06 October, 2009

Polyvalent Geometry and Details

The Polyvalent frames are done and waiting for a ship; here are more details. (The above photo is of Kyle's early prototype and daily rider).

(cm, c-t-t)
Seat Tube
(incl. extension mm)
Top Tube
(c-t-c, mm)
Head Tube Angle
Seat Tube Angle
Chain Stays
Fork Offset
BB Drop

  • The idea behind this frame is that it is a city bike that's capable of being used for cyclo-touring or even light trail riding. Polyvalent is French for "general-purpose".
  • The frame is a low trail (39mm), French inspired design, much like our Gentleman semi-custom frame. It is designed for front loads.
  • The color is dark gray. Carbon?
  • The wheels are 650b. That's really the best choice for riding on bumpy city streets.
  • Maximum tire size with fenders is around 44mm.
  • The rear dropouts are short horizontal dropouts. The reason we used short horizontal dropouts is to allow internal hubs and single speed wheels to be used without the need for a chain tensioner. Longer dropouts would make wheel removal difficult on a fendered bike
  • There is a kickstand plate.
  • A spring between the kickstand plate and the front of the rear fender allows the fender to flex forward for wheel removal, while maintaining proper fender line.
  • Instead of shifter bosses on the down tube, there are cable housing stops under it. I don't think many folks will want to use down tube shifters on this frame and the stops look much cleaner, especially if the frame is set up with internal gearing or as a single speed.
  • The tubing is all double butted CR-MO in traditional, not modern oversize, diameters. This makes for a supple and comfortable ride (not to mention the whole planing issue).
  • The rear brake cable housing is uninterrupted. You can sit on the top tube at the cafe without fear of bare cable marring the paint, or your work pants. The cable is not run under the top tube so as not to dig into your shoulder when carrying the bike up the steps to your apartment.
  • $450 plus shipping for frame and fork. We'll work out a way to do pre-orders soon.
Here are a few photos taken at the factory:


patates frites said...

I like the color, but it looks pretty black in those pictures. You sure that's "dark grey"?

Chris Kulczycki said...

It should be a very dark grey. Carbon? We'll see.

Anonymous said...

Very nice. What is the stand over for the various sizes?

HLH said...

perchance...is kyle recently from colorado?

skvidal said...

Are the decals clear coated on or are they on top of the paint job?

Anonymous said...

bikecad figures out the standover height of frames using high school trigonometry..... Chris posted all the info that's relevant......

Anonymous said...

the spring between the kickstand plate and the front of the rear fender is inspired. do you have a picture of this feature?

Anonymous said...

Standover = (Seat tube center to top measure)*(sine(Seat tube angle)) - (BB drop) + (Wheel radius including tire)

Numbers with a 33mm tire (my guess for a col de la vie under just the weight of the bike, YMMV):

51: 743mm or 29.25"
54: 771mm or 30.4"
57: 800mm or 31.5"
60: 829mm or 32.6"

Ian Dickson said...

Too dark!

Otherwise, I love this frame. Any chance you'll do runs in different colors?

116 said...

How would this bike ride with mustache bars? I read earlier it is set up for city bars.

Anonymous said...

Is it just me or are your logos getting suspiciously large? Was Velo Orange recently acquired by The North Face? Otherwise, looks like a well-designed frame to fill an under-served niche.

Joshua said...

Nice! I love the somewhat matte or semigloss appearance of the paint in the photos.

Any chance of getting fenders and/or chainguards already finished in a matching color? If the price was right, I know I'd pay a premium over the standard price of that gear to avoid having to do that work myself.

Chris Kulczycki said...

Skvidal, They are clear-coated.

Anon, The spring-thing was detailed in a post recently; scroll down.

Ian, We're thinking bright pink for the next run ;<) Or maybe dark orange.

Anon, Good eyes; the logos were sized for modern tubing, not traditional. We didn't catch that early enough, but I don't think they look bad.

Joshua, I'm strongly anti-painted fenders. They get scratched up and look awful. With natural-color fenders you can simply polish out scratches. Plus, I just like shiny metal.

Steve Fuller said...

Yummy. Lots of shiny silver bits ala a Pashley Guvnor. Not exactly the same geometry, but it would still be a pretty build

Chester said...

Not to be a weenie, but how much do the frame/fork weigh?

Looks very cool and tempting as the basis for a multi-geared townie rig. Can't wait to see better-lit pictures...

(FWIW, I think the logo looks fine, but a little big, and would prefer no logo or easily removable logo in any case.)

Anonymous said...

Will it plane more or less with the kickstand ?

If I use a double-legged kickstand will I affect my frame's Joie de Vivre ? Or does the spring between
the mudguard and the kickstand plate balance that all out ?

Otherwise, congrats on a nice frame.

Steve said...

Based on my experience with my Kogswell P/R townie*, I'd say a double legged kickstand greatly enhances Joie de Vivre, at least for utility/errand bikes.

*photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/97916047@N00/sets/72157621865874116/show/

VO content: note the Belleville bars, VO stem and inverse brake levers.

hung said...

