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The Velo ORANGE Blog

A blog about bicycles, cyclo-touring, and a little company

Updated: 2017-12-16T23:01:14.714-05:00


Bike Build Ideas: Winter Road Bike


by IgorNow that we've had our first snowfall of the year, I'm seeing an influx of social media posts showing riders dragging their winter bike out of the shed/garage/stack of other bikes.Thermos', great for keeping coffee hot as well as bikes uprightWhile winter bikes are frequently under-appreciated, each part and accessory is chosen and built with under-appreciation in mind. That is, if your chain gets rusty from the salt and sand mixture on the road, it isn't a big deal - just get another cheap one and ride the bike. Tire shredded from debris after a big melt? There's another hanging in the shed, aging. So what if the color doesn't match?The biggest difference between a winter bike and a not-winter bike is the meticulous curation of components and accessories to give you maximum enjoyment without breaking the bank with upkeep.First, make sure your steel frame (do they make other kinds?) is frame-saver'd. Our frames are prepped out of the factory, but if you have an older frame and fork, or don't know if it has been done, it's worth the afternoon and do it before building it up.Sometimes you just need a reminderMost obviously: fenders. Full coverage fenders are a must-have for winter and the rain. They'll keep you, your drivetrain, and, more importantly, your riding buddies clean and happy. If you've ever ridden behind someone without fenders during a rainstorm, you know what I mean. No one likes road grime to the face. I've selected the 700c Facetted Fenders for this build - they're a favorite of mine. I've also added a low-hanging mudflap on the front to protect my feet against stray washouts.I've selected a few components that are cheap, plentiful, and have been serving me well for years. They come with the added benefit of cheap chains and cassettes, so I don't feel bad dropping a few dozens of dollars on a basic Shimano 10 speed cassette and KMC chain.To stop in the slop, disc brakes are a must. You'll never worry about frozen pads and rims like on rim brakes and disc pads only get more bite when they've got road junk in them. These cable actuated Spyres are really good. Hydros are better, but I'm not really into messing with hydraulic brakes.As the sun gets lazier and the days get shorter, lighting is even more important. Winter bikes need to have integrated lighting, at least in the front. I have a cheap and surprisingly not bad light up front matched to a Shutter Precision disc hub. For the rear, I have a bunch of reflective gear and a very bright blinking light with extra batteries in the saddle bag.Truthfully, I'd be happy to ride this on a warm Spring day or on a blustery December morning like today, so I don't really know if it is a true "winter bike". I think it's simply a great road-ridin' bike to just hop on and explore backroad twistys and climb some hills regardless of the weather.Do you really need to have a winter specific bike? What makes it special for you?---------------------------------------P.S. There are only a few days left in our 20% off Winter Sale![...]

Dirt Drops - a Setup Guide


By ScottI've long been a fan of dirt drop style handlebars. My buddy Kevin and I were typical mountain bike riders of the early 90's in BC. Our bikes had super narrow flat bars to enable us to ride between trees on the narrow single track trails of the area. A bike shop owner in Whistler, who had all the cool parts from the US that we'd only seen in magazines, convinced us to try drop bars. The bars were a hoot to use. On flowy single track, they felt more precise than traditional flat bars. The dirt drops also gave my bike an unconventional look, that helped it stand out in a sea of bikes in BC.  I don't think we saw anyone else with them in years of riding in BC and the western US. I used them on my Brodie  for off road riding, commuting, and touring for over a dozen years.An original set of WTB off road drop bars circa 1987(?)Fast forward to now and you'll see a proliferation of drop bars with flare being used for all sorts of bike builds. So you've seen them on builds on sites like The Radavist or Cycle Exif and you've gone and bought a set of bars. Now, how do you set these up? Well, let's work on that shall we.A brifter shifting set upThe basic tenant of using dirt drops is that unlike traditional drop bars, you want the brake hoods to be at least the same height as the saddle, preferably higher. The idea is that you can ride with your hands on the hoods for comfort and you can get into the drops for "rough stuff" and still maintain control. You'll see that many dirt drop bars have a fair amount of flare, compared to road drop bars, and this extra leverage gives you more control in those situations where finesse is needed- threading the needle on single track trails or trying to get through a mud pit on a remote gravel road in western PA.Getting your bars up high is key to taking advantage of dirt drop barsSo you should look at your current cockpit set up. If you are running a threadless set up, you might need to get a new stem. Something like the Cigne stem would help to move your new drop bars up into a higher position. If you are running a threaded headset, using a Cigne adaptor lets you use the Cigne stem or you could use a removeable face plate quill stem to move the bars up higher.What else to think of when switching to dirt drops? Shifters would be the other thing. You can set up shifting in three different ways. You can use traditional bar end shifters. The Dia Compe ones we sell work great for up to a 9 speed set up. You can do with "brifters" like Igor did on his Piolet build. Or you could be more unique and go with the thumb shifter mounts and put them up by the handlebar clamp area and shift with your thumbs on the flat section of the drop bars.What's your set up with dirt drop bars? Let us know in the comments.[...]

New Tires and Grips Replenished


By Scott

In spite of it being close to the end of the year, new stuff keeps arriving here at VO HQ.  This time it's a new size of the popular Fairweather Cruise tires - now in a 650b x 42 mm size. These tires use the same tread design as the other Cruise tires (the traditional Pasela PT tread) and Fairweather's more supple casing. We brought in the Brown tread and the Cream tread, both with a traditional tan side wall.

