29 July, 2014

Weekend Tour

by Clint

This past weekend I had some time to visit friends and ride around the surrounding cities.  My goal was to get from Annapolis to Baltimore on Friday, Baltimore to DC on Saturday, and DC back to Annapolis on Sunday.  Still a little saddle sore from the previous weekend's rides, I decided to build up a Camargue.  I wanted something that would accommodate wider tires with a more upright geometry, so I figured I'd try the new frame.

Annapolis to Baltimore
I left immediately after work on Friday and made it there just in time for the Baltimore Bike Party.  If you are ever in Baltimore on the last Friday of the month, I highly recommend this ride.  Roughly a thousand people get together once a month, ride around the city, and gather for an after party at a specified location.  I've met some pretty cool folks and saw just about every type of bike imaginable.  One wheeled BMX bikes, grungy fixies, custom cross bikes, low riders, and bikes with drum sets mounted to their handlebars just to name a few. 

Baltimore to DC
I rode south to DC with a buddy of mine on Saturday.  We had all day to get down there, so we took our time.  By that I mean, we took a few wrong turns after Google maps put us on closed roads.  It ended up being a pretty nice ride, though I'll probably map out our route a little better next time.  

Camargue does BMX on the way to DC.  Not recommended. 

After getting cleaned up in DC, we met up with some friends for food and drinks.  We discovered the Bier Baron's $3 mystery beers.  We figured we would all end up with winter warmer beers, but the variety was great.  I got a hopped German doppelbock.  I highly recommend checking this place out.    

Return to Annapolis
I decided to roll home Sunday afternoon.  Despite the weathermen's predictions of stormy weather, I had blue skies all the way home.  I wanted to take some of the rural roads south of Annapolis. It ended up being quite a scenic ride.

South east of Annapolis. 

Another Picture of the Camargue in front of a fence.  

The Camargue performed beautifully throughout the weekend.  I ran mine as a singlespeed with 35mm tires.  The horizontal dropouts and a Problem Solvers cassette cog carrier made the singlespeed setup pretty easy.  The geometry provided a comfortable ride over that distance, but also handled well navigating throughout the cities.  Next up: outfitting the Camargue with Onzas and exploring local trails monster cross style.  

23 July, 2014

A Few Paint Blem Frames

by Igor

Every frame that goes out of our warehouse gets inspected for all kinds of imperfections: paint, rear triangle and fork alignment, burrs in the headtube, bottom bracket, and steerer, decal integrity, headbadge placement, and hardware (bottle cages, seatpost binder bolt, and rear cable stop). We take a lot of pride in our designs and want to make building and assembly of your new bike as easy and smooth as possible.

Once in a while we come across a frame that isn't up to our standards. In this case, we've identified a few over the past few months that have some small paint blemishes and are offering them at a discount. They are all brand new frames. They have been touched up and you probably wouldn't even notice the flaw if we didn't point it out. Bikes should be ridden and enjoyed and a small paint flaw really doesn't matter.  So take the extra bucks you saved and buy yourself a super fancy ice cream. You deserve it.

53cm Pass Hunter
57cm Pass Hunter
56cm Camargue - Sold
56cm Camargue - Sold

21 July, 2014

Latest Camargue Build

by Igor

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time in the shop - building a lot of wheels, fitting/testing new prototype products you may or may not like, and assembling bikes for review and bike shows later this year. Coming up with a build that will be reviewed by a magazine and on display at a show can be surprisingly tasking. In our case, we need to strike a delicate balance between intended use, timeless styling, functionality, affordability, and pushing the envelope to make you do a double take and go in for a closer look.

Last week, I rode down to pick up some Peruvian chicken for lunch - I could literally eat that everyday and be happy. As I was ordering and paying I overheard a couple guys talking about the leather saddle, mudflap, and handlebar bag and mentioning how comfortable and useful the whole bike looks. I left, put my pollo in my handlebar bag, gave the guys a nod through the window, and was on my way back to work, a bit faster this time. It's that double take and subsequent drawing in I love seeing at shows, events, and on the street.

Of the builds we've done, this one is on the top of my list...for now.

