27 October, 2010

More Sale Stuff

We've been going over the inventory and identifying things that will be discontinued or that we are overstocked on. We're trying to make room for upcoming big shipments. So there's a bunch of new stuff on sale. Check out the Specials Page. Some of these items will only be on sale for a day or two, or until stock levels are back to normal.

The long term plan for VO is to sell more VO and Grand Cru products and items that are unavailable elsewhere, and slowly cut back on the more common items made by other companies.

26 October, 2010

24 Hour Crank Sale and a New Site Feature

We're expecting hundreds of VO  and Grand Cru cranks in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile we have a huge inventory of Sugino cranks. This got us to thinking that it would be fun to try out some of the coupon features built into our new site software.

So we've created a coupon code (sugsale) that gives you 30% off any Sugino crank that we have in stock. Simply enter "sugsale"  under "Gift Certificates or Coupons" on the "My Cart" page. The coupon will only be effective for one day, tomorrow, October 27.

If this works, we'll have other coupon sales from time to time.

Just to be double extra clear: Click on "My Cart" (not "Checkout") on the top right of the screen to enter a coupon or a gift certificate.

More Nice Bikes

Everyone here really liked Tyler's Polyvalent build. It's not a build I would have undertaken, but now that I see it I like it's minimalist look a lot. In fact, I might build something similar for myself. Tyler wrote:
Here's a photo of my new polyvalent. I'm commuting on it every day.  

It's a great frame...  the welding and paint are very well done and it rides like a dream!

I'm running a Shimano Alfine 8-speed hub and Paul Components canti brakes, both controlled by a Jtek shifted and brake levers. Jtek makes excellent gear for time trial bikes, but their parts are just as amazing on a commuter ride. Perhaps you might recommend them to your customers...

Anyway, thanks again for all the great VO products I own, they're top notch!

And here's a cool rando/porteur built by Pierce.  His description of it is the first comment to this post.

Speaking of nice bikes, the Philadelphia Bike Exposition is this weekend. VO isn't displaying, but there should be no shortage of other nice bikes.

19 October, 2010

Miscellany and Pretty Bikes

 A few things that may interest you:
  • We'll have a disc brake version of the dyno hub. A lot of you asked for them.
  • Prototype PBP double-eyelet rims are here and they look great. We hope to have them in stock by mid-winter.
  • A 700c version of the Polyvalent is in development.
  • We just received another shipment of Pari Moto tires.
  •  Longtime customer Bob R.attended the annual TOEI Owners Meeting in Japan. He was also the guest of honor. Photos can be found here.
  • The photo is of Linda's VO Mixte, a very fine build.
  • Hufnagel Cycles, of Portland OR, is creating some really cool custom rando-style bikes. Check out the first two, which feature a few VO parts.
  • Kyle B. built a lovely mixte based on a 1984 Nishiki Sport Mixte frame. Lots of VO parts, of course.

15 October, 2010

The First Annual VO Yard Sale

We're having a yard sale, though we don't really have a yard, so it's really a warehouse/parking lot sale. Here are the details:

What's for Sale:

We're selling most of the sample parts that were displayed at Interbike or in our showroom; they lack packaging or show some shop wear, but are almost like new. Then there are some returns, a bunch of prototypes, a few scratched frames, some discontinued parts, and stuff that's been used on test bikes. All-in-all there are hundreds of items. We want to blow them all out in one day! So most will be priced at about half the regular web site price.

We'll also have frames, and bikes, and parts that our staff members want to sell from their personal stashes.

In case you can't find any garage sale stuff you like, we'll offer 20% off on any parts, accessories, or frames (but not mini-build kits) in stock. You must be here to receive the 20% discount - this is not available through on-line sales.


The VO Garage Sale will take place between 9am and 1pm on Saturday, November 6, rain or shine.


At Velo Orange of course, 1819 George Avenue, Annapolis MD, 21401

The Fine Print:

  • Nothing can be pre-ordered.
  • Cash or credit card only.
  • the 20% discount is available to those who buy in person, not on-line.
  • Items on sale and frame mini-build kits not included.

13 October, 2010

LEFOL cia, Specialites en Duralumin

I was cleaning up my work space this morning and came upon this brochure. I think it's from the early 1960's or late 1950's, but I'm not sure. It's interesting to see the fender hardware that both Velo Orange and Honjo use was available so long ago. The same goes for the hammered and zeppelin fender textures. It's like that with so many of the parts we like and shows how far ahead those French guys were, and why we're inspired by so many of their designs. (As always, click on the images to enlarge.)

BTW, the scans we made are of copies of the original that Mel Pinto gave me years ago. You'd be amazed at the copies of old French catalogs lying around my office. Many are from Mel, one of the great men of the French and American bike business!

12 October, 2010

Those New Dyno Hubs

A lot of folks have e-mailed asking about the new dyno hubs I've mentioned. I'm also told there was some rather silly speculation about them in various discussion forums (Due to time constraints I no longer read any forums). In any case I thought I'd say a bit more about them.

