09 November, 2017

Planes, Trains, and Polyvalents

by Igor

Adrian and I will be taking two Polyvalent prototypes on a two week long European tour. Our tentative schedule is to ride through through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, a tiny bit of Austria, Southern Germany, and end in Friedrichshafen before heading back to Zurich. Not only is Friedrichshafen known for its vicinity to the beautiful Lake Constance and extensive Zeppelin history, it is also the location of Eurobike - the biggest mainstream industry show in Europe.

Traditionally, the entirety of Eurobike, just like Interbike and Taipei Bike Expo, was an industry-only show. Meaning only shops, distributors, manufacturers, etc were allowed in. In recent years, all three of the big shows have opened up their doors for one of the four days to the general public. So if you have an opportunity to go, you should spend the day nerding out at the latest tech and weirdness these types of expos have to offer. In addition to seeing new and upcoming products from all corners of the cycling world, we'll have an opportunity to visit with several of VO's European wholesale and distributor partners.

Enough about the show, let's talk bikes. This is Adrian's 51cm Polyvalent. We transferred many of the components from her Campeur onto this bike, and her Campeur will morph into a Porteur Townie.

For gearing, she's using our 50.4 bcd Crankset paired with an 11-32 9 speed cassette for low gears to get over those long climbs through the Alps going into and out of Lucerne.

Shifty bits are standard issue Shimano Bar-ends, Shimano Tiagra dangler, and Shimano 105 pusher.

Brakes are Avid BB7 Road with 160mm rotors being pulled by SRAM Brake Levers. Readers will have their opinions about disc brakes, but simply put, they work really well.

Handlebars are Dajia Cycleworks Short and Shallows with a 26.0, 17 deg threadless stem and adaptor.

The Campeur Rack out front will carry a pair of Ortlieb Panniers and a handlebar bag. They are mounted inside the fork blades with the rack's included hardware.

My 57cm Polyvalent is a carefully curated mismatch of components and accessories. Campagnolo 10 speed integrated shifters (I dare not say the b-word), 50.4 bcd Crankset, Campagnolo Veloce Rear Derailleur, and Shimano Dura-Ace 8 speed Front Derailleur. It works pretty darn well.

The brakes are cable actuated Shimano non-series brakes with 160mm rotors. They're cheap, easy to install, and work great.

The bars are prototypes for a modern all-rounder drop bar that have quickly become my new favorite. Reach with integrated shifters is of goldilocks proportions - not too long, not too short. The drops are easy to reach without too much stretching (on the final product, the drops will be rounder and not so ergo). They have a bit of backsweep for a more natural position while on the tops. Speaking of tops, they are ovalized to give a flatter, larger section with more real estate to move around on. I think these will be great for touring, off road riding, randonneuring, and heck, even racing. All. Rounder.

No apologies for the tape ends, it's wabi-sabi
The mount is also a prototype - you can use one or both barrels for mounting your computer, light, travel chia pet, solar-powered dancing whatever, etc. We can always use some extra dashboard space.

These fenders have been a long time coming. They have the wavy pattern of the classic Lefol fenders that were popular on Constructeur bikes of the era. They're wide, lightweight, and swallow up 650bx47mm tires easily. The pattern needs a bit of work to be perfect, but they're getting there. You'll notice that they're satin rather than our MO of high polished. We found that the wave pattern is much more noticeable and beautiful in the satin style. The next sample will have deeper indentations, but is otherwise nearly ready to go into production.

The handlebar bags are the first prototypes from our new bag line! The plan is for the bags to blend with the versatility and modularity of many of the bikes coming out nowadays, the Polyvalent included. These arrived just before we packed the bikes on Monday, so we're excited to see how they work out on our trip.

They would look right at home on a 1200km brevet, a populaire, commuting, and touring around the world. They'll be highly water-resistant, abrasion resistant, completely vegan, and very very MUSA. The plan is for the rear and side pockets to be completely modular with different mini bag styles to choose from. Cell phone, XL cell phone, point n' shoot camera sack, book flap, etc...

Waterproof zipper rather than button to keep contents secure
I've been coming around to more vegan-friendly options for saddles, handlebars, and bags and I think the niche slice of our industry is moving that way as well. Our Microfiber Saddles have been super popular, and I hope to expand the line into other surface options and designs in the future.

