02 December, 2016

Winter Sale

Hey, we're having a sale!  Same deal as last year.  Even a similar blog post!

Details: You can get 20% off your order starting right now and ending December 18th, 2016 (at exactly 11:59pm Eastern Time). But you have to use the not-so-secret coupon code, as detailed below. This sale applies to both retail customers and to shops!

Just to be clear, you get 20% off on all in-stock frames, wheels, parts, accessories - everything except gift certificates and items that are already on sale - but only if you follow the steps below:

  • Add all of the products you want to your cart, just as you normally would.
  • Don't check out yet! Instead click on "My Cart" to review your products.

  • Enter the coupon code - WINTER16 - in the little "discount codes" box in the shopping card page, as in the screenshot below.
  • Click on "Apply Coupon".

  • Check out as you normally would and enjoy your savings! That's all there is to it!

29 November, 2016

Bottle Cages, Caliper Brakes, and Soap

by Igor

We're back into the swing of autumn and have restocked a few items:
In addition to the restock, we brought in a 300g, hard-milled soap made by Savon de Marseille in France. The presentation and aroma is terrific and they would make a lovely gift.
Yes, that's a unicorn on the box, and yes it is imprinted onto the soap.

23 November, 2016

Thanksgiving Break

By Scott

Time sure flies. One minute it was late August and the weather was hot and steamy and now all of the sudden, winter has arrived in one way or another around the US (apologies to readers in the Southern Hemisphere where spring should now be in full bloom).

I just wanted to let folks know that we will be closed on Thursday November 24th and Friday November 25th for our annual Thanksgiving break. A bit of rain is expected here in the mid Atlantic on Thursday, but otherwise the weekend looks great for getting out and about.
We'll be back in the office on Monday the 28th at 9 am to answer questions via phone and email.
If you are stuck inside over the weekend, check out this great Piolet test ride video from the folks at Adventure Cycling that shows the bike off very well we think. Guitar Ted posted a great review of our Cigne stem here.

We'd like to our thank all our customers for your business this year and hope that all of you have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.

17 November, 2016

It's Beaujolais Nouveau Day

By Chris

As I've done in the past few years, I wanted to remind everyone that  Beaujolais Nouveau is released today. And as is tradition at Velo Orange, we are enjoying a glass or two at work (it enhances creativity). It's not that we're wine snobs, quite the opposite. Most of us drink craft beers and an occasional whisky. This wine is only a few weeks old and it is not a "fine wine." It is an inexpensive and quaffable wine, a fun drink that can be enjoyed by anyone to celebrate the harvest. It's meant to be consumed in copious quantities in the first year of its life. Its a light-bodied and fruity wine made from Gamay grapes, Cost is around $10 a bottle. Why today? French regulations prohibit Beaujolais Nouveau from being sold until the third Thursday in November. 

16 November, 2016

Choosing Colors and Other Polyvalent Stuff

By Chris

The Polyvalent is one of our oldest projects and one I'm especially proud of. The idea was to build a bike that would do, if not everything, then most things well. It's a bike that's good as a commuter, tourer, or dirt road explorer. But making a frame that's so versatile requires some tough choices.
One of the more difficult tasks at Velo Orange is choosing frame colors. We agonize over this. It usually require endless mini-meetings and, in the end, we almost never agree. I eventually have to choose and in this case the light blue won out. The photo shows the others colors we considered.

Another choice was disc brakes. It took me a long time to come around, but after riding with them on two bikes and recently riding a bike with canti-brakes again, I simply think discs are better, especially in wet conditions. Though I'll stick to cable actuation on future builds for the sake of simplicity. While it's true that we have retro-grouch tendencies here at VO, that's only because so much of the modern bike industry is based on change for the sake of change. We are absolutely willing to adopt technology that is actually an improvement, like disc brakes. Remember that the great French constructeurs often worked to improve braking. I am absolutely convinced that they would have embraced modern disc brakes as a worthwhile innovation. I would still choose rim brakes if going somewhere remote where obtaining spares would be difficult, and I wouldn't sell a good frame just to get one with discs, but if given the choice on a new bike I'll choose discs.

