17 June, 2016

Frugal Bike Components

By Chris

Frugality is cool, but hard to practice when you're building up a new frame with new parts. There's nothing wrong with scouring Craigslist and ebay for pre-owned bike parts (I do it), but it takes a lot of time and effort, and you can end up with some pretty worn stuff  Sometimes you want new shiny bits that you know will just work. So I've assembled a list of parts that I'd use to save a little on a new build.

VO Micro Fiber Saddles: Leather saddles look great and, after they're broken in, are probably the most comfortable. In my experience, though, the VO micro-fiber saddles are 95% as comfortable at about half the price and weight. Plus, they don't need to be broke-in, they don't need to be protected from rain, and they don't attract thieves (lots of leather saddles get stolen). We make them in a narrow and a wide version, and next year we'll have models with a smooth cover.

Saddle Loops: Speaking of saddles, these little bolt-on loops allow you to use a saddle bag on almost any saddle. Maybe there is no need for a new saddle if you have an old favorite.

Falcon Thumb Shifters: These are not high end components, but they work surprisingly well, are comfortable to use, and are compatible with almost any 5- to 9-speed derailleurs. They even come with cables. The best part is they cost 12 bucks. No, really, $12 a pair.

Dajia Seatpost: The Grand Cru seatpost is better and offers more setback, but the Dajia seatpost is strong, simple, nicely finished, and comes in many sizes. If that's not enough, it's also really inexpensive for such a well made component.

Deore derailleurs and shifters: We don't sell them, but if you want durable derailleurs for touring, Shimano Deore are a great choice. Deore components have been made for decades and they come in many versions. Several VO staffers look for new-old-stock, or just new, Deore stuff for most of their builds.

Tourist bar: We have 19 models of  handlebars in our store, but for casual around town use the $25 Tourist bars are among my favorites. I've recently used them for a little gravel grinding too. The Milan bar is similar, but with less rise.

VO Quill Stem: These chrome quill stems look like a custom stem and get you bars as high as a Nitto Technomic, yet they cost no more.

VO Specials page stuff: There are usually some great deals here.

VO wheels: VO wheels use our hubs with superb Japanese bearings and high quality rims, yet they are priced lower than many lesser wheels. They are made with a combination of hand and machine building to keep cost low without compromising quality.

Paselas tires: The Japanese Pasela tires may not be the cheapest option, but the great ride quality, durability, and classic looks makes them a bargain.

Tektro CR720 brakes: We love these canti-brakes. They are great stoppers, good looking, easy to set up, and only $29/wheel.

VO Alloy Headsets: Sealed bearing headsets are great, but folks have been riding with regular ball bearing headsets for over 100 years. Keep them adjusted and greased and they will last a very very long time. You can even replace the bearings for a couple of dollars.


Riggs said...

I have the Daija seatpost. Poor binding for us over 200 pounders. Does not hold well compared to two bolt posts.

doc said...

I really like the microfiber saddles, except that the nose is too wide for my thighs. Make the nose a bit narrower and you have a keeper.

fmackay said...

I remember when everything on VO was the budget option - about 8 years ago when it was $2 to the £ :)
For vintage parts without the ebay scouring. I like (in the uk):
All sorts of stuff from Hilary Stone and
NOS Campag etc from campyoldy (who appears to be selling up - buy now before prices skyrocket!).