23 December, 2008

Merry Holidays!

Great New Yorker cover!

The last orders are packed and Tom and I are the last ones at the shop today. Everyone else left early to start trips or go shopping. After a couple of holiday beers we'll lock up. Velo Orange will re-open on January 5.

We're having a traditional goose dinner with friends at our house, then heading north to see family and, perhaps, do a bit of skiing. Any one doing bike related stuff?

There will be news about hubs, new quick release skewers, new LED dynamo lights and other cool stuff when we get back.

Hope everyone has a great holiday season. Cheers!

19 December, 2008

Various Notes and Things

We will be closed for the Holidays, from December 24 through January 4.

If you need any components made in Japan you probably will want to buy them soon. The recent strengthening of the Yen may result in price increases of as much as 25% when when we get our January shipments. Ouch!

It was interesting that a comment on the previous post asked us to stock wheels with internal gears and interior brake hubs. Just yesterday I was asking Tom to get pricing on wheels with a Strumey Archer internal gear rear hub with brake and a front hub with dynamo and brake.

We are also ordering our cassette hub wheels, but I don't want to release details just yet.

The fixed/SS wheels just came in. We'll probably run out of this first shipment soon, but more are due in next week.

17 December, 2008

Wheels and Rims

I recently treated myself to a new set of fixie/single speed wheels.

They are hand-built in the USA on 36-hole flip-flop, sealed bearing, high flange, hubs. These are the well known and very nice hubs made in Taiwan for Formula, IRO, Velocity, etc. They are very smooth, look nice, and (I'm told) are very durable.

Of course I didn't want the narrow aero rims favored by the hip crowd. Instead I got my favorite Sun CR18 rims. The inexpensive CR18s are a super durable 22.5mm triple box section rim. At 484 grams they are lighter than some single wall rims. The spokes are DT 14g stainless.

My thinking was that these wheels will take wide tires and be super durable, yet reasonably light. The rear is spaced at 120mm, but there is room for a couple of 5mm spacers should I decide to use them on a road frame.

Tom and I were impressed enough by these wheels that I decided Velo Orange should stock them. And at about $160 I think they are a great bargain. Of course this means we'll be stocking track cogs and freewheels and related stuff too. We expect the first shipment of wheels in a couple of days.

We are still not decided about what sort of basic cassette wheel to stock. If anyone has ideas...

Speaking of wheels, we had been considered importing a retro-style rim from Taiwan. It's a single wall, pinned, 500gm rim with a highly polished finish, much like the old Super Champions. In the end I decided that with modern rims being stronger, lighter and with similar prices, the retro rims didn't make much sense. But I may have been wrong; apparently there are a number of folks who do want such rims. So we just asked for updated pricing and delivery times on 650b and 700c versions, about $40-45 and 2-3 months. Does anyone here think there would be significant demand for rims like that?

16 December, 2008


Minnehaha bags are now in stock. They are made of 18oz cotton canvas with nicely thought out details. I want to complement the folks at Minnehaha for having the good taste to make black bags with tan leather so they will match the new Velo Orange bags (Actually our leather is darker, but close enough.) This should please the style conscious bag-matchers among us.

The medium saddle bag, which is pretty darn big, makes a nice alternative to handlebar bag. It's big enough for a fair load of extra clothes and food for a long day trip. I like that the interior is white for better visibility.

The Utility Panniers are my favorite of the Minnehaha bags for two reasons. The tall narrow shape solves heel clearance issues for many big-footed men who ride bikes with short chain stays. The other reason I like them is because they don't look like the VO pannier I've been planning ( VO's are more traditional).

The Minnehaha Grocery Pannier is a nice folding design that will be perfect for many city bikes. Anyone who goes grocery shopping on a bike should have one or two of these.

15 December, 2008

Bikes at Work

Ahren Rogers sent this photo of Leah, his partner, picking up supplies at the welding shop. Ahren builds our Pass Hunter and City bike frames and Leah welds our stainless steel racks. That's one big bike trailer.

