15 June, 2021

Small Shiny Stuff from Forager and Runwell

by Igor

Forager Cycles makes these super fun little ends for your cables dubbed Cable Cherries - and we have them back in stock! They're made in the USA, easy to install, and come in a variety of fun colors. I put some gold ones on my Low Kicker to match the warm tones of my brown handlebar tape and saddle.

Hubs Nuts are too often overlooked I say! So we were very excited to hear that Runwell was working on some premium Hub Nuts for bolt-on track hubs and after many weeks of waiting, they're here! These have magnificent construction and are a pleasure to install and use. They're currently available in M9 (front) and M10 (rear) in black finish. Silver is coming next week with the next Runwell restock.

We also just received a nice re-stock of Runwell Tools including these 4-Way Wrenches with a simple and elegant VO logo on the head. They're a really convenient addition to your tool kit. Instead of fumbling with a super compact multi-tool or multiple wrenches, the most-used hex wrench sizes (3, 4, 5, and 6mm) are quickly and easily accessible on this 4-way wrench for adjustments on the go.

Also straight in from Japan - more Runwell Punk Bolts! These have been a mosh pit favorite since they were first introduced. Dress up your unoccupied braze-ons with these fancy and slightly intimidating spikes. 

04 June, 2021

Diamond Frame Polyvalents Are In!

by Igor

The Polyvalent has always been the workhorse of the VO lineup. It's happy to be loaded up with a week's worth of groceries, sloshed through mud on a bikepacking trip, or boxy-bag-front-loaded in a traditional randonneur style. The platform of the Polyvalent is dependable, simple, capable, and flexible. And today we're releasing the Diamond frame variant of the gen 5 Polyvalent.

In VO style, this frame is dripping in details. The rear end features strong yet elegant thru-axle dropouts, vertical derailleur hanger, IS disc brake tab, and double-decker spool braze-ons for fenders and racks.

The fork is a perfect blend of timeless design and modern functionality. The thru-axle dropouts have mounts under and over for fenders and racks, and the gracefully bent fork blades also have 3-pack mounts for cargo cages or regular water bottle cages. There are also spool braze-ons for a Randonneur or Flat Pack Front Rack.

The seatstay cluster is simple and elegant. The seatstay ends wrap gently around the integrated seat collar into points that *almost* touch. 

The rear brake routing features a brazed internal tube so that there isn't any need to fish for cables and housing. Simply push the housing in and by magic, it comes out the other side. We've found that TRP Hylex hydraulic hose doesn't fit well in the internal routing since it is closer to 5.5mm in diameter rather than the regular 5mm. Every other hose fits fine.

Here's the summary of details of the frameset for you and/or the mechanic building it up: 
  • Frameset material: 4130 double butted chromoly steel
  • Fork: 1 1/8" threadless, 4130 chromoly steel with elegant bend
  • Wheel Size: 650B or 26" 
  • Tire Clearance: 650B x 48mm, 26 x 2.3" (either with fenders) / 650b x 2.1 or 26 x 2.3 knobby (without fenders)
  • Rear Spacing: 12 x 142mm, thru-axle with replaceable hanger (included)
  • Fork Spacing: 12 x 100mm, thru-axle (included)
  • BB: English threaded 68mm
  • Brakes: IS mount disc, 160mm or 180mm rotors suggested
  • Seatpost: 27.2mm
  • Front Derailleur Size: 28.6mm
  • Water bottle mounts: Triple on top of downtube, one set on the seattube, one set on underside of downtube
  • Fender bosses: seat stay bridge, chainstay bridge, under fork crown
  • Frame Eyelets: Double eyelets on rear dropouts for racks and fenders. Internal eyelets on seat stays
  • Fork Eyelets: Double eyelets on fork dropouts for racks and fenders. Triple thru-bosses on the blades for lowrider racks. Hourglass braze-on for Randonner and Flat Pack Front Racks
  • Rear Brake Routing: Easy internal routing for rear brake cable housing/hydraulic tubing
  • Paint: Sage Metallic
P.S. We also got a run of Randonneur Handlebar Bags in! There was a bit of an issue with the grommet placement in that they are slightly too close to each other. The bag mount fits, but you do have to wrestle it a little. If you order a Rando Front Bag and a rack that includes a bag mount (anything with an integrated decaleur or headset mounted decaleur), we'll go ahead and install the bag mount on the bag for you.

02 June, 2021

Klunkers and More Back In Stock

by Adrian

The day is here. Container Day. Get ready for a fresh restock of a plethora of items - get them while they're hot! Included are:

This list is not exhaustive, you'll see a scattering of replenished products across our webstore. Not everything is back in stock quite yet, so if you're holding out for an item you don't see in this restock, rest assured there's more coming. We're expecting another container at the end of this month, and a big one likely at the end of July. Then several more throughout the remainder of the year. The best way to keep track of items coming into stock is to sign up for email stock notifications on the product pages. 

Thanks for being so patient as we work our way back up to regular stock levels. Like most industries, pandemic-induced manufacturing delays and ridiculously long shipping timelines (this container was delayed two months for example) have consistently pushed back our ETAs. We're expecting to continue to catch up over the next few months, and should have normal stock levels from then on out. 

