21 March, 2007

New Items and a Little News

Since we're starting to make French style city bikes we needed a proper French handlebar. And what could be better than a Nitto Promenade bar from, well, Japan. This is a copy of the bar seen on countless continental city bikes and not a few porteurs.

We also now stock the Tange Passage alloy headset. The best $20 headset you'll ever find. It's nicely finished and perfectly acceptable for any city bike.

I found a stash of very nice and obviously high end downtube cable stops. The right-side one has a quick adjust lever that's handy. I think these may be DuraAce, but I'm not certain.

Finally, a city bike needs a tail light, so does a randonneur, so for those of you who like generator powered light we are stocking two B&M models.

I'll get the new products into the store later today and tomorrow.

As for news, next Monday is VO's first birthday so we'll have little sale. I'll put up a bunch of samples we've bought in the specials sections. We also have too many 650b tires and a few other odd items. We are very close to signing a lease on a little showroom/retail space so we're anxious to de-clutter before moving in.


Anonymous said...

Hi Chris,

Congratulations on VO's birthday. What a great achievement.

Even more impressive is that every day you seem to uncover or create great products to provide to the cycling public. Thanks for making those products available, and writing about those items - and cycling in general - in your blog.

Keep up the great work.


Dad said...

I heartily second the emotion. I think it's very difficult for an entrepreneur to make a meaningful entry into mature markets like cycling. Yet you've done it very well indeed. I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks you've wholly outdone incumbents like Rivendell at their own game. The trajectory amazes me; if I remember correctly you started out selling humble headset spacers drilled to accept a bell. Here you are a year later simply running circles around so many competitors. The good taste, decency, panache and can-do spirit really come through.

C said...

Any chance you'll be carrying the switched B&M lights for use with dynohubs?

Velo Orange said...

I will get switched B&M lights. I've been meaning to order them for weeks. Just keep bugging me about stuff like this.

Anonymous said...

Damn. I don't know long you can give your customers the feeling of control and ownership in this venture, but I think it's terrific. I hope the next year goes as well as the first.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your first year! Here is hoping you (and by extension, we your customers) enjoy many more.

Oh, and while you are ordering the switched lights from B&M, perhaps you can bug them for information on when the lovely Retro-Style Aluminum light will be available (believe that was battery operated)

Retroman said...

Yes, quite impressive indeed!

The Nitto bars are just the ticket.
Now you need a classy inverse brake lever. I have a pair of Mafac inverse levers that would be worth copying if you could find the right maker.
The tailights look nice...can you show a side view as well?

Kris Hicks-Green said...

Hey, Chris:

Congratulations on a year of providing terrific customer service. Whenever asked what I want to do next with my life, I cite Velo Orange as an example.

I have the oval tail light you show in your photo. It's terrifically made and very bright. The standing light needs only about 45 seconds of use before it's charged, and it stays on for a couple of minutes.

But inquiring minds want to see more of the 2CV van model!

Kris, Olympia

peter weigle said...

Wondering what VO's birthday cake will look like???
I'm sure Chris will think up something stylish,,, he always does.
You guys have any ideas?:~)
Congratulations Chris and Anette and thanks for sharing the ride!

AN said...


You win the prize (not that there really is one...) I've been waiting for a comment about the 2CV.

Anonymous said...

Happy First Birthday Chris and Annette!!!

Anonymous said...

The cable stops are nice. They look identical to the ones that came in my 105 STI shifters. Of all the things to duplicate in different quality groups, cable stops seem the most appropriate item.
M Burdge

Velo Orange said...

Joel, I reminded the B&M distributor that they said I could have Retro Lights next year. He said, "Next year isn't over." But those are generator, not battery, lights.

Retroman, I've looked into having reverse levers made. The molds would be very very expensive. I have a new connection in Taiwan and he might be able to help.

M, Maybe those are 105 stops. I saw some on a bike with full Dura Ace so that's what I assumed they were. What do I know about obscure Japanese components ;<)

And thank for all the Birthday wishes.

Anonymous said...

