21 December, 2021

A Look Back at 2021 and What's to Come in 2022!

by Igor

2021 was another fantastic year for VO: we moved to a new facility, hired a couple more employees, are trucking along with new projects, made new connections for suppliers, and are making more investments in inventory. 

Before we dive into what we've been up to this year, a quick holiday announcement. To give our staff time with their friends and families, VO will be closed from December 24th through January 2nd, and will reopen on January 3rd. If you need your order to go out before we close, please place it before 2pm ET on December 23rd.

The Move

The big one this year was our move! We went from 7500 sqft to almost 15,000, with 11,000 dedicated to just warehousing. It means we can keep more inventory on hand and provide consumers and shops with more product availability and cool, new designs.

New Products

1x Cranksets - these are a great solution for those wanting to change to a 1x drivetrain, but will still work with single speed drivetrains.

Next Gen Crazy and Seine Bars - We teased these last winter but took a while to actually get them in due to raw material delays. But we're getting a LOT more early in 2022.

1x Sensah Components - I've explored Sensah components before and have heard good things. So when we experienced supply chain shortages, we decided to take things into our own hands and made connections over at Sensah to bring in their SRX and CRX 1x11 components. They've sold well, so we're going to bring in more offerings next year.

Diamond Polyvalents - While I think the Low Kicker design is perfect for many people's needs, the Diamond frame variant does have the classic lines and big main triangle look many people like.

Biggish Bag - Not too big, not too small, we designed the Biggish Bag to be the perfect size for all of your sport touring adventures, city errands, day-long gravel rides, and everything in between.

Pistachio Neutrino - The builds I see online based on the Neutrino frameset continue to inspire and impress me. I've seen Rohloffs, singlespeeds, ebikes, drop bars with carbon rims, bikepacking rigs, and even fixed gear builds. Here's Josie's build, it's a favorite of mine.




I'm not the best at keeping secrets secure at VO BadgerWorks. It really comes down to me being excited and wanting to put a stake in the ground so at least someone outside of VO knows what we have in store. I also think rumors are fun in the bicycle industry. 

The Rando is coming along. We are doing one more round of prototypes to adjust some geometry and clearances, especially on the smaller sizes.

We picked a color and it is spectacular - it isn't the above one. To be honest, the one we selected was more of an "Eh, it is kinda cool, let's see how it is on a frame", but when we saw it in person, on a frame, it was a hit. It was everyone's pick out of the line up of colors. Picking the colors out of the paint book from a postage stamp size is a sort of try and see process. Dark colors are often darker when painted, and light colors are lighter. Then you have metallic, pearl, gloss, etc... Basically, we got a bunch of colors to try out. Some we go with for production and others might go on future frames. We'll show you the final selection when the final Randos go into production.

Raw materials are ordered up and hopefully that will speed up the timeline for production once the protos are ok'd.


We've been testing samples of the 2-piece cranks. They need a bit of tweaking to get all of the tolerances just right. The samples are completely CNC'd since we want to make sure everything is correct before we invest in forging dies. We're also working on some neat chainring designs since we aren't necessarily tied to a certain BCD. There are some neat 80s automotive wheel designs I love that would be cool to implement on a chainring.

Materials of the future!

We're working with some materials besides steel and aluminum alloy. So far I am impressed and pleased. I'm keeping this one close but will release details when we finalize prototypes.

Granola Moose Bars

As much as I like the integrated clamp, we're changing it to a regular height clamp. They'll work with a ton more bikes, especially those old ATBs that use threaded headsets and threadless adaptors.

Odds and Ends

While we always have big projects going, there are smaller projects that we work on, too! We have some less flashy endeavors like nice headset spacers, single leg kickstands, smaller cargo nets, linear pull rim brakes, and some others that are still in the ether. And now that we have the space, we can explore all sorts of projects without worrying about where to put them all!

