14 August, 2006

More Velo Orange Bikes?

With the first small batch of Randonneur frames sold, I can't help but think of Velo Orange's future. It seems that we can sell a made in the US, custom geometry silver brazed frame for little more than, say, a Rambouillet or a Heron. This is a frame with some of the nicest and best made lugs available, DuPont Imron paint, and every braze on imaginable built by a very talented builder. And there are custom made racks and fenders available. I think this raises the bar.

So what else could we build? I'd like to see an elegant city bike in our catalog. It would not be a heavy porteur, but a real upscale city bike. It seems some people confuse porteurs with the superbly refined bikes like the Herse Champs-Elysees and Gentleman models. These are bike one could ride to work in a three piece suit and wing-tips, old leather attache perched on the small front rack.

And we will need a "Camping" bike with 650b wheels, super stable geometry, and big racks front and rear. This would be a bike that could amble across a country or two or bomb down a fire road.

I doubt we'd ever make a racing bike, but how about a pass hunter? Take the Rando frame, eliminate all excess weight, set it up for a slightly more race bike like fit. Hmmm.....

What do you think we should build?

13 comments:

Lesli L said...

My vote would be for a bike designed in the mode of a 1947 Alex Singer porteur (as featured on p. 60 of the *Golden Age of Hanbuilt Bicyles*).

If Mariposa were still taking orders I'd have them make me such a bike, that is, a fast fixed year with fittings for a lightweight front rack, fenders, lights and (well my mind can run) a fabric chainguard.


I love the idea of owning a bike which would be a workhorse commuter during the week (but not for delivery newspapers) and a sporty road warrior by the weekend.

A mixte version (from