29 July, 2015

If You Could Only Have One Bike...

During a recent VO staff meeting a topic of conversation was what bike we would choose if we could only have one. I've recently been thinking and reading about the idea of simple living so this really interested me, so much so that I asked our staff to write a few sentences about what they would choose if limited to one bike.


Adrian: Well that's a commitment and a half! If I could only choose one...I'd have to be my 26" Campeur. As a 5'5" lady, I've become quite enamored with that wheel-size; it suits me well. Aesthetically, I like the classic styling of the Campeur. It's a solid daily driver for my commute to work, that handles well when full-loaded for weekend touring. It's all the bike I want and need.

Scott: I'd go with a Piolet. I got to test one out last year, and it is my mid-life crisis bike. It takes me back to when I was in my early 20's, riding all over the place, on and off-road in BC. This is the bike that I can see taking back to Iceland and doing gravel road tours with my wife for years to come.

I can run it with wide touring tires for the rough roads of Iceland and also put 2.4 MTB tires on it so I can ride the single track near our home in MD. It's the do anything bike that I dreamed of and now it's a reality.

Clint: I'd go with the new orange Bike-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. As much as I love the trails, I spend more time on the bike as a means of transportation. But that's not to say I couldn't put some knobby 32s on You-Know-What and hit up some singletrack. The Orange Lord was great loaded on the C&O, great for groceries, and this Friday I'm riding up to Baltimore for Bike Party!

Mark: The Pass Hunter would be my choice. It suites the style of riding I actually do:  fast road rides. Plus it's red and it's proven that red bikes are faster.

Brandon: I would choose the Piolet. It is the bike in our line-up that is most capable off-road. It is the frame that I can most easily customize. It has a ton of braze-ons and fittings so I can run it with all sorts of racks and parts on it. Plus it has disc brakes and the teal color looks fantastic.

Igor: Campeur, hands down. In four years it has taken me everywhere I've wanted to go and plastered a smile on my face for every mile. Loaded or stripped down it has neutral and confident handling. The frame fits tires wide enough to be confident on gravel, flowy singletrack, and poorly maintained country roads. The metallic grey with a tinge of purple gives it understated and timeless styling. But honestly, it just feels so good passing roadies on carbon fiber wonderbikes with a bike that has racks, fenders, and downtube shifters.

Annette: Oh, you people are so fickle, with your heads turned by the latest pretty thing. Have you all forgotten that the oldest bike in our fleet, the Polyvalent, means "multipurpose," and by design is "the one"?

Alec: I like to ride fast and to not slow down no matter the road surface, or lack of same. So it has to be my Red Pass Hunter.

Chris: A few years ago I would have chosen a Pass Hunter, and this is still the bike I ride most often. But as I've grown older I've been drawn to larger tires and to unpaved roads, so I'd choose the Camargue. It's a bike that's nice enough on a paved road, but really shines on gravel farm roads and double-track. It also makes a great city bike, especially if you live in a town with old brick and cobblestone streets, like Annapolis, or if you like hopping curbs.

What about you? What would you ride if you were limited to a single mount? And do you really need more than one bike?

21 comments:

teamdarb said...

Loads of ground clearance, ample fender room, big balloon tires, frame mount pump peg and still be a blast to ride at speed loaded. I have 36 bicycles, none cover all those requirements. I think the secret lies in the old light weight mountain bikes of the 80s that had 120-126 rear spacing, with road bike geometry. They lack the tall balloon tires, but darn close. At worst someone could blend a LHT and a 520, shorten the wheelbase and magic might happen. The Camargue has been at the top of list, then I road a Polyvalent.

Richard Mcelman said...

You must tell me more about this orange bike yet to be named!

Dave said...

The Rando is one of my favorite bikes and is my favorite Velo Orange bike of all time. So smooth and comfortable. It seems to be underappreciated by everyone except those who've ridden one.

Kris said...

The way he talks it seems it'll be called the Voldemort.

Jean-Francois Caron said...