Measuring them on a Diagonale Rim, with 40 psi and at 150 feet of elevation, they measure a pretty spot on 42mm. Fairweather has hit a home run with their Cruise line. They provide a comfortable ride, nice grip on the rough stuff, and long life - what more could you want? Weight wise, they weigh 474 gr.

Also arriving yesterday was a restock of our very popular Rustines Constructeur Grips in Gum. These grips have proven to be the most popular color of the variations we offer. It might be the subtlety of them that allows them to work well with almost any color scheme you might have going on.

See they even work with this wild color scheme

Polyvalent and Piolet Pre-Sales are Live


The pre-sales for the Polyvalent and Piolet are up! While the retail price of both framesets is $725, the pre-sale price is $675.

Here is the fine print for the offer:
  • Frame and fork in Deep Emerald Green for Polyvalent and Poppin' Purple for Piolet
  • Pre-sale cannot be combined with any additional promotions or discounts
  • Early April 2018 arrival
  • Pre-sale concludes January 15th, 2018
  • Shipping fees for orders outside the contiguous 48 states will be quoted and billed separately at time of shipping.

In order to keep pre-sales nice and tidy, one thing we'd request is if you're placing an order for other items now, please place one order for the frameset, and another for everything else. All other products will be shipped immediately.

Can't wait to see how you all build them up!

A Bike Nicknamed Lilac and Upcoming Pre-Sale Details


by IgorWhen we get in prototypes of frames, each size is a different color. We often get tube samples of paint we like, but seeing a whole frame and fork really lets us envision how the rest of the bike will flow.Sometimes a color we thought to be perfect, isn't, and sometimes a color we select as an off-the-wall trial is perfect (Poppin' Purple Piolet).This bike we've nicknamed Lilac is a Polyvalent prototype that turned out to be just lovely with polished silver components.The paint isn't something you'd commonly see on a stock bike, but it's fun to see what happens when you don't have limitations on your color palettes. We'll put this one in our collective back pocket for later.The components are all taken off the last Polyvalent we took on tour to Eurobike, with the addition of the Rando Handlebar Bag and Day-Tripper Saddle Bag - which have been marvelous.On a side note, since we have had such an overwhelmingly positive response to, and demand for, the Polyvalent and Piolets, we will be doing a pre-order for all frame sizes starting Monday, December 4th. Retail price for both the Polyvalent and Piolet will be $725, but those participating in the pre-sale will be able to get a frameset for $675. Deep Emerald Green and Poppin' Purple are the production colors, respectively. We're looking at early-April delivery.Pre-sale closing is still TBD, but it will be generous, and we'll give notice of its conclusion. [...]

20% Off Winter Sale


We're having a sale!

Starting today and going through December 15th, get 20% off the entire VO store. That includes in-stock frames, wheels, components, accessories - everything except gift certificates.

All you have to do is use the not-so-secret coupon code: Orange17. Here's how to get the deal:
  • When your cart is ready, click "Checkout".

  • Enter the discount code Orange17 and click apply.

  • Confirm the code has been applied, and finish checking out!

Happy Riding!

Closed Over Thanksgiving


by Igor

We'll be closed on November 23rd and re-open on November 27th to give our hardworking staff some time off to spend with their families and get in some long bike rides over the Thanksgiving holiday.

If you need an order shipped today, please place it before 3pm EST 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!

Ps. We just got in these nifty Opinel No.8 Cyclist Knives! Stainless steel blade and classic Opinel design.

Update on Luggage


by IgorFor those who were able to make it to Philly Bike Expo, you were able to have a hands-on look at the upcoming luggage we've been working on in collaboration with our good friends over at Road Runner Bags in Los Angeles. It's a line that is intended to be durable, reliable, and straddles the line between traditional and contemporary. All of the following bag options should be here in the time for Spring riding, so stay tuned for any updates!Randonneur Handlebar BagThe Randonneur Handlebar Bag has a familiar shape and function, but has a bunch of modern design cues and construction techniques to launch it into this century.In addition to the beautiful Cordura outside, the inside has an exceptionally durable and waterproof hi-vis truck-tarp liner - no more losing your wallet in a black hole.The pockets are modular and use high-quality velcro straps so they can be mounted to the sides of the bag or facing the rider. Mix and match the pocket positions to dial in your riding preference!The Cell Phone Pockets are sized to fit larger, modern smart phones. It gobbles up the iPhone 7s Plus (5.5" screen) with ease.The Snapper Sack fits small point and shoot cameras, lenses, or anything else that might fit such as a waterbottle, soda, or 750ml wine bottle.Both of these pockets can be mounted to your backpack's straps as well!The bag is grommeted so that it easily works with our Integrated Decaleur system. No need to use a drill or soldering iron to install the bag mount.Pricing will be $185 for the main bag, $30 for the Cell Pockets, and $45 for the Snapper Sack.Day-Tripper Saddle BagOur Day-Tripper Saddle Bag is the perfect mate for an all-day ride. So pack up an extra layer, tools, mini-pump, camera, and film.It uses a rip-stop nylon roll-top with a buckle for expandability and security. A simple flap holds everything snug as a bug in a rug.There is Mega-Grip under the saddle rails and around the seatpost strap to keep everything in place for out-of-the-saddle efforts. The side pocket is sized for a minipump and also has Mega-Grip to keep it secure.Pricing will be $95.Transporteur BagIt's so simple. The main cavity uses seam-sealed rip-stop nylon and is waterproof. While the bottom is flat and sturdy, the overall construction is not rigid so it can be compressed down or expanded easily depending on the load you're carrying.There is also a small, forward facing boxed-out organizer pocket for your smaller stuff.It fits on our Porteur Rack as well as the Wald 1372 Basket.Pricing will be $125.All of the bags will be available in Burgundy, Navy, Black, and Teal. We're really excited to bring in this cohesive line of bags that we designed to meet the functional needs of riders, while still looking great. A blend of form,  function, and some pretty sweet colors. [...]

