07 February, 2012

Idea Day

VO customers are pretty amazing. Not only do they keep us in business, they send us great idea to share. Check out the items below. All of these were in our inbox yesterday.

Phillip sent us a video of his very clever folding bike mechanism. If VO ever makes a folding bike this might be the way to do it. He writes:

I designed it a while ago, but over Christmas I finally got around to making a prototype. The idea was to create a folding mechanism that could be applied to many types of triangular framed bicycles. Think of it more as a "its raining so I'll get the bus home" rather than a Brompton rival!
Peter did a great job building up his '83 and '84 Lotus Classiques. Not only are there lots of VO parts, but checkout the great leather bits. Peter's comments are in the captions.

The toeclip leathers obviously lend themselves very well to being laced up as covers on brake and shift levers.The handgrips were only a little bit trickier.  I tripped across a pair of pleather-covered ergo-style bar grips at my LBS that were just too cheap to avoid experimenting with and VO just happened to be out of stock of the cork grips I had originally planned to use.  I stripped off the obnoxiously slippery pleather covering, mounted the remaining shaped rubber grips on the handlebars and laced a set of your city bike elkhide bar covers over the grips, using toeclip leathers as extra gussets on the underside so the covers could be laced up around the much bigger diameter.  I think the pictures pretty well show how it's done.  I would expect that VO cork grips would work just as well under the elkhide covers.

 I first discovered VO looking for something to replace the early-version Brooks leather bar tape that faded from its original rich honey color to a sickly-looking greenish gray in little more than a week - despite liberal wiping with Proofhide and very little exposure to sun or weather.  I ran across a vintage Italian original-equipment leather-covered handlebar on eBay and started hunting for some kind of lace-up leather product (like, maybe steering wheel covers) that I could use to make a similar handlebar.  For quite a while I wasn't finding anything until VO launched its elkhide handlebar and toeclip covers.  A sidebar VO blog item about somebody in Japan making leather covers for brake-lever hoods appeared about the same time - which weren't available here.  And I put two and two together and fabricated my own leather brake hood covers using toeclip leathers for gussets and some extra bar-cover leather.

And the toeclip leathers also worked well as pads to quiet any rattling of the SS water bottle from VO against the cage.  VO of course wasn't making bottle cages back then.

Peter also sent us this link showing how he used a VO Rackaleur to support an OYB bag. And how to use that bag as a saddle bag.

Speaking of saddle bags, George got a Minnehaha medium saddle bag to use as a front bag. We tried it here and it works very well, at least on small-to-average sized frames. Everything I need for work, including my 12.5" Thinkpad, just fits. Might be a nice commuter setup.
The back-strap on the bag fits over the front rack's "backstop" or integrated decaleur.


james said...

Could you get and then post some detail photos of the folding bike? The video, while enjoyable, was less informative than I had hoped. It was like watching a Belle and Sebastian video.

Anonymous said...

The folding bike is great, hell of a lot better than a Brompton... which I bought, rode and promptly sold.

SteveF said...

the folding full-size is a great idea for commuters, also. You can run a U-lock through both wheels without needing a cable or second lock. plus, tall riders have a harder time finding a well-fitting folder and S&S couplers are way too complicated to do day-to-day.

Nanseikan said...

Yep that folding design is bloody clever! That chap should make sure he has it patented. b

Ritchie said...

That is the first folder that I could see myself owning. I've seen precious few with full-size wheels, and of those this is the first I've seen that is not overly complicated to break down. Add an internal gear hub or even a kick-back hub and you've got something versatile that's small enough to carry into the subway or office and perfectly sized for a car trunk or boat. Aluminum or Ti could help lighten the load.

Ritchie said...

Speaking of kick-back hubs... I commute every day by single speed, and I considered the SR S2 Duomatic to make hills a little more pleasurable. But considering the added weight crossed with the relatively small 38% difference between gears, it makes more since to stand and grunt my way up the slight hills I cover. My secret wish though is for a kickback hub with a comfortable high gear and a really low (like granny low) relief gear. I would like to be able to decide to take my simple commuter on a mild MTB trail after work if the the thought crosses my mind. Something with a 250+% gear ratio with no cables, no shifter... Solve that and I think you'd see a lot of customers.