19 December, 2018

VO's 2018 Summary and What's in Store for 2019!

by Igor

We first want to wish all of our customers, suppliers, and readers a Merry Holiday season and a Wonderful New Year.

It's hard to believe that another amazing year has already flown by! 2018 has seen some great new additions to our lineup as well as events and experiences that have grown the brand and company. We have a really positive outlook for 2019. Here's a look at some of the awesome things that we've accomplished this year:

Our collaboration with Road Runner Bags has been a ton of fun and a great addition to the VO line. Currently, we have a Randonneur Handlebar Bag, Porteur Bag, Medium Saddle Bag, as well as additional pockets for your small camera and cell phone. Made entirely in the USA with vegan-friendly materials. Be on the lookout for new colors for 2019!

Polyvalent and Piolet Releases

Both of these frames have been great sellers for us. More Polyvalents in both Lilac and Green are due around February, while we can expect more Piolets towards the Springtime. 

These have become my favorite drop bars by far - and we've tried a lot of bars. I mean a lot. I would have a hard time spec'ing anything else for aero brake lever'd bikes. 

In a world with a ton of flat bar choices, our Curvy offerings stand out. They feature elegant bends and generous width. They're great for commuters and tourers alike.

With so many bikes designed around the 650b platform, it was a no-brainer for us to offer a fender that has a very traditional design while retaining modern manufacturing requirements. We're getting more in the next few months!

What can I say? People wanted them, and we are happy to oblige. While they are designed to support the 11 speed cassette length, with a simple 1.8mm spacer you can use 8-10 speed cassettes without issue.

This event and ride was such a good time! Beautiful bikes, scenery, and people.

Philly is one of our favorite events of the year.

FFD is so much fun! If you can swing it, make your way out to CT. You won't regret it.

Boston's Builders' Ball

While the Ball is a small show, we appreciate the intimate ambiance with passionate riders and designers. We featured three stand-out bikes in the blog: Chapman's Flat-Bar Tourer, Porter Cycles Winged Victory, and Royal H's Disc Rando.

The VO Bus

We got ourselves a new company vehicle - a 1977 VW Transporter Westfalia. So far, it has taken us up to Boston, Connecticut, Cape Henlopen, and a few weekend camping trips/photo shoots. We're going to do some logo'ing when it comes out of hibernation towards the end of Winter.

2019 is showing a lot of promise!

Expanded Luggage Lineup

We're working on Panniers and a mini Rando Bag! The former will hopefully be a 2019 item if all the hardware details fall into place. 

New Rims

We've been working closely with the master wheelbuilder and master cool guy, Tommy Barse of Cutlass Velo in Baltimore, to help design a new rim that will essentially be the Everything Bagel of rims. It'll fit tires between 38mm and 2.25" and be fully tubeless compatible. I've even fit 2.5" on there without issue. But, do as I say, not as I do.

Small Wheeler

We're working on one more round of prototypes for the Small Wheeler (possibly calling it the Quark - but don't quote me on that) before we go into production. I'm crossing my fingers for Fall of 2019.

More Fenders!

We're planning on offering at least two new styles. A 700x38mm Smooth and a 650bx60mm Smooth. We'll have samples within the next couple months, we'll test them out, and then send them to production. They'll be available in Silver and Noir.

I wanted to thank our team here at VO for being continuously amazing. I'm lucky enough to work with a small, hard-working, and devoted group that likes to design and ride fun bikes.

Finally, as we do each year, VO will be closed starting December 22th and re-open on January 2nd to give our staff time off to visit family and enjoy the outdoors. If you needed to get anything sent out before then, place your order before 3pm EST on December 21st.

Happy Holidays and see you in 2019!

11 December, 2018

Last Minute Gift Ideas

We have you covered for those last minute, awesome gift ideas for the cyclist who has everything, needs nothing, and doesn't want anything.

They fit on every bike, they're shiny, and have a pleasant ring. What isn't there to love?!

These Finnish dishware offerings are heat and cold resistant, lightweight, and have a unique, rustic look. They're great for car and tent camping, backpacking, and are dishwasher safe. Be the envy of all your #coffeeoutside friends.

Soto makes this really neat and lightweight coffee maker designed for pour-overs. It's made from stainless steel and flat packs for easy transportation. It also makes a nice combo with the Kupilka Cup.

This bottle cage will add a touch of class to any commuter, tourer, and heck, even racer. It securely holds bottles even under the roughest of terrain and can be squeezed in or out to fit plastic or metal bottles.