Beaujolais Nouveau 2017 Review


By ScottNovember is an interesting time of year. Here in the northern hemisphere, it is the real start to winter in a lot of locations. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the beginning of spring in many latitudes.  Here at VO HQ, or at least my corner of it, November is a bit of a let down. October has warm days, cool nights, the celebrations of anniversaries, birthdays and Thanksgiving in Canada. November's increasing darkness and colder weather brings a reminder that the year is close to an end and that the rush of the holidays is almost upon us. But in the midst of that, there are certainly many things to celebrate.Thanksgiving (The US one) is coming up in about a week and I love getting together with friends to converse, eat, and enjoy their company.  The week prior to it is the release of Beaujolais Nouveau - the youngest of the French wines, that are released at on the third Thursday of November. These are wines that have only been bottled for 6-8 weeks, so the Gamay grapes that are typically used, have little tanin and a very fruity flavor to them. Perfect for those of us who aren't the biggest wine drinkers.Here at VO, the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau has always been treated as a great excuse for the staff to relax and taste test that year's vintage. None of us are great wine drinkers, so this is always a great contest to see who could sound the most, ahem, "wine critic-y" of all. Talk of fruitiness, of the taste of plums and such waft around the office here as we taste these wines that, at most, come out to $10 a bottle.We tried Pierre-Marie Chermette vineyard this year.  This vineyard has a different take on it's grapes, using older ones for the Beaujolais then most vineyards do. The result is a wine that was more robust then other varieties that we had previously tried.  It has a dry finish, but good legs. Igor could taste some plums with an air of strawberries. Will thought that it was "very aromatic." Derek's comment at the end of the tasting was that he was "a fan", of this vintage.Wine might not be to every one's fancy, but certainly it is a reason to stop, smell the cork as it were and relax with friends.P.S. Just a reminder to shops: with our updated site, you need to create an account on the new site using the same email address used to log into the web site previously. This will tie the new account to the old one. After you have created a new account on the site, you'll get an email confirming the account. Just follow the instructions and you'll be good to go.Any questions, please contact us by email:[...]

A Blurb on Bar Ends


by Igor End shifters lend themselves well to ease of access for folks riding in the city or self-sufficient applications such as randonneuring and touring where simplicity and durability is paramount.For city riders, bending to reach your downtube shifters can be a distraction from traffic ahead or is simply inconvenient. One of the first things to go in a road bike turned townie conversion is the drop bars in favor for a more upright position. This allows you to get a better view of traffic ahead, to have a quicker reaction time as the conditions change. tourers and randonneurs, bar ends are incredibly popular for their ease of maintenance and cross compatibility. When stripped of frills and indexing, bar ends simply pull and hold cable tension to move front and rear derailleurs around. Although less common in newer offerings, many indexed bar ends feature a friction mode if indexing goes out of whack. Additionally, you can cross pollinate component groups to really dial in what you want out of your bike's gearing and performance.Most handlebars compatible with bar end shifters have an outside diameter of 23.8mm, and an inner diameter between 19 and 21mm. There are a few handlebars such as the Klunker which have a 22.2mm grip area and take bar ends, but these are more uncommon.While the lion's share of drop handlebars accept bar end shifters, the proliferation of carbon construction means you should consult the handlebar's manufacturer before installation - lest you crack a handlebar.Installation of a bar end shifter is easy. Similar to a quill stem, the bar end body expands within the handlebar's end. Just remember that turning the bolt counter-clockwise expands! If you try to install it by turning clockwise, all of the expanding pieces will fall into the handlebar and you'll have to fish them out.Our more popular handlebar styles for city bike conversions are the Left Bank and Porteur Bars. The former gives a super upright posture with a very classic city bike appearance, while the latter gives a bit more of a racy stance with the bars flipped down and a moderate rise with them flipped up.All of our drop handlebar offerings are bar end compatible including the Dajia Far Bars, which have become a hit with the mixed terrain crowd.Cotton Handlebar Tape is the easiest option for wrapping your bars. For upright bars, it is typical to wrap as much as you'd like to suit your padding preference, then finish off with tape or twine. I prefer using Rustines Constructeur Grips and modifying them a bit (scroll down on the post) to work with bar ends as they have more cushion than cotton tape.Happy riding![...]

