25 September, 2019

Chip's Crazy Bar'd 27.5+ Piolet

by Igor

Be it snow, darkness, rough terrain, or wind, Chip of WhatBars was looking for a Piolet ready to take on anything that comes up against it. Here's what we came up with!

The original idea was a bit of a spin-off from the build we did for Erick of Bicycle Nomad. Chip loved the tan sidewalls, Noir Crazy Bars with multiple hand positions, 1x drivetrain, and Tall Stack Stem, and wanted to expand on it with a few bits of modernity.

The wheels are custom built using WTB i35 rims laced to our Grand Cru Rear Hub and the front is laced to a Shimano Alfine in anodized silver. All double butted, stainless steel spokes. It's a solid wheelset that is ready to stand up to the Canadian Winter and rough fire-roads. He will be wiring up the head and taillight himself.

The MTB-rated Crazy Bars pair exceptionally well with the Tall Stack Stem and create quite the nice silhouette.

Rustines Bar Plugs match the tires pretty well!

Components are SRAM's NX 11sp series. 32T chainring paired with a wide-range 11-42 cassette.

Stopping is handled by our Grand Cru Levers pulling TRP Spyke Brakes with 180mm rotors. We considered hydraulic, but opted to go mechanical because of some of the extreme low temps his area hits. The Spyke caliper is long pull as opposed to its short-pull sister, the Spyre. We really like the dual-sided braking of the TRP offerings.

An enormous shout-out to Tommy of Cutlass Velo in Baltimore for the quick and super build! If you're looking for a premium frameset or wheelbuild from the ground up, he's your man.

Check out the complete build list here: https://velo-orange.com/pages/piolet-build-list-chips-crazy-bard-27-5

12 September, 2019

First Look at Pass Hunter Prototypes

The beginning of this week was a super colorful one! We were greeted with a shipment of Pass Hunter prototypes in a variety of colors - two of them will make it into the production run and the rest may make it onto future non-PH frames. Before we dive into these particular frames let's review on what Pass Hunting is and what makes a Pass Hunter.

A vintage Toei Pass Hunter
Pass Hunting is a French and Japanese sport of collecting mountain passes you've ridden over. The only rule is that the pass must be marked by a sign or on a registered map. Do 100 and you get a pin and some serious bragging rights. You can check out the rules here: https://www.centcols.org/regle_du_jeu/rules_of_the_game.htm

While you can ride any bike to check that next pass off your list, a traditional Pass Hunter-style bike is lightweight, climbs with ease, and can carry a day's worth of gear and food to ride out and back.

Our newest iteration of the Pass Hunter takes a leap and a half into the world of modern standards: flat mount disc brakes, thru-axles, tapered headtube, and even carbon fork compatibility on medium and larger sizes. So let's go one-by-one into each of these features.

Sparkle Blue
Disc brakes aren't new for us, but flat mount compatibility ( the new road standard) is.

I've used thru-axles on other bikes and really enjoy the simplicity and consistency of hub and rotor positioning. Here's a primer on how thru-axles work: Insert hub into dropouts, insert axle into non-driveside dropout, thru (see what I did there?) the hub, thread into the driveside dropout, and tighten. The rear uses 12 x 142mm spacing and the front uses 12 x 100mm. 12 refers to the interior diameter of the dropout and 142 and 100mm refers to the spacing. Both of these are the industry standard with a plethora of hub options in style and price range. Keep an eye out on the blog for updates to our disc offerings! We're getting the first prototypes within a couple weeks. Teaser: replaceable endcaps, custom hub shell, and shiny.

The head tube uses a tapered design for greater front-end stiffness while climbing and carbon fork compatibility. The upper is 1 1/8" and the lower is 1 1/2". Both use external cups.

If you can't tell, we've been really into wishbone seatstays (Neutrino and Piolet). While the tooling and manufacturing process is complex, the result is a rear end that is elegant, lightweight, and strong.

The fork has rando-rack hourglass braze-ons, fender mounts, and 3 bolt mounts for our Mojave Cage and other cargo cages.

Clearances are generous and great for chipseal, gravel, loose limestone, pavĂ©, and of course, asphalt: Medium, Large, X-Large clear 650x47 with fenders), and Small and X-Small clears 26"x48mm with fenders. If you're part of a go-fast crew that uses carbon fiber road wheels, then they fit 700x28 with fenders and 650bx32 with fenders, respectively.

Pistachio Ice Cream
We've mocked things up already to test clearances, alignment, and compatibility and everything is pretty on point. Destructive testing has already been completed and components are trickling in to thrash them around in the real world. We'll have one or maybe even two complete builds at this year's Philly Bike Expo, so you can touch and prod them in real life. That is, once we decide on the two production colors...

Brick Red