31 January, 2014
Posted by VeloOrange at 2:48:00 PM
29 January, 2014
By: Casey Fittz
There's been a lot of anticipation for our new off road touring bike, the Camargue. The frame prototypes have been very well received at shows, but there has been one comment that keeps coming up: why 26" wheels? The smaller sizes of the Camargue (47cm, 50cm, and 53cm) are all designed around 26" wheels. This is a big deal for some people because there is a common notion that 26" wheels are 'slow'. I think that in many ways this notion is misinformed. While it is true that wider tires cause more rolling resistance, the Camargue is designed for the same tire width across all frame sizes. In an ideal scenario, where tire and rim availability are not a factor, there should be two main factors in choosing wheel size: frame size, and intended riding type, with frame size being the most constraining factor.
Before we delve into this any more, some quick background. There are currently three wheel sizes prevalent on the market: 26" (559 BSD); 650b/27 1/2"(584 BSD); and 700c/29" (622 BSD). The 650b sizing has most recently had a resurgence in the mountain bike industry. The world of 650b wheels is no stranger to us at Velo Orange. We've been selling a 650b frame, the Polyvalent, for many years, along with rims and fenders. So why are there so many different wheel sizes? For a while most mountain bikers were riding 26" wheels, then everyone threw those away for 29" wheels, and now we're on to 27 1/2" wheels. The bicycle propaganda machine would have you believe that there are a bunch of scientists deliberating over the ideal wheel size. They're probably hard at work, running experiments in their labs, calculating inertia and rolling resistance and all of those things. In a few years we'll be one step closer to the true ideal wheel size (27"??), but for now we have 700c for road bikes and 27 1/2" for mountain bikes.
Here's why I think everyone keeps switching wheel sizes: planned obsolescence. Design for obsolescence (DFO) is a normal enough principle in the engineering world; it often goes hand in hand with design for failure (DFF). You can see plenty of examples of this in the phone and auto industries. However, the phone and auto industries have it a lot easier. They are selling more complicated products that the layman doesn't have the time to understand. They can make shoddy cars that will need to be replaced sooner than later. New technologies are often cited as reasons to convince the consumer to buy a new car. Fortunately, DFO isn't so easy in the bike industry. It's not hard to look at a bike and determine its overall quality. Likewise, it's not hard to make a bike that will last. This is a problem for the industry: the market has the potential to become saturated with frames, and frame sales will drop off to some degree. The solution to this problem is to convince everyone that their old frames are obsolete. Changing the predominant wheel size is a great way to do this.
Here is the good news: with the predominant wheel size constantly changing, there are more and more wheel and tire size options being made available. In my ideal world there would be tons of different wheel sizes, all with different rim width options and different tire type/size options. Like I said earlier, there should be two main design factors in choosing wheel size for a frame: type of riding and frame size. The frame size should be the dominant constraint. Ideally, wheel size should scale with frame size. When you design a frame around a wheel that is too large or too small for it you are forced to make sacrifices in the geometry which will affect handling. Proper handling should trump the supposed benefits of a certain wheel size. Thinking of a bicycle in terms of a tool, an extension of our bodies, it makes sense that it should be particularly sized to suit us. We buy a frame that fits us in the same way that we buy a pair of pants that fits us. Likewise, when you go to buy shoes you get a pair that fits you and is appropriate for how you intend to use them. A conniving salesmen might try to tell you that a larger size shoe would give you more traction because it has more surface area, and he'd be right, but you'd know that the blisters caused by too large of a shoe wouldn't be worth it.
For example, I'm 6'3" and Scott is 5'7". I ride a 59cm Camargue which has 29" wheels, and Scott rides the 53cm Camargue with 26" wheels.
Posted by VeloOrange at 1:20:00 PM
28 January, 2014
Our friends from Thailand tagged us in some great photos on Facebook. The climb up Doi Inthanon gives some spectacular views that I hope to see in person someday soon. If you find yourself in Thailand, stop by Bike Cafe; it's a cool shop with a very passionate owner. Enjoy!
Photos courtesy of Weeris Bualumyai.
Posted by VeloOrange at 11:18:00 AM
23 January, 2014
We are recalling the upper clamp used on the first few production runs of the VO long-setback seatpost. It has been reported to us that these early clamps may develop cracks or break, causing a hazard to the rider. We advise customers to not use the seatposts until the clamp is replaced with the newer version.