Another good innovation is large bottle cages like the VO Mojave and Anything Cages. So we included three bottle cage bosses on the down tube and fork.

We also decided to keep the 1" threaded fork, which everyone at VO agreed on. Let's remember that 1-1/8" threadless forks were developed to be a stronger system for mountain bikes, strength that is overkill on road, touring, city, or gravel bikes. 1-1/8 forks are a bit stiffer, but do we actually need that stiffness? We are, after all, running wide 650b tires to make the ride softer. One the other hand threaded forks make adjusting handlebar height easier and, in my estimation, look better. I look forward to building my Polyvalent up with one of our upcoming removable faceplate quill stems. Most bike manufacturers embraced threadless forks not because they are better, but because they are cheaper to produce and one size fits most. Both threaded and threadless forks are well proven on and off road. In the end choosing a frame based solely on the fork type seems, to me, a bit silly.

We also added just a tiny bit of up-slope to the top tube to get the bars a little higher, probably not enough that you'd notice at first glance. So this frame has the classic good looks of a level top tube frame, not the modern look of a sloping top tube. I know that this decision will cause those without our taste for retro frames to scratch their heads, but that's the choice we made.

We are also working on a new fork crown, but it might not be ready in time for the first production run. In that case we'll use the same fork crown that we used on the Camargue, not a bad compromise.

08 November, 2016

Polyvalent 4 Frame Preview

by Igor

The Polyvalent has been our longest running frameset, going back almost eight years. It started from humble beginnings as a cantilever-braked, low-trail city bike sporting nondescript matte-black paint with orange decals. The Mark 2 and Mark 3 versions got new paint jobs, updated tubing, better accessory mountings, and other evolutionary changes. Now it's time for version 4.

The prototype frames made it just in time for Philly Bike Expo. We had lots of great feedback from folks who saw it.

We've kept all the good stuff: double butted chromoly frame and fork construction, 1" threaded steerer, elegant fork bend, low-trail front end, 650b wheels, kickstand plate, and plenty of fender and rack mounts.

The big change is Disc brakes. The frame and fork will have IS mounts and are designed around 160mm rotors.

There will be a few other changes as well:
  • Increased tire clearances: 47mm tires with fenders. And new (57mm or so) fenders will be available.
  • Normal fit: the original Polyvalents were designed with long top tubes for upright bars, but if you wanted to use drop bars, it meant less-than-optimal fit for most riders. The new version will have a shorter top tube and the same fit as our Campeur and Pass Hunter.
  • Internal rear brake cable routing: Same setup as Pass Hunter Disc, internal tube for easy and clean routing.
  • Triple water bottle bosses on top of the down tube. Tall bottles, easier to reach bottles, big bottles.
  • Wrap-around seat stays: because they look so good and provide wider seat stay clearances.
  • Vertical dropouts with stainless hanger: Sliding, swinging, and alternating dropouts are solutions that add significant complications to construction and still only work for some applications. Use a chain tensioner if you need. 
  • Head tube re-inforcements.

You may have noticed that there's no fork. It wasn't ready in time, and we are considering using a new custom VO fork crown on this and some other future frame models.

Tubing is double butted 4130 chromoly. Downtube is 31.8. Top tube is also 31.8 for better control with loads, though we may go with an ovalized top tube depending on how testing goes and if planing is adequate.

We're really excited to have the Polyvalent back in action, and look forward to R&D rides with the VO gang!