Secure Your Loads

Even the most awkwardest of loads can be tamed. Full Spectrum Lashing Straps are hearty, colorful, and made in Massachusetts. 

Rustines Bungee Cords are made from very high quality rubber and are great for securing light bundles. Made in France!

A good cycling cap is an essential element for the classic cyclist. It keeps the sun out of your eyes and sweat at bay. Available in four fun colors!

While few know his actual name, Jacques is a fixture here at VO. His upright position, envy-inducing moustache, and positive vibes encourages everyone to "Enjoy Life!". It looks equally great framed in an office or tacked into a workshop wall.

This saddle bag will fit on any bike and is the perfect mate for cyclo-tourists, randonneurs, roadies, and mountain bikers alike looking for a bit more capacity during an all-day ride. It's a great size for packing an extra layer, tools, wallet, keys, camera, film, and even a mini-pump.

A gift certificate to their favorite shop will always fit perfectly.

Happy Holidays!

05 December, 2018

Kupilka is Great for Touring and Car Camping

by Igor

We're excited to add several new products from the Finnish campware brand, Kupilka, to the Camp and Cabin section of our website. This selection is great for car camping, tent camping, and especially touring and backpacking!

When we were first looking for dishware to outfit the VO Westfalia Bus, we scoured the internet looking for a lightweight, durable, and aesthetically pleasing dishware set. We finally found Kupilka, and couldn't be happier with its performance both at camp and at home. In fact, as I'm writing this blog post, I'm sipping coffee from my Cup.

A bit of background before we jump into their offerings: the iconic Cup takes its inspiration and design from the original Harakkakuppi aka "Magpie Cup" from around 1775 for tasting home-brewed beverages.
Today, that same design resonates, and includes modern manufacturing techniques. Notably, each Kupilka item is made from a strong and lightweight natural fiber composite consisting of eco-friendly cellulose fibers from certified Finnish forests and reinforced with FDA approved polypropylene. As a result, Kupilka dishware can withstand boiling hot water, sub-zero temperatures, and is dishwasher safe!

So that means you don't have to worry about burning your hands on hot coffee or transferring your hands' heat to frothy home-brewed beverages, and if/when your Kupilka has lived out it's life, recycle it.

Here's a rundown of their offerings:

The Original: Cup

Based off the Magpie Cup, this vessel holds 12.5 fl oz and has a dangling hole integrated into the handle. It's a fantastically balanced design.
A Little Bigger: Bowl

Whether you're having soup or salad, this will definitely hold your contents. It measures 15cm in diameter and 5cm deep for a total volume capacity of 18.6 fl oz.

The Platter comes in two sizes, Large and Small. The Large is suitable for entrees while the Small is better suited for hors d'oeuvres and smaller sized offerings. The Small also doubles as a saucer for the Cup. Large and Small measure roughly 30cm x 19cm and 18.6cm x 12.9cm, respectively.
Picking your food up: Spork and Utensils

Every bikepacker, hiker, and tourist has their preferred Spork. This is mine. While most traditional sporks are not great as either a spoon or a fork, the Kupilka Spork is great as both. The spoon end has a generously sized bowl, while the tines of the fork are exceptionally pokey and hold food well, even while you regale your friends with your touring adventures.

There are two points (zing!) about the Spork that make me love it: 1) no heat transfer 2) its extra length (22.5cm) means your fingers will stay clean when stirring dried-food packages and getting those last morsels in the corners of the bag.
These Utensils are sturdy and lightweight and include (pictured below from bottom to top) a tea spoon, spoon, fork, and knife. The knife, while not serrated, can cut meat without issue. It's a very nice set that will create a bit of luxury in the campsite. Remember folks, forks go to the left of the plate. Knives and spoons go to the right. We keep our campsite to very high standard.

Should we? Yeeeaaaaahhhh: Fire Steel

It's extremely useful to know how to make fire without a lighter or matches. Guaranteed to never run out of lighter fluid.

30 November, 2018

Damon's Sportie Townie Pass Hunter

by Igor

Damon bought this demo Sportif-style Pass Hunter, but he wasn't too keen on the drop bars. He liked the SRAM groupset, Facetted Fenders, Constructeur Rack, and gear-range, but the current cockpit was a no-go. So we modified it a bit to create this comfortable, upright sport-oriented townie to explore DC and all the trails the greater area has to offer.