In conclusion, 2021 has been another wild ride. Between supply chain shortages and moving, we're weathering well and VO continues to be strong. We absolutely have an optimistic outlook for 2022. We want to wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season and a fantastic New Year.

08 December, 2021

VO's 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

Component standards, preferences, aesthetics, and fit can make cyclists a hard bunch to shop for. But have no fear! We have compiled a list that is gifting ready and will make any cyclist smile with delight.

Opinel Knives

I carry my well-worn, well-patina'd Opinel no.8 Carbon on every ride. It's great for cutting up meat and cheese for an on-the-go charcuterie or opening boxes around the house.

There are two blade styles: Carbon and Stainless Steel. Carbon will age and is easier to sharpen, but you will need to take more care of it. Stainless will stay shiny and sharp longer, but is a little harder to sharpen.

Cable Cherries

Reusable, ergonomic, and cute. These Cable Cherries are the perfect bit of jewelry for the end of brake and drivetrain cables. 

Further Adventures in Rough Stuff

Further Adventures in Rough Stuff is the second volume of cycling photos and stories from the Rough Stuff Fellowship. In over 200 pages, RSF published never-before-seen photos, essays, and routes detailing cyclo-touring adventures starting in the 1950s.

Runwell 15mm Wrenches

Simply put, this is likely the nicest 15mm Wrench you can buy for your track or fixed gear bike. They're ergonomic and a beauty to hold in your hand. We also have a To-Go sized 15mm Wrench.

Runwell Top Cap

These Top Caps add form to function. They're handcrafted by master copperware craftsman, Mr. Kazuya Watanabe. They are stunning and would make even the most weight-weeny roadie accept something non-carbon on their bike.

Mini Rando Bags

The Mini-Rando fits on nearly any bike with drop bars and does not require any racks or additional hardware. It will be your favorite go-to for all day, fun, mixed-terrain rides. It's the perfect size for easy access to your compact camera, cell phone, keys, wallet, snacks, and light jacket.

Fender Reflectors

These Reflectors add an element of elegant safety. They mount securely onto nearly any fender. Simply drill a hole!

Brass Striker Bells

Ding-ding! These Bells can either mount directly around a quill or with an 1 1/8" headset adaptor. Keep it safe and stylish.

Safety Pizzas

Safety and fun for the whole family! Design your favorite slice of pizza with the included toppings and mount on your bike.

Accessory Mount

Gifts are all about accessories, so why not an Accessory Mount? These clamp around the handlebar and give the rider lots of options for mounting lights, GPS, computers, etc...

Steel Vintage Bikes Book

The fabulous folks at Steel Vintage Bikes in Berlin, Germany have produced a book showing a collection of steel bikes they have restored over the years. With bikes ranging from 1927 to 1989, there are bikes you've never seen along with technical elements sure to excite.

E-Gift Card

Shopping for someone else but not sure how to outfit their bike? Give them the gift of choice with a Velo Orange e-gift card.

18 November, 2021

New Grips and Updated 1x Cranks

 by Igor

We just got in these new Foam/Cork Blend Grips for 22.2mm city and mtb handlebars! They're comfortable, stylish, and durable and come in three styles: Cork, Wood, and Black.

We also got in an updated Single Ring Crankset! The big difference is the 42 tooth NW (narrow-wide) chainring suitable for 1x, singlespeed, fixed, and internal gearing. The alternating narrow and wide (get it?) tooth profile allows for excellent chain retention, especially over rough terrain.

Right now, we have them in 165 and 170mm arm lengths, with 175mm coming early next year.

02 November, 2021

More Happenings and We're Hiring!

by Igor

We're moving! We've been in our current spot for 8 years and it's become very apparent that we've outgrown it. We're doubling our square footage to 15,000 sq ft with over 11,000 sq ft dedicated to just warehousing and shipping. It will allow us to keep more inventory on hand, hire more awesome people, and provide consumers and shops with more product availability and cool, new designs.