07 November, 2016

Philly Bike Expo Roundup

by Igor

From L-R: Clint, Adrian, Igor, Scott. Photo courtesy of Rod Bruckdorfer
We wanted to give a huge thank you to everyone who came out to this past weekend's Philly Bike Expo! In addition to talking about our new products, we had a wonderful time seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

Gorgeous Randonnneur from Royal H
Front Constructeur Rack

Track bike from Stanridge Speed
Ely of RuthWorks SF makes excellent classic and modern cycling luggage
Love seeing Chris Bishop's fine lugwork and amazing builds

Wonderful wooden bikes with VO bits from Sojouner Cyclery

Great to meet Jamie Swan this year and see his work up close

Hanford Cycles of Firth and Wilson is putting out some stunning classic tourers and commuters made in Philadelphia

Ludicrous welding and painting from Ground Up Speed Shop

Concept bike by Cherubim, imported by Bronin Jitensha

This lightweight, S&S coupled tourer by Winter Bicycles was stunning

Peter Weigle came by with a terrific Rinko tourer with Zeppelin fenders and Rustines Grips mounted on the drops

Outrageous Seven with Grand Cru brakes

03 November, 2016

Come to Philly!

Please come see us, and a lot of other cool companies, at the Philly Bike Expo this weekend. The VO staff all say that this is the most fun of any bike show we've attended. Here the link for info. We'll have a prototype of the new Polyvalent frame to show you.

28 October, 2016

Last Day for Frame + Freebies Offer

Just a reminder, today is the last day of our Frame + Freebie offer! The deal ends October 28th, at 11:59pm EST.

25 October, 2016

Bars Bars Bars

By Clint

We're bringing in some new bars from our friends at Fairweather!  NB designed the Shred bars for around the city, on the trails, and all around shredding.  He's Bluelug's photographer and expert in all things fixed gear, mtb, and cyclocross.

As for the technical specs, the bars have 25mm of rise, 6° of upsweep, and 3° of backsweep.  31.8mm clamp diameter, 22.2mm grip diameter.  These beautiful bars are made in Japan by Nitto.  They come in two colors, Silver and Black, and we are stocking the larger size, 750mm.  They have graduated ends for trimming to dial your fit.

I'll be running a pair of these on my cyclocross bike.  Check out the Shred Bar by Fairweather!

In other bar news, the Fairweather Bullmoose Bars are back in stock!  Get 'em before they're gone!

In other other bar news, we just got some prototypes of the Klunker bars I've been working on and they look gooood.  We'll be bringing these vintage mtb inspired bars to the Philly Bike Expo.

19 October, 2016

Frame Freebies and The Philly Bike Expo

by Clint

Surprise!  We've got a frame promotion for ya.  For the next week, if you buy a frame, we'll include a free headset and seatpost.  Just use the build kit option in the frames page.  These build kits are still eligible for the 10% discount on other parts; that means you get 10% off any other parts ordered at the same time.  The frame freebies deal will be available until 10-28-16 11:59 pm EST, retail customers only.

We're clearing out a few more blemished frames we have sitting around.  All cosmetic blemishes.  Fully functional frames.  Take advantage of the discounts and build up a frame!  We even have a few Camargue frames coming out of hiding.  I think a flat bar, single speed Camargue would make a fantastic winter bike.  The blem frames aren't eligible for the free headset/seatpost promotion, but you still get the usual 10% off parts to build it up.

The Philly Bike Expo is coming up at the beginning of next month.  If you're in the area, mark your calendar for Nov. 5 & 6.  This is our favorite show every year.  We'll have some new prototypes that you've seen in the blog, and hopefully some you haven't.  If all goes according to plan, we'll even have a couple Polyvalent IV prototypes.  I'm pretty excited about this project.  Come by and say hi!

14 October, 2016

Long Reach Brakes Are Still Popular

By Scott

Sometimes in the rush to jump onto new products and trends, you tend to forget about the great products that keep on working, without change, for years. Items like Retro Cages, Constructeur Racks (arriving late this month), and Grand Cru Long Reach Brakes. Things that don't change, are solid, dependable and don't cost an arm and a leg. I was thinking about this when I saw a blog post from Red Kite Prayer about our long reach brakes. These brakes are one of those things that we order in and they sell solidly.