Happy riding!


28 May, 2021

We're Buzzing About Cicadas

by Adrian

If you haven't heard about the cicadas invading the East Coast, have you been living underground for the past 17 years?

Here's what all the hubbub this season has been about. The Brood X Cicada is an endemic insect to Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, Ohio, and some other parts around these areas (though in fewer concentrations). If you're not familiar with the iconic image of the cicada - it's a hefty bug that has wide-set red eyes, large wings, and makes a loud song via "the rapid buckling and unbuckling of drumlike tymbals." Really this sounds like buzzing up-close on an individual level, but when you get billions (yes, with a "B") together the buzzing combines to make an eerie background noise reminiscent of 1950's flying saucers. They're also not the sharpest bug in the shed, and can often be found flying directly into your face, doing donuts on the sidewalks, and casually walking into predators mouths. 

This is a small sample in our neighborhood

Cicadas lie dormant underground for 2 to 17 years depending on the species, emerging in the late spring only when the ground gets to around 64℉. They shed their nymph shells, fill up their wings with fluid, find a mate, lay eggs, and then die or get eaten by pretty much everything. This includes a good deal of people who have been in a frenzy to make the best cicada recipes. Some say they taste like shrimp, some say asparagus, and others just dunk them in chocolate, because why not?  

So what's all the buzz about cicadas? Well, Brood X (10) is one of 15 rotating broods of annual cicadas that emerges along the Mid-Atlantic region but is THE MOST dense and prolific of all the broods by a large measure. In their most dense, University of Maryland estimates a cicada density of 1 MILLION per acre. 

And so to commemorate this once in a 17 year cycle (yes, we're a bike brand, we went there) we had some super fun t-shirts and stickers designed by Baltimore-based artist Kate Haberer.

We have both stickers and t-shirts up and the website. And just like the cicadas, once they're gone, they're gone. Well, until 2038 at least.

We also had a couple samples made for staff kids, and they were too cute. Should we do a run for nymphs?

24 May, 2021

Let's Talk Forever Bikes

by Igor

A "forever bike" has different meanings to different people. It might be a really nice bike for which you've highly researched and invested. It might be a "quiver-killer" that consolidates all your bikes into one. It might be one from your childhood that you've held on to and resisted selling over the years. Or it might be the one that, more morbidly, is the last one before "the big ride". For me, my Campeur is my forever bike. It has so many memories including getting married, tours, travels, and oh so many cockpit and drivetrain setups. Simply put, the sentimental value of this bike far outweighs the monetary value it might have.

Scouring my archives, this is the earliest picture I could find of the complete bike. My detective skills based on the dirty tires leads me to think there must be another, earlier picture, but I can't find it. Maybe it's on an old flip-phone or Adrian's old LG Chocolate. Dura-Ace shifters, derailleurs, 10sp gearing (when it was brand new), dynamo lighting, carbon brake levers, and ready for all sorts of duties it will soon see.

Out of all my bikes, this one has the most airline miles, by far. Adrian and I even got married on our Campeurs on a tour of Denmark, Germany, and Sweden. Yeah, it was ridiculously cute.

It's also been to California (twice for Eroica), all over the Eastern seaboard on various tours, Ireland, France (Anjou Velo Vintage), and Taiwan. 

You have to pack some reminders of home when going overseas

The Campeur is a sublime on-road tourer, but since I don't ride on the road so often anymore, it mostly lives on the trainer. It's just that my Low Kicker has a setup that is more conducive to my current riding style, component preferences, and setup. That is, I mostly ride canal paths, rail trails, gravel roads, and basically anything that minimizes interactions with cars.

Selling it has crossed my mind before, but I KNOW that if I sold it, I would immediately regret it. I've heard countless stories about cars, bikes, furniture, jewelry, etc...where people had seller's remorse immediately when the cash hit their hands. I typically skew towards the minimalist side, but some items demand a level of preservation due to their personal impact and meaning. And while it takes up a little bit more room in my garage and sometimes the office, I can always look at it and remember some truly fantastic times.

Do you have a forever bike? What makes it yours?

13 May, 2021

Hubs Spin into the Warehouse, and the State of Inventory

by Igor

We just got a re-stock of our hubs! So if you've been waiting patiently for the following, hop onto the website now.

As far as inventory goes, you may have noticed that we have a bunch of stuff out of stock right now. To be frank, it's a bit slim-pickings right now. We're working on getting as much product as possible within the shortest time frame. I've told our trading partners not to wait to fill a 40' or 40' High cube container before shipping products out. If a vendor has product ready to go, hubs in this case, send them off by the best and fastest shipping available. 

In addition to these smaller shipments, we have five containers to arrive between now and winter that will have frames, components, and accessories. Delays have mainly been from shipping and obtaining raw materials. Our factory partners actually have really good capacity and the production lead times are accurate, especially considering the quantities we've been ordering this year.

It isn't just the bike industry that has felt this squeeze. All sorts of industries from fishing rods, aftermarket car parts, boat trailers, exercise equipment, and more, have felt delays that are frustrating to consumers and wholesale businesses alike.

