23 December, 2015

VO is on Vacation until January 4th

This is just a reminder that Velo Orange will be closed until January 4th 2016. It's our annual winter break, giving our hard working staff a much needed rest. 

The web site will be open and you can place orders and secure those sale frames. But orders won't be shipped and emails and calls won't be answered until the week of Jan 4th.

Happy Holidays

We wanted to wish our customers, suppliers, and anyone else reading, Merry Holidays and a  Pleasant New Year.

And thanks you for another prosperous and fun year.

Velo Orange will be closed until January 4th, giving our hard working staff a much needed rest. The web site will be open, but orders won't be shipped and emails and calls won't be answered until the week of Jan 4th.
The photos are from a little ride a few VO staffers took around Annapolis on Tuesday.

22 December, 2015

Frame News and 30% Off Camargues and Polyvalents

By Chris

We're doing year end inventory here at VO. And we've also been chatting about next year's frame production. Here's the executive summary:

  • We will, sadly, discontinue the Camargue. It's a great frame, but everyone is ordering the Piolet instead. So we'll put the remaining Camargues on sale at 30% off (shops get the lower price, too).
  • We'll also discontinue the current Polyvalent, and those remaining frames are now 30% off.
  • Piolets have been selling faster than we expected and we are out of some sizes; sorry about that. There are more being built. We hope to have them in March
  • The Polyvalent will be redesigned or may be replaced with a somewhat similar frame. The goal is to fit larger tires, shorten the top tube a bit, and possibly add disc brake mounts. 
  • No changes are anticipated for the Pass Hunter and Pass Hunter Disc.
  • We've been discussing a new color for the Campeur and we've gotten sample tubes painted in four possible shades. (Can't really judge from paper samples.) But almost everyone likes the current grey best. We may just keep it.
  • We have a few blemished frames that we need to photograph and put in the store, but I doubt we'll get that done before our Holiday break.

18 December, 2015

Clint's Porteur Hunter Disc

We East Coasters have had a ridiculously mild winter thusfar - sometimes with even higher temps than SoCal! That is until yesterday when it rained. So we made some lemonade from lemons and photographed Clint's Pass Hunter Disc prototype.

Warm & wet winter. Fender weather. 
Best drivetrain ever.
Salsa chainrings #MUSA
Click click.
Blink blink.

Drip drip.
They keep telling me my prototype build is weird, particularly the drivetrain. I started with the XTR rear derailleur. I knew I wanted to run that with dropbars. This lead to the Dynasys-compatible Gevenalle shifters. They've been pretty good so far: quick shifting, no complaints. I've always liked the early 2000s Campy cranks, and they're not hard to come by for a decent price, so I threw one of those on the front end. This one has some old #musa Salsa chainrings. Since I wanted the prototype to be a sporty touring bike, I needed to expand my range a bit, went with an 11-34 cassette and wrapped a couple chains around it for the giant gears. To finish it off, a Record front derailleur matches the crank.  Kind of a heavy drivetrain, but it's everything I wanted and more.  

14 December, 2015

11 December, 2015

Big Tires, Little Trout

By Chris

There's not much going on at VO this week other than filling a lot of orders due to our 20%-off sale. So I thought I'd post a few photos of yesterday's ride. I took the day off and drove out to New Germany State Park in western Maryland. The plan was to do a little trout fishing and some solitary riding.

The Piolet in it's natural habitat.
There are numerous ORV (off road vehicle) trails in this part of the state. Fortunately, some of the best ones are no longer open to motorized vehicles. I rode an abandoned Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) road that runs along a small trout stream. The CCC built a tremendous number of roads, lodges, cabins, and other infrastructure in national and state parks during the great depression. It was a very successful program to boost employment for young men and to improve our park system.

The road along Poplar Lick is just abandoned enough to make it too bumpy to ride comfortably on my Pass Hunter, so I took a demo Piolet. It's a beautiful trail, yet I didn't see another person all day. If you want to spend the night there, you can choose from some lovely hike/ride-in campsites along the way, most of them with picnic tables and fire rings.
One of the smoother sections.
So many fords.
The road crosses Poplar Lick more times than I could count, often on small bridges, but I also made 16 fords and all but a few were too rocky and slippery to ride across. The air temperature was in the high 40s and the water temperature was in the 30s. I rode and waded in sandals; surprisingly, you soon get used to the cold water.
I had to watch out for occasional brush on the trail.
Poplar Lick ("lick" being local for "crick",) is home to a healthy population of native brook trout, the only species of trout that's native to our area. The streams up here are so isolated that the trout are genetically different in each stream. As it turned out, after riding for four hours I was too beat to put much effort into fishing afterward, so it was one of the few times I've visited this area without catching a single fish.
Fly fishing kit with tenkara rod.
My fishing gear for cycling includes a Tenkara fly rod and a few accessories that fit in a small shoulder pouch. The Tenkara rod is is Japanese fly rod that telescopes from about 21 inches to about 11 feet. It uses no reel and only weighs a few ounces, perfect for biking and for smaller streams.
It's a small stream.
One of the trophy Poplar Lick trout from a trip earlier this year.
The Piolet performed perfectly with 2.4" tires, just what's needed on the rocky eroded portions of these trails. I also liked the Seine bars, though they were wider than needed for a non-technical trail. In fact, I liked the ride enough that I'm thinking about a Piolet with wide drop bars and a double crank, and maybe a porteur rack.

08 December, 2015

Holiday Gift Thoughts

by Scott

That time of year has arrived, the one where folks start to get all excited about "The Holidays."
A time of gift giving and spending time with friends and family or, in some cases, escaping all of the above. So in the spirit of providing some assistance: cut and paste the url for this page in an email to Aunt Estelle if she is in need of help.