12 December, 2008

Community Component Ideas

One of the great things about this blog is getting ideas for products. Thank you! Several of the products we've decided to start stocking or making are a direct result of comment on this blog and e-mails from customers. For example:

  • We should have 17-degree VO stems in 2-3 months. I would not have guessed that so many folks wanted them. Quill stems are another matter and will take some serious research.
  • Minnihaha bags will be in stock at VO next week. These are fairly inexpensive cotton panniers and saddle bags with leather trim.
  • Tom has finished testing the economical dynamo hubs I wrote about some weeks ago and we have decided to put in an order for them. While they are not as nice as the more expensive SON and Shimano hubs, the VO community has convinced us that there is a need for a basic dynamo hub. We will have a quick release version in stock sometime this winter.
  • It seems that the VO French thread bottom brackets will actually be made.
This listening to customers idea is working out pretty well. I wonder if the big American auto companies should start blogs?

08 December, 2008

VO Stems are Back

Just a short note to tell everyone who's e-mailed that VO stems just arrived and are back in stock. We have all sizes from 70 to 120mm now. I can hardly believe how popular these have been.

We also have Falcon thumb shifters again.

We are also looking into having VO brand cloth handlebar tape made here in the US. We sell a lot of Tressostar tape and VOI even distributes it to other stores, but we are disappointed that some colors have been discontinued (especially orange). I'm not at all sure that we can make this happen; the mills need big orders and re-rolling into short lengths is surpirisingly expensive. But what new colors would you like to see if we do manage to pull it off?

03 December, 2008

Tom, VO Imports, and Upsetting the Apple Cart

As some of you know, we have another company, called VO Imports (VOI). The purpose of this company is to sell to bike shops and distributors, rather than to retail customers. VOI has a warehouse and office next door to us, but it is a separate company. VOI sells some Velo Orange parts and it also starting to import and distribute components and accessories from other companies.

VOI's general manager is Tom Martin, who has many years experience in the bike distribution business. He is great at getting stuff made, keeping in almost constant touch with Taiwan. He is also known here for creating gigantic spreadsheets detailing an almost infinite number of cost and design variables for each of our products. In addition he maintains relations with all the shops that stock our products.

Tom probably doesn't have an easy time working with me. In Tom's world, which is the standard distribution model, a company designs a product and has a factory makes it. Then the agent who helped set it up us gets a small cut. Now the component company sells the part to a distributor and so makes its profit. The distributor sells the part to a bike shop and makes its profit. Finally the bike shop makes a profit selling the part to a customer. As you can see, there are a lot of folks taking a cut. And so the bike business world has always smoothly revolved.

But I am not from the bike or the distribution biz and I have a long history of building companies by breaking rules. I decide that some Velo Orange products, the stainless steel racks as an example, must be affordable and cut out all the middle men. The distributor and bike shop can't sell them and so don't get a cut. Velo Orange does not get those cuts either; the customer does. I've upset the apple cart and poor Tom has to hear the complaints.

Tom feels, and he is probably correct in this, that if we simply raise prices or concentrate only on items that can be sold through traditional distribution channels both VOI and Velo Orange will grow even faster. But I want to keep prices low. And so it goes.

Tom has started a VOI blog, as well as a Twitter and Face Book page. The blog is intended for shop owners and their employees, but many here may find it interesting too.

01 December, 2008

Porteur Racks and Offshore Bags

A lot of folks have been waiting for the next shipment of Porteur racks. They are here! Rails too. Last time they sold out in a week.

On another subject, I saw an interesting statement on another blog about canvas and leather bike bags. The author said that it was easy to get such bags made in China and that that was somehow bad. I don't know about China specifically, since Velo Orange does not have any bags made in China and has never even investigated it. But I imagine the design work involved and the material sourcing and the quality control is just as hard as in any other country.