We just set our official move date of November 4th! That means that the last VO packages from Annapolis will go out on Tuesday, November 2nd. 

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week (November 3rd, 4th, 5th) will be dedicated to palletizing, moving, unloading, and getting in the new facility. So any orders placed between the 3rd-5th, will begin going out the following Monday, November 8th. 

So please dust off your rolodex and update our address to:

Velo Orange
6730 Dover Rd
Suite 113
Glen Burnie, MD 21060 USA

Our phone number will stay the same, but within this transition Comcast has transferred and retransferred our phone number several times between buildings and sometimes it doesn't work. Trust me, it's extremely frustrating, but temporary. Sooooo....please email us with any customer service inquiries (info@velo-orange.com). The webstore will still be active and we will try our best to answer your emails while we're moving.

In related news....

We are hiring additional warehouse associates! If you or someone you know is interested, please click here for the job description: https://velo-orange.com/pages/warehouse-associate-position

21 October, 2021

Happenings and Updates Around VO

by Igor

It's no secret that between product designing, testing, the uptick in order processing from our restock, and life, we've all been extremely busy. And since it's been a bit since we've done a "general happenings" around HQ and since I have a few minutes here to catch my breath, I thought it would be a good time to update our readers and followers.


We'll start off with some of the boring but important stuff (for visibility). If you live in New Zealand or Australia, shipping is going up. US Postal Service has discontinued First Class and Priority shipping, so the only options to send packages is Postal Express or Fedex - both of which are quite pricey and sometimes go over the price of the order. So if you need larger items like fenders, handlebars, racks, etc... please contact your local VO Dealer. They order in larger quantities, and can often accommodate customer requests:

Shipping around the US is slower than it has been in the past, due to natural disasters, staffing issues at the shipping companies, and just a high overall volume of items moving around the country. Please be patient. There have been several shipments that are marked as delivered, but are not. I've experienced this personally for my own stuff. They often times get delivered the next day. Sometimes weird things happen in their system. Sorry for the potential delays, but rest assured we will ensure your package will get to you!

Fedex has very calculated shipping routes so if you live in Chicago, don't be surprised if your package goes through Memphis. These are major hubs and transition packages to different areas of the US.

Ok, now for the fun stuff!

Crazy Bar Review on Bikepacking

Miles tested out a pre-production version of the Crazy Bars and had some really nice words! 
The redesigned Velo Orange Crazy Bars are pretty wacky looking, but when broken down, actually make quite a lot of sense. The combination of rise, sweep, and width hits a sweet spot and could work for many styles of bikes and riding styles. It’s also great to see Velo Orange manufacturing them out of a lightweight 6061 Aluminum, because some steel bars seem excessively heavy by comparison. So, yeah, they’re crazy, but I actually think they have the potential to add another dimension of comfort to a wide variety of rigs.

While they are currently sold out, we are getting a lot more around mid/late December 2021. 

Rubbery Bar Tape Review

Seven Day Cyclist reviewed the Rubbery Bar Tape and gave it a very high score! It has quickly become a top seller for us. In addition to classic black, the tape also comes in a light, rich brown - a nice alternative for an almost-leather look. 
The Velo Orange Rubbery Bar Tape is, as the name implies, made from a textured rubbery compound and is long enough for the biggest flared drops. Generous length is only rivalled by its 3.5mm density, which lends itself perfectly, not only to gravel but drop bar mountain bike conversions, rough stuff touring lorries and frankly, anyone else who wants the best of grip and damping. 

Randos - The Rumors Are True!

We have next generation prototype Rando framesets. They are rim brake, 700c, and very spritely. I built mine (below) with 2x12sp with no lightweight bits (but I'm getting carbon wheels soon!) and it sits at 23lbs. The design of the frameset was truly an exercise in minimalism and only has what is absolutely necessary. 

Our friend Matt suggested we keep a "Frame Diary" of the design, prototyping, and production process. I think that's an awesome idea.