While it may seem that disc brakes are every where now, even on road bikes, side pull brakes still have a place. Companies like Chris King's bike line Cielo, put our brakes on their Sportif model. Seven Bikes uses them on their RedSky model, proving that people still want the simplicity, reliability, and power of a dual pivot side pull brakes.

In addition to being super stiff, the Grand Cru long reach brakes are one of the few high quality brake sets that also clear 45mm fenders, a bonus for builders and riders who want wider tires and fenders.

On another note, coffeeneuring 2016 has gotten off to an excellent start. I did two rides this past weekend. One ride to Vigilante Coffee in Hyatsville on Saturday and a ride north from home to a nice park in Montgomery County MD, started things off on a good and delicious note. 

How is everyone's coffeeneuring adventures going?

07 October, 2016

Stem Shifting

By Scott

I love fall. I love the cooler nights and the colors changing around me from day to day. Fall (autumn for those reading in the UK) is also one of the busiest times of the year for us.

In September we had the Interbike show that Igor and Clint attended to meet with suppliers and to see what is new in the bike world. Coming up in November (the 5th and 6th if you are planning your calender) is the Philly Bike Expo, which we'll be attending for the 4th year.

We get a good size booth every year, in order to show off as much as we can of our products. In the past we've used the show to introduce the Disc Pass Hunter, the Camargue, as well as show off various product prototypes.

This year we are hoping to have the Mk4 Polyvalent prototypes arrive in time to take them to the show. In our regular morning meeting, we discussed how we wanted the frames built up for the show. Chris wanted one of the two prototypes built up Porteur style - Porteur front rack, flat bar, inverse levers and a 1 x set up. We had seen a stem shifter at the Interbike show and we inquired about getting one of those in time for the show. After the meeting, I did some digging about in one of our boxes in the workshop of odds and ends and found a right thumb shifter by itself. I tried installing it on our prototype open face quill stem and it worked great. So, cancel the sample request! We'll go with this:
With the popularity of 1 x set ups, I think we'll order in just the right shifter mounts with the next PO and see how they sell. I think we'll get a lot of feedback at Philly about this and through the blog comments. So who wants one?

05 October, 2016

Klean Kanteen Additions and Lael’s Globe of Adventure

By Adrian

Who doesn't like a hot cup of coffee on a cool Autumn bike, or ice cold water after a vigorous ride? Well now we carry a few Klean Kanteen products that'll help you out with that - 20 oz and 32 oz insulated water bottles. We've been consistently impressed with the quality and durability of the company's bottles and accessories, and like what we see with these new guys.

These bottles have the classic stainless steel Klean Kanteen look, but utilize high-performance, double-wall vacuum insulation which ensures hot liquids stay hot, and cold liquids stay cold, for crazy long periods of time. The 20 oz bottles will keep liquids hot for 20 hours and cold for 50 while the 32 oz bottles have an even bigger range, keeping liquids hot for 24 hours, and cold for a whopping 90 hours.

The 20 oz version fits best in our Retro Cage without tab, while the 32 oz rides comfortably in our Mojave Cages (which will be back in stock late next month!).

Great thing about the wide mouth is that it easily fits ice cubes!

The bottles come with simple black leak-proof loop caps, but if you want to dress them up a bit we do carry Klean Kanteen's sport tops or bamboo tops.

We're thinking about bringing on more Klean Kanteen products, perhaps their food canisters? Any suggestions?

We'd also like to highlight an awesome program Lael Wilcox has announced, the “Lael’s Globe of Adventure” Women’s Scholarship. After recently finishing her journey on the Baja Divide, she decided to set up this scholarship to encourage other women to participate in such an adventure. This endeavor seeks to promote women's ridership, especially in terms of long-distance touring.