What really bothered me about this is the implication that providing more economical cycling products is a bad thing. Not everyone can afford expensive gear, like our American-made VO Porteur rack. There is a great need for good quality classic cycling gear at affordable prices no matter where it's made. The elitist attitude that good quality gear can only be made in Western Europe or the US or, perhaps, Japan, has always bugged me. I often see products from Taiwan that are better made than their US or European counterparts. What is actually easier is getting stuff made when price is no object.

26 November, 2008

French Handlebars are Back

We just recieved another shipment of the VO/Nitto Montmarte and the Left Bank handlebars. They sold out very quickly last time we got some and it takes 4-6 months to have more made, so don't wait too long if you want a pair.

These are French style upright city bike handlebars. What's special is that they will accommodate bar end shifters and inverse brake levers because they are made from road bar-size tubing. But they won't work with MTB levers, grips, etc. Just to avoid confusion, here are some of the components that I recommend using with them:

I wrote more about them in this post.

25 November, 2008

Miscellaneous Bits

The photo on the left is of a prototype VO French thread bottom bracket. Back in the day, nations thought it obligatory to have their own standards for bike parts. There were French, Swiss, Italian, British, and even American standards for certain components. The British standard overtook the others and is what we see on almost all bikes today, but there are still many fine frames that require Italian (those are still made). French, or Swiss bottom brackets. So we're looking into having some made.

Please don't ask when you can order one. I don't yet know if they will be produced; we're still trying to make this project feasible. What that means is that we need to get some shops or other wholesalers to commit to buying part of the production. We would have them in 110mm, 116mm, and 122mm. There is a possibility of a Swiss version too.

We recieved the final fabric samples for the new VO handlebar, and other, bags yesterday. It is a thick finely woven cotton that appears to be amazingly waterproof. The manufacturer described it as waxed, but it does not feel overly waxy. The color is jet black. It exceeds my expectation. This was the last step before production. We still hope to see them in January.

The ring locks should be here next month.

Finally, Velo Orange will be closed on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving Day holiday. For our overseas friends, this is a holiday that celebrates America's bounty. Most Americans spend it with extended family preparing and eating a stuffed turkey that's only slightly smaller than a Hummer. The following day is traditionally spent waddling about and shopping.

At our house we'll be having family over for dinner, oysters (local, Chesapeake Bay) duck confit, pommes sarladaise, rum baba, etc. The following day may see a trip to the beach. Are any of you doing, or eating, anything exciting for the holidays?

24 November, 2008

Air and Space

We went to the National Air and Space Museum yesterday. While Alec, our 9-year old, wanted to see space ships and rockets, I was fascinated by the Wright brother's creation, their bicycles that is. As you probably know, prior to building the first flying machine, the Wright brothers built bicycles. The model on display seemed amazingly modern and ridable, though it might benefit from a VO saddle and seat post. Bikes certainly haven't changed as much as airplanes.

We also went inside the Skylab space station. I noticed the exercise bike used by the astronauts to stave off the muscles loss caused by a zero-gravity environment. It had handlebars that look surprisingly like the upcoming Velo Orange Belleville handlebars. Even NASA is influenced by the French constructeurs.

20 November, 2008

Samples Galore and The Guarding of Chains

Perhaps we're a bit obsessed with product samples. It gets pretty expensive having all this stuff FedExed from every corner of the world, but the idea is that we'll find great products that no one else imports, or great factories to make our products.

Here are a few sample chain guards from Europe that we recently ordered. Tom has been madly fitting these to various bikes. In this case, results have been less than promising.

The top model works with a 52t, or smaller, big chain ring and, at least in theory, a front derailleur. The lower one does too, but I don't like the slots. What we find with the upper model is that it doesn't work well with many modern cranks. These guards are designed for the sort of crank where the arm sits on the spider, not the modern type where the spider seems to flow out of the arm.