While the Tourist Bars are a bit narrow by today's fashion, they are supremely comfortable and make sneaking by traffic in town bearable and downright pleasant.

The range of gears on this build are quite generous. The crankset is our 50.4 with 46/30T rings and the cassette is a SRAM 11speed 11-32. The rear dangler is a SRAM Force 22 which has a surprisingly strong spring which does a good job keeping chain tension over bumps, and the front gorilla is a SRAM Rival. Shifting is accomplished courtesy of SRAM's S-700 11sp offering.

The Rear Constructeur Rack is neatly mounted to the Rear Facetted Fender and the front has an extra stay to keep it secure when he goes on the C&O Canal. You may ask yourself, "Self...why is the rack not mounted to the fender?" Well, when we originally offered the bike for sale, the extra stay was already mounted. I didn't want to remove the stay and leave an unsightly hole in the fender, so I mounted the Randonneur Front Rack to the fork so that it could be removed or utilized without the hassle of unbolting the fender stay. It's like a fresh Beaujolais Nouveau wine. Don't take it too seriously or think about it too hard, just enjoy it for what it is.

Full-coverage, 45mm Facetted Fenders paired with a set of Front and Rear Mudflaps keep him, his drivetrain, and his riding friends clean from road grime and dirt. And a classic Fender Reflector keeps him visible - though it isn't a replacement for a blinkie or even better, dynamo lightset. We may or may not be working on a fender mounted dynamo. Tires are Fairweather Traveler in 32mm. Very low rolling resistance, lightweight, and stylish.

Finally, the perch is our Smooth Touring Saddle and Dajia 1b Seatpost. This is my favorite saddle. It's immediately comfortable from the get-go, lightweight, durable, and has nearly the same dimensions are our Model 3 Leather offering. Oh and it has bag loops! If you have your heart set on a leather saddle, get one now. We aren't getting more after they are gone.

All together, this makes for one super cool ride. It's lightweight, comfortable, and a bit performance oriented, and that's why I'm dubbing this one a Sportie Townie. Can't wait to see it around town, Damon!

20 November, 2018

Closed Over Thanksgiving

by Igor

We'll be closed on November 22rd and re-open on November 26th to give our awesome, hardworking staff time off to spend with their families and get in some long bike rides over the Thanksgiving holiday.

If you need an order shipped before we close, please place it before 3pm EST on November 21st and we'll get it out the door.

Please have a safe and happy Thanskgiving break, and we'll see you bright and early on Monday.

Happy riding!

15 November, 2018

Chip's 26" Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Polyvalent

by Igor

Chip runs this super cool alt and flat handlebar comparison site called Whatbars. So when we started talking about a new, super classy commuter/tourer/whatever-er, the Polyvalent with a nifty cockpit was the logical choice.

After going over builds a few times, we settled on a combo of classic and modern, silver and black. While I tend to go full silver or full black on my builds, I have to say this setup looks really great and rides supremely well. Enjoy!

Wolf Tooth provided a 110bcd narrow-wide, art-deco chainring that pairs quite nicely with our Single Crankset. I would be lying if I didn't take the bike off a few curbs and over the cobbled streets downtown without any dropped chains.

11-42 cassette and a SRAM Apex 11 rear derailleur is a great all-round shifting setup. The derailleur features a very powerful spring and clutch mechanism to ensure shifts are crisp and the chain has proper tension throughout the range. Especially useful when running a 1x drivetrain.

A single leather washer takes care of the rear fender mounting.

Chip opted for a Wald Basket in Silver, Transporteur Bag, and double Snapper Sacks for a water bottle and a compact camera. Or two drinks, or two compact cameras, or two lenses. So many possibilities!

Our new Curvy One Bars have been super popular and for good reason. Great width, perfect hand position, and terrific looks.

Foam Cork Blend Grips, Linear Pull Brake Levers, and SRAM Apex 11 Shifter.

Our Removable Faceplate Quill Stem keeps his cockpit secure and tidy. No shims here!

Mojave Cage for maximum thirst quenching.

External and internal routing. While his current build lacks a front derailleur, I left the non-driveside adjustor in case he wanted to change his setup down the line.

Non-polished Velocity Cliffhanger Rims laced to our Front and Rear Disc Touring Hubs makes a confident and elegant ride.

26" Smooth Fenders keep road muck and mud off his back.

TRP was sold out of Spyre Brakes, so we went with Spykes. That's their mountain variant. They still have an inboard and outboard piston and stop well.

Happy riding, Chip!