26 April, 2019

Retro-Modern Country Campeur with Porteur Bars

by Igor

I'm really enjoying how prevalent retro-modern design is in so many facets of our lives. Whether it's architecture, knives, watches, household fixtures, and of course bikes, there is something a bit warmer, more individualistic, and approachable about something that exudes class while having a modern functionality. Case in point is Dhiren's new Campeur.

We started the conversation with a few photos of how he wanted the bike to look: traditional country bike, thumbie shifters, Porteur Handlebars, and lots of polished components and accessories. The end result is a timeless combination of traditional style, hints of new, lots of personality, and loads of versatility.

Porteur Bars make for a super comfortable position with multiple hand positions for long rides.

The shifters are Shimano 11 speed bar-ends fitted to our Thumbie Mounts. The idea is that he can hang on to the bar pods and go to drop handlebars in the future if he so chooses. Thus keeping the drivetrain in tact and only needing to get brake levers and a handlebar to make the switch. Neat idea!

Our Leather Bar Tape is supple and very comfortable. It'll age and develop a lovely patina over time. The housing runs under the tape and makes it very easy to get a grip.

We re-rediused a set of our 52mm 650b Zeppelin Fenders to really match the style of the build. They were drilled and perfectly mounted to a Constructeur Rear Rack for commuting and light duty touring.

Cable management was interesting. We to make the right angle for the cable stop, we routed the front brake over the stem, and the rear brake followed. It looks a bit crazy, bit all the arcs are graceful and friction is super low.

The drivetrain is our 50.4 Crankset paired to an 11-32 cassette and 105 derailleurs. Plenty of range, super crisp shifting, and terrific look.

Since the fenders are a bit too wide for the frameset, we indented them so they fit perfectly. These are the little details that make my heart go pitter-patter.

A Brooks Antique Brown Saddle pairs exceptionally well to the brown bar tape.

For a complete build list, click here! Interested in your own custom VO build? Shoot us an email and we can get the process started!

23 April, 2019

California Road Trip and Eroica 2019

by Igor

Another Eroica California is in the books! This year, instead of renting a regular car and staying at hotels, we rented a 1983 Vanagon Westfalia for our road trip so we could camp and really get out into the thick of nature. Our plan was to pick up the van in LA, drive up to Cambria (Eroica) through the Carrizo Plain, and then back to LA hugging the coast. Needless to say, we had a spectacular time seeing friends, meeting new ones, building awesome family memories, and riding bikes in warm weather.

Starting out from LA, Brad from Road Runner Bags told us of his super secret camping spot up that can only be accessed by way of an old......wait. I'm not going to give it away.

The first night was spent getting acclimated to the Van, assembling the bikes, and seeing how to arrange everything within the Van for the trip.

And lots of toddler wranglin'.

Of course we brought our novelty antenna topper. Without the branding, how else will you know it's a VO mobile?

We made a detour to Bakersfield to stretch our legs, ride the local trails, and check out all the oil pumps.

 Made it to our next campsite just in time for an awesome sunset.

And some magnificently stark lighting in the morning.

We quickly packed up and made our way towards the Carrizo Plain. If you've never driven an old Bus or Vanagon, there are several things you need to know: 1) they're slow. Remember this is a 1.9l motor pushing your living and bedroom. 2) they need a lot of airflow to stay cool. Even the Wasserboxer motors could overheat if pushed too hard 3) not great on gas. Small motor + heavy vehicle = when you see a sign that says "last services for 75 miles" you take that exit and fill up even if you think you're good. There's a lot of hills coming up.

The superbloom was incredible. From afar, the hills were painted by yellows, purples, and blues. It was truly a sight to behold and we're very glad we took this route.

Lots of dirt and gravel roads took us up the rest of the way to the National Monument.

Please note: not a single flower was hurt in the making of these photos. I think the media sensationalized the amount of people frolicking in the flowers. While we were there, everyone was very respectful of nature and stayed on the trails.

From Carrizo, we made our way to Cambria and met up with Tom of Porter Cycles. He won this year's "Best New Builder" at NAHBS with his "Winged Victory" city bike.

Right after the show, he buttoned up another touring bike and is riding back home to Brooklyn! Be sure to give him a follow and send lots of love on his Instagram page!

The following day's swap meet was absolutely filled with the most drool-worthy bikes including this early titanium Teledyne Titan racing bike with a ludicrous amount of drillium components.

Sometimes the coolest bikes are the ones actually being ridden in the classic event.

You may still be thirsty during your ride if you have this bottle.

Lots of VO Drillium, too!

A wild Wizard sighting!

The Nova ride starting grid. This was the second year they organized a ride where folks could ride any bike including carbon, clicky pedals, integrated shifters, etc...

More VO in the field.

Lots of Rustines Grips, too!

Neat sack.

Alan road bikes are so cool. This one was exceptionally clean.

We also got to hang out with John of Fitz Cycles who makes some of the most beautiful, classic randonneurs and tourers with a bunch of trick details.

Including this triple triangle'd, double bolted seat collar.

Of course, with VO bits including 650b Zeppelin Fenders, Retro Bottle Cages, and Randonneur Handlebars.

Reed was also here with his pink Fitz Rando.

Reed is very tall. I think he may need to raise the seat up a bit on Adrian's small Neutrino.

The owner of this Peugeot bought it new. He's only changed out components as they've worn or needed replacing. It's a wonderful machine that really has aged gracefully.

Check out the little clip for the excess cable.

It's always a sight to see a Brian Baylis. Absolutely stunning work.

We met Jeremy and Therese! I even had a little guest spot on their great Eroica video.

Check out Wilson's Rene Herse outfitted with our Metallic Braid Housing, Course Handlebars, and Retro Bottle Cages.

Rollout for the classic ride!

So I had actually brought another set of Randonneur Drop Handlebars for the actual ride rather than these Curvy Ones. But after riding a whole bunch with Theodore and finding them exceptionally comfortable on my Campeur, I kept them on for the ride!

The owner of this Legnano (sorry I forgot your name!) made this amazing jersey and used an old embroidery machine to do the logo and detail work. It was a real thing of beauty.

Hey Jesse! We were following Jesse's journey re-building a tired, late-model Bianchi into an awesome retro-modern build using a whole bunch of VO products.

This older tourer was a treat to see. Lots of great integration with the lighting, fenders, and racks as well as lots of little details that would be missed unless you got close-up.

All you can do is smile after nearly eating it attempting an endo.

Brad from Road Runner Bags deserves a big thank you! He is a terrific VO ambassador and we're happy to have such a great relationship with the whole RRB crew.

We had a fantastic California trip this year and we were very happy with the turnout to Eroica. Though, I will say, something was amiss at this year's event. Maybe it was a change of venue, maybe someone dropped the ball, or something else, but I hope the Eroica organizers can learn from the shortcomings of this year's event: more diverse food selection, improved and safer 35mi route, and far less awkward dinner the night before. While the Eroica event was a bit of a letdown compared to years past, we still had an absolutely wonderful time in California.

We made sure to take some additional time to hike, beach, and ride some more.

This July, we're going to France's Anjou Velo Vintage. We're super excited for the event and can't wait to stretch our legs through the gorgeous canal paths, country roads, and towns rural France has to offer.

See ya later, California!