15 July, 2008

Steve's VO Randonuesse

Steve sent some photos of his newly built and very pretty VO frame. He now has about 800 miles on it and seems to like it a lot.

He describes the build:

The wheels (SON front, Phil rear, 365 spokes and Mavic MA-3 rims) came
from my old Rambouillet, as did the pedals, Schmidt E6 light, cassette
(Harris Century Special 13-30), shifters, Nitto stem and Deore XT rear

New are the XTR M900 crank (24/36/46), Paul Racer brakes, the Campagnolo
Racing T front derailleur, Honjo fenders, rack, Brooks B.17 and Nitto
S83 seatpost, and the Nitto 44cm Model 176 handlebars with Fujitoshi
leather wrap. Tires are Grand Bois Cypres 700x30/

The Berthoud decaleur and Paul Cross levers came from members of the
iBOB list. I've had the bell since 1975, and this is the 4th or 5th
bike it's been on. The Kirtland bag came from a neighbor, new old
stock. I'm surprised how well it works with the decaleur attached,
sitting on the VO Randonneur rack.

There are more photos here. This really is a nice and practical build.


Anonymous said...

Nice Build Steve. I was wondering how you like the ride on this compared to your old Rambouillet. I`m currently riding a Boo-Yay as well as on the waiting list for a VO Rando.Thanks,Mike

Steve said...

I can ride this bike with 6 lb in a handlebar bag and not even know the bag is there; couldn't do that with the Rambouillet. That's the geometry. On a fast downhill the Rambouillet locks in on a line. That's very secure feeling, and Rivendells are famous for it. But altering the line is not so easy. With the VO Randonneur, there's no lock-in, and adjusting the line even on the fast downhills at Bike Virginia was always easy. Those are both the geometry - classic French randonneur geometry, not to everyone's taste, but if that's what you're after you will certainly find it here.

Then, there's this thing they speak of in Bicycle Quarterly as "planing". I'm not sure what I notice is what Jan et al. are speaking of, but with the VO Randonneur, as well as with my 1991 Ti Spectrum and my 1991 George Longstaff Audax (a mix of 7/5/7 and 8/5/8 tubing) - notably flexible frames - when I come to a small rise in rolling terrain, I can put in half a dozen really strong pedal strokes (think BIG CIRCLES) and the bikes not only don't slow down, they feel as though they scoot ahead and crest the rise. With the Rambouillet, I'd have to downshift. While the more flexible frames feel as though you're treadling on a spring underfoot, the Rambouillet felt like I was trying to mash on a bridge girder: totally unyielding underfoot.

That's the standard diameter tubing, notably less stiff than OS tubing (Matthew Grimm of Kogswell says standard diameter 9/5/9 is as stiff as oversize 7/4/7); and in the case of this frame, 8/5/8.

Also, the Rambouillet's really designed for a 28mm tire, whereas the VO Randonneur will take the Grand Bois 700x30. That's a noticeably more comfortable tire, especially on chipseal and coarse pavement, than a 28mm, if only because of the 10 psi less pressure.

Anonymous said...

Great job Steve! And very interesting about the performance.

Anonymous said...

Steve: Commented about over on the Serrota forum, and have to say the same here: beautiful well built frame. Thoughtful build up.

Ronald Lau said...