Here we have a chrome and an anodized model for single chain rings, but at $50 they may be a bit too dear. On the other hand, the full circle does a great job of protecting your cuff. What do you think of these?

These steel chain cases are neat. They must be painted and will fit only certain cranks on certain bikes. The thing that looks like a huge washer pops out for installation. And yes, they are closed on the back. I get a migraine just thinking about technical support for these.

The two models below offer the best hope. At around $25 they are priced right. The top model will work with a 46t big ring and a triple crank according to the manufacturer, but getting it lined up exactly right is difficult. The bottom version is for single speeds and internally geared hubs. It's actually shaped like half a tube, so it covers the chain on both sides. It's steel, but pretty light.

All of these are made for European city bikes with very long chain stays. We would have to have shorter versions to fit the sort of bikes Americans ride. I don't know yet what the costs and minimum quantities would be if we commissioned shorter versions.

Do any of these appeal to you?


I came upon these two bike related photos while surfing aimlessly at 5:00am. They are from the highly regarded The Satorialist site.

Why are Parisians so elegant? Take this Lady, despite being strangled by a blond rat she just oozes style.

And this fellow from Milan is me in a few years (if only).

19 November, 2008

VO Saddle Bags

We've been considering making some larger VO saddlebags. We currently sell five models of saddle bags. The first two are the small Brooks Challenge a D-shaped bags, these are small bags for tools, keys, or other small items. We also sell the VO Croissant and Baguette bags which will soon be available in a new style in black and with more leather trim. These bags are the perfect size to leave on a bike all the time; there is room for tools, wallet, mini-pump, a banana, a rain shell. Finally we have the Ostrich bags which approaches the practical size limit for saddle bags. This size bag is useful for the commuter and for short inn-to-inn tours.

So what do we want in a VO saddle bag? We want a larger bag that matches the look of the upcoming VO handlebar bag and new versions of the Croissant and Baguette bags. That is it will be black waxed cotton with brown leather trim. We also want it to be sturdy and reasonably priced. Finally, Carradice bags are almost impossible to get these days and it's time someone filled that gap.

As for size, Both Tom and I own Carradice Longflap bags. I think that that model is simply too big; Tom uses his every day. We both agree that there is a practical weight limit for saddle bags that is too often exceeded. I think it's 5-6 pounds; Tom says about 10 pounds. In any case, we agree that an overloaded saddle bag severely and negatively effects a bikes handling. If your plan is to go grocery shopping, panniers, not a large saddle bag, are what you need. So something of about 8 to 10-liter capacity is what we're after.

As for shape, I prefer a more square shape like the Berthoud and Ostrich bags. A saddlebag this big really needs to be used with a support such as the ViVa support or the Bagman support (are those still made?) The square shape is better suited to use with a support and better suited to laptops, books, and other loads that are often carried in saddle bags. Tom argues that the round shape with expandable collar offers more capacity, perhaps too much capacity.

So we'll open the floor to discussion. What would you like a larger VO saddle bag to look like?

Speaking of bags, we just listed three interesting panniers on E-bay, still working to get rid of lots of samples and display items.

12 November, 2008

Happy Bottom Saddles

My old company sells an amazingly comfortable kayak seat that I'd named the "Happy Bottom Pad". I was so tickled by that name that when I sold the company I reserved the right to use it in future. But my plans for a VO Happy Bottom Saddle have come to naught. My staff thinks the name is too stupid and I've been talked out of it.

Nonetheless, these are very very comfortable saddles. At 205mm they are wide enough for even the most ample of bottoms and absolutely luxurious for the svelte behind. They are sprung so one's stately composure is not compromised by even the most potholed of lanes. Of course these are saddles for sitting upright on a proper city bike with high handlebars, not for racing about. As for their weight, well that's a bit like money, not something we talk about in polite society.

