27 April, 2006

Leather Chainstay Protectors

At the suggestion of a couple of Velo Orange blog readers I made a few leather chainstay protectors. They are self adhesive peel and stick. So far I have one on my Kogswell and on my Motobecane city bike.

Right now we have a few in chocolate brown; honey and black versions will be ready early next week.

These really are so much classier than those fake carbon fiber stickers or thick packing tape you see on some bikes. $8 in the Velo Orange Store.

The Velo Orange Web Store is Open

Right now it only works with paypal credit card acceptance. We'll have the regular credit card system set up in a few weeks. Also please let me know if you find any bugs.

Technical Bulletins, Racks, etc

Two small issues we've had questions about:

1) On some of the brass bells the little aluminum spacer stays stuck on the mount when the mount is unscrewed. A sharp tug will remove it, allowing you to put it back on the bell's stem before screwing the bell into a Velo Orange spacer mount.

2) Yes, by all means feed your mudflap some Brooks Proofhide, Snow Seal, leather oil, or whatever leather treatment you have handy. Re-apply it a couple of times each year to keep your mud flap happy and healthy.

In other developments:

The decaleurs are in production and I've been told they will be finished in less than 2 weeks. The price will be $48 for all who reserved them. But the manufacturing cost is higher than we estimated so the long term price will be $52.

300 bells in both brass and aluminum are being made for us by those dedicated Japanese bell-smiths. They will be here in a few weeks.

I'll take a crack at making a prototype of both a front and a rear rack. They will be of a minimalist design and heavily influenced by Rene Herse's racks. They will have adjustments, but look like custom racks The customer will be expected to drill the holes in the mounting tangs so the fit really will be custom. If things go well, both 700C and 650B versions will be available this summer. Here is a link to a photo of a Herse rack and here is one from Singer.

21 April, 2006

Decaleur du Sac, part 2

I've gotten a lot of e-mails about the decaleurs and it has been a painful development process. But the production version of the Velo Orange decaleur du sac, or handlebar bag holder is just about ready. A few very minor changes and we go into production next week.

I am very pleased with the quality. The shop making them is the best in the area. All parts are 304 stainless steel and the welding is first rate.

The decaleur consists of two parts. There is the part that fits on the bag, as shown in the second photo; these will fit any bag. The part that goes on the bike is available in two main versions.

The first is the traditional constructeur type shown at the top of the first photo and also on my Motobecane. It can be ordered in a long drop or short drop version (the long drop is shown). The drop is simply the bag's distance below the handlebar and we've not yet settled on the exact distances that would be best.

The second version is welded to a 3 mm (1/8") stainless steel spacer and mounts on the headset stack. It is available in a 1" version and a 1-1/8" version.

Like the first version it can be bent to fine-tune the height and ensure your bag rests on your front rack. I have done this on my Ebisu as shown in the last two photos. The U-shaped part is solid rod, not tube, so it can be safely bent.

The first production run will be very small and I suggest that if you want one, you reserve your's soon. No deposit is require.

The price has yet to be determined. My best guess now is between $40 and $50 for the complete unit. I'll know the exact cost next week when the welder and machinist give me their final numbers based on the couple of very minor changes we'll make.Separate bike and bag mounts will also be available should you want to switch a bag between bikes. Delivery should be in two to three weeks.

On a related note. The Velo Orange E-store will be operational sometime next week. Thanks for all the suggestions, encouragement, and orders.

17 April, 2006

Look what the Easter Bunny brought

We'll be shipping brass bells tomorrow, ding ding! $9 each.

And the flashlight brackets arrived ahead of schedule. They are thick electro-polished 304 stainless made for us by a well known manufacturer of yachting hardware. $12 in C or AA size. Please read my post about why flashlight mounts are so practical.

The photo on the lower below shows the flashlight bracket on a TA/Mafac rack.

15 April, 2006

Shellac, Honey Toe Clip Leathers, and Mudflaps

Posted by Picasa We have three new products. The fender mud flaps are made of almost 1/4"-thick saddle-maker's leather and come with mounting hardware. They are about 6-1/2" long and about 4-1/2" wide. But, best of all, they don't cost $35 (like some leather mud flaps); they cost $9.75.

We now have our toe clip leathers in thick honey-colored suede, in black, and in lipstick red neubuck . No, I'm not kidding; I found a side of upholstery leather that's black on one side and bright red on the reverse. $5.

And we have shellac kits that include enough de-waxed blond, orange, or garnet flakes to do a bike's worth of handlebars with enough left over for touch-ups. A brush and instructions are also included. $6.50.

Click on the photos to enlarge. Shipping is still $2 for any order. And I'm off on a bike ride.

13 April, 2006

What We Have

It's spring and products keep popping up like flowers. Until we get the E-store up, and I am working on it, I'll keep taking orders via paypal and check, but it's getting a little confusing and I've gotten a lot of e-mails asking if we have certain items. So here is a list of what we have in stock, or soon will, with prices. By the way my ordering system is still crude,so if you don't get something in a week or so, please e-mail and I'll make sure it went out.

