03 March, 2010

Rando Build List

A number of folks have e-mailed asking for suggested build lists for their VO Rando frames. Here are two ways I'd build up my own frame. These are not complete lists, but just the big stuff

Economical Build:
  • Crank: Sugino XD 600 or XD700
  • Derailleurs: Shimano 105
  • Cassette: Shimano 105
  • Shifters: Dia Compe downtube or bar-end
  • Brakes: Tektro 538 w/ Tektro R200/R100 levers
  • Headset: VO
  • Seat Post: VO Post
  • Saddle: VO Model 3
  • Stem: Nitto Technomic
  • Bars: Nitto Classic
  • Wheels: PBP rims laced to Shimano 105 hubs, optional Novetec dyno hub
  • Tires: Pasela 28mm
  • Pedals: VO road or MKS road
  • VO Rando rack w/ Campagne bag
  •  Fenders: VO 45mm
 Ultimate build:
  • Crank: Sugino Alpina or Grand Cru
  • Derailleurs: Campy Record or Chorus or Ultegra
  • Cassette: Campy Record or Chorus or Ultegra
  • Shifter: Campy Record or Chorus  or Ultegra brifters 
  • Brakes: Grand Cru caliper
  • Headset: Grand Cru or Chris King
  • Seat Post: VO Post (we honestly don't think there is any advantage to a more expensive post)
  • Saddle: Brooks Team Pro Titanium or upcoming Grand Cru Titanium
  • Stem: Nitto Technomic or Pearl or VO with VO stem adapter or upcoming Grand Cru Chrome
  • Bars: Nitto Noodles or upcoming Grand Cru
  • Wheels: PBP rims laced to Phil hub, optional SON or Shimano dyno hub 
  • Tires: Challenge 27mm (29mm true size)
  • Pedals: VO road or Clipless of your choice
  • VO Rando rack w/ Berthoud or Ostrich handlebar bag
  • Fenders: VO or Honjo 43-45mm

How would you build up your rando frame?


Mark said...


Thank you for doing this. Do you have a rough cost comparison between the two approaches?

Anonymous said...

grand cru saddle? More info please!
When are they coming? about how much will they cost? any pics or dimensions yet?

Allan Pollock

shw said...

My only suggestion is that I think there are compelling reasons why a Cane Creek 110 is now a clearly superior headset compared with the Chris King for threadless applications.

Does VO use the Aheadset design?

Greg said...

Hi Chris. Great post for post-NAHBS.

What is the chance of offering a VO build kit? If I were buying the Rando, I'd be very, very interested in keeping it as VO as possible.

Crank: Grand Cru
Derailleurs: Campy Record or Chorus or Ultegra
Cassette: Campy Record or Chorus or Ultegra
Shifter: Campy Record or Chorus or Ultegra brifters
Brakes: Grand Cru caliper
Headset: Grand Cru
Seat Post: VO Post
Saddle: Grand Cru Titanium (but only if it fit my anatomy)
Stem: VO with VO stem adapter or upcoming Grand Cru Chrome
Bars: upcoming Grand Cru
Wheels: PBP rims laced to Record, Chorus or Ultegra optional SON or Shimano dyno hub
Tires: Challenge 27mm (29mm true size)
Pedals: Clipless of your choice
VO Rando rack w/ VO bag (or the Zugster I already own)
Fenders: VO

Heck, I'd like to finish off my P/R like this.

Anonymous said...

Lime green deep v's, chopped risers, drop stem (GOLD anodized ftw!!!¡) sweet origin8 track crankset!!!! BARSPIN

Anonymous said...

besides the bell, the fenders, and the rack the bike in the picture look pretty high quality.

Brett said...

I fell very fortunate to have one of the early semi-custom VO Rando frames and it's still an absolute joy to ride. Here is how I built-up my VO Rando frame:


Since this photo I have replaced the handlebars with Grand Bois Rando bars and newer alloy campy levers. The narrower bars work very well with this lower trail frame.

John Price said...

By any chance is that the Gran Cru saddle in the photos ? It looks like a spiffed up VO 6.

What's the ETA of the Gran Cru saddle ?

Steve said...

Here's how I built up my semi-custom VO Randonneur:

- XTR M900 crank, 24/36/46
- Sheldon 13-30 custom 9spd cassette
- 2002 vintage Deore XT rear derailleur
- Campagnolo Racing T front derailleur
- Shimano 9spd bar end shifters
- Nitto 176 handlebar
- Nitto S83 seatpost
- Schmidt SON28 front hub
- Phil cassette rear hub
- B.17 saddle
- Paul Racer centerpull brakes (braze on)
- Nitto Technomic Deluxe stem
- Grand Bois Cypres 700x30 tires
- PDM959 Shimano SPD pedals
- VO rack
- Honjo Le Paon fenders
- Shimano brake levers

Here it is: http://www.flickr.com/photos/97916047@N00/sets/72157606169015639/show

I'm with Brett: it's an absolute joy to ride.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous. I would find the bike much more appealing ( and appealing to a larger group) without the bell, front rack, and bag.