There are actually two different models. The black ones are Model 7 and have the skirts folded in and riveted to prevent splaying. The Model 8 saddles are brown and have an old-fashioned tie to rein in the skirts. We'll see which system our customers prefer. Otherwise they are identical.

As with our other saddles, they are made from the finest Australian cow hide with an anti-stretch layer laminated underneath. The frames are chrome plated steel. Bag loops are standard and tension adjustment is via the included Allen wrench. At $85 they are not an unreasonable indulgence.

Pretty Pedals

I ordered these as soon as I saw them at Eurobike. These are stunning pedals. By now you've noticed the chrome plated cages, reminiscent of very old Campy pedals. Pretty! But on second thought chrome cages must weigh ton. How about 267g per pair, and that's two entire pedals, not just the cages. The secret is that these are chrome plated aluminum alloy, not steel.

They are made by the clever folks at Wellgo in Taiwan. As usual we had a Velo Orange version created. First off we specified high quality sealed cartridge bearing for long life and no maintenance. They are very smooth. We also asked for alloy, not plastic, dust caps. The pedal bodies are polished, in the VO tradition. And the VO logo is discrete.

With a 96mm x 60mm cage they are a perfect size for most folks. And at $49 there is no reason to get a loose bearing road pedal.

In Stock Again!

We Just got a big shipment of VO components and accessories that we've been having difficulty keeping in stock.

We have more VO Grand Cru seat posts. We have gotten so many e-mails asking when these will be available again!

VO handlebar water bottle cage mounts are back.

We have all sizes of VO bottom brackets back in stock.

VO stem adapters are also available again.

And VO Model 6 saddles in brown and black came in.

Plus we have new VO city bike saddles and a really beautiful new pedal. I'll post about those after taking some photos.

06 November, 2008

A Couple of Ideas

We've had a couple of ideas.

The first is to import a stainless steel rack that's being made in Taiwan. This is not a Velo Orange design, in fact it looks similar to, and perhaps even nicer than, a certain Tubus model. It's made of stainless steel with a mat finish. The quality is pretty darn good and it's very sturdy. There are pump pegs for a short pump. And all the hardware is very very nice. The price would be under $100, perhaps under $90. I think that there are many folks who would like a stainless steel rear rack that's bigger than the VO Constructuer racks and suited to larger panniers and bigger loads. I'm just starting work on a larger VO rack design, but it won't be ready for 6-10 months. In the meantime do you think there's interest in this rack?

Another idea is importing ring locks. Ring locks are tremendously popular in Europe. They are bolted or clamped to the seat stays of a city bike and lock the rear wheel through the spokes. They provide an almost instant way to lock your bike. Of course they won't do much good in New York city, but in many towns they are all you need. What I like about them is that they stay on the bike. The key can even stay in the lock in some models. So when you run into a shop a simple flick of a locking lever prevents the casual thief from riding off on your bike. For longer stops you can run a cable around a fixed object and lock it in the ring lock.

There are dozens of ring locks made for the European and Asian markets, but they are almost impossible to find in the USA. Ring locks are available in both basic and high end models. We're thinking of importing of importing a mid range model, $20-$25, but not necessarily the model pictured. Any interest?

04 November, 2008

George's VO Rando Bike

George was kind enough to forward some photos of his brand new Velo Orange Rando bike. This is really a nice build. And very cool lights!

He writes:

I’m very happy with how it turned out and took it out for a little spin to Paris last Saturday. That’s Paris, TX, of course for a distance of 300 Km. The bike rode like a dream. Best ride on chip seal pavement I’ve ever had. Corners beautifully and good stable ride with the front bag installed. Much less soreness than my previous long distance bike – and that’s with the same Grand Bois tires.
The rest of the photos are here.