The Velo Orange Website Has a New Look


by IgorThose logging into our webstore today were welcomed with a new Velo Orange website. It's now more easily navigated and mobile optimized. This transition has been something we've been working very hard on and we hope you like it.With shopping and research going mobile, we also needed to have a mobile optimized website to allow our customers to access VO from any device they want. Be sure to check out some of the new features of the website: zooming in on product images, pop-out quick view, and an improved dealer locator.This new platform will allow us to manage the website with much greater ease, allowing us more time to focus on the things that makes VO tick: product development and audience connection.So here is what we are requesting of you: please go to our website and create an account using the email you used to login to our previous webstore. If you are having trouble accessing the new website, you may need to clear your browser's cache and cookies.This will tie your old account to your new one, and allow you to see your previous orders as well as adjust any shipping/billing information you may need to change since you last logged in. You'll receive an email confirming your login information - simply follow the directions provided.Domestic shipping has stayed the same, with a free shipping option for domestic retail orders over $150. You must use the code 150SHIP to get the deal. Find the fine print here.For domestic wholesale orders over $400, you will get an option for free shipping - no coupon code needed.International shipping has been simplified! Rather than quoting every international order that comes through, we have put a table rate into place for orders under $300. With shipping charges assessed at checkout, processing times with be cut down considerably. If time is of the essence and you need your VO bits stat, just send us an email at and note in the comments section of your order that you would like a quote for your shipping options.Any orders over $300 USD will receive a shipping quote by default, as these larger orders tend to be too variable for a table rate.We want your experience to be enjoyable and easy, so please, if you find any issues or want to give us any feedback as you peruse the new website, drop us a line.Happy riding![...]

Planes, Trains, and Polyvalents


by IgorAdrian and I will be taking two Polyvalent prototypes on a two week long European tour. Our tentative schedule is to ride through through Switzerland, Liechtenstein, a tiny bit of Austria, Southern Germany, and end in Friedrichshafen before heading back to Zurich. Not only is Friedrichshafen known for its vicinity to the beautiful Lake Constance and extensive Zeppelin history, it is also the location of Eurobike - the biggest mainstream industry show in Europe.Traditionally, the entirety of Eurobike, just like Interbike and Taipei Bike Expo, was an industry-only show. Meaning only shops, distributors, manufacturers, etc were allowed in. In recent years, all three of the big shows have opened up their doors for one of the four days to the general public. So if you have an opportunity to go, you should spend the day nerding out at the latest tech and weirdness these types of expos have to offer. In addition to seeing new and upcoming products from all corners of the cycling world, we'll have an opportunity to visit with several of VO's European wholesale and distributor partners.Enough about the show, let's talk bikes. This is Adrian's 51cm Polyvalent. We transferred many of the components from her Campeur onto this bike, and her Campeur will morph into a Porteur Townie.For gearing, she's using our 50.4 bcd Crankset paired with an 11-32 9 speed cassette for low gears to get over those long climbs through the Alps going into and out of Lucerne.Shifty bits are standard issue Shimano Bar-ends, Shimano Tiagra dangler, and Shimano 105 pusher.Brakes are Avid BB7 Road with 160mm rotors being pulled by SRAM Brake Levers. Readers will have their opinions about disc brakes, but simply put, they work really well.Handlebars are Dajia Cycleworks Short and Shallows with a 26.0, 17 deg threadless stem and adaptor.The Campeur Rack out front will carry a pair of Ortlieb Panniers and a handlebar bag. They are mounted inside the fork blades with the rack's included hardware.My 57cm Polyvalent is a carefully curated mismatch of components and accessories. Campagnolo 10 speed integrated shifters (I dare not say the b-word), 50.4 bcd Crankset, Campagnolo Veloce Rear Derailleur, and Shimano Dura-Ace 8 speed Front Derailleur. It works pretty darn well.The brakes are cable actuated Shimano non-series brakes with 160mm rotors. They're cheap, easy to install, and work great.The bars are prototypes for a modern all-rounder drop bar that have quickly become my new favorite. Reach with integrated shifters is of goldilocks proportions - not too long, not too short. The drops are easy to reach without too much stretching (on the final product, the drops will be rounder and not so ergo). They have a bit of backsweep for a more natural position while on the tops. Speaking of tops, they are ovalized to give a flatter, larger section with more real estate to move around on. I think these will be great for touring, off road riding, randonneuring, and heck, even racing. All. Rounder.No apologies for the tape ends, it's wabi-sabiThe mount is also a prototype - you can use one or both barrels for mounting your computer, light, travel chia pet, solar-powered dancing whatever, etc. We can always use some extra dashboard space.These fenders have been a long time coming. They have the wavy pattern of the classic Lefol fenders that were popular on Constructeur bikes of the era. They're wide, lightweight, and swallow up 650bx47mm tires easily. The pattern needs a bit of work to be perfect, but they're getting there. You'll notice that they're satin rather than our MO of high polished. We found that the wave pattern is much more noticeable and beautiful in the satin style. The next sample will have deeper indentations, but is otherwise nearly ready to go into product[...]

And We're Back From PBE 2017


by IgorPhilly Bike Expo is always so much fun. In addition to showing our own new products, it gives us an opportunity to nerd-out with friends, builders, and attendees. It's a pleasure to walk the floor and see where the industry, even within our niche, is headed. I welcomed the sight of all of the gravel-style bikes with big clearances and room for fenders and racks, something I think is good for the industry as a whole. Each builder's attention to detail and the finish is truly astounding. Check out these favorites of mine at the Expo.Hollingsworth SportifDrillium!Beautiful assortment of hand-cut lugs from HollingsworthNice paint flow on this BishopOversized bi-lan Represent!Devil in the detailsGroovy Dirt Drop Winter PorteurWith our Porteur BarsCycles EdEd's No Bull Fat Trike with a ton of tricksRookey all the way from South Korea!Johnny Coast seat clusterNice custom front derailleur mount!Gallus Randonneur with clean internal wiring. I've always wanted a pink bike.Pedalino Star Trek bike!Another great year in Philly! Keep an eye out for our upcoming post on new Velo Orange products we displayed at PBE, with specs and release dates![...]

