Showing posts with label Velo-Orange. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Velo-Orange. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Velo Orange Polyvalent 4

The Velo Orange Polyvalent in lilac (top) and deep emerald green (bottom). Both images courtesy of Velo Orange blog.
Velo Orange is currently having a presale on its updated Polyvalent frameset.  The retail price is $725, but the presale price is $675. VO expects the presale framesets to arrive in April 2018.

Velo Orange, based in Annapolis, Maryland, is a bike nerd's paradise: So many elegant parts and accessories!  Chris Kulczycki started the company in 2006.  Last year, Chris retired and sold the company to two of his employees, Adrian and Igor.  

With all those wonderful parts, you can build yourself an awesome bike.  It just so happens that Velo Orange sells framesets.

The Polyvalent frameset can be built into a do-it-all bike. Tom wrote about an earlier version of the frameset back in 2010. He wrote that the Polyvalent's "multi-purpose nature makes it perfect for those who can only have one bike." 

Ah, the search for "The One."  The bike that can do everything.  That's literally the idea behind the Polyvalent.  I don't speak French, but VO informs me that "Polyvalent" is French for "many forms."  Magnifique!

VO has been hyping this updated Polyvalent since, well, October 2016,  and November 2016, and October 2017.  They were excited! Now I see why.

This version has double eyelets so you can run your fenders and install your racks.  It's designed for wide 650b tires or even wider 26" tires.  It takes disc brakes. There's room for three water bottle mounts.  You can do what you want with this monster.

Here are the specs:

  • Frameset material: 4130 double butted chromoly steel
  • Fork: 1" threaded
  • Wheel Size: 650B or 26" 
  • Tire Clearance: 650B x 47mm, 26 x 2.3" (either with fenders)
  • Rear Spacing: 135mm
  • BB: English threaded 68mm
  • Brakes: IS mount disc, 160mm
  • Seatpost: 27.2mm
  • Front Derailleur Size: 28.6mm
  • Water bottle mounts: Triple on top of downtube, one set on seattube, one set on underside of downtube
  • Fender bosses: seat stay bridge, chainstay bridge, under fork crown
  • Rear Dropouts: Vertical with stainless steel replaceable hanger
  • Frame Eyelets: Double eyelets on rear dropouts for racks and fenders
  • Internal eyelets on seat stays
  • Fork Eyelets: Double eyelets on fork dropouts for racks and fenders
  • Triple thru-bosses on the blades for lowrider racks
  • Hourglass braze-on for Randonneur or Campeur Racks.
  • Rear Brake Routing: Easy internal routing for rear brake cable housing/hydraulic tubing
  • Ovalized top tube for lateral stiffness and easy shouldering

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Velo Orange Campeur

Velo Orange is now offering a complete bike assembled right in Annapolis, Maryland.  The Campeur is a camping bike made to carry heavy loads and be reliable when you are off the beaten path.

The frame is a Velo Orange design and has a level top tube, lugged fork crown, canti-brake mounts, pump peg, three water bottle mounts and room for 38mm tires with fenders.  The complete bike looks the VO part with a leather saddle, leather bar tape, 9x3 Shimano Deore drivetrain and a bunch of  quality parts.   The Campeur has some hard-to-find features:
  • Level top tube, classic fork bend
  • Quill stem
  • Kickstand plate
  • Dia-Compe friction bar-end shifters
For all of you kickstand lovers who are every-so-gently mounting your double-legged kickstand on your Surly Long Haul Trucker with rubber and clamps, this is your bike.   Seriously, the ride of the Campeur is supposed to be great, I can't wait to hit the road on one of these.    

Read more about the Campeur here and here.  The current price of the complete bike is $1600 (plus shipping).  Don't forget to add the new Campeur Racks to complete the build.

Campeur Complete Bike Build List:

  • Campeur Frame & Fork:
  • Sizes: 51, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61 (Please specify size in the comment box.) More info here.

  • Rear Wheel:
  • Grand Cru 135mm Touring Hub, Diagonale Rim 36 hole

  • Front Wheel:
  • Grand Cru High Flange Hub, Diagonale Rim 36 hole

  • Tires:
  • 700x35 Panaracer Tourguard

  • Shifters:
  • Dia-Compe Bar-Ends, Friction

  • Crankset:
  • Grand Cru Triple 48x34x24, 165mm (sizes 51 & 53), 170mm (sizes 55 & 57), 175mm (sizes 59 & 61)

  • Bottom Bracket:
  • Grand Cru 124mm, English thread

  • Cassette:
  • SRAM 9 Speed 11-32T

  • Rear Derailleur:
  • Deore 9 speed

  • Front Derailleur:
  • Sora Triple

  • Chain:
  • KMC X-9

  • Headset:
  • VO Roller Bearing

  • Stem:
  • VO Quill 90mm (sizes 51-55), 100mm (sizes 57-59), 110mm (size 61)