We built up this 56cm Camargue to be a go anywhere, tour-ready bike. I insisted on having the Onza 29er 2.25" tires and a wide range MTB double drivetrain that would be comfortable and simple.
38/24T Shimano 2-Piece Deore Crankset, 11-36 Shimano Cassette, Deore Shadow (Dyna-Sys) Rear Derailleur, and XT MTB Double Front Derailleur. To make all the danglers move around, we used a pair of Deore Dyna-Sys 10 speed shifters.
To carry stuff, a Dajia Stainless Steel Rear Rack and a Revelate Frame Bag work nicely and still have enough room for a front bag if needed.
As for the rider, the three points of contact (feet, hands, butt) are more important than any component or tire width. Sabot Pedals, Crazy Bars with Black Grips, and a Model 3 Leather Saddle will make for comfortable, long days in the saddle.
To ensure safe descents, our new Noir Zeste Brakes fit the bill.
Our Elkhide Chainstay Protector is an easy way to defend against chainslap.
Silver and black don't go well for a lot of bikes, but when it's done right, it can be a knockout.

14 July, 2014

New Brakes and Seat Post

by Igor

We've added a couple new parts to our lineup within the past few days.

Noir Zeste Brakes. Powerful, low profile, and stylish.
Uno Seatpost, 400mm, 27.2. Its increased length makes it perfect match for the sloping top tube of the Camargue.
Lastly, Bonne FĂȘte Nationale! (Happy Bastille Day!)

10 July, 2014

The Campeur 26

Smaller frames should have smaller wheels. It makes for more balanced and better handling bikes. There are lots of design compromises in trying to fit 700c wheels to very small bikes, compromises we've never been willing to make. That's the reason there haven't been VO frames smaller than 51cm.

It's been our intention, for a long while now, to offer smaller sizes, but with so many other ongoing projects... Anyway, we've finally made some progress. The Camargue is already available in 47cm and 50cm sizes. And we finally have a 26" Campeur prototype. Unless we encounter something unexpected during testing, we'll order a production run soon. They'll be made in 47cm and 49cm sizes. Larger sizes will continue to use 700 wheels.

A few short rides around the neighborhood reveal that the 26"-wheeled Campeur prototype handles very much like the 700c version, no surprises at all, which is exactly what we'd intended. Now the serious testing begins with Adrian making a 350-mile trip from Pittsburgh to Annapolis. She'll ride this prototype, loaded with camping gear, along the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O canal towpath. That's a lot of gravel and dual-track, as well as some excellent camping opportunities. We await her report.

08 July, 2014

Onza Tires and Staff Shirts

We love testing new stuff, even if we don't make it. These tires from Onza, a small Swiss company, are a good example. We found them at an industry show and immediately wanted to try them. I mean they feature Swiss design, soft and supple sidewalls, grippy rubber, folding bead, and are pretty light weight: who wouldn't want to take them for a few test rides. We were not disappointed; they ride just as well as we had hoped, perhaps better. With great cornering, good grip on soft surfaces, and a very confident feel, they are a wonderful tire for those who ride primarily off-pavement.

Onza tires are not cheap, but we think they are worth the price, so we decided to stock a couple of sizes of our favorite model, the Canis.  We have them in 26" x 2.25" and 29" (700c) x 2.25" sizes. They work very well on the Camargue.

This is the shirt we had made for our staff to wear at shows and other events. We have a limited number of extras, in case you want one. They are made of soft organic cotton and screen printed at a local shop.

07 July, 2014

Job Opening

Update: this position has been filled. Thanks to those who applied.

We're expanding our staff and have another job opening. It's an entry level position in our warehouse, the backbone of Velo Orange. The warehouse is fast paced and deadline driven, servicing retail, wholesale, and distributor customers. Attention to detail and the ability to meet daily shipping deadlines is a must. A background in cycling is strongly preferred.

The main part of the job is packing orders. We'll train you on order and labeling software and the nuances of international shipping. As this is primarily a warehouse job, you must be able to lift 50lb+ overhead onto shelving. But we try to involve everyone here in designing and testing products. So if you're interested, you'll have a chance to influence and evaluate our new frames, components, and accessories.

Velo Orange prefers to promote from within the company, so job growth is always possible. Almost everyone here starts in this position and moves on to other VO jobs. Benefits include paid leave and 401k. Send us an email if interested.

03 July, 2014

New Bars, Brake Levers, and a Touring Build for Iceland

We just got some Dajia Shallow Drop handlebars. Short and shallow bars are especially popular among shorter riders, but I know some tall folks who like the less extreme position when in the drops, particularly so when climbing.
We're also stocking the Tektro RL341 aero brake levers. These are designed to fit smaller hands and are a good match to the above bars.

This 47cm Camargue was just built up for someone planning a tour in Iceland later this summer. She'll be adding traditional racks and panniers soon. It should preform admirably on Iceland's gravel roads and rocky trails.