Bell mounts: 1" silver: $5 - in stock
Bell mounts: 1-1/8" silver: - $5 in stock
Bell mounts: 1-1/8" black: - $5 in stock
Brass bells: $9 - sold out, but more being ordered
Toe clip leathers, brown: $5 - in stock
Toe clip leathers, black and red: $5 - in stock (black on one side, red neubuck on reverse)
Toe clip leathers, honey suede: $5 - in stock
Blond shellac flakes: $6.50 - in stock (includes brush and instruction)
Orange shellac flakes: $6.50 - in stock (includes brush and instruction)
Garnet shellac flakes: $6.50 - in stock (includes brush and instruction)
Simichrome polish: $8.50 - in stock
Flashlight bracket C: $12 - in stock
Flashlight bracket AA: $12 - in stock
Mud flaps $9.75 - in stock
Leather chain guards: $?? - next week
Decaleurs, traditional: $39 - in two weeks, I hope
Decaleurs, 1" spacer mount: $39 - in two weeks, with luck
Decaleurs, 1-1/8": $39 - in two weeks, god willing
Leather bar wrap, brown: $25 (or so) - ask me next week
Sewn leather bar covers, brown: $25 (or so) - ask me next week
TA style bags: ????
Doily seat covers: by commision only ;<)

Shipping is still $2 for any order. I'll update this page as stuff arrives or sells out.

Bike Candy?

We each have ideas about customizing our bikes. My wife, is an avid and very skilled knitter. She makes fisherman's sweaters, felted handbags and such. She found this doily seat cover pattern in a knitting magazine and made it last night. This morning it was on her Gitane mixte city bike.

I think this is a joke. Or is this a new Velo Orange product? Feedback is always welcome.

On another note, the Velo Orange flashlight holders will be made next week by an old and respected manufacturer of sailing and yachting hardware. They will be available for C-cell, and AA-cell sizes. The material is 304 electro-polished stainless steel with a soft leather lining. $12.

09 April, 2006

Canals and Tow Paths

Many of us, as we advance in years and add a few kilos, find that riding up mountains no longer holds the allure it once did. A nice flat trail along the water, with plenty of villages and canal-side cafes where one might stop for a glass of wine and un sandwich jambon is more to our liking. And a nice B&B with real down duvets at the end of the day is not unwelcome. Perhaps there will be a patio overlooking the canal where we can sip an after-dinner Calvados and exchange pleasantries with the barge men.

So we discover the civilized pleasures of canal towpaths. Some wide tires, a handlebar bag to carry our wallet, camera, and jacket, and off we go for the day. Or add a saddle bag with a pair of light trousers and a polo shirt and moccasins, and we're ready for a four-day trip. It may be on the Canal du Midi in the south of France or on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Maryland and West Virginia. There are wonderful towpaths in Germany and New York, in Britain and Denmark, and, of course, Holland has a few as well. But wherever you go, you can be sure your granny ring will stay clean.

More photos here.

07 April, 2006

Simichrome Polish

I bought some old Dia Compe 980-R brakes on E-bay last week. They were made in 1983 and didn't seem to have been cleaned since. So I poured a glass of wine, sat down in the big leather chair, and started polishing one of them with Simichrome. In about 10 minutes it looked like... Well click on the photo to enlarge it and see for yourself.

The trick is to first use a scrap of very fine sand paper, about 400-grit, to get rid of any deep scratches. Then dap a drop of Simichrome on a piece of soft cotton cloth, like an old t-shirt and start polishing. The cloth should be about 6" x 6". Keep using the same piece over and over because the little Simi-particles build up on it and make polishing even faster with use. It doesn't take long to get an amazing shine.

Simichrome polish is made in Germany and it's not cheap, nor is it easy to find. But it is the best and a little lasts a long time once your cloth is saturated. It does a great job on non-anodized aluminum, chrome, brass, stainless steel, and silver. It also leaves a thin film that protects the metal. I've ordered a small case of 50 gram tubes for those of us who can't get it locally. It's $8.50 a tube and the usual $2 shipping for any quantity.

04 April, 2006

Now Shipping (Updated)

Posted by Picasa I wanted to let everyone who ordered a spacer bell mount know that they are all packed and will ship in the morning via first class mail. There are more available in both 1" and 1-1/8" sizes; $5 each. Shipping is $2 for any quantity.

The toe clip leathers will ship Friday. I've decided to offer these at the lower price of $5 for now. Again, shipping is $2 for any quantity.

Thanks for the orders and please e-mail if you'd like any spacers or leathers. The photo is of the Canal du Midi.

UPDATE: All the leathers have shipped, in fact they have been flying out the door so fast that I ran out. I'll have more by next Tuesday. I'm running low on bell mount spacers too, but more are ordered. We'll have black 1-1/8" bell mounts next week for you post-modern types.

03 April, 2006

A Decaleur du Sac for 1-1/8" Forks?

Since the first Velo Orange Decaleur is at the welder's and an initial production run looks pretty certain, I've turned my attention to a decaleur for modern bikes. Those of you with stems for 1-1/8" forks know that none of the traditional decaleurs will work. The same is true with several modern quill stems.

My solution is to weld the U-shaped piece (see the lower left-hand photo at the link above) piece to a stainless steel spacer. This will offer the functionality of a traditional decaleur on modern bikes. I'm still waiting to hear from the shop that will, I hope, CNC the spacers, but I think the idea is sound. As always I welcome any feedback or suggestions.

Also, please note that I've updated the Product Update. And we are starting to think about a dedicated web site for sales.