  • Handlebar:
  • Grand Cru Course Handlebar, 44cm (sizes 51-57), 46cm sizes (59 & 61)

  • Brakes:
  • Tektro CR720 Cantilevers

  • Brake Levers:
  • Tektro RL340

  • Seatpost:
  • Grand Cru 27.2

  • Saddle:
  • VO Model 3 Touring, Brown

  • Handlebar Tape:
  • Tressostar Cotton, Brown (not installed)

  • Pedals:
  • not included

    Sunday, February 6, 2011

    Bags for Bikes

    We’re going to talk about bags on this post. There are literally hundreds of types of bags for carrying loads on your bicycle at price points from $20 all the way to $200 plus. A decent bag should be constructed with sturdy materials and strong stitching to last through more than one commuting season. The design of the bag is important to make sure it will stay put and provide access to its contents while keeping them out of the weather. The size or type of the bag will depend if you’re using it for camping, commuting, holding your wallet and keys, or just keeping a few tools at hand. I’ve asked Freewheel for some input as we take a look at some decent all-purpose bags that will work well for commuting but might come in handy on a light tour.

    Bags that hang on your handlebars:

    These are bags that can work on several handlebar types (like mustache bars) and hold smaller items (less than 5 liters, usually). They strap to your handlebars instead of to a rack.
    Freewheels’ Pick: The VO Bag
    Baguette Bag, which also works as a saddlebag. It cost $34. However, it holds everything I need to take with me when I'm not hauling anything: tools, spare tubes, wallet, keys, cell. There's even room leftover for small purchases. (Apparently you can also take all that out and carry a baguette around, but I haven't tried that).

    Tom’s Pick: My choice is the very similar Rivendell Brand V Bar Bag is a simple tube bag with velcro straps. The V is for Vegan since it contains no leather. The form factor is exactly the same as VO’s Baguette bag.


    Other choices:
    Acorn has three choices of sturdy made-in-the-USA bags for handlebars A simple nylon bag like this one from REI will work fine for smaller items.
    Bags for a front rack or decaleurs: For the drop-bar crowd the popular choices are the boxy bar bags, which mount best on decaleurs, which are bag mounts that are typically attached to a small front rack. Bikes that can handle a front load can holder larger porteur bags. Folders and touring bikes work well with low-mounted front panniers.
    Tom’s Pick: The Pelican Porteur Bag from Swift Industries. You can custom order this colorful bag or even order it along with a rack.

    Freewheel’s Pick: Ortleib panniers (see more under panniers below).
    Other choices: Boxy bar bags constructed of canvas like those at VO and Rivendell.

    Nylon quick-release bags like the Banjo Brothers and Rixen & Kaul bags. Alan from EcoVelo recommended the Rixen and Kaul bags to me for my folding bike.
    A small bag maker from Philadelphia, PA, Laplander Bags, has started making a very rich-looking porteur bag on the high end of the price range.
    Bags for your saddle: These bags are great for keeping on your bike with essential tools, etc. This is one type of bag you can find at your local bike store. You can get larger saddle bags (5-11 liter) but beware they may rub the backs of your legs when you pedal, if that kind of thing annoys you.
    Freewheel’s Pick: His trusty VO Baguette Bag, which doubles as a saddle bag complete with a loop for your blinkie.
    Tom’s Pick: Minnehaha’s medium saddle bag, made of black canvas. It looks good, holds 8 liters or so, and the prices is right. Banjo Brothers Barrel Bag is a good choice for a smaller bag.

    Other Choices:
    There are hordes of cyclists out there who will use nothing but traditional touring bags from Carradice and Gilles Berthoud, so you probably can’t go wrong there. You can get less expensive Asian-made copies of these bags by Zimbale and Minnehaha. Origin8 makes traditionally styled bags out of nylon instead of canvas. If you’d like something handmade then take a look at the Towpath Duffle from Laplander. If wool tweed is more your style there plenty of choices over at Rivendell.

    Rear Panniers:
    Panniers are really the superior way to carry loads down low on your rear rack. They also leave the top of the rack free for carrying children, pizza, firewood or the like.
    Tom’s Pick: Dutch Double Saddle Bags like Clarijs, CleverChimp and Basil

      These are large boxy bags (40L total capacity) that straddle your rear rack and made of waterproof tarp-type material. They generally live on your bag and sometimes have cutouts to slide a lock through for good measure. The boxy shape means that you'll have heel-strike issues unless you have long chainstays, so these are not great for typical road bikes. 
    Photo: Rob
    Freewheel's Pick: Ortlieb. I've been using these for years to haul all kinds of stuff in all types of weather. I've carried laptops through downpours with no worries. They truly are waterproof, and virtually indestructible. They've survived my worst crashes and wipeouts. They are very easy to latch and unlatch to your racks. With four of these (2 front, 2 back), you're in good shape for bike camping and touring.