The newer and stronger style of clamp has two reinforcing ridges along the top. The old style has a smooth top as shown below.
|This is the old style that should be replaced. (top view)|
|This is the new stronger style that is fine. Note the two ridges on top.|
Note: that this only affects seatposts produced from August 2008 to late 2010 and sold through mid 2011. The bulk of the older upper clamps were sold as part of item code VOGCSP (2008 - 2010); fewer were sold as part of item code SE-0001 (2011).
Posted by VeloOrange at 2:56:00 PM
21 January, 2014
Al and his girlfriend were visiting family over the holidays all the way from Dublin. He was super excited to pick up his new Pass Hunter Build kit and accompanying bits here in Annapolis. He's a photographer and came through with some fantastic photos once the bike was home and all build up.
All photos courtesy of Al Higgins Photography: http://www.alhigginsphotography.com/
Posted by VeloOrange at 10:29:00 AM
17 January, 2014
I've spoken about my wheel obsession before, so I'll talk about it some more! This time I'll be a bit more focused on rims, because they are your friends. Rims, like our other offerings, following the basic law of design, form follows function. So let's have a look-see at our current offerings from narrowest to widest.
The PBP rim is our narrowest offering. The outside width measures 19mm and inside width measures 13.2mm. This design allows for tire sizes between 20mm (does anyone use this anymore?) and 32mm. Construction is double walled for strength and rigidity. Weight is a very respectable 450g. Lace these rims to our hi-lo hubset, and you've got yourself a very nice race day or training wheelset without taking out a home equity loan.
Next is my personal favorite: RAID. It's hard to find a good double eyeleted, double walled rim anymore. Cut the rim in half and you can see hows it's built. The tube that spans the walls is the double eyelet. This design allows for the ultimate balance between strength and weight. The rim measures 22mm (outside) and 16.1mm (inside). This means that you can mount tires from the meat and potatoes of the tire world: 25mm to 38mm. Throw on some slicks for your group ride, then slap on your knobbies for a weekend off road tour.
Lastly (for now), is Diagonale. Available in 650b and 700c, its primary use is for wide tires and loaded touring. It is designed to be our workhorse and has seen a lot of action over a lot of miles. The triple box section design is super strong and sturdy without the huge weight penalty for a touring rim (550g for 650b, 570g for 700c). Widths measure 25mm outside and 18.3mm inside. Appropriate tires measure 29mm-47mm. With the success of the Diagonale, we have put a 26" version into production featuring alternating offset eyelets for a super strong wheel. Note that the 650b Diagonale rims have had none of the size issues that seem to plague newly introduced 650b rims; if the tire is made to specs it'll fit as it should.
In anticipation for the Camargue's springtime release, we will have a whole new line to be released: the Escapade rims. More details on that to come.
Remember that we do offer complete wheels in various configurations laced to our hubs. Are there any other combinations you'd like to see?
Posted by VeloOrange at 11:37:00 AM
14 January, 2014
demo 57cm Polyvalent. This was used as a show bike and has a few small scratches. This is one of the last two green Polyvalents. The next batch will be blue.
UPDATE: PolyV sold.
Posted by VeloOrange at 3:37:00 PM
07 January, 2014
We've had a few questions about installing our racks, so we put this post together to help. A front rack post is in the near future. Both posts will be in our tech section as well, for easy future reference.
First off, let's talk about the Campeur Rear Rack. This rack is my favorite. Its pannier mounts keep weight low, tubular stainless steel construction makes it durable and stiff, and the frame mounts are strong. Finally, I like the classic good looks. The rack's hardware kit includes everything you need to install it to your bike.
The bottom end takes a 5mm bolt and washer for attachment, just like almost every rack. The tangs have 4 holes so that you can adjust the height of the rack; you may need to cut off the unused part of the tang if you're using a higher mounting hole. This allows the top platform to be mounted directly to the fender in the classic French style. (Since our racks are stainless steel, you'll need a new hack saw blade or cutting wheel to get through material if you decide to trim the tang.)
Posted by VeloOrange at 2:23:00 PM
03 January, 2014
With some extra time available this past week, I managed to get some more miles in on our 26" wheeled test Camargue.
Posted by VeloOrange at 12:33:00 PM