And as such, we absolutely appreciate your patience. Stuff is on the way!

We have some other big news that we're going to spill soon. Long story short, we have big plans for the future. Lots more projects, more inventory, and better availability. Stay tuned! 

22 April, 2021

Greg's Neutrino is a Hoot!

by Igor

Greg wanted to have us build up a Neutrino Mini-Velo for commuting, travel, and a bit of fun on gravel roads. 

He opted for Tourist Bars to keep the position upright and comfortable. At 570cm in width, the Tourist is narrow by todays standards, but the sweep, rise, and grip length makes for a magnificent cockpit position. It's a personal favorite of ours.

Wheels are our Disc Hubs laced to Velocity Cliffhanger Rims in 32h drilling. And the rubber is Maxxis Grifter in 20"x2.3" (406 bsd). 

Drivetrain is Sram with a Rival 1 rear derailleur, Apex 1 crankset, 11-32 cassette, and Apex 11 shifter.

Braking is handled by TRP Spyres connected to our Grand Cru Brake Levers in Silver.

We also put on a Flat Pack Rack for general portage. 

All-in-all, this is a very fun bike. I'm actually thinking of rebuilding mine with a few cues from this one. 

As far as a status of Neutrino frames, we sold out of the S and L sizes basically overnight. I honestly thought they would have lasted longer, but they were basically in and out to places all around the world. We're getting more in the Summer, so keep your eyes peeled!

If you want the complete build list, here you go! https://velo-orange.com/pages/neutrino-build-list-commuter-traveler-with-flat-pack-rack

15 April, 2021

The Vintage Bicycle by Steel Vintage Bikes

by Scott

Kevin and I were speaking this morning about the merits and differences between physical and e-books. One thing that we both agreed on was that books with lots of photos or maps were ones that both of us felt we could only buy as a physical book. E-books are fine for a novel or some non fiction reading, but if you want to read poetry or see large format photos or paintings, then a physical book is simply the best. Introducing The Vintage Bicycle by Steel Vintage Bikes. 

The fabulous folks at Steel Vintage Bikes in Berlin have produced a book showing a collection of steel bikes they have restored over the years. With bikes ranging from 1927 to 1989, there will be bikes you've never seen along with technical elements sure to excite.

The majority of the bikes are racing bikes, but there are some randonneur and touring bikes mixed in as well. 48 bikes are showcased over 110 pages. You get one drive train side shot of each bike as well as a description of the bike and the builder and some more detailed shots.

This is a great book for someone who loves older steel bikes or perhaps someone looking for inspiration from the past. Hardcover, and printed in English.

09 April, 2021

Additions for Your Home Shop

by Igor

We have a lot of customers who are do-it-yourselfers, so finding quality tools and shop accessories is paramount. We've all used cheap tools and sometimes they can be fine, but you'll curse yourself the first time you're about to round out a bolt head or cut something askew. Buy once, buy right.

Holy Mountain USA Shop Aprons

We recently picked up these absolutely gorgeous Shop Aprons from Holy Mountain USA. They're sewn locally in Baltimore and are extremely high quality. When I'm not using it in the shop, I use it outside grilling, or inside in front of the stove. I've used a lot of aprons over the years and this one, by far, is the best bang for your buck.

There are three main pockets at your waist, and a couple smaller pockets by your chest for your pen, notebook, and any other little odds and ends that you might want quick access to.

Available in Brown and Black, they're super durable, comfortable, utilitarian, and vegan. 

Double-Ended Ferrules

You finally got that perfect handlebar tape setup. It has aged nicely, the hood position is perfect, and the tape is exquisitely finished with the Cutlass Velo flair. But now you want to raise your handlebars to have a more comfortable position. Dollars to doughnuts, the housing length is going to be too short. What are you to do? Unwrap all that hard work? Yea right! These Double-Ended Housing Ferrules are what you need.

Simply splice in a bit more housing to extend the length! I like to cut the housing back a bit so that the cap isn't rubbing on the frame. It works wonders! You'll likely still need to buy a new cable, though.

They're available in both 4mm and 5mm for shift and brake, respectively.

Polished Brass End Caps

Step up your end cap game with these Polished Brass ones. They function the same as the plated silver ones that your bike likely has, but these will age and develop a patina. I also really like the contrast they provide in an otherwise silver and black color-scheme.

We currently have the 4mm for shift in stock. The 5mm were supposed to be here today, but Fedex decided to send them the scenic route. They'll be here next week.

Re-Stock of Runwell Tools

A good tool has a bit of heft, a nice hand feel, and a certain satisfaction in its use. Runwell tools are just that.

The 4-Way Wrench is a favorite of mine for quick adjustments. 

And the 15mm Wrench is a pleasure to hold and use when tightening down your hub's nuts. Plus it comes in Gooooooold.

We just got more Punk Bolts, too. Rad.

20" Neutrino Wheels

Lastly, if you're building up your Neutrino and are in need of wheels, we just got some 20" VO Hubs laced to Velocity Cliffhangers in all black. These are so cool looking.