Prototype seat bag
What do you all think of the fenders, luggage, and saddles? We hope to have all of these items all ready before next Spring, just in time for the season!

If you all have any route or sightseeing suggestions, we're all ears!


Anonymous said...

Your handlebar bag design looks promising. I recently purchased one of that new generation of front bags (yes, one of those) at great expense. My main critique of it is that the closures in practice are unnecessarily fussy. Your approach looks headed in the right direction. If you move toward two or three sizes in a neutral color, you'll do great. Some modularity with regard to attachment to rack might be nice if it doesn't add too much cost and in some cases might preclude the need for a decaleur. Looking good! Keep it up!

Unknown said...

Hi guys. I am from the eastern part of Switzerland, now living in Bern. I could make you some suggestions for the itinery. Just let me know when you land, stay in Friedrichshafen and when your flight is going back. More hills or flats? Cheese or chocolates? Or both? Kind regards. Simon

Anonymous said...

Oh man those bags look great!! Can't wait for them to be available for purchase!

BJ BagDad said...

Living in LA; fenders are not really a "thing" but damn those waves! Brining me back to my beach dayze. Will definitely be watching out for those to drop.

Wayne said...

Those fenders look great. I wish someone would make truly wide fenders. I'm presently running 29x2.3" tires and can't find any fenders that fully cover them. I'm presently running 65mm fenders, but they really aren't wide enough. If someone made decent 70mm wide 700c fenders I'd get them without hesitation.

zybariver said...

The fenders are attractive in a retro kind of way, but I, and I'm sure others, were hoping for a large format 650B fender that was more "design neutral" i.e. smooth or mildly shaped to complement more modern/contemporary builds. Will you be making something like that as well?

Anonymous said...

Good choice on using the Polyvalents for touring. I've been using a MK2 version on tours for years now and it's totally up to the task, you may possibly never want anything else.

Kudos on the new products. I'll be keeping my eye out for the bags.

Sax Huret said...

I know market factors influenced you a bit, but thank you for considering more vegan items. I definitely bought my microfiber saddle in part because it was vegan and having more options is always appreciated.

Igor Shteynbuk said...

Hey Simon,

Our plan this morning is to take a train to St.Gallen, then ride down to Vaduz for hiking and exploring. Afterwords we'll ride to Friedrichschafen. We've had pretty decent Vermicelli tart :)

My email is igor@velo-orange.com if you have any suggestions on where we should stop on the way. Thanks Simon!

Anonymous said...

I chuckled at pusher/dnagler, but then you had to go back to using derailleueueur :/ Tarck bear does not approve.

Joshua said...

Please tell me that those fenders are coming in the black option, or at least that you're going to have one of your other models in a black 650bx47c sizeway

Anonymous said...

I NEED those fenders!!! - masmojo

Unknown said...

Fenders look groovy!

Satin fenders look great, looking forward to them!

dcvelobrew said...

Just finishing up a tour of Croatia on my Polyvalent MK III! Third continent for it, and it worked beautifully.

jarvis said...

y'all are busy.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know when the polyvalent will be available? Will they offer it complete?

VeloOrange said...


We plan for availability to be towards early Spring. No plans for completes right now, but I think we'll offer a build kit to include some main components.


Anonymous said...

I was wondering what happened to your bag collection. I wanted to order a front bag with decaleur. I hope they will be ready soon

josh said...

Bag looks great! I vote for it to be decaleur compatible but not necessary.

Fenders look amazing. Black would be cool, as well, but the satin is definitely a good choice IMO.

I hope the rear rack mounts allow a normal rack like a Tubus to be mounted without sitting up too high, which is an issue on a lot of contemporary disc bikes, and these look sorta high.

I can't quite tell, but I hope that the cage bosses under the downtube are three-pack style, as that is my preferred place for a big bottle rather than in the main triangle.

That ivory color is awesome!

Beau said...

Definitely looking forward to seeing the bag options! I'm hoping the VO bag/decaleur rack combo will be easy and elegant. It really looks like you're on the right track with that stuff.

Unknown said...

Will the fenders have space (inside the rolled edges) for dynamo wiring? (rear lamp) Thanks!