My theoretical "if I could have just one" bike is my 1993 Miyata Elevation 400. It's an oversized cromo frame that has clearance for 2.5" non-knobby tires, WITH FENDERS. It was quite a hack job getting them on, and they rub a little off-road, but it's amazing. I'm running 2.5" Maxxis Hookworm tires (will switch to 2.35" Big Apples when they wear out), which are nice and smooth. I've got a Tubus Tara front rack, mini-rack on the canti mounts, and a rear rack.

Also instead of the flat bars, I put on Salsa Woodchipper 2 bars with 3x9 STI brifters. I can do 100km+ road rides in full comfort, yet I can also do nice trail rides. All I do is adjust the pressure in the tires.

The only unfortunate part is that the bike weighs 38lbs unloaded...

J.Dible said...

Is this a test? Do I have to admit I have more than one bike? Will I need to turn the alleged other bikes in if I name only one? If I were to pick only one it would have to be the Camargue. It would cover about 95% of all riding I do. I do operate on the principle that the formula number of bike (n) is always one more than you have. N+1. With any luck I'll own several Velo Orange steeds in the future. Lately, I'm thinking a lot about the Piolet. N+1 strikes again.

Mark Drury said...

I currently have just one bike, a Schwinn Crosscut I purchased new circa 1990 for ~$400, if memory serves, but the only original parts still on the bicycle are the frame/fork, stem and flat handlebar. I've upgraded every other component: Mavic A719 rims, Deore XT 36H hubs for and aft with Sapim Strong spokes laced 4-cross, Chris King headset, Deore XT drivetrain, Tektro CR720 canti brakes, Velo Orange cabling, Brooks B17 saddle, Shimano Saint pedals, Ergon GP5 grips, Cane Creek Flat Top brake levers, Tubus Ergo front and Racktime Addit rear racks plus a few other nice upgrades.

Why put reasonably good components on such a "questionable" platform? Well, the Crosscut, despite its price and provenance, is a truly nice lugged steel frame and could very well last me another 25 years. But more germane to this post, I hope to one day move all these parts to a Campeur frame -- that will then be my "One Bike".

Wes Ewell said...

If I could only have one bike for all purposes, my Camargue would be the only choice. But my Surly Cross Check, with its 37mm tires and lots of VO components, is still my favorite bike.

Anonymous said...

I have 4 bikes and out of all of them I would have to say I love my All-City Nature Boy disc the best. Outfitted with a Tange carbon fork it is the one bike for many jobs. Cross, Single track or just getting around. I swap the Surly cogs out for whatever job its doing that day. Very simple setup

austex said...

I wish I could have only one bike. I've been trying to whittle the collection down for a year now. Am I really through with 27" wheels like everyone claims to be? Nope. How can I get rid of the 1977 Centurion with brazed on center-pulls now that their in such vogue? Cant. Will I sell the one that cannot be named by anyone without also repeating the Sheldon Brown quote about it? Never. Fact is...you can only try to have only one bike.

Anonymous said...

I only own one bike, which is my primary means of transport: a 650b univega... handles old crumbly roads and a little dirt with ease. Looks pretty with it's long thin lugs, and is reasonably light weight. If I could improve it, I'd put on a small front porter rack and since I'm dreaming, maybe disc brakes.

Jason Rumfelt said...

Loving my Polyvalent with 650x42 tires and 50mm snake skin fenders. Short rides to work or the pub, or day trippers on Michigan dirt roads... Perfect all arounder. Though I am sorry I didn't have the Piolet available to me when I got my Poly or I may have ended up with one of those instead as I HEART braze ons :)

peddalhead said...

Only Annette and jason rumfelt seem to have their senses about themselves, there is really nothing to discuss, if it’s not a Polyvalent then better a motorcycle. :-)

Bill Romano said...