03 November, 2008

Pablo's VO City Gentleman Bike

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are a few photos of the latest VO Gentleman bike . The frame is fillet brazed and assembled by Ahren Rogers. The drive train uses a SA 5-speed hub and a Nervar 50.4mm BCD crank; Pablo found the pedals. The fenders, chain case, bars, etc, are all from Velo Orange. The front rack is custom. This is, in short, a true constructeur bicycle. I think Pablo will enjoy this elegant machine.

31 October, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Aardvarks and Saddles

With winter weather coming we've had lots of requests for Aardvark neoprene saddle covers, which we've had a hard time keeping in stock. So I wanted to tell all of you who've been waiting that we just got a big shipment and have plenty in stock.

It's important to keep leather saddles reasonably dry. A little rain won't hurt, but repeated wetting can cause leather saddles to loose their shape.

Surprisingly, Brooks saddle covers are not really waterproof and their fit is rather baggy. I also don't care for the big logo that might as well say "Steal this expensive saddle". I think the tighter fitting and waterproof Aardvark covers are far superior. Note thatAardvark makes two styles of covers. The thin and inexpensive Lycra cover is not very durable, but the neoprene model (the one we stock) is very nice and longer lasting.

This is also a good time to treat your leather saddle with Proofide, which is still the best. Don't forget the under side.

Speaking of saddles, another shipment of VO model 6 saddles will be here next month and we'll have a new VO saddle specifically for city bikes.

Finally, Aardvark covers are also available wholesale to other bike shops from VO Imports, as are VO saddles.

24 October, 2008

Choosing Fenders

With today's cold rain at VO world headquarters it's time to recycle some posts about fenders. This one is about choosing fenders. The next one will be about installing them. Yes, I've written about this before, but we still get more e-mails about choosing and installing fenders than any other topic.

Fender Basics

Riding with fenders can be transformational. You'll find your bike far more useful. You won't get a wet streak up your back every time you ride through a puddle. You're feet will no longer be soaking wet just because the road is damp. And you'll stay dryer in anything but heavy rain. Your clothes will be cleaner. It's not surprising that most non-racing bikes in Europe and Asia have fenders.

We stock two brands of fenders, Honjo and Velo Orange, in 15 models. All our fender models are metal, 14 are aluminum and one is 1 stainless steel. They come in sizes for 26", 650b, and 700c/27" wheels.

Most experienced cyclists prefer metal fenders because they provide better weather protection than plastic and are very durable. They also look much nicer than plastic. In fact a nice pair of fenders can make even an ordinary bike look rather elegant.

One of the reasons that plastic fenders don't work well is that they are too short. The front fender, must come down close to the ground to keep spray off. All the fenders we sell are made to our specifications, even the Honjos, to ensure that they offer adequate coverage.

Measuring for Fenders

The basic rule in fender fitting is that the fender should be at least 8mm wider than the tire; 10-12 mm is better. So a 35mm fender will fit up to a 25-26mm tire; a 43mm will cover a 32-35mm; 45 covers 38mm, etc. The reason for this clearance is that otherwise little pebbles, sticks, and other debris that are thrown up by your tire will get lodged between the fender and tire. Of course many tires are smaller than their advertised size, so it's wise to actually measure the inflated tire.

A fender's width is measured on the outside, not inside. So to determine if a fender will fit you'll check clearance at the brakes, in the fork crown, and in between the seat stays.

To check the brakes apply them, so the pads touch the rims. Now measure the width between the arms. Also check that you have at least 9-10mm vertically from the tire to the brake. Short reach caliper brakes typically can accommodate 35-37mm fenders. Long reach brakes can usually fit 43-45mm fenders. XL reach brakes like Tektro R556 can fit 50-52mm fenders.

Next check the width and height of the fork crown. Finally check that the seat stays are far enough apart and that the brake bridge is at least 10mm above the tire. You may have noticed that I've not mentioned the chain stays. Those are easy because you can always trim the bottom of the fender to clear.

Of course metal fenders are flexible and can be bent, so if the fit is close you can always squeeze the fender in a few millimeters at the offending spot.