You can find out more about the scholarship here: https://bajadivide.com/scholarship/

29 September, 2016

Container Arrival Plus Sneak Peek of a New Stem

by Igor

We just received a container you folks have been patiently waiting on, which includes but is not limited to:

Thank you for your patience.

In other news, we've been testing prototypes of a removable faceplate 1" quill stem which has already passed ISO MTN standards! We've been asked to make these for a long time, and they'll be ready for production once our real world testing is completed. Like our Cigne Stems, they'll be available in Chrome, Nickel, and Noir in the 31.8mm clamp size-way.

We think this will be a great upgrade for people wanting to retro-mod bikes with newer performance components or even use our Dajia Far Bars on repurposed adventure rigs. Personally, I'm stoked for the increased ease of packing and unpacking my bike for airline travel. 

What do you think?

22 September, 2016

Coffeeneuring 2016 practice

By Scott

Now that fall has arrived, one's thoughts turn to the annual coffeeneuring challenge - the quest to drink coffee on a bike ride over 7 rides in October and November.

Friend of VO, Mary Gersemalina came up with this idea in 2010 for the post PBP riders who wanted a challenge/goal of riding just for coffee. Since then it has steadily grown to be an international event, with riders joining the challenge of going to 7 different coffee shops or outdoor places to drink coffee, tea, cider or really, any beverage, over the specified dates. The rules and dates can be found here.

Here at VO, coffee and tea are part of our daily routine. Filter coffee in the morning gets most everyone here moving, followed by afternoon macchiato's (the Italian kind - espresso with just a stain of milk) to keep things going for the last push of orders out the door. So any kind of challenge or  reason to go and drink coffee on a bike ride has got us interested.

Our Soto coffee filter in action

I like the coffee/tea outdoors option of the last year or so. I'll take a thermos of tea sometimes or bring my stove and have a brew after a ride. Most early fall days here are nice enough that I don't get too cold waiting for the water to boil or for the tea to steep.

Practice make perfect

Adrian and I decided to put in a practice run to Ceremony Coffee's cafe and roastery here in Annapolis. One of the rules is that for the ride to count, it must be at least 2 miles round trip. The roastery is just over a mile from our office, so it works! I'm also working on a theme of 7 different cookies or treats with each of the coffee stops this year.

Anyone else planning on doing the 2016 Coffeeneuring challenge this year?

15 September, 2016

Cigne Stems Available

by Clint

They're long, they're limp, they're in stock! Cigne stems are here for all of your high handlebar needs. We have them in 2 lengths and 3 finishes. 70mm and 90mm. Noir, Chrome, and a really spiffy Brushed Nickel. I'm really excited about the nickel. Looking forward to using this on some more of our future projects.
For those of you who haven't kept up, the Cigne stem gets its name from the French word for swan. The shape is inspired by the old gooseneck stems by Ibis and Cunningham, but with a few accommodations for modern bike needs. 1 1/8" threadless, 31.8mm handlebar clamp with a removable faceplate. It's pretty useful for getting your handlebars up high without using a ton of spacers.

These were air shipped and they really got beat up in shipping. So we have a bunch with little nicks and scratches that we'll put on the specials page at $15 off. The scratches are all small, the sort you'd get on any component after a few months of use.
Okay, so now you have one of these units in your hands. Now what? The Cigne functions as both your stem and top cap. Your star-nut should be approximately 1cm from the top of your steerer tube and you need at least 55mm of tube (metal only, not for use with carbon steerers). Now slide your stem on the steerer, slip in the long bolt with the washer, pretension with the long bolt, and clamp it down at the base. Use grease as needed. Also, if you plan to use a shim for smaller diameter bars be sure to use a two piece shim, like these.

We're currently working on several projects related to the cigne stem. First, a 1" quill stem adapter with 55mm of clamp space. We should have prototypes soon. There may be a 1 1/8" quill stem version.