What kind of rear drop out is that? It looks like semi horizontal but it's too dark to tell

Anonymous said...

is there any plan to sell this as a complete bike ?

Chris Kulczycki said...

They are short horizontal dropouts.

We are working on complete bikes for late 2010.

Ian Dickson said...

Chris said: "We're thinking bright pink for the next run ;<)"

Pale pink I might actually go for. Really, the only problem with the current color is that I already have a black Velo-Orange.

Tom said...

We wanted a color that would not stand out in the urban environment; something that would not scream steal me and hide the inevitable dings and scratches that our urban explorations supply in abundance.

We had origianlly intended this to be a 650b porteur style city bike. It morphed into the Polyvalent.

redvic said...

Could you please explain the science behind this claim: "The wheels are 650b. That's really the best choice for riding on bumpy city streets." I am not trying to be contrary, nor am I refuting it, just genuinely interested. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that 650B rims allow wider tires to be mounted within a given chainstay and fork spacing. Wider tires can be used at a lower pressure while still maintaining the ideal tire deflection of about 10%.

So big soft tires cushion bumps.

Try it, you'll like it!

Gunnar Berg said...

I like the color - vaguely Vent Nior.

david_nj said...

Personally I don't care for the nameplate decals and I think I would want to have this frame repainted before building it up. I think a city bike is best with no logos at all. I second the PP's emotion that the decals could be placed above the clearcoat for easy removal.

If you took the position that a logo was simply necessary, I would be in favor of the scheme that VO used to have in place, where there was just one rather modest white logo on top of the downtube. Seemed so much classier to me, that's all.

At any rate, these huge orange logos are just way too garish, to my eye.

patrick said...

it's the kogswell killer! very nice.

Anonymous said...

look, just go ahead and steal the Surly® business model and you will have people wanting to buy your decals not just cover them up and throw them away.

frankenbiker said...

The color looks to be a matte finish,is it? I like the orange decals,of course I also ride an old Bridgestone rb-2 painted in xo1orange.

Michael P. said...

is the rear end OLD 130 or 135?

Rick @ Bicycle Fixation said...

Tom said: "We wanted a color that would not stand out in the urban environment; something that would not scream steal me."

I second that. My Bottecchia Professional is painted brown, something no Italian bike builder would dream of doing, but I park in some pretty grim places. What good's a bike you can't ride everywhere?

I like this bike overall, though a 73 degree seat tube is better for me. (On my bikes with 73s and a standard Kalloy post, the clamp is dead center on the seat rails of my favorite saddles.) But other than that, I think this is a superb addition to the real-world bike world. Good going!

Anonymous said...

Any chance of a double footed kickstand that doesn't cost $50+?

It Depends said...

I'm quite pleased to see the seat tube angle dialed back to 72 degrees (I'd have gone even a degree or two further, but 72 is quite nice). Looking forward to the complete bike specs and pricing -- late 2010 ought to be just about the time my wife will let me buy another bike....

Anonymous said...

Do you have an ETA for the rando frames yet?

i.birch said...

I don't understand the rear dropouts, never seen this before. Looks like they were brazed on to the tubes, what is the reasoning behind this type of construction? Would these be considered stamped or forged dropouts?

Anonymous said...

"it's the kogswell killer! very nice." Perhaps more of a Kogswell kopy (which kopied vintage designs, admittedly). That might matter if the Kog website was functional or if the proprietor returned calls. I like the Polyvalent. I think its a winner.

Is it made at Maxway? If not, where? Great value.

Chris Kulczycki said...

The spacing is 132.5mm.

A less expensive VO double kickstand will go into production soon, but no ETA yet.

The dropouts are forged and are the best design we could find for this sort of frame. They look much better in person.

The Rando frames are now in production, but no ETA yet.

The frame is made by a well respected factory in Taiwan. Due to recent "events" we no longer reveal the names of factories that make VO products.

i.birch said...

This is slightly off topic but this was such a cool bike I thought I'd post it here:


The rear dropouts are brazed on over the tubes in this design as well.

Grey said...

I really like the new Polyvalent as you show it built up. The dimensions and angle look like the bike will be, just as you say, "polyvalent." Did you have an older bike or a European bike that you liked which led you to those dimensions? Or does it combine several features which you liked from other bikes you have ridden?


Anonymous said...

I think I liked the blue color of the prototype frame better,how many bottle cage mounts,will there be a pump peg?if so where?

Anonymous said...

Looks good Chris. Any chance in offering a pale blue during the second run of these frames? If not, thumbs up on the orange....that'll definitely go well with brown leather and the black canvas used on the VO bags.

You mentioned offering the Polyvalent as a complete bike by the end of next year. I think it would be interesting to offer it as a SS and multi-geared bike. I know I'd definitely pick up a SS model.


Anonymous said...

Are you still planning to offer $400 introductory pricing? Thanks in advance - looking forward to getting one.
Erik B.

hal said...

I'm way late to the party, but I think the color and the decals look slick.