11 March, 2016

Notes From Taiwan

By Chris

Frame testing
I just wanted to share a few notes from my recent trip to the Taipei Cycle Show and to a few of the factories that make parts for us.

We've arranged for lots of samples of new products. It's been years since we've had this much new stuff coming. We'll be testing new rims, a new line of bike-packing luggage, new crank, new wider fender model, grips, saddles, and lots more.

The final version of our 11-speed hubs will soon be ready for testing. We've been riding the first version, but decided to make some minor changes to make disassembly and cleaning easier. These are much like our current hubs, though we had to move the flanges in a bit to fit that 11th cog, which necessitated a whole new body. I'm personally not sure it's worth all the bother: 10-speed is more than enough for me, but customers keep asking for them.

At the frame factory we spoke about the next version of the Polyvalent. This is still in the design stage, but we hope to order prototypes in a few weeks.

We're also looking at a version of the Piolet made with rather special tubing, but it may be too expensive to produce; we'll see. This would be a limited production model, not a replacement, but we may make some very minor changes such as  moving or adding a couple of braze-ons.

We had a long meeting at our rack factory to work on details of a new line of VO racks. These require lots of special tooling and some fairly complicated manufacturing, so it may be some time before you see them. But we think they'll be nothing short of amazing.

We saw prototypes of a crazy new VO threadless stem that we'll soon introduce. And we ordered prototypes of a new quill stem that I've been thinking about for years. I'm really excited about both these stems, and I think you'll find them very useful.
Taiwan is really a great place to visit. It's fairly popular as a vacation destination. There are beaches, hot springs, mountains, great cycling and hiking, decent surfing, remote villages, and amazing museums. One of the highlights of any trip there is the food. The Taiwanese are a nation of foodies, and whether you want cuisine from Taiwan, Japan, China, France, or almost anywhere else you can think of, there are superb restaurants that serve it. But for me the best is the street food at the night markets. Stalls cook up fresh crabs, squid, oyster omelets, strawberries covered in sweet glaze; the list is endless. (A few more photos can be found on my new Instagram page.)





12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would really love it if you guys sold your Piolet forks as an after-market replacement. There are a lot of us who have old rigid MTB's who want to convert to bikepacking rigs on the cheap. A non-suspension corrected disk fork with all the braze-ons would be just what we could use. There would be no competition, since nobody else makes these in production, as far as I know.

Anonymous said...

I hope someone someday makes a production frame that has clearance for 35mm+ tires with fenders, vertical dropouts, low trail fork for front load and no toe overlap, and the ability to neatly convert to single speed through either an adjustable rear end or ebb. And canti brakes, but disk is ok. Would be my perfect commuter.

Jeff said...

I hope your discussions with the rack builder includes redesigning your Pass Hunter rack so it actually fits a Pass Hunter. I have yet to see one installed (in pictures or real life) on any bike let alone a Pass Hunter where there isn't a 3/4" gap between the rack and fender. You know where the canti bosses are, where the fork bolt hole is, and where the fender will be. Shorten the support struts and move them back a bit so it looks like you actually planned for the rack to fit its namesake frame.

Jamin said...

please keep the canti studs on the polyvalent!!

Noah Purdy said...

I'm very excited for the updated rack line-up.

As soon as a front rando style rack is available for the Pass Hunter Disc I will be ordering both it and a frame set + matching fenders!

Noah Purdy said...

I'm really excited to see the updated rack lineup. As soon as a front rando style rack exists for the PHD I'll be ordering a frame, rack and fenders to match!

I also hope the stem news has something to do with a production version of something long and floppy. Dirt drops await!

Anonymous said...

The bike frame in the picture has me wondering, if I squint hard enough I see a disc brake mount... I'm hoping that Polyvalent MK4 has more classic lines: straight seat and chain stays, level top tube, but with disc brakes. The chain stay with the disc brake can have a stiffeners added to it that are similar to the fork blade stiffeners. I've seen some disc frames with a frame element that bridges the the seat and chain stay near where the break is -- this looks clunky and un-VO-ish. I am guessing that the bend in the seat stay I see on some frames (like the Disc Passhunter) is to convert the bending moment created by the breaking action into a axial load transmitted up the seat stay.(?)
- The other Anonymous

Kendra said...

I'm intrigued by the possibility of a Piolet with different tubing. I really love that frame, but don't need such stout (and heavy) tubing for my purposes. It's not easy to find really good frames like that with disc brakes and wheel sizes proportionate to the frame size. I'm 5'4", which is average for a woman, but you wouldn't guess it based on availability of frames that fit well for people my size. If the Piolet came with lighter tubing, I'd jump at the chance to order one.

Anonymous said...

Please don't forget the stainless steel fatbike fenders in a 26 x 4 size. Not kidding...

Philip Kim said...

hoping it's a 31.8 quill stem...

Anonymous said...

Hey VO,
A similar post about Piolet 27.5+ conversions would be really interesting. I'd be curious to seem some detailed clearance shots with 2.8" and or 3" tires. Any insights about drive-train setup would also be appreciated. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Oops,
Comment on 3/20/16 @ 11:21 was intended for the "Dirt Wizards on smaller Piolets" post. Sorry