Philly Bike Expo 2017


By ScottThe Philly Bike Expo is coming up quickly. It's the weekend of Nov 4/5th and you can find all the details about entry costs and hours of operation on their website.We'll be there again this year. Our booth # is 1049 and 1050. We'll have prototypes of the 2018 Piolets and Polyvalents as well as samples of some new handlebars, bags, and examples of our Cigne and Removable Faceplate Quill Stems that folks can look at up close.We always have a great time at the Philly show. The show itself has a great variety of exhibitors and thus gets a wide variety of attendees. There's usually a number of small frame builders at the show and it's always interesting to see the bikes that they put together for the show.See you in Philly this weekend![...]

Piolet Prototype Updates


by ClintWe just received our final round of prototypes for the Piolet mkII and they look great! We made them 69% shreddier without taking away any of their original touring capability.  As of now, they're set to be released in the Spring along with the new Polyvalents.Geometry updates! We've slackened and stretched a few tubes to tweak handling and dial in fit. Flat bar builds have been pretty popular for this frame so we've adjusted accordingly. Top tubes are slightly longer and slightly steeper. This lets you size up if you want to run flat bars, without running into standover issues. Other than that, chainstays are a little longer on the smaller models, and headtubes are half a degree slacker on the larger models (putting it more in the realm of XC headtube angles vs touring headtube angles). All of these updates have felt great on our test rides!Aesthetic updates! Right off the bat, you'll notice we're switching colors. More discussion on that to follow. If you look closely, we've swapped out the rear dropouts for the hooded model we use on several of our other frames. It's a nice consistent look across our lineup and all use the same durable, replaceable stainless steel derailleur hanger.Hooded rears.Other than that, there are a few small changes to the fork. The most noticeable is the new larger segment plug.  It lines up nicely with the headtube and makes it easier to mount a rack.Stout, Angular.Now for the controversial color options. We're split between Desert Stan and Poppin' Purple.  Desert Stan is nice. Somewhere between sand and tan. Seems to be trendy now. Pairs well with black or silver. It's a pretty neutral color so makes your anodized bits really pop. I dig it!Desert StanBasket compatiblePoppin' Purple is fairly tame as far as purples go. It's quite nice. If you want to spice it up, it's dark enough that bright colors look nice against it without being too crazy, and if you want a more tame touring build, the usual black and silver also look fantastic!  I think this frame color looks amazing with gumwall tires.Not too bright PurpleBut it pops when light hits it!We also just got in these VeloORANGE water bottles. They're a nice alternative to metal bottles for offroad ventures and they hold water really well. Find them here!Hydration Station![...]

Does Weight Matter?


By ScottWith the arrival of the second round of Polyvalent prototypes, one thing we did was weigh each frame as well as the matching fork with it. It's one of those times where you have the frame without anything on it other then the bottle cage bolts that it comes with. It got me thinking about weight and a cyclist's relationship with weight. We are, as the MTB crowd would say, a gravity sport. The effect of gravity is directly related to riding. Ride up a hill and you'd swear that you were in a high gravity zone. Go down a hill and you'd wish that you'd filled up your water bottle to help speed you down the hill.So does weight matter? And further to that, is it frame weight/wheel weight or the total package (the bike and the rider) that makes the difference?A sharper fork, that's for sureNow, I'm not going to insult all of you left reading this with a technical discussion of me going up hills attached to various meters/monitors and displays. I've given up on the cycle computer, and the last statistics course I took was in the 80's, so I'm not going to stifle the situation with numbers that can prove anything they want and often (shockingly) do. What I'm speaking of is more of a feeling/ more Paris-Brest's for Scott :(I bring this up as over the past 6 months, I've lost 21 lbs. A change of diet and more exercise has led to this loss. In rides over the past month with my wife, who has also lost a significant amount of weight, we both found that going up the rolling hills of MD has gotten easier. Now losing this sort of weight means that my overall weight going up the hill is much less. The bikes we ride have not changed at all in terms of weight - same tires/wheels etc on them - but they feel easier to go up the hill.So this all leads to my feeling that the frame and fork alone is only a small part of the overall perception of weight/speed/feel. If I weigh 181 lbs and my bike weighs 31 lbs, my frame is only 14% of the total weight of 212 lbs (I promise this is the only math in this blog post). If I drop 6 lbs off the bike, quite a big feat I'd say, the frame percentage only moves to being 12% of the total weight of 206 lbs. Dropping 21 lbs off my body results in a much larger % change in total weight and thus the greater difference I feel on the bike. Perhaps once my weight is between 165-170 lbs, frame weight will make the bigger difference.Would you ask how much the frame weighs when talking to a custom builder?How much emphasis does frame weight make to you? Is it a starting point when looking at a frame or is it just something you note along with the chain stay length and the BB drop when looking at a frame or bike on line?[...]