You don't want to limit your market for unnecessarily, and people that are inclined to add fashiony items don't usually need suggestions.

Keep it simple.

Anonymous said...

would love to know more about the GC saddle. I'm very close to pulling the trigger on a VO model 6 and a bunch of other stuff, but now you've got me waiting to learn more about the grand cru...


Anonymous said...

re anonymous:
fashiony, or useful? all depends what you use a bike for.

Chris Kulczycki said...

The GC saddle is about the width of a B-17, but shaped and tied as shown in the photo. It has a titanium frame and rails, making it super light. Colors will be black, brown, and honey. We're shooting for a price of around $150-$175 We hope to have them in about 90 days. Be careful with these, they float to the ceiling if not bolted down.

Anonymous said...

"We recommend attaching it to the saddle rails, rather than saddle loops, as this minimizes swaying and keep the bag low and out of the way" Based on the Croissant bag in the picture, is this old advice?

Sarah said...

I just got my Randonneur frame on Feb. 24 (picked it up at the showroom, thanks!) and built it up with mostly VO parts as follows:

*Sugino Alpina crankset
*Campy Racing T front derailleur
*XT shadow rear derailleur
*SRAM 11-34 cassette and chain
*Dura Ace 9sp bar end shifters attached to Paul's thumbies on a Nitto Randonneur drop bar
*Grand Cru BB and headset
*Handlebra leather bar wrap
*Grand Cru long reach sidepull brakes
*Cane Creek brake levers w/gum hoods
*VO front rack and Campagne bag
*Terry saddle and Ultegra seatpost
*PBP rims w/Shimano 105 hubs
*Challenge Paris Roubaix tires
*VO hammered 45mm fenders
*Shimano A530 dual sided pedals

Also, this was kind of lame but I mixed up some kids' model paint to an appropriate orange color and painted in the triangles on the fork crown lugs!

Sarah said...

Forgot to add: Nitto Technomic Deluxe stem, 8 cm

Anonymous said...

The bike looks quite nice.

What few details might need improving will no doubt be taken care of in the near future. You are on the way and offer a very nice alternative to Surly, Rivendell, and Soma.

Le Cagot said...

Anon, The Rando frame uses classic French low trail geometry. This is different than the high trail "British/Japanese/Italian geometry" used by the other companies you mention. Those bikes would be a poor substitute for someone wanting a classic-style randonnuse in the Hearse/Singer mold. The others are fine bikes, but have a different approach to handling.

Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anons who don't like racks and bags: You don't seem to understand what you're looking at. Before you make comments, you should ask yourself if the point you want to make might be nonsensical in context—as it was. You should also perhaps take the time to actually *ride* a bike with a rando rack and bag before dismissing this type of bike or those who much prefer them to less practical bikes. If you approach the ride objectively, you'll notice that the bicycle performs beautifully and is unencumbered by the addition of rack and bag, even when that bag is loaded. When you take your naked race bike out for an 8 - 12hr ride, where do you put your food, tool kit, phone, extra layer, etc.? In your jersey? I bet that's comfortable. And it's a shame, considering you and the bike weigh the same, no matter where the extra stuff rides. Drop your Tour de France poseur prejudices and go ride one of these bikes before commenting in such a predictable, status quo, boooring, nonconstructive manner. Thanks.

p.s. If you assume I don't understand the carbon weight weenie's take, you're wrong. Been there, done that, and still do sometimes. A different animal altogether. That's one rarefied aspect of cycling that, by tapping into the average guy's dreams of heroism, has grown out of balance. I know dozens of reformed roadies. And lots of people like myself, who never took such a straitjacketed view of cycling but, instead, understood that cycling is like a tree with many fruits, all of which are delicious in their own way.

Anonymous said...

And, yes, the rack and bag add some weight, but the point here is this isn't riding for weight weenies, though it's easy to offset the extra weight with a super-premium build. That said, once you go rando, you know something the roadies don't: That bit of extra weight just makes you stronger, and while you may like to go fast and make great time, you're not in it to race anybody. You're in it to enjoy the ride.

Anonymous said...

Accessorizing is personal .

The first anon was probably just taking shots at the VO knock-offs, but the 2nd anon has a very good point. If Vo wants to Market to a broad audience there is no need to out the little bell and the saddle bag and the front rack to show the overall look and geomentry of the back. I think anon II was making a very valid point. This bike could never be mistaken for a race bike and any weight weinie would not even consider buying one as it is not a bike for a wienie.

Most people know what they want to add and as long as they know where the mounts are that should suffice. SAve the accessorizing for marketing the accessories. I personally like the seat and tape though, so that is ok.

Anonymous said...

