24 April, 2008

More VO Products and Fender News

My trip to Asia is starting to pay off. We now have a number of new products on order including:

  • A silver VO two-bolt seat post with very generous setback and fine adjustment.
  • Very pretty and fairly priced all silver polished aluminum no-logo stems for 1-1/8" threadless forks. This is something a lot of folks have asked for.
  • VO 1" threaded headsets with sealed angular-contact bearings. It's time to move beyond the recently discontinued Stronglight A9 and Delta and these should prove even more durable and weatherproof.
  • VO 1" alloy high quality ball-bearing headsets.
  • Beautiful VO 1-1/8" sealed-bearing headsets. You'll be pleased at how nice and fairly priced these are, but some current high end HS manufacturers may not be too happy.
  • A range of VO sealed-bearing square taper bottom brackets with alloy cups and boron axles.
  • Replacement dérailleur jockey wheels made from a special high-wear low friction composite.
I'm still working on hubs, pedals, and a bunch of other projects. The items above will start arriving in 2-3 months.


The 650b VO fenders have been delayed by a few weeks. There was apparently an issue with our new tooling and some adjustments were needed. It was one of those cases where I was not told until well after they should have arrived. The factory says they are very close now.

We've also ordered a run of 45mm polished stainless steel fenders. If they look good, and the samples looked very nice, we may also make them in 50mm.

We are also getting some wide 26" VO fenders that should take tires up to 2.25". A number of you have asked for these.


We received the following comment in an e-mail:
"Straddle wire hangers - fantastique!

I ordered two sets of your straddle wire hangers and just wanted to let you know that they are WAY better than the originals on my '64 Herse..."


Anonymous said...

Very exciting...

Any news from Nitto on fillet-brazed quill stems?

Velo Orange said...

We have info on the threadless version, but no word on the quill version yet.

C said...

While you're talking to Nitto ask them to make matching spacers for the threadless stem. Pairing a slim, polished Nitto stem with chunky alloy spacers is not a good look!

Cody Williams said...

great news on the silver stems. Im still amazed at how hard it is to get a decent silver non-oversized 1 1/8 stem. I went to buy one recently at a local shop, and they couldnt even find one to order.

lynnef said...

any news on the VO front bag?

Anonymous said...

Apropos of the last post


Do you ever spend any time considering the fact that you have become a sort of wish fulfillment machine?

Anonymous said...

Any news on when Ostrich panniers might be back in stock?

Velo Orange said...

No news on the front bag or the Ostrich panniers. Sorry.

Johna, I have not, but that's a pretty good occupation ;<)

Anonymous said...


By any chance can any of the bottom brackets you sell (or are having produced) be used with phil wood retaining rings? I mean like you used to be able to do apparently with shimano un72 bbs for a somewhat cheaper way to get a cartridge bb in a french/swiss/raleigh frame.

nordic_68 said...

I just received my pair of roller cable hangers and they look wonderful. The method of anchoring the brake cable is particularly clever. Hopefully the materials of construction (steel, Al?) are sufficient to withstand repeated zealous tightening because no one wants their brake cable to slip free.

Nice to hear about some of these other projects coming to fruition. The retail/LBS market for this stuff just isn't there.

Adam said...

Dammit, you're making me want to buy everything you make! Uncle!

(no seriously, don't stop - I recently received the constructeur rear rack and some other goodies, and it's even nicer in person. Keep it up!)

Anonymous said...

Will your threadless stems be a match for the readily available aluminium spacers? And will they be available in a variety of extensions?

The problem with threadless, aside from aesthetics is the lack of true functional variety. We're told that there is so much more available, but what I see is an overabundance of a few designs in a few extensions, not real variety. 100 competing variations of the same marketing reality, all in the same 3 lengths.

I had to buy a Salsa chromoly stem to get a 6cm for one bike. I use a much shorter stem that usual with a Moustache bar (one a front loading cargo bike) and a 73° headtube and I'm lucky I found anything at all. And I was told off by the bike shop for buying it -"most people use at least a 10cm" A variety of handlebar designs should mean a variety of stem lenghts.
The only possible matching spacer is a piece of 4130 tubing and I'd have to have it powdercoated to match.

It's like to be able to buy a single piece of aluminium tubing that could be cut to length at home using the Park steering cutting guide (works with 1 1/4") rather building a tower of ugly. I guess this isn't relevant to people who use drop bars below saddle level but when you make a city bicycle out of a frame with a threadless steerer you may wind up needing a rather long spacer, esp. when you use moustache type handlebars.