Polyvalent Updates and Builds for Philly Bike Expo


by IgorSince we last posted about the Polyvalent, there have been a few tweaks to the frame and fork toolings - all of which allows for better geometry, handling, and clearances. Going forward, the hardest part is choosing the frame color.The rear chainstays now have elegant S-bends to engulf big rubber and fenders. The dimpling allows the use of low-Q cranks like our 50.4 (149mm of tread) without the need for bottom bracket spacers. Though the frame is designed around a 650b tire, it clears a 26 x 2.3" tire with ease. 26 x 2.25 knobbies are no problem for those wanting to go the route untraveled.Previous models had a 31.8mm top tube to provide extra support and stiffness for loads which made the ride a wee bit harsh. For this iteration, we've ovalized the top tube for stiffness and compliance in all the right places. Additionally, shouldering the bike up stairs or over obstacles is not uncomfortable. I don't bring a clipboard and stopwatch with me on rides but the ol' butt-dyno says it climbs nicely with a load in the front or rear, and equally well unburdened.The fork is a completely custom, segmented design that allows us to create the ride characteristics we want without sacrificing the strength or durability the inclusion of disc brakes requires. The result is a comfortable ride, utility in droves, and an exceptional presentation from all angles.The blades have a circular profile and are double-butted. There are triple braze-ons with diamond reinforcements with the lowest one doubling as a low-rider rack mount. There is also a forward facing hourglass eyelet to which the Randonneur or Campeur Racks mount. The dropouts have a single brazed-on eyelet underneath for fender mounting and an hourglass eyelet on top for a rack.I can't think of a better way to blend traditional and contemporary design and styling than this 51cm Randonneur.The paintjob has a light, red metallic flake clearcoat over a white pearlescent paint. From afar, the bike looks white, but upon close inspection the mingling of pearl and red flakes makes a lustrous depth to the paint.I really like the design of these new decals. They have an outline of VeloORANGE, rather than our regular filled-in variant, so the paint shows through. What do you think?We have also been teasing a drop handlebar with moderate flair, an ovalized top section, slight backsweep, and 31.8mm clamp diameter we're calling the Nouveau Rando Handlebar. It has instantly become a favorite of mine and will go into production soon.This 54cm Polyvalent in Porteur mode has a Deep Metallic Emerald Green paintjob. It does a fantastic job of making all of the braze-ons and details pop while still keeping composure.I really like the component combination on this one - Suntour Sprint rear derailleur, FSA circa 2007 front derailleur, Drillium Crankset, and Falcon Thumbies to make it all work.This bike is also sporting a proto handlebar: the Curvy One Bar. It's a handlebar which looks right on just about any build. It's​ great for city and touring bikes, and it's mountain rated for offroad roughing.We'll also have a Curvy Too bar that has a bit of rise and backsweep for a more upright position.Both of these bikes will be on display at the upcoming Philly Bike Expo, so be sure to mark your calendars.----------------------------------------------------------------If you haven't, sign up for our Bulletin. We'll never spam - we simply send an email once every few weeks or so with general VO goings-on:[...]

Wheels, Rustines, and Bullmoose Restock


By ScottWe just got in some grippy bits, some rolly hoozits, and some fancy bars - Rustines, complete wheels, and Fairweather Bullmoose bars. The last couple of days has seen a variety of product land here at VO HQ, and we love it.We got a resupply of wheels on Wednesday - more fixed wheel sets, 126 mm rear wheels, and Diagonale 700C wheels are back in stock.Supplementary inventory of Rustines product arrived Thursday. The perennially popular Campy Gum Hoods are back in stock. We've been told by many customers that the Campy Hoods also work well for Modolo levers.Derek checking Rustines An addition to their line up this month is constructeur bar plugs in yellow.                                              Finally, the long awaited return of Fairweather Bullmoose bars, both Silver and Black, rounded out a busy week for our receiving department.We also got a sample of a Rustines "FUBAR" Cap. We think the black is pretty sharp, what do you think?[...]

French Fender Day


by IgorThis past weekend, Adrian and I traveled up to Connecticut to check out one of our favorite events of the year: French Fender Day. It's an intimate event full of passionate cyclists, collectors, great potluck food, New England Autumn rides, and lots of beautiful bikes.Each bike on display had to be in the traditional French style - randonneuse, porteur, city bike, etc... Some of these bikes were collection pieces to be preserved, but most were daily riders and tourers, just as these bikes were intended to be from their construction.Rob traveled all the way from The Netherlands with his Alcyon tourer.Peter's work is always a joy to behold in person. Exceptional lines and perfect integration. EmbellishmentsEven though it isn't French, this Raleigh was a favorite of mine. It's a bike that doesn't ask anything of you other than to be ridden. Peter commented that the Rustines grips on the drops are "like 650b for your hands!" It was spritely!This Dujardine was just a lovely randonneuse.Only his second frame, this Shu-Sin touring bike shows tremendous patience and clean craftmanship. It features lots of rinko accessories including custom racks.René Herse Demountable Porteur with a proper leather chaincase.Just before lunch, rides were had through New England's back roads. The changing of leaves and good company made for a wonderful time.Adrian and the Nutmeg gangA wild sorcerer appears!VO fenders were fitted on a multitude of bikes. Many of them sported customizations including shaping of the fender ends, custom hardware, and dynamo lighting integration.What kind of Francophile gathering would it be without cheese?When one fender mount isn't enough.Large format - What better way to capture such a classy day?This was a pretty clever use of a fender stay as a bag support. I think I may try something like this on my Polyvalent to support a dry bag.Always in the big ringWayne's hot pink Weigle was clearly the fastest of the bunch.Loved this randonneur by Mitch Pryor. Super clean bi-lam construction and lovely box-lining.As the day wound down, we were greeted with a magical golden hour. This Rene Herse tandem was beautifully bathed in the natural colors of New England.You can see the rest of the album at full resolution here:[...]