Just to add to the mystery, my wife's ultegra-equipped bike has the same stops.

Happy Birthday, VO!

Anonymous said...


Dynamo operated is actually better, as I want to use the retro light on my camper.

I know the debate on battery vs. dynamo rages, but I prefer having the dynamo for trips where I am unsure whether I'll be able to charge the batteries when they need them.

Completely unrelated: Do you still want us to send pictures of our bikes? I just finished assembling a city bike with a lot of Velo content. Unfortunately ordered the frame before I knew you were making them. But it has the look.

Velo Orange said...

Yes, Please send photos.

Alan said...

Happy Birthday VO! I discovered the site via ebay buying leather toe clip covers. Little did I know what I was getting myself into, this site opened a world of bicycles I did not know existed.

Anonymous said...

those cable stops are one of 2 variations shimano makes. no real mystery. they dont really have a grouppo designation, as far as I can tell...

Greg said...

Ggrrrr on the switched retro light. Right now I've got a dynohub not dynoing anything (using a battery light) because the retro light was coming in, you know, early in the new year.

Be careful with the Nitto Promenade if you want to use reverse pull levers or bar end shifters. The hole's not big enough.

Can we feel the love for Shimano (the company certain cyclists love to hate)? Those cable stops are awesome for indexed shifting systems like my IG 8 hub. One little flick and you've got a 1/4 turn of adjustment. Great for on the fly adjustments or heck, even in the stand. The lever works a lot better than the barrell adjuster when the cable is under pressure.

And happy Birthday Velo-Orange. You had a great first idea.

Anonymous said...

The Nitto "Albatross" bars that Riv sells has the larger I.D. I think that is achieved with by using thinner tempered material. Kind of a suck shape though. Marginally better if the length is trimmed a little.

Anonymous said...


how sure are you about the reverse levers not fitting the nitto bar? I just ordered up an alb bar pair along with some reverse diacompe 188s. :o


Anonymous said...

I have a pair of dirt drops--and I have seen this on other bars too--where the ends of the bars were honed out to a B-E shifter diameter. Would such a thing be hard on a Promenade? Would it be dangerous? I realise the bitter end of a drop bar gets almost no weight on them--the same spot on a Promenade gets more, but I have never heard of a bar failing at the end.
M Burdge

James said...

Perhaps this is old news but

this site is quite intersting
and this is their collection of scanned catalogues.

James said...

Apparently the New Cycling Book on Herse is available on CD rom?

James said...

Do those Promenades take reverse levers? How wide is the model you stock?

Velo Orange said...

James, The bars are 48cm (c-c).

I have an idea of how to make reverse levers fit, but I need to try it to make sure it'll work.

We've been trying to get the Rene Herse CDs. I have one and it's great; that RH can rock.

Greg said...

JM said:


how sure are you about the reverse levers not fitting the nitto bar? I just ordered up an alb bar pair along with some reverse diacompe 188s. :o

I sez:

I am 100% sure that the Nitto B-602 (Promenade) bar that I bought did not fit my Dia-Compe 188 levers. I used a cheap bur from Home Depot, my cordless drill and alot of elbow grease to grind out the excess material.

The Albatross bar is said to be able to fit bar end shifters and therefore reverse brake levers. That said, I was not able to slip my reverse bars levers into the Priest bars(previous incarnation of the Albatross) on my wife's bike. YMMV.

Retroman said...

FWIW...The plug on my vintage Mafac inverse levers mic @ 0.79" and are too small for the ends of a pair of Ambrosia road bars I have sitting here. What is the I.D. of the Promenade bars?

Velo Orange said...

The Nitto bars I.D. is about 0.62".

Dad said...

Guys, I am slowly making up a porteur bike out of a $1 Peugeot gaspipe frame. I scored a pair of the Mafac reverse levers and these exact Nitto bars. You need about two minutes of time at a machine shop -- they will make quick work of the task -- I think they machined down the brake levers and reamed out a little inside the bars. It's duck soup for those guys.

I'll send in some pics when I'm done. No way you'll be able to tell that this was just a lowly mild steel bike. Promise!