21 December, 2012

Merry Holidays and VO is Moving

All of us at Velo Orange wanted to wish our customers, staff, and friends happy holidays and a prosperous new year. Today is the last day of the year for VO. (We'll be closed until Jan. 2nd). We also wanted to thank our customers for another great year. Thanks to you, we've grown every year since the VO was founded, almost 7 years ago.

In fact, we've now outgrown three locations. In February, VO world headquarters will move to a new warehouse/office space that is twice as large. The new space is only about a mile away from our current one and will be easy to visit; there is even a bike lane out front. We look forward to having a permanent photo studio, air conditioning in the warehouse, and a nice open office layout. More details next year.

Again, thanks for your support and feedback.

17 December, 2012

Closed for the Holidays

Just a short note to remind everyone that VO will close for the Holidays on December 22nd and not re-open until January 2nd. Nothing will be shipped during that period, nor will phones or e-mails be answered. Our staff will be enjoying a much needed rest, except for Casey who will be exploring New Zealand.

Please order anything you'd like shipped this year before this Friday, the 21st.

We are also taking advantage of this holiday break to upgrade our website, an upgrade that is long overdue.  This may take a few days if everything goes smoothly (or more days if it doesn't, which we don't want to think about). When the site is down, you'll know it when you try to access our store.


12 December, 2012

Campeur Racks Are Here, and a Container

The Campeur Racks are finally here. I know, I know, they should have been here this past spring. We can't think of many VO products that required as much time, testing, and effort to make. In addition to half a dozen geometry changes, we completely redesigned the mounting system and hardware not once, but twice. I still wince at the cost of all the tooling we had had made that will never be used. And the engineers at the factory were probably even happier than I was when we finally signed-off on the last prototype.
In any case, The rear rack has a wrap-around lower rail. The lower rail keeps weight low and allow easy pannier removal even with the top platform loaded. It's designed to be mounted to canti-brake studs or rack bosses on the seat stay.
The front rack has integrated low rider platforms and an integrated decaleur.  The decaleur to makes handlebar bag installation and removable easy. A U-shaped plug is included for times when you don't use the decaleur. The front rack is designed to be mounted to canti-brake studs and dropout eyelets.

Both front and rear fit most bikes with 26", 650b, 700c, and 27" wheels. Construction is all stainless steel tubing with our usual polished finish.
Also in the container were some items that flew off the shelf quickly. We have restocked just in time for the holidays.

10 December, 2012

Holiday Stocking Stuffers

Got stockings to stuff? We've got what you need. We've taken about 20 percent off nine great holiday gifts.
Order soon so we can get it to you in time...

06 December, 2012

A Pedal Manifesto

My first pair of bike shoes had traditional cleats that fit over the back plate of quill pedals. When used with toe clips and straps, those cleats really locked you in. In fact, I fell over a few times when I couldn't get my foot out fast enough. The shoes had thick hard plastic soles and I could hardly feel the pedal. (They were also wicked slippery and I occasionally fell over after getting off the bike.)  Eventually, clipless pedals were introduced and all but the grouchiest of retro-grouches breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Yet even when we were no longer wearing cleated bike shoes, we continued to use quill pedals designed for them. It wasn't so bad when I wore thick soled running shoes, or boots. Eventually I learned that thin soled shoes not only improve the bio-mechanics of walking but are also very comfortable. The plates dug into the soles of my new shoes and my feet. That's when I began to suspect that using quill pedals might not be the best strategy.  I'm far from the first to figure this out. There were plenty of platform pedals on the market, but most were lower quality.
Barelli B-10
Fortunately there were a couple of notable pedals that met my needs. The British firm Barelli had the high quality B-10 model which had flat areas to reduce pressure and could be used comfortably without cleats. I think this is one of the best pedal designs ever. The other notable pedal of this type was the French Lyotard M23 'Marcel Berthet' pedal.

That Lyotard pedal was so great that White Industries now makes a very high quality copy called the Urban Platform Pedal. I own and like this pedal, but the finish is a little rough and the price is, well... it's $242. Not to be left out, MKS has recently introduced a less expensive copy (that we currently sell). Curiously the MKS version is also called the Urban Platform Pedal.
MKS Urban Platform

Here at VO we'd been selling the VO Touring Pedal, which offers pretty good support. And now we have the very-well-received Grand Cru Sabot pedal. We also have the MKS Lambda pedal and the previously mentioned MKS Urban Platform.

Given my own experience with pedals, I can't see VO developing any more quill pedals. In fact we're discontinuing a couple of models and they're on sale in the specials section. We're currently working on another Grand Cru large platform pedal. This one is meant to be used with toe clips or half clips. It'll also have some serious bearings.

Speaking of bearings, I think most pedal bearings are undersized, even those in most MKS pedals, in most Wellgo pedals (the best of the big Taiwan pedal manufacturers and maker of some VO pedals), and in most VP pedals (almost as good as Wellgo in my opinion). They just don't last as long as they should, based on seeing worn out bearing in older pedals we've sold.

Sabot pedal. Three sealed bearing (no bushings),
 light weight, rounded pins. It's not just a recycled
 BMX pedal.
So here is the manifesto part; I see a revolution coming in pedals. Cyclists are throwing off the chains (straps) of traditional pedal design. But too many of the current offering are not really designed for serious everyday riders. There is a need for high-end, long lasting, pedals designed for street shoes, even minimalist street shoes, not for stiff-soled bike shoes. They should have big strong bearings, and not bushings or loose balls. There must be models for those who ride with toe clips and dual-sided models (like the Sabot) for those who don't. The struggle will be to make pedals like these at a reasonable price.