Cycling Inspiration


By ScottInspiration - defined as the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially something creative.  Seeing other people's photos or stories for instance, can cause perfectly sane people to buy a van, pack it up, and head out for the open road with no end date in mind.  It's the reason I think Instagram is so popular. There's lots of photos that you can admire, and ones that inspire us to action.I read a lot of books by UK cycling/travel writers in the 80's and 90's. There wasn't a lot (probably still isn't) of translated cycling books in English from German or French that I could find in the book stores of Vancouver.  Need for the Bike or The Rider were the only two books that were easily found in those days.(A mix of old and new influences)So my influences were largely UK riders - folks with transverse saddle bags and no front loads. Stopping to brew tea on a ride was normal for them. When I look at the bikes I've owned over the years, their style has prevailed (Clint says my bikes all look the same). I love the "all arounder" look of older British bikes, the Woodrup's and Carlton frames. They were bikes that took fenders, racks and could explore the countryside all while having wide enough tires to go on tow paths. Maybe this is one of the reasons the Polyvalent seems to be so much on my radar right now.(Photo from The Crunch of Gravel cover)Sometimes you find out that your inspirational look doesn't work out in your life. I had a transverse saddle bag for a few years and discovered the weight of it empty was more then my wife's trunk bag with a 600K worth of stuff in it. I installed non-aero brake levers on my Piolet. I was trying to copy a look I had seen of a touring bike in the French alps, which had non aero levers. I realized after a few rides, that I didn't like the cables out in front like that and am now swapping the levers for aero ones. Not everything works out the way we want/wish it to, I suppose.Bunyan Velo has been doing a fine job of keeping inspiration up for a lot of folks in the four years Lucas has been publishing it. A new issue hits the internet today. We're proud to be a supporter of his efforts to help inspire others to get out for a ride.Do you have a cycling hero or inspiration? How does it manifest in your cycling life? Do you emulate their bike, their style of riding, or in some other manner?[...]

Fall Riding


By ScottAt the risk of being pummeled by the Internet, I'll come out and say that Fall is the best season. I think this is a very different declaration from saying green is the best color or that silver is the best color for a handlebar. (Green as a color has a huge scope, so it can go with anything, and silver is the original and best color for bars - just for what it's worth.)Fall here is very different from where I grew up. I lived out in the west coast for almost all of my life. We moved here about 8 years back and fall has only increased in it's magnitude while living here.The view of the corn fields after the crop has been taken inThere's the sense of calm that comes over the Mid Atlantic when that first cold front of air comes down from Canada in September. It's a bit late this year, but still, I know that I can open up the windows and not have the sticky feeling of humidity enter into the house, but rather a cool, dry breeze that reminds me of trips to lakes up north and the cool breeze of an evening ride, trying to get home before it gets really dark.I love the seasons here in the Mid Atlantic. There are four distinct ones here. Winter isn't that long most years and rarely very severe compared to other part of North America. Fall seems to last just long enough and I've usually got enough strength built up from riding in the summer that fall becomes easier.The trees are in the midst of starting to drop their leaves/change their colors here. It's been dry here this summer, so that affects the timing I think.Fall is a busy time of year. My wedding anniversary is in October, as is my wife's birthday, so lots of celebrations at the beginning and end of the month. The coffeneuring challenge starts in October and that always brings about a challenge to find new places to ride to enjoy a beverage. Throw in the Philly Bike Expo at the start of November, and all the work to get the booth created and gosh, before you know it, we're getting close to Thanksgiving.Do you agree that Fall is the best time to ride? Or is there another season that tops it for you?[...]

'Tis the Season...For Fenders


by Igor*cue sad puppy music* We've all seen it. Skunk tail. Mud butt. Rooster tail. Face speckles. These are all symptoms of those without fenders riding on wet roads. Thankfully, there is an answer.This poor soul at Eurobike didn't have fenders*cue cheerful music* In addition to a beautiful adornment for your bike, Velo Orange fenders have a full coverage design which means that you and your bike's drivetrain will stay clean of road muck and grime. Both front and rear fenders have full wrap around the width of your tires to eliminate spray in all directions.Snakeskin is a personal favorite of mineOur available offerings fit lots of commonly available wheel and tire combinations. We suggest having a difference of at least 10mm between your tire size and the fender's width. For example, if you're trying to cover a 650bx42mm tire, get the 52mm Zeppelin. If you're running a 700cx28mm tire, select one of our 45mm options: Smooth, Stainless, Hammered, Noir Hammered, or Facetted.A spot of rain on Inis Oirr, IrelandWinter is coming so enjoy those warm, summer rains while you can.[...]

Paper or Plastic?


