26 May, 2017

Closed for Memorial Day

by Igor

VO is going to be closed on Monday, May 29th for Memorial Day observance and to give our fantastic staff some time off.

Orders placed after 3pm EDT today (5/26) will ship out promptly on Tuesday, May 30th. So if you need anything to go out today, submit your order soon.

Have a great weekend, and please enjoy this 60cm Polyvalent Disc build which a local, very tall rider will be trying out for a while.

24 May, 2017

Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy

By Scott

Like a lot of you, I have a box or two (perhaps three) of bike stuff in my garage. It's stuff that has been collected over the years, mostly taking it off bikes and putting it aside for "that" project that I hoped to do one day.

I was thinking about this the other day when Igor was working on a shop build- a Disc Pass Hunter for the show room. He had a vintage Sun Tour Sprint rear derailleur. Looked great, but it didn't have quite the range to work with the cogs we were going to use on the bike.  So he said fine, I'm sure I have a slightly more modern derailleur I can use from my bike box.  This got me thinking about a term called S.A.B.L.E - Stash Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy.  You can use this term for a lot of things. I have probably more pens at home than I'll ever use. I justify them by the fact that each is slightly different then the other- thinner lines, thicker lines, pressurized ink for writing upside down in the rain (if I need to do that, I think I'll be writing a good bye letter). But surely, I have enough pens and yet, a couple of times a year, I buy another 5 or 6 pens at an art supply store or online. I figure it's a cheap hobby.

When it comes to bike stuff, it's interesting what I have a SABLE of at home. I have lots of chains. At one point I was leaving a job that gave me access to bike bits at wholesale and I didn't know what the future held. So I bought a bunch of chains. I figured those are an easily consumed item, that having on hand would not hurt me financially. I was heavy into randonneuring at the time and that side of cycling eats through chains.

But looking deeper into the boxes in the garage, I found stems, tubes, bars, and map cases that I had collected over the time since the last move/purge and I wondered - will I use all of this?

Is there one particular part/accessory that you have more then a life time supply of at home? Is there a reason for it or is it just dumb luck to end up with all of those 26 x 1.5" Schrader valve tubes?

18 May, 2017

20% Off Hydration Sale

Update 5/22/17: The sale has concluded.

It's a million degrees outside and keeping your hydration up is of great importance. You probably don't need to know why you should drink water, so here are some interesting facts about our good friend H2O:
  • 75% of the human brain is water and 50% of a living tree is water.
  • Hot water freezes faster than cool water.
  • Each day, we exhale about 400 ml of water.
  • The first water pipes in the U.S. were made from hollowed logs.
  • It takes about 2,641 gallons of water to make a pair of jeans.
To celebrate the arrival of the warm season, we're offering a 20% off sale on all water bottle cages, bottles, and mounts. This sale applies to both retail and wholesale customers.

From Thursday, May 18th to Sunday, May 21st (11:59pm EST) use the coupon code: THIRST2017.

Here's how to use the code:
  • Add all of the products you want to your cart, just as you normally would.
  • Click on "My Cart" to review your products.
  • Enter the coupon code - THIRST2017 - in the little "discount codes" box in the shopping cart page.
  • Click on "Apply Coupon".
  • Go ahead and check out as normal.
Stay hydrated!

17 May, 2017

All You Need For An Overnight

By Scott

As bicycle camping season kicks into full gear here in the Mid Atlantic, we thought it might be good to look at what's involved in going out for an overnight. Now, this list is just about an overnight trip. Certainly if you are going to ride from PA to OR, you'll need more stuff, but as a starting point, I think the following things are a great beginning. I've organized this list similar to a list I read years ago in Richard's Mountain Bike Book. Nicholas Crane, a British author and cyclist whose travels have taken him to the Himalayas, Africa, and all over Europe and the UK, developed a basic list of items for any bicycle trip. I'm using it as the inspiration for our list:

Basic level 1 - A bicycle - Yep, that's the absolute minimum you need to do an overnight. You can ride to a friend's house a few hours away and enjoy a shower and a bed. Nothing extra, just you and your bike. OK, fine, toss a spare tube and tire levers in a pocket and you're covered for a flat.

Basic level 1.2- A credit card or cash - You can choose your own end point for the day and pay for it with cash or card, as well as handle paying for food along the way.

(First overseas tour, Tasmania 1990)

Intermediate level 1 - Change of clothes - An extra top and shorts make life a little more comfy. A spare shirt or pants for off the bike in the evening add a bit of civility. You can put these in a bag and strap it to a rack or throw into a handlebar bag.

Intermediate level 1.2 - Tent and sleeping bag - Now you have control of where you can stop. You have shelter and something to keep you warm at night.

Advanced level 1 - Stove and food - You now have the ability to heat up food and have it wherever you want. Cold food and hot food has the same level of calories, but there is certainly something to be said for having a hot cup of tea or coffee first thing in the morning with a hot breakfast to get you moving.

Advanced level 1.2 - Map/phone/electronic device that tells me where to go - In lots of places, if you are trying to get from A to B (or even to C) via roads that are not the main thoroughfares, there are small signs to help direct traveler's. I'd usually write down a couple of the major towns between me and my desired destination for the next day. Knowing the smaller destinations, allowed me to not have to think of the whole distance, and also allowed for interaction at junction towns, where I'd ask folks the most interesting way to get to B, rather then the fastest.

(Sweden 3 years later, still too much stuff)

So yes, I've simplified a packing list down to a very basic level, but that is one of the great things about touring by bike - so long as you have a destination, you can figure out a way to get there. Sometimes it's not even the destination, but rather getting there that makes the memories. I think we often take too much stuff, witness my old photos. The old adage, lay out all the things you need and then toss 1/2 is a good starting point.