Gunnar Berg said...

Golly gee, this is exciting! Let's talk about headsets(just 'cause I'm in the market). What type of bearings are you using? I'm only familiar with cartridges that are for parallel stresses, like applications which hold rotating shafts, like axles and BBs). Obviously headsets are thrust bearings with pressures pushing from the side. What can you tell us about the bearings? Inquiring minds...

Anonymous said...

james-- I had the same problem and found the tubing here: http://www.onlinemetals.com/merchant.cfm?step=2&id=71

Worked perfectly.


Velo Orange said...

Annon, I don't know if the BBs will work with Phil cups, never thought of that.

James, we'll have them in 70mm to 120mm and they match the spacers we sell.

Gunnar, I spoke with the manufacturer about various bearings, but we have to rely on them to steer us in the best direction; they have the bearing experts. We wanted the very best bearings they could source, "as good as those in the xxxxx headsets". They suggested that this new (at least to them) angular contact type was the way to go. One of the other advantages is that it is very easy to change if the cartridge ever does wear out since it's not pressed into place.

Gunnar Berg said...

flakvrxChris, Thanks for the reassurance. I guess an angular contact surface should work in both directions.

I would think the BBs would work only if they are exactly the same diameter. What's the odds? Maybe pretty good.

Anonymous said...

i think the main issue re: bb cartridges in phil wood rings is whether both the adjusting cup and the "fixed" cup on VO bbs can be removed. On the old UN72 they could, but then on newer versions the threading is machined directly into the cartridge body (I think that's how Sheldon had described the issue). I've never been entirely clear on how all this works, but I wish I did -- it would make working with french/swiss frames so much easier.

C said...

"Hopefully the materials of construction (steel, Al?) are sufficient to withstand repeated zealous tightening because no one wants their brake cable to slip free."

Repeated zealous tightening?!?! That should never happen. "Zealous tightening" means you don't know how to work on your bike. I am always amazed how many people manage to snap cable fixing bolts on brakes and derailleurs. It really doesn't need to be that tight to hold the cable. Here's a tip: when tightening 6mm or smaller bolts only hold the wrench with your thumb and index finger. This makes is much harder to over tighten. Tip two: if the cable frays after you've tightened the bolt you've over tightened the bolt.

Some Guy on the Innernets said...

Anon 15:28, the UN-72 bb has a "fixed" cup that will slip off the housing, leaving it looking much like a Phil without any rings. I usually use a small gear puller with three arms because I don't like using a hammer on things containing bearings, but they usually come off easily. On the later UN-73, the fixed cup is part of the housing and is not removable, at least not without a lathe. There are lots of other number designations for Shimano bb's, some with the removable fixed cup and some without. None are getting any easier to find.

I have the parts to do the Phil ring trick with a UN-72, but have never needed to give it a try. The rings seem to be a tight fit on the bb housing, but it looks like it would work. There are other brands of bb that would probably work, too, like Tange. It is said that Tange has actually been the maker of many Shimano bb's, but I'm no authority! There aren't that many different cartridge bearing sizes available that would work for a normal bb, so there should be several combinations that would work if you can find them without spending a fortune.

Anonymous said...

kudos, particularly on the headset. by angular bearings, I assume you are referring to the same tapered, (aka Timken) bearings as used in the Stronglight? This is cool, and yes, I was impressed how the actual bearing races, which are flat, are not pressed in, and you can simply replace the wearing parts instead of the whole deal. I ended up overpaying for an a9 (wanted a Delta). My a9 did have a thin o-ring, but would have appreciated better seal. Also note, tapered bearing headsets on motorcycles have been known to last beyond 100,000 miles. :)

Can I make a suggestion on your bottom brackets? Can you put a grease fitting/port on them somewhere? Even if you have to pull them out to do it, it would be worth it.

Thanks! P.S. Also excited about your pedals. I think you mentioned they will have seals and a grease fitting too.

Unknown said...

Hi Chris,

Ran into your friend (raybans, blue trek) on the georgetown branch trail yesterday and we had a chat about a taillight that you may be sourcing. Solar-powered LED, auto-on with motion and light sensors, Japanese, mounts to fenders and looks decent to boot.

I just want to say that this is a wonderful product, and you should do what you can import them ... I know its a hassle, but they would sell. There is nothing else out there that compares for bike commuting and utility.
Best regards,