I'm with Jason: I'm loving my Polyvalent with 650 x 42s. For the summer with no big trips planned until October, I've got it really stripped down and set up as a go fast. And it performs admirably. I have one other bike, also 650b, but the 'Poly' just fits me so well and feels so nice. It truly is my do anything, go anywhere bike. I will put the fenders back on in the fall with the "spring thing" solution that works so well with these big tires. Also will put the front rack and rando bag back on at some point when needed. The only improvements that I can think of for this frame would be a little more clearance for the fenders at the seat stay bridge and fork crown. Fenders with 42s are a little tight in those places. Of course I'm setting up the bike beyond it's intended tire size of 38... Oh and I am hoping that the new orange disc frame is basically a revamped Polyvalent with those better clearances. Discs make sense to me on a frame like this where it is likely to be traveling long distances through varied terrain and wet weather.

Woody said...

Wow, good to see all the Polyvalent love in the comments! I might like a Polyvalent with lighter tubing, but aside from that little nit it does everything well. Good fit, smooth ride quality, crazy hauling up front, gravel, commuting, camping, and little things like good cable placement for shouldering AND A KICKSTAND PLATE!!!

billyhacker said...

I'm down from five bikes recently to two, and it really reveals, what's the word, tradeoffs, of these two almost perfect (for me) bikes: a very light 2003 bright orange lemond poprad cross bike (made with reynolds 853 or something very similar) and my Pass Hunter, which I ride 75% of the time. I commute on one of these bikes every day, year around,

The racing-oriented cross bike doesn't have enough length, rack braze-ons, or fender mounting for hot weather, wet weather, or carrying stuff (and the cantilevers shudder no matter what I do). But the Poprad is orange, very light, super easy to run up two flights of stairs with, is wicked fast, and has some inexplicably great feel. Still, if I had a garage, the Cross Hunter would be basically perfect, but the cable routing makes it less pleasant to shoulder carry and in the worst of winter ice, and in a downpour, the cantilevers have had (minor) issues.

I'm really twitching on that new orange frame. Fenders and rack, disks, 32mm+?, light looking tubes, and it even looks like cable routing under the BB. She could be the ONE!

Jihad said...

What's gonna be the name of this sweet and beautiful Orange bike? What could be the price of this bike?

Anonymous said...

I had a Soma Grand Rando and it was a shimmy machine- with your hands on the bars! I just sold my Campeur. Yes, it rode nicely and handled well, but my Polyvalent is faster, handles better and more fun to ride than the Campeur. I like that it fits the 42mm Hetre tires as well- could only get 38mm tires for the campeur.

sircaptaincook said...

After his recent passing I read a lot about Jobst Brandt. I found it interesting that he only owned one bicycle. His reasoning was something to the affect that he could only ride one at a time. Oddly enough he went everywhere (on and off road) on 25mm of rubber. That last fast aside, it inspired me to consider the "one bike" question. I still have 3 but I'm trying to widdle it down to two. I'm finding myself riding my old Bridgestone MB-2 rigged with 2" tires, fenders, racks, and a basket more often than any of my other bikes. I find myself enjoying the ride more when I'm not going quite as fast. I think if I were to choose a VO as my only bike I would likely settle for a Polyvalent with 42mm tires.

Bob Torres said...

That's a tough one but if I had to have only one then it would be my recent build, the Campeur with 26" wheels. In the past two months, I have ridden two 200k's brevets, I got away for a 3 day overnight ride, rode a couple of 25 to 50 mile rides and commuted to work once. All in all, I love this bike. Fast enough on the roads, climbs very well, can handle dirt trails with no problem, rock solid on the down hills and provides a super smooth ride thanks to its 1 1/2" wide tires, Nitto Technomic stem and steal frame.

Pierce said...

I agree with Dave, I've been riding my VO Rando almost every single day for the past 5 and a half years now. The first few years it had drop bars, and then it became a Porteur, now I'm actually thinking of switching it up to be more like a Rando. it's geometry is perfect, I'm very happy I was lucky enough to get one. The top tube has been dented pretty badly, and I'm glad I spent the extra money to get a lugged frame, as I will be able to get the tube switched out.