22 December, 2011

Merry Holidays and Many Thanks

All of us at Velo Orange want to thank our customers for another great year and wish you HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

16 December, 2011

Year End Deals

We've lowered the threshold for free shipping to $25 from midnight tonight through Thursday. The usual rules apply, orders must ship to the lower 48 states, frames and wheels not included (due to their size).

We're also offering 20% off on everything picked up at the VO showroom Monday through Thursday of next week. But, remember, our little showroom is only open from 10am to 4pm. It's at 1819 George Avenue Annapolis MD, 21401.

Also, we'll be closed the week between Christmas and New Years. You're welcome to place orders through the store site, but they won't ship until Jan 2nd. And there will be no one here to answer phones or e-mail that week.

13 December, 2011

Applying Decals

The Polyvalent comes with minimalist decals. A lot of folks like this simple look, but others prefer more traditional contrasting-color decals. So when you order a Polyvalent frame or build kit we give you the option of getting a set of white decals. Here's a video that'll show you how to apply them. The same technique works for most other modern bike decals. You can even get get custom made decals (just Google bike decals) for restorations or to personalize your frame.

Applying decals from Velo Orange on Vimeo.

09 December, 2011

Fun with Freehub Bodies

Back in the day, when we rode 5 or 6-speed freewheels, we would change freewheels to suit the terrain. A flat criterium meant fitting a "straight block", 13-14-15-16-17-18. On a mountain ride we'd fit a wide range freewheel, maybe 14-32. We serious riders also had a couple of in between freewheels, or even loose cogs to build our own custom freewheels.

These days we have 9 or 10 or 11-speed cassettes that cover such a wide range that a single cassette will probably do for everything short of touring in the mountains. But wouldn't it be neat to have exactly the right cassette for every ride, or at least one for the flats and one for the mountains, and be able to switch them in a few seconds.  Here's a video that shows you how to do just that with a VO hub:

Fun with Freehub bodies from Velo Orange on Vimeo.

All you need is a spare freehub body and another cassette. You can even switch cassettes between a 130mm spaced hub and a 135mm spaced one. Or pull the cassette off to replace a broken spoke.

07 December, 2011

Project Update

I thought some of you might like updates on the various VO projects I'd mentioned previously.

  • We've been testing different forks for the Polyvalent 700c/Camper frame. We even figured out how to re-rake our own forks. I think we've nailed down the geometry and we'll approve production very soon.
  • The Pass Hunter 700c performance frame is up next for development. We hope to be testing prototypes in a couple of months.
  • We're awaiting new prototype camping racks. I know these have been in the works for a long time, but we do want them as close to perfect as we can manage. Since the prototypes are all bent, welded, and finished by hand it takes 2-3 months to get each new generation.
  • We've rethought our luggage projects and are designing a new line of premium bike luggage using the best fabrics we can find. I think we've found the right material and come up with a pretty darn nice handlebar bag design to get the line rolling. Now we'll enter the long prototyping stage. These will probably be called Grand Cru bags.
  • Our first round of short reach/drop bar samples was disappointing. We have to make new tooling and try again. I'm really particular about bars and am finding that getting the hand positions right is much harder on these than on medium or long reach models.
  • We hope to introduce complete, ready to ride, bikes this winter.

As for future projects that we're thinking about:
  • We're kicking around the idea of a 26" expedition bike, something halfway between a mountain bike and a traditional camper.
  • A larger porteur rack is possible, but how big? Need to haul cases of beer, pizzas, large paintings, sheets of plywood?

06 December, 2011

Campy-Compatible Hubs

The Campy versions of our Grand Cru touring and VO high-low hubs have arrived. Many Campy fans, myself included, have been waiting for these. They are available on all our hubs and on all VO rear wheels.
We also have the freehub bodies available separately so you can slip them onto your existing wheel. It only takes about 5 seconds, and no tools, to switch from Shimano to Campy compatibility.
I know that some of you don't get the appeal of Campy products. And I have to admit that I don't notice much diffidence in performance between Campy, Shimano, and Sram. But many of us really love the Campy brifters, still the best ever in my opinion. I also like that many little internal parts for Campy derailleurs and brifters are available. I can rebuild stuff instead of replacing it, or convert 9-speed brifters to 10-speed. Finally, I like that front shifting is non-index.

Just a note about one other compatibility issue. All of our cranks work with 5 to 10-speed, be it Campy, Shimano, or Sram. They should also work with 11-speed, but we have not tested that since none of us ride 11-speed yet.

Update: It looks like these will work with 11-speed on the high-low hub, but not on the high flange touring hub. The higher flanges cause the spoke ends to rub the innermost cog on Campy 11-speed cassettes.