We also have a bunch more colors and sizes that are in the process of being built and tested.

Granola-Moose Bars

We actually teased these on an Instagram post a bit back and the stoke was high. We're making a couple small tweaks to the angle relative to the stem for a better position.

We're also doing away with the tall clamp. We had an overwhelming number of requests for a model that could be used with a stem adaptor for older mtbs, so it only makes sense. This is the way. 

More Sensah

The Sensah products we've brought in have been very popular. We recently got some more Sensah products in to test, specifically this 12sp Empire group. It's really good and it has some carbon bits because, you know, carbon.

The neat thing about the front shifter is that it has 4 trim positions, kind of like the older Campagnolo integrated shifters. The shifting is very tactile, just like the SRX 11sp stuff, and is crisp. I'm pleased.

New Digs!

We're moving! We've been in our current spot for 8 years and it's become very apparent that we've grown out of it. We're doubling our square footage to 15,000 sq ft with over 11,000 sq ft dedicated to just warehousing and shipping. It will allow us to keep more inventory on hand, hire more awesome people, and provide consumers and shops with more product availability and cool, new designs.

It's a brand new build and everything needs to go through permitting, so it's been a little longer of a process than we hoped. At any rate, we're in the final stretch and the ORANGE racking is going up as I type this out. 

We should actually be moving within the next couple weeks, so keep an eye out for more info.

We'll also be posting a couple warehouse job openings, so if you're in the Glen Burnie, MD and surrounding areas, keep your eyes peeled. 

That's all for now.

Happy Riding!

14 October, 2021

New Crazy Bars Have Arrived!

by Igor

That's right! The Crazy Bars are in stock and ready to go out. Full disclosure, we get emails about these daily so we expect them to go fast.

If this is your first time hearing about this new version, here's the details:

Starting off, the bars have been widened to 780mm and the sweep has been reduced to a comfortable 35 degrees. This combo creates the perfect balance of leverage for out of the saddle climbs and natural wrist positioning for regular riding. Additionally, there is more room on the grip area for varied grip lengths and brake/shifter compatibility.

Accordingly, the horns have also been shortened to 110mm, but still retain the ability to mount bar end shifters. This allows significantly easier access to all of the positions without having to reach to the extremes of the bars.

We also introduced a bit of rise to the bars, 40mm. They're touring bars, so you deserve some rise.

They're MTB tested and will be available in bead-blasted silver and Noir finishes.

We do have a horn-less Seine Bar version, too! More will be here in December.

We also restocked on a bunch of other items:

07 October, 2021

Low Kickers and More Back in Stock

by Igor

Low Kickers have been a very popular frame offering and we've seen them built up in so many different styles ranging from commuter to gravelleur to tourer and everything in between. Well, they're back in stock and ready to go out!

If you're interested in build ideas for the LK (or for any other VO frame in general) check out our build ideas page.

We also got a restock of several parts and accessories you've been patiently waiting on. A lot of these items will go fast, so don't snooze on them! Highlights include:
Next gen Crazy Bars are state-side and we should be seeing them early to middle of next week.

22 September, 2021

Disc Brakes 101

by Scott

Disc brakes have really made major inroads into road cycling since they were first introduced about 15 years ago. Where once the idea of a road bike using disc brakes was laughable, we've now reached the point where a large percentage of road bikes come with disc brakes. We'd done a blog post about the pro/cons of disc brakes awhile back, so we're not here to rehash an old argument, but rather try to explain what you need to get in terms of brakes and bits if you want to build up a new bike that takes disc brakes.

Let's start with the mounting style of the brake caliper. This is the key to buying the right parts for your bike. There are three main styles you'll read about: IS, Post, and Flat mount. In your bike's description, it should state what sort of disc brake system the frame and fork uses.

