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, pavé, 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


50 comments:

Anonymous said...

How soon can I get one? FWIW, I vote for Pistachio or Blue. Red is so generic.

SEB said...

pistachio color is at the top of my list. Will look great with both shiny and black components. Does it have internal brake cable housing?

VeloOrange said...

@SEB,

Indeed, there is internal rear brake cable routing.

-Igor

D Russ said...

I can't quite tell in the pictures, will it have a traditional downtube shifter boss?

VeloOrange said...

@D Russ,

Downtube shifter compatible! I forgot to take the rubber covers off before taking pictures.

-Igor

Anonymous said...

Another vote for pistachio. Are you planning on updating the Polyvalent color too?

Arvind said...

1. Red
2. Yellow
3. Sky blue

ydrive said...

Please tell me you meant 700x35 with fenders, there has to be more clearance then 700x28 with fenders and the new wish bone fork and rear triangle.

VeloOrange said...


@Tracy Lane,

700x28 w fenders is correct. Trying to cover the spread of 650b x wide and 700c x wide with fenders would not make clearances consistent for either. Plus, toe overlap would become a concern.

-Igor

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. What sort of weight are the frames?

Ben Hoffman said...

Low trail geo?

VeloOrange said...

@Anonymous,

I'm hesitant to post any weight numbers until we do through real-world testing as we might change tubing around. It's lighter than the Polyvalent though.

-Igor

Anonymous said...

I vote for Pistachio or Red

VeloOrange said...

@Ben Hoffman,

low, mid-trail. Suitable for a load or unloaded.

Zach Hale said...

Is it the same geo as the last generation of pass hunter?

Anonymous said...

Please another color palette. Red and blue are so boring and the ice cream has now often be seen as the hip choice...
What about this mustardish color of Mr. Radavist's crust dreamer or a dark sparkle color like the old kuwaharas or new all city electric queen. Even a gold version...

VeloOrange said...

@Zach Hale,

Similar but better. Including better fit.

-Igor

VeloOrange said...

@anon,

Check out that first picture. That's 7 different colors we selected as potential for this frame. The beauty of our color offerings is that they stand for years.

-Igor

Jason Fearing said...

Presale payment ready to go for a pistachio when the item appears on the store.

Anonymous said...

Mint!

Unknown said...

what's the reasoning in switching to tapered head tube? It seems that 1.125" steer tube is plenty strong, if anything, there are compliance benefits downsizing to 1" head tube.

VeloOrange said...

@Unknown,

2 reasons for the tapered headtube: it's stiffer than a straight 1 1/8" without a compliance penalty and allows the use of carbon fork with the larger sizes.

-Igor

Unknown said...

Does the carbon fork come separately on the medium/large? Any shots of it?

Zed F. said...

You lost me with the tire clearance. I'll keep my old canti Pass Hunter and 35mm tires, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yes to pistachio, sky blue, and mint green - striking and will compliment various component colors.

The darker colors and the yellow are not as interesting.

VeloOrange said...

@Unknown,

The carbon fork we have designed it to work with is the Whisky no.9 RD Plus.

@Zed,

Please keep riding your generation Pass Hunter! This one was designed to be used with 650b or 26" wheels to fit bigger rubber.

-Igor

Anonymous said...

Red with the orange VO logo, no question, take my money right away.

I like that VO frames are sophisticated looking. Please no All City/Surly corny sparkle paint and neon.

Ryan said...

Pistachio or mint please

Unknown said...

Wow that's looking like a super sweet ride! Any word on pricing yet?

dolan said...

Shame it doesn't clear 32s with fenders, otherwise it would probably be my next townie frame.

Anonymous said...

Overall I like this frame but a number of critiques...

I'm struggling to comprehend the rack mounts mid way up the seat stays?!?

They look terrible and I can't think of a single rack they'd be compatible with.

Why not place them above the wishbone joint so that *most* common rear racks could be used?

The internal brake routing isn't a selling point, but rather a detractor for me, but one I could live with.

However, the tapered headtube is a deal breaker.