    Photo: REI
    Other choices:
    Bushwacker, Jadd and Arkel all make heavy-duty nylon panniers in various colors and sizes.

    Swift Industries makes very nice panniers at a reasonable price. The folks at Path Less Pedaled used these bags every day for a year if you need a recommendation.

    What if you could have only one bag? So this is one of those silly bonus categories, but I had to throw it in. If you have one bag it has to do lots of things pretty well.
    Freewheel’s Pick: Ortleib Panniers. They’re tough and keep your gear dry.
    Tom’s Pick: Sackville SlickerSack. OK, OK, so this is an odd bag. It’s flat like a suitcase, but rounded enough not to catch a headwind. It can hold a laptop inside or a pizza or sleeping bag on top. It fits on porteur rack or Nitto Platrack. It also looks great and will probably last a long time.

    Other types of Bags: We missed a couple types of bike bags like rack-top bags, basket bags, frame bags and bento bags. And there are plenty of bags that you can wear as well. If you have a favorite bag, please add it in the comments!

    Photos: Provided by Manufacturer unless noted otherwise

    Wednesday, March 24, 2010

    Velo Orange Mixte Frameset

    Velo Orange now has Mixte frames in stock. These are lugged chrome-molly frames made for VO in Taiwan. You can get the frame in 3 sizes and I suspect only one color at this point. The introductory price is $499, but listed as $700 on the website.

    The Mixte is a step-through frame that is ideal for a city bike where you need to dismount quickly or often. The frame is unisex, not a "ladies bike." Read more about the debate over at EcoVelo.

    As with other Velo Orange products, expect high quality and the proper braze-ons for fenders, racks and the like. The frame accepts 700c wheels and tires up to 38mm. The horizontal dropouts would work well with internally-geared hubs if you decide to build your bike up that way. VO usually has a discount on their fantastic components if you purchase them at the same time as the frame.

    Tuesday, February 9, 2010

    VO Polyvalent

    In this blog you'll see bikes that have prices ranging from the upper $300 to $1800 or so. With new bicycles over $1000 there are custom or semi-custom options as an alternative to a fully-factory-built bike. What do I mean by custom/semi-custom? You can purchase the frame and a box of components and build up the bike (or have someone do it for you), or you can purchase a a bike that is already built and ready to ride. It's no surprise that people who tour for months on end or bicycle competitively have custom-built bikes. The secret is that you can make the same choices for your Bike For The Rest Of Us.

    The Polyvalent from Velo Orange is a multi-purpose bike. It's a Porteur like those that delivered newspapers and goods in Paris in the 1930s. These bikes are made for carrying loads in the front while still being more nimble and quick than a traditional cargo bike. The frame is for 650b wheels that take wider tires than a 700c but are almost the same diameter.

    So why is the Polyvalent a Bike For The Rest of Us? It can be fitted with fenders, chain guard and a front rack. It seems like it would be just as happy carrying groceries as hitting the bike path. It's multi-purpose nature makes it perfect for those who can only have one bike.

    Velo Orange sells the Polyvalent frames on their website along with anything you'd need to build up the bike. Long Leaf Bicycles has an Alfine-equipped PV on their website. I also heard that Renaissance Bicycles is working on a build. Please drop a note if you know of another places offering the Polyvalent.

    Photo credits: Top, Velo Orange. Second, Long Leaf Bicycles

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    What is an Upright Ride and Where Can I Get One?

    Finding a riding position that works for you is mostly an exercise of trial and error. It's mainly a matter of preference and there are no hard and fast rules; however, there are riding positions that work better for particular situations. 

    Road bikes typically have their handlebars below the level of the seat; this hunched-over position is better for maximum power off the line and provides lower drag at high speeds. 

    Mountain bikes with their short flat bars slip through tight places and keep your weight forward allowing the wheels to steer over rough terrain. 

    Touring and trekking bikes need to have handlebars that allow for multiple positions for climbing, descending and spending long hours in a headwind

    And what about those impossibly short fixie straight bars, you ask? They're good for "smashin' through traffic", apparently.

    City bikes typically have a more upright ride with more weight on the saddle and less on the handlebars. This combination makes your back straight and more upright giving you a good view of the road ahead. Because you're often riding more slowly you're less concerned about aerodynamics than you are about seeing over cars or being seen. Bikes with this type of geometry are more forgiving for beginners or those carrying varying loads. For most commuters who are dragging along laptop cases, groceries, and maybe some morning coffee an upright ride makes sense. Call it the Riding Position for the Rest of Us, if you like.