By ScottTub of memoriesI've been doing some cleaning at home and I found a tub of randonneuring pins/medals from my rides in Canada and Australia (the US organizers generally charged for them, so being cheap/frugal to a fault, I don't have many US medals). I was thinking back to the rides that I did and the changes to the sport and technology since I started riding brevets back in 2003. I think the biggest change, bigger than tire size and frame material, is how we navigate around.The old wayAt the start of the BC randonneurs rides, we would get a control card, a cue sheet, and a ziplock bag to put it in. They would post the cue sheets to the club website a week or so beforehand in case you wanted to print them in a different format or size than what came standard. I'd use the supplied cues, sometimes substituting a thick freezer ziplock if spring was to be exceptionally wet.At the successful completion of the ride, you'd get a pin from the organizer. In BC, we had a different pin design every year and each distance was a different color. We'd joke that we were pin collectors with a cycling problem.Paper cues were all that I used for all my rides in BC for 4 years or so. Towards the end of my time living in BC, I started to see some technologically advanced folks use a GPS on their bars. Cool, but this seemed to have more work involved - creating files, downloading files, battery life - than I was prepared to deal with. Fast forward three years to living in the DC area and it seemed more and more folks had GPS units. Costs had come down and it seemed half the field had little boxes squeaking and beeping at them during a ride to keep them on track. I stuck with my paper cues, still standard issue by the club, as I lacked the money to move up to a GPS unit and still felt slightly intimidated by the technology.The new wayLooking at handlebars of other riders here in Maryland this past weekend, it seems that I am in the minority in terms of how to navigate. Folks are using their cell phones for navigation as well as journaling on Strava. There are systems to allow you to plug your phone and lights into a hub dynamo to keep them fully charged all the time, so the battery issue would appear to be a non-issue. Some events (not randonneuring) are only giving the route in gpx formats, as it is assumed that everyone is using a computer-based navigation system.I still use paper if I need cues for a ride or a trip. Am I using the modern equivalent of carbide lights? All of Igor and Adrian's trips to Europe were navigated using cell phone apps that are available offline like and Google maps. Is this the future and I've missed it or are there folks out there still using maps and paper cue sheets, even if it is a back up to their GPS/cell phone? Let us know in the comments and if it makes you feel better, you can also write us at:Velo Orange1981 Moreland ParkwayBuilding 3Annapolis, MD21401Bonus points if you use a fountain pen.[...]

Canti Post Sizing PSA


By ScottOver the years, "standards" have changed for a lot of things. Wheel spacing for example - we went from 120, to 126, to 130/135 mm.  One of the little known changes relates to cantilever brakes. Over the years, the spacing between the posts has changed and can cause issues with folks trying to restore/upgrade an older bike with newer parts.Canti Pass Hunter with modern spacingThe current standard for the width of the canti spacing is between 77 and 85 mm (centre to centre). On older bikes, (and by this I mean bikes made in the 70's and the 80's) it can be between 55 to 65 mm wide. This is where problems start to happen.1984 Santana Tandem with older, narrow spacingModern canti brakes are designed around the new standard post width. This results in a brake that will sit higher above the post and be thicker then the older brakes. This means you can't use new brakes on older posts.What can be done? Well not much unfortunately. As standards change, companies like Shimano and Dia Compe don't stock the classic spacing any more, and it's tough to convince our suppliers to make a small run of brakes that would work with the old standard. So the best that can be done is to use the older brakes, clean up and lubricate the pivot points, update the pads with new pads that have better compounds and use some simichrome to shine them up.[...]

A Four Countries Tour


by IgorNothing could prepare us for the beauty of the countryside, Swiss Alps, and lakefront cities that were going to join us on our journey through Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Austria, and Germany before making our way to Eurobike.After assembling and loading up the bikes at the Zurich airport, we eagerly set off for Zug. Exploring Zurich would have to wait until our return at the end of the tour.The floaty, wide tires we selected were quickly looking like good decisions right off the bat. We started out by circuitously winding through unpaved and paved trails around downtown Zurich, sometimes while being egged on by bell-clad, grazing sheep.Our first day out, the sun beat down heavily upon us with very high humidity. Luckily, there are lots of fountains with potable water. In Switzerland, fountains are safe to drink from unless it explicitly says "Kein Trinkwasser".Once off the main road, our route became more of the same mix of gravel and paved surfaces. Since the rollerblading culture in Switzerland is alive and thriving, the paved sections were exceptionally smooth and could even be connected to traverse the country. Seriously, they have separate, labeled rollerblading routes through the country. Why did we ever stop blading in the States?! We were only a few kilometers away from our destination in Zug, when a storm quickly approached off our starboard. It seems like racing storm clouds and sunsets are a requisite of every multi-day tour.Luckily this storm passed quickly, and after catching golden hour, a Jazz and American Folk Music Festival, and the city's aviary we headed out to Lucerne the next morning. Single track, b-roads, and cobbles would greet us as the tarmac of the day.The city of Lucerne was a marvel. The winding cobbled streets lead to medieval structures and bridges dating back to the 1400s. Markets lined the Reuss River during the day and restaurants opened their doors through the night. Nothing could beat sitting on a bench with a Vermicelle dessert and enjoying the sounds of the river running through the city.The Swiss Museum of Transportation in Lucerne is absolutely amazing. Specifically, their automotive collection is one of the best I have ever seen. There is a small auditorium and upon request, the system will bring a car down from the wall and talk about it's design, history, and impact on the world of cars.And you know we did the chocolate tour.Our next destination would be St. Gallen by train. Train travel through Europe is a breeze, with stations in the majority of cities. No need to Rinko or disassemble your bike. Most regional and intercontinental (ICE) trains have a bike car, so you simply secure your bike and have a seat in the passenger area. We used a hair tie to secure the brakes, to keep our bikes in place during travel. On a ferry, but same idea!St. Gallen, amongst other things, is known for its meticulously maintained ancient abbey and library with literature dating to the 9th century (sorry, photos were not allowed), the university, and ridiculously good local bratwursts. The abbey's library is said to have the most perfect mix of dimensions and wood tones to be optimally warm and comforting - I'd agree. For the brats, they must be consumed with a crusty roll lest you look like a tourist. Oh, don't even think about asking for mustard, you'll get kicked out of the city.From St. Gallen, we opted to go straight to Vaduz, Lichtenstein[...]