices in motor vehicles for years: white, (Currently #1), black (both understandably ruled out for VO), silver and dark gray. If I am riding someplace where I think I should be especially visible, I wear a brightly colored helmet, jersey, or jacket. But of course, to each: his or her own ....
With only one choice of color per bike model, perhaps it might be worthwhile to avoid unusual colors, unless the goal is to be distinctive, and to stand out. Perhaps counter-intuitively, I have found that sedate and understated bike frame colors, unadorned with large, look-at-me logos, are fairly uncommon, and they are what attract my attention.
Thanks for asking.

alliwant said...

Pale blue, as many others have mentioned; something between robin's egg and turquoise. A little "warmer" than Bianchi washed-out blue.

Anonymous said...

Black. I like the look and it is the easiest colour to touch up.

Josh Thompson said...

Grey metallic, please.

Anonymous said...

When will the new frame colors be available? I am excited for building my new bicycle!

Anonymous said...

Pumpkin with cream details.

Anonymous said...

Metallic copper with cream details to go with cream SKS mudguards (fenders)or the VO Honjo type :) Yum!

Ron said...

Still really fond of the bleu fonce with orange lettering of my Rando. A dark green would be nice, not so dark as BRG, perhaps a darkish pea-soup green (maybe with lighter, leaf-grean lettering? Good choice for a camper...)
Metallic copper-bronze would be good, maybe red decals?

So many great choices!!

REP said...

look at the JP Weigles, old Raleighs or Colnagos and Cinellis - you are not a frame builder until you make a light blueish frame. Classic. Iconic. And you'd make them affordable. You'll sell a ton. I have two and yet I'd buy another one...

Anonymous said...

I've always liked the look of the lugged frame with the contrasting head tube, especially in red and cream, Is there a way to pull that off on a non-lugged frame?

Several people have suggested British racing green, but for some reason I think French racing blue would better suit what I see as the V.O. personality.

I'm currently saving up for a PassHunter, or maybe a Camargue. I'm not sure yet. So, I'm torn between "can't wait to see what the new frames will bey" and "don't make my choice harder!"

Jonathan B. Horen said...

This one:

Velo-Orange Frames