    Where can I get an upright ride?
    If you're buying a new bike, make sure it fits. Yes, it seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people settle with a bike that doesn't quite fit because what the LBS had in stock or on sale. Many bike manufacturers only offer one or two sizes, so keep that in mind if you're not perfectly average in height. A properly fit bike, regardless of the type of handlebars, angle of the seat tube, etc, will feel better. Most of the bikes that we feature in Bikes for the Rest of Us have a fairly upright riding position (some more than others). Go the manufacturer sites, look up the dealers and go find a bike to test ride.

    A common scenario is retrofitting a bike that you already have (or got from your Uncle, local garage sale, etc). There are some techniques that can help you make the bike more upright and appropriate for city use. Most of these solutions are fairly inexpensive and are in order of effort (but if you're going to replace your handlebars anyhow start there). Keep in mind you may have to extend your cables, particularly your front brake, if you raise your stem by more than an inch. Note: My stem examples below are for quill stems.

    Raise the Handlbars
    If you like your handlebars, but feel you need to get them a little higher, try raising your stem. Sheldon Brown tells you all about how to do it here.

    Replacing the Stem
    When you raise your stem (quill stem) you may see a line that says "minimum insertion depth" or something similar. If you see this mark the stem can't be extended any more and you may have to get a new stem. Prices and quality vary, but a good bet would be something like the Nitto Tall Stem or a Wald 511.

    Get an Extender
    If you need to raise your bars more than a couple of inches then consider a stem extender or stem riser. This device allows you to keep both your existing stem and handlebars, but the catch is that it's going to raise everything at least two inches. The appearance may also be a concern, but the price is right.

    Replace the Handlebars
    If you're not happy with your current handlebars you can get new bars that have some rise to them. Most North Roads or All-Rounder type bars have a 1-2" rise. You can find handlebars with a similar shape that have up to an 8+ inch rise. Wider bars give greater control to laden front baskets. Narrower bars like the VO/Nitto Montmarte allow you to squeeze in between tighter spots. The trick with handlebars is trying out a few, which takes time and, of course, several handlebars. Be sure to do your homework if you plan on reusing your grips, shifter or brake levers as there are different diameters of handlebars (see section on compatibility issues here).

    Most of the links that I showed you are for online retailers. You may want to start with your local LBS, Bicycle Club or garage sale to see what you can find.

    Photo Credit: Sketch above by Linn

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    The Elusive Chain Guard

    There isn't a feature on a Bike For The Rest Of Us more essential and elusive than the chain guard. 

    Why elusive, you ask? 

    Just walk into your local bike shop and count the number of bikes with chain guards. Yes, plenty of kids bikes have them, but they seem to vanish when you get to wheel sizes over 12 inches. And if you do happen to have a chain guard sighting it will probably be a partial coverage one that just covers the top half of the chain.

    Torker T-300 Partial Chain Guard

    On some new bikes the chain guards are so tiny that you'll probably miss them at first glance. These 1-inch strips of metal are very much the thong of the chain guard world providing only the minimal amount of coverage and not obscuring the circular lines of the front sprocket and chain.

    Electra Tincino's Low Profile Approach

    Now there's no question in my mind that chain guards are essential. They keep your pants clean and remove another barrier from just hopping on your bike and riding. OK, so there are other solutions that people have suggested like cuff rolling, pants strapping and knicker wearing. But a BFROU is about using your bike for transportation. You wouldn't think about special clothing modifications for driving your car, so why should your bike be any different?

    Chain guards have other functions like keeping the lube on your chain and the dirt off of it. If you're really lucky you'll find a bike with a chain case. Chain cases enclose the chain on both sides and keep the weather out, extending the life of the drivetrain. Dutch bikes are commonly equipped with chain cases because, like our beloved cars in the US, are made to sit out in the weather for many years without frequent maintenance.

    Mighty Batavus Chaincase
    Chain guards and chain cases are not without their drawbacks. They add an extra step to removing your rear wheel. Access to your chain for inspection, cleaning and lubrication will be hampered as well. At one time chain guards were fashionable and made to enhance the appearance of the bike; however, now the bare lines of the chain are the desirable visual cue thanks to the dominance of fixie and track bikes.

    I'll mention that if you want to add a chain guard to your existing bike they're hard to find and can be a challenge to retrofit. They range from the very functional and plastic
    (SKS) to the handcrafted and unique (Velo-Orange). Soma even has a modular one that they say works with front derailleurs. With the resurgence of internally-geared transportation bikes we hope to see more chain guards and more BFROU along with them.