Have you pared down your cycle touring gear list over the years or added to it?

15 May, 2017

Job Opening at VO

Update: the position has been filled.

Velo Orange has a Job Opening!

Spring has sprung and we're looking for some additional help in the warehouse and office. The position would be full-time and permanent, with the morning spent performing warehouse duties, and the afternoons spent in the office. 9-5 Monday through Friday with opportunities to attend trade shows for qualified persons.

A passion for cycling, knowledge of bicycle mechanics and our parts, and being a generally cool guy or gal are at the top of the list in terms of skillset. We're a relaxed, open office environment, but work hard and focus on innovation and progress. 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.

Experience in warehousing is a plus, but more important is experience in the cycling industry. As this position does involve warehousing duties, you must be able to lift 50lb+ overhead onto shelving. Benefits include paid leave and 401k.

Interested applicants please send your resume to info@velo-orange.com

We look forward to welcoming you to the Velo Orange team!

12 May, 2017

New Wide Rims, Not Tubeless Compatible (And I Like It That Way...)

by Igor

These prototype triple-box section rims have an outer width of 28mm, inner width of 21mm, and are suitable for tire sizes ranging from 40mm to the mid 50s. Basically, they are made for the meat n' potatoes of touring, commuting, and gravel riding. Not only can they take floaty tires, they are also the widest rim you can use while still being able to implement a normal rim brake setup.

We'll be testing them on our Polyvalent Disc prototypes in the months to come. Wheel building and tire installation was a breeze with the bead seating perfectly the first time. I picked double-butted DT Swiss spokes with brass nipples and Velox 22mm Rim Tape. Right now they are wearing the new WTB Byways for double-duty road and trail use. When inflated to 55 40psi (I should have had my afternoon coffee, max for these tires is 50psi), the tires measure true at 46.8mm while 56ft above sea level.

Ok, so are they tubeless compatible? No, and I prefer it. It's not because of any retrogrouch tendencies. I'm more than happy to accept new technologies when they provide a genuine better level of cycling enjoyment. Electronic shifting is nifty, pinion gearboxes are snazzy, and disc brakes are the bees knees.

But tubeless doesn't really do it for me. You still need to carry a tube, pump, and extra fluid if you're out for longer adventures. Carrying these things negates the argument that tubeless is lighter. Heck, I just carry a basic Rustines patch kit on daily rides and an extra tube for longer treks. Yes, you can run lower pressures with tubeless, but you have to watch out for burping in tough corners.

In addition, a rim standard hasn't been widely adopted yet, so not every tubeless tire and rim combination is compatible. I feel like I'm seeing "standard hasn't been widely adopted yet" more and more nowadays in the cycling industry.

If you want to run a heartier setup but you don't want the hassle of tubeless, you can remove your valve core, dump some sealant into the tube via an injector, swish around, and inflate.

Do you use tubeless? What sort of conditions do you think tubeless is 100% necessary?

09 May, 2017

Seatpost Setback - A Scrutiny of Styles

By Scott

With Velo Orange expanding our range of products over the last few years, one of the newer items that we've developed is a Zero Setback Seatpost. Now, if you're a long time roadie, you may wonder why someone would want zero setback? So let's look into the mysterious world of bike fit and design to see why someone would want a zero/medium/long setback post.

Road bikes for years have had posts with setback- a seatpost where the clamping area for the saddle was behind the centre of the post that came up from the seatpost. The theory behind this was to allow for proper weight distribution (ideally 60 % on the rear of the bike, 40 % on the front). Assuming a 73 deg seat tube angle, the setback allowed one to fully engage the hamstrings and glute muscles more efficiently.

For most setback posts, the standard set back was around 25 mm or so. Why? Good question. My best guess is that it created the "medium" amount of setback that most people needed. With the costs of tooling to create different heads to the seatposts (this is all done with forging and dies), most folks went for the middle of the road to deal with the average.

Touring, city, and recreational riders tend to need more setback then a racer does. The more upright position requires more setback to put your legs in a more efficient bio-mechanical place.

The other factor is the rail length of the saddle. This is the ultimate limiting factor when it comes to proper position of the saddle, which ultimately effects where your knee and foot end up. Different saddle makers have different rail lengths. Traditionally Brooks and other leather saddle makers have had very short rails, thus the need for more setback in order to get the knee positioned correctly. In these cases, our Long Setback Seatpost is a winner. Our Model 3 Saddle  and Model 6 Saddle offer longer rails, so that you can choose which post style you'd like to dial in your riding position.

So why, after reading all this (thank you), does one need a zero setback post? Surely the above reasons make sense. Well, the rise of MTB's is one of the main reasons. The slacker and longer geometry of MTB's means that having zero offset puts the rider in the middle of the bike, rather then well behind the centre of the bike. Having more weight forward helped prevent you from toppling back on steep climbs and allowed you to move your butt behind the seat post on the steep descent. So MTB's tend to come with zero set back posts as standard. Zero set back posts also work if you have a short femur. The zero offset helps to put those folks over the pedal easier. Zero offset posts also work well if the top tube (real or virtual) is longer then ideal. Moving the seat forward reduces the distance between the stem and the saddle.

If you've got a theory about the relationship between setback, position, fit, and performance, let us know in the comments.

05 May, 2017

Polyvalent Goes to the City

by Igor

Adrian and I are heading up to New York this weekend for some ultimate city riding and to check out the New York Bike Expo. We haven't attended before, but it looks to be a great time.

Are you going to the show or participating in the 5 Boro Tour? Hope to see you there!