Frame and Fork Mounts

  • IS mount uses an unthreaded tab welded to the frame or fork. "IS brakes" do not exist anymore. The Polyvalent and Piolet use IS mounts. What you need to buy is a post-mount brake and an IS adaptor for your rotor size. Generally speaking, when you choose the rotor, use the adapter the company who makes the rotor suggests. 
  • Post mounts are welded tabs that have internal threading. The brake screws right into the mount in the frame. You get adaptors to account for the size of the rotor. These were designed for mountain bikes, so you can get adapters to work with rotors from 160 mm to 203 mm. Our Neutrino mini velo uses this system for the rear brake and an IS for the front.
  • Flat mount is flush/flat with the chain stay or fork. It was designed for road and gravel bikes but is making its way into MTB. Typical rotor sizes are either 140 and 160 mm. Our Pass Hunter has flat mount brakes.

Moving on to Calipers...

There are generally two styles of caliper. The first is single piston, where one side moves the brake pad and pushes the rotor against the other pad on the opposite side of the caliper. The other is dual piston where a single arm actuates pistons on both sides of the rotor (more like your car's brakes). Either is fine, but we prefer to use dual piston for more consistent wear and performance of brake pads and rotors.

There are several types of actuation among disc brakes. Perhaps the most common are mechanical, cable-actuated calipers. These are nice for swapping cockpits and brake components. Alternatively, you can also get hydraulic brake calipers. These offer greater stopping power and better modulation, though you generally can't mix and match components from different companies, or even series from the same company. There are also more specialized tools for installation since you're dealing with hydraulic fluid. The third type is a cable actuated brake with a hydraulic reservoir. This type of brake offers the benefit of being able to mix and match calipers and brake levers, while also offering greater stopping power and modulation than a standard mechanical caliper. Simply put:
  • Cable actuated: easy to install and service, able to mix and match, good braking
  • Hydraulic actuated: harder to install and service since you need specialized tools, essentially no ability to mix and match, superior performance and modulation
  • Cable actuated with hydraulic reservoir: easy to install and service, able to mix and match, great braking, though more bulky than the other options because of the added reservoir

And Rotors...

The rotor is the actual disc that the brake caliper pinches to allow you to stop. Generally speaking, when choosing rotor size, larger rotor equals better heat removal and better stopping over short/intense braking (MTB) and longer downhill braking. Smaller rotor equals less weight and fewer parts. Generally speaking, the bikes we built fluctuate between 160mm or 180mm depending on the application and bike. The next size up is 203mm, but that is pretty exclusively for MTB and downhill.

Rotors come in two mounting styles - 6 bolt (on left) or center lock (on right). 6 bolt is the style we use on our hubs. The big advantage to 6 bolt is that you can easily remove the rotor if you are packing the bike up or need to replace the rotor out in the wilds of Iceland's interior, using only a T25 Torx head wrench.

The center lock system, which is primarily used and licensed by Shimano, uses a center spline with a lock ring to keep the rotor in place. You need a cassette lockring tool plus a good size wrench to get it off. This is nice for installation but is a pain for traveling.

Finally Adaptors...

So let's look at a fork to get an idea of the parts needed for it. This fork uses IS mounts, so we went with a set of Post mount TRP Spyres and the mounts for a 160 mm rotor. Notice that the fork mount is unthreaded, and the adaptor is threaded in two directions: left and right to attach the caliper to the fork mount, and front and back to attach the caliper to the adaptor.

Flat mount is a little different. For the frame, you need bolts that pass through the frame and screw into the caliper. Depending on the frame design, you may not need any shims for a 140mm rotor. For a 160mm rotor, you'll very likely need one. For the front, it also screws directly into the fork and uses a special mount. Some brake sets come with all of the hardware and others don't come with any (and you have to buy a la cart). 

Post mount is the easiest as the caliper screws directly into the frame or fork mount. You should only need shims to accommodate the rotor size.

So, those are the basics of disc brakes! You're welcome to debate the pros and cons of each style of brake mount in the comments or tell us what sort of set up you've used on your disc brake bike build.