I remain unequivocally unmoved. You're missing the point entirely.

Anonymous said...

"cycling is like a tree with many fruits, all of which are delicious in their own way."

obviously you like nuts on your fruit trees. Maybe you should try a pink boa and some neon-lights and a spinning disco-ball.

Anonymous said...

Fenders or no fenders.

I think I would , for purposes of clarity, like to see a simple build without the use of fenders. it allows me to see the geometry and clearances a bit easier.

Rick @ Bicycle Fixation said...

Well, I don't know. I have a very light 1960s Bottecchia Professional--the kind that real pro racers rode back then--and mine has fenders, a bag, and a bell, as well as lights. (Still only around 22 pounds with all that and the Tubus Fly rack.)

Why would I do that? Perhaps because I ride all the time, everywhere, in rain, in darkness, through heavy car and pedestrian traffic, every day?

I suppose I could strip my bike down and skip a lot of rides--if I didn't like riding it so much.

BTW bells are required in many jurisdictions.

Jeremy Pawlowski said...

Hey Chris,

Maybe a stupid question, but would this frame fit 650b wheels with a longer reach brake?

Anonymous said...


Thanks for this. Would it be possible to do a sample build of the polyvalent


Kevin in Toronto

Steve said...

Some anonymous posters (and I really wish some of those folks would sign with their name!) just don't get the point of this bike. Bags, racks and fenders on a Randonneur are not "accessories" any more than the 30mm Gatling gun on the A-10 Warthog is an "accessory".

Errin/Area45 said...

Great post! I was just thinking about a build list for my P/R and your parts are on my short list. I would be really interested in a quote for something like this, with 650b wheels though. Rack and bell included!

Anonymous said...

Will VO be stocking 30mm Gatling Guns?

Sure would be handy for dealing with text-messaging drivers.

Thanks for the idea, Steve.

Anonymous said...

that's what really burns me up--the old French racers really did have eyelets and enough clearance for just about anything. As a former competitive rider, I've amassed a number of great, speedy bikes but culturally, we made a mistake. We began to associate versatility with a lack of performance. It's like the irrational American hatred for hatchback automobiles. Glad to see we're starting to see the light.

Nothing wrong with riding a great steel or ti road bike with a courier bag and clipon fenders, as I often do, but it's a damn shame when you can't do a shopping run or weekend tour. If I were starting from scratch, I'd already own a VO rando.


Ian Dickson said...

Please do not chrome plate the VO Gatling guns. I am trying to be more environmentally responsible.

Joel said...

I don't understand the comments against the rack and bell.

The buyer gets a frame and fork. The rack, bell and fenders are extra. Stands to reason most photos of a built up Rando bike is going to have Rando accessories.

Are the annon's suggesting someone does not want the Rando accessories is too dense to figure out how the bike would look without them?

Anonymous said...

Joel. No I think anon is suggesting that you and your ilk may be incapable of having any ideas of your own on how to accessorize your bikes. I mean, what kind of air pump shall you use, what color water bottle, what if I decide I want a rear rack ?

Steve said...

Anonymous asks "...What if I want a rear rack?"

You could fit the VO Constructeur rear rack, supported at two points by the fender, which would be fine for light loads, but the geometry of this bike doesn't really lend itself to heavy rear loads. By design, you're meant to carry most of the load up front in a handlebar bag.

Joel said...

Anon 3:35 your response makes no sense. You anons are the ones getting all upset the bike is built up in a way you don't approve.

I can look at a bike built up the way the designer believes it should be and either accept that build or figure out what I would go with. I don't need the designer to do my thing in order to grasp how it would look with my kit.

Anonymous said...

I think that (especially at this price point) the Rando frameset is a great accomplishment. Thank Dieu that it has a real one-inch threaded headset, as the Gods intended. Now, that said, I am still a recovering weight weenie, so could you list the approx. weight of each size, frame and fork separately please? Yes, I know it doesn't matter, but it does to me - I'm just that way, sorry, and I'm too darn old to change. Any 'superlight tubing version for skinny weight-freak high-cadence spinners' on the horizon? The old French frames tended to be super-super-light in many cases, by the way.

Anonymous said...

By the way all, it is an 'Herse,' not a hearse. a hearse is what they haul dead bodies in!

Tom SVDP said...

I must remark as the other article is closed to comments. So to keep it short, Blue Moon has been making a "Belgian White Ale", it's been okay, perhaps better when it was a new experience 12 years ago... anyway, Blue Moon came out with a special "Grand Cru" edition over the Christmas season, a bit costly, I just got a bottle discounted to half price here in March (original price can be more than $10!). It's okay, I like regular Blue Moon but go with Yuengling, if you don't have Yuengling, I believe Budweiser is imitating them with their American Ale. http://seattlebeernews.com/?p=1247&cpage=1#comment-4880 Link discussing "Grand Cru" Belgian White Ale.