Starting small, the coolest little things that folks can always use if they have toe straps on their bike - toe clip buttons. These are the cuff links of bikes and add a huge amount of class to any ride, even that rusted out velopicide that gets so little love (really, you should at least oil the chain once in a while). Putting these on your straps instantly bumps the cool factor up a level.

Moving up in size, Rustine patch kits add a vintage charm to your bike repair kit. The little tin ones look great, have lots of usable stuff inside them, and always make people smile when you pull it out to help some one with a flat. It's great as a stocking stuffer or as a package if you also picked up a baguette bag to go along with it.

Keeping with vintage charm that is 100% practical, an Opinel knife is a fine gift for almost everyone- well, maybe not for a 6-year old. We sell carbon or stainless steel blades. Naturally, we also carry a corkscrew model for that picnic with your favorite ride partner when some nice wine is brought along. We even have a model with a whistle in it should you get lost from your partner.

If you're someone who heads out on a hot day and needs lots of fluids on hand, then the Mojave cage is something to ask for this year. It will  hold a 32 oz Nalgene bottle or 40 oz Kleen Kanteen bottle, so for adventure cyclists this is the best alternative to towing a camel.

Most of our customers have some sort of rack on their bikes or some way to get that extra bottle of wine home with them. Having a good quality bungee cord can make all the difference between getting that bottle back home or crying over spilt Merlot. Enter the Constructeur bungee. Available in a variety of colours to match your bike or libation of choice, these are a great addition to any bike.

Finally if none of the above floats your boat or pumps up your tire, then you can always ask for a gift certificate. It's usable on everything in the store and never goes out of stock, plus it fits all sizes from XS to XXL.

Other items from years past that have been popular are the Soto coffee maker, Soap, Rhodia note books, bells or a cycling cap to top off the cyclist in your life.

One last tip - if you need a pick me up of shortbread this holiday season, try Dean's of Scotland. Best we've found, and we've tried lots.

30 November, 2015

Holiday Sale, 20% Off Almost Everything

We don't have a sale every year, but we tried it last year and it was very popular, so we're doing it again.

Here's the deal: you can get 20% off your order starting right now and ending December 15th, 2015 (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 - ORANGE2015 - 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!

25 November, 2015

Thanksgiving Break, aka Ride Bikes to Work Off Dinner

by Scott

As Thanksgiving rolls around (sooner it seems every year) again, we'd just like to remind folks that we'll be closed Thursday and Friday for the holiday and recovery time. The weather here in the mid-Atlantic seems to be great for this time of year, highs in the low to mid 60's, so we're all hoping to get out and about for a ride or three over the next few days.

We'll be back in the office bright and early on Monday, well 9 am seems early after a 4 day weekend, and ready to ship out your orders and answer questions that have come in over the break.

Hope all of you have a safe and thankful Thanksgiving.

Do you have any Thanksgiving riding traditions?

23 November, 2015

Chris' Pass Hunter Disc Build List

I'm loving my new Pass Hunter Disc. These photos were taken when the frame was originally built-up. I've changed the pedals to MKS Cubes and the saddle is now a Brooks Pro Ti. I don't think the Brooks is necessarily a better saddle, but it was broken-in and unattached.

The bike rides and handles as well as any bike I've ridden, maybe better (and that includes several custom frames built for me). This is my first bike with hydraulic brakes and they do work very well. The brakes are so powerful that it takes some time to get used to them. But cable brakes work well enough, so don't think that you must have hydraulics.

This bike is built up with 11-speed. There is no need for 11-speed--it's simply planned obsolescence from the component manufacturers. It works as well as 10-speed or 9-speed, etc. I'm using it only for professional reasons, to become familiar with it and to test a new hub we are developing. Otherwise I would be riding 9 or 10-speed.

A complete build list is at the bottom of the post.

Complete build list:

19 November, 2015

Public Service Announcement: It's Beaujolais Nouveau Day!!

By Chris

French regulations prohibit Beaujolais Nouveau from being sold until the third Thursday in November. That is today! This wine is only a few weeks old and 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. Its 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.
Scott braves the elements to bring us the first taste of 2015 Beaujolais Nouveau.
Our caped hero races toward VO World Headquarters. (Prototype cape courtesy of Rustine.)

Chris Takes His New Bike For A Ride In The Woods

By Chris

So I have this new orange bike and decided to take a day off to go for a ride. Thought you might like to see a few photos.

This is at Fair Hill in northeastern Maryland. Lots of horse trails, single track, and gravel roads.
They're not much for bridge maintenance out here.
So I don't forget which bike is mine.
Saw a few trout in Big Elk Creek.
This is my first bike with hydraulic brakes (Shimano 785).
Shimano 105 derailleurs work well.
Covered bridge.
Abandoned concrete paved road with old style steel overpass.
Trout stream.
11-speeds are silly, but I'm testing a new hub.
Old stable.
You could square dance on these big'ole hydraulic brifters.
Another abandoned bridge.
Horse trail. WTB 40mm Nanos handled dirt, pavement gravel and leaves with confidence.

17 November, 2015

Campeur: Classic Modern

by Igor

Campeur is a beautiful frameset. Its classic, french aesthetic is understated, subtle, and reliable. Handling is neutral both unloaded and loaded, which is the highest compliment for a touring bike. We built this frame up to remind audiences that you don't need through-axles, carbon forks, hydro-Di2, or even aero brakes to have a good time on your bike.

There is beauty in simplicity.