It's important to also get fenders of the proper radius. 27" and 700c wheels are close enough to use the same fenders. 650b and 26" fenders are close and some folks do use one size on the other, but fender line is not going to be perfect.

Fender line refers to the fender following the radius of the tire. In other words, the gap between the fender and the tire should be constant along the whole length of the fender. It's one of those things that may not matter much in practice, but it effects the bikes appearance a lot.

As for fender length, that's easy: get the longest fenders possible. Long fenders keep you a lot drier. And if you live in the Northwest, get a mudflap for the front fender too. If you ride brevets or in pacelines, your fellow riders will appreciate a rear flap as well.

Fender News

There are a few fender developments to report.

We're dropping 35mm smooth Honjo fenders and have ordered 37mm smooth polished Honjos instead. The idea is that the new 37mm size will fit 28mm tires. These should be here in a couple of weeks

The 52mm 700c VO smooth fenders will be replaced by a new model, 52mm Zeppelin profile fenders that are pre-drilled. We expect them in about 2-3 months.

A small shipment of 35mm Honjo hammered fenders has just arrived. We bought these from another importer since our own shipment won't be here for months. The specs are a little different than the VO version, but close. When these sell out we might not see more before spring.

We are also talking about three new models. The first is a VO 36mm smooth fender, a less expensive alternative to the Honjos mentioned above. We are also considering a wider 700c fender, something between 58mm and 64mm. Finally we might get a wider polished stainless steel 700c fender, maybe 50 or 55mm.

As we re-order Velo Orange fenders we will start getting them pre-drilled at the fork crown, stays, and chain bridge; the seat stay attachment is still a sliding bridge. We are hearing from our customers, and especially shops that sell VO fenders, that almost everyone prefers the pre-drilled type. In our experience they fit perfectly on 99% of bikes. This might add $2 to the price, but will save installers some work.

Any thoughts on new fender models you'd like to see?

20 October, 2008


Just an idea, but with winter coming I wonder if there would be interest in a proper fixed gear training bike from Velo Orange. Remember when fixies were primarly winter training bikes for racers? Of course you could use this bike for more than winter training, but that's where the idea comes from.

Various French constructeurs built the occasional fixed gear bike with proper mounts for fenders, long reach brakes, room for comfortable tires. This was back when racers in training still rode sensible bikes. Our thought was for a TIG welded frame, a bit like the Pass Hunter, but with a higher bottom bracket, no shifter bosses, track ends, and long reach caliper brakes. Of course it would have low-trail geometry and handle well with a handlebar bag. The track ends would make removing the wheel a hassle because of the fender. Maybe we could come up with a quick fender stay release.

Tom (VO Import's manager) is interested since he commutes on a fixie that, like so many, has no fender clearance and 23mm tires. He wants the prototype and is willing to do all the testing.

Please understand that there are no firm plans to build the VO fixie yet. We just thought we'd run the idea up the flagpole and see who salutes.

UPDATE: Thank you for all the comments and great info. We've decided to have a prototype built for Tom. If it looks good it will become a semi-custom bike and possibly a production frame.

Also, this frame by Adam Hammond is lovely, much like what we want to make. (Thanks for the link Jim)

16 October, 2008

Pass Hunter and 2CV

I had our Citroen 2CV at the VO shop today. So I snapped a few pics of the newly built-up Pass Hunter leaning against it. Not very good photos really, but I like the contrast. I'll take some proper ones soon.

It took me a long time to figure out how to build up this bike. I almost went with flat bars like this Toei Pass Hunter. Then I though about fenders, like this Alps or this one. In the end it was a compromise. The great thing being at VO is that I can always switch out the parts.

Here is a link to a post about the frame. These are the official pass hunting rules. And here is a cool Japanese site.

I think the VO Pass Hunter will do better in the hills than the 29hp, 600cc-engined Citroen.