Why design and offer steel frames, investing in "complex...tooling and manufacturing process[es]...result[ing]" in "a rear end that is elegant, lightweight, and strong", only to be forced to slap an overly stiff carbon fork or a horrendously stout and immensely ugly unicrown fork on it due to the tapered headtube?!?

Such a decision completely defeats the purpose, ethos, and aesthetics of why I and virtually everyone I know opts to ride steel frames... Stick with 9/8".

Brian S. said...

Do you ride a medium or larger frame? If I read things correctly, medium or larger will for 650 x 47. Seems plenty wide.

VeloOrange said...

@Anonymous,

Hey if it isn't your cup of tea, that's fine. We're trying to push the envelope to make a unique product within the randonneuring and touring market, and if it doesn't ring to you, don't buy it.

With regards to suppleness and stiffness. Tire selection plays a significantly more important than a whippy frame. Bad tires are very much noticeable no matter the frame and fork.

The mid-stay eyelets are something we're trying out whether they make it on the production model is still up in the air. The rear end is not designed to carry a full rack and pannier set. Keep in mind this not a loaded touring frame, nor is it advertised as one.

-Igor

Wildtoad said...

Looks great, like the ideas you are trying out here, including the nifty mid-stay eyelets (yes, they are useful).
Really like the pistachio color!

Anonymous said...

When will you publish a geometry chart? I'll be interested to see how this compares to Black Mountain Road+ or Surly Midnight Special. In any case, it looks fantastic!

Peter Sawers said...

@VeloOrange (and @Wildtoad) - what are the mid seatstay eyelets for? Genuinely curious! Are there small racks or saddlebag supports or something that attach to them? Or can they be used for some more mainstream racks?

Anonymous said...

Nice to see something a little different. Glad to see a company come up with a vision and stick to it. Most would've made it lowest common denominator and then you're left with crazy gaps between the fenders, even with the primary intended wheel size. I think once you start building with tig, unicrown forks and this seatstay style looks just fine. Nice job!

GFR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I vote strongly for the Pistachio colour scheme.The seatstays looks great.Hope you keep the low head tube height from the original(admits that I slam).

Anonymous said...

新作の発表を心から楽しみに待っています。既存のパスハンターのオレンジ色は私の自転車を楽しむ心をくすぐり、非常に乗りたいと思わせてくれました。次作もそうであることを切に願います。ただし、できればスローピングじゃなくホリゾンタルがいいな。今回の知らせを受けて現行のパスハンターを組むことを見送ったので、後悔させないでください。

Anonymous said...

Another big yes for Pistachio color.
Liked "blue gray" color (3d one from the back in the first picture) also.
Hope you keep the size 51 (or smaller) in the lineup since I fall into "a short guy".
Looking forward to see geo table!

Anonymous said...

me too

BTL68 said...

Well, I like it!

That red looks like a department store bike color. I like the yellow. Pistachio is nice. Dark blue and burgundy are nice also. This frameset really looks great and I think I have the next bike build figured out. I was going to possibly buy another Surly but after seeing this, I'll wait for this one.

Is it an English threaded BB?

too_wheels said...

Will these be offered as complete bikes, or frameset only?

VeloOrange said...

@too_wheels

They will be offered as framesets and likely built in-house completes. Specs and build list will be available as the release date approaches in Summer.

-Igor

umarth said...

Just wanted to say this is the first bike that made me think about moving on from my current do-it-all. Thankfully, it is the wrong wheelsize for me, but this the best looking production steel bike I have seen in a while.

Alistair said...

TAKE MY MONEY!

Seriously, hurry up and get these listed for sale! I need a steel groad bike and if the geo works out, this could be it.

Red Beard said...

Curious what the largest frame size will be. At 6’4” I have oggled a lot of your frames over the years but I’ve never pulled the trigger because they always seem like they would be a little small for me. Mostly looking at stack height...

VeloOrange said...

@ Red Beard- We'll have an XL frame as the largest. The stack height on it should be 616 mm for stack and 422 for reach. 610 mm is the effective tt length. Scott

mander said...

Igor, I'm blown away by the thoughtfulness of this bike. It's so far from another "me too". A pass hunter is top of my short list for when i make the jump to road disc.