First off, I want to repeat that new hubs are not designed by VO. I only wish we were that smart and inventive. We found this new company, or they found us, almost by accident, but when I saw the hub mechanism I was stunned. I realized that they would cut resistance, compared to a normal dynamo hub, by 50% to 90% on most cyclists bikes.

How is this possible without defying the very laws of physics? It works by uncoupling the dyno mechanism when the lights are not on. So the drag, during the day is that of a normal high-quality sealed bearing front hub. At night the drag is that of a nice (say Shimano) dyno hub. My informal survey of VO's dyno-using customers shows that most use their lights no more that 10-15% of total riding time, yet they have dynamo drag 100% of the time.

That's why I can't imagine anyone buying a dyno hub without a clutch now, except for someone who has their lights on all the time. Game changing? It is for me!

The hub looks like most other dynamo hubs, save for a circular on/off switch that activates a sort of internal clutch. They are now in production, but delivery has been pushed back to about the end of the year. The price should be around $120. Pre-built wheels will also be available.

A new head light will also be available. It uses a Cree LED.  Our lighting expert and tester says it's among the brightest light ever made, though the beam is a little narrower than the best European lights. The cost will be around $60.

08 October, 2010

Questions and Answers

We get a lot of e-mail questions at VO, an awful lot! I thought I'd answer a few of the ones that have recently been asked several times.

On Cranks:

When will you have more sizes?

We have a 40-foot container due in at the end of the month. All the VO and Grand Cru cranks will be on it, except for the 172.5 sizes. They are a couple of months out.

Will you sell just the 50.4bcd arms, rings, bolts, single speed version, etc?

We'll have chainrings in various sizes in about 2-3 months. The bolts are already for sale. I have not yet decided if we'll sell the arms separately. A single speed version with various single speed specific rings is on the way, maybe by late fall.

On drop Bars:

When will you have other sizes:

Most sizes will be here in a few weeks, but the 48mm Rando bars are delayed a couple of months.

Will two rolls of tape cover them?

Of course, just like any other bar.

On Rims?

When will the wider version of the PBP rims arrive?

Soon, maybe two months. They will be called the Raid rim and be 22mm wide, but look like the PBP.

Will they have double eyelets?

We are working on a double eyelet version of the PBP rim first. Once that's done we'll see about the Raid rims.

On Hubs:

What's up with the hubs you wrote about?

We've been testing them and all but the high flange cassette hub are going into production ASAP. We hope to have them in a few months. This has taken longer than expected, but when you see the quality and style of the final versions I think you'll be impressed. The wide flange cassette hub body is an all-new design so it's taking longer to get just right. The high-low cassette hub is done and in production.

What about the "game changing" dyno hub?

We've put many many miles of real world testing on the prototypes as has the factory. They are now in production and should be here this fall. We'll have a matching LED light that is brilliant (pun intended). I'm super impressed with this combination. The price is great, but the performance is ground breaking.

04 October, 2010

New Handlebars

I've wanted to offer VO bars for a couple of years, but it's surprisingly time consuming to design and test bars. There are so many subtleties to their shape. We looked at many popular modern and classic bars (I have quite a collection) and tried to identify the best features of each. Then I added my own preferences, mostly longer grip areas or ramps. The result is these two new Grand Cru bars. The first is a classic road bar that reminds me of the old Phillipe Professional bar. The second is based on my idea of the perfect Rando.

Both bars have a high polished center section. The area under tape is bead blasted. The Grand Cru crest appears on either side of the clamp area. The clamp area is bulged, not sleeved, to prevent "creaking".

Our Classic round bend handlebar, the Course bar, has a long flat ramp aft of the hoods. This allows you to slide you hands forward or back which, at least for me, adds a lot of comfort. The drops are open and also extra long so, again, there is plenty of room to move your hands for and aft. The drops are  parallel to the ramps on top, allowing them to be level. You'll see bars like this on many classic constructeur bikes. This is a great all around drop bar for long distance. Though it may not be important to everyone, I also think this is a great looking bar with smooth classic curves and a very nice finish.

The Course bars have a medium drop of about 114mm. The reach (measured from the stem clamp forward) is about 110mm. Available in 42, 44 or 46cm center-to-center. About 395g (44cm)

Our new Rando Bar is the bar that I always wanted. After riding with several different French, American, and Japanese rando bars, I designed this bar to my ideal. It has substantial flare for a wide stance in the drops. The bend is round and open, as on our Course bar. The area behind the hoods is long and flat for extra comfort. The drops are also long so you can slide you hands well back.

The Rando bar has a medium drop, 130mm. The reach (measured from the stem clamp forward) is about 115mm. Available in 42, 44, 46, and 48cm center-to-center at the ends; the width at the hoods is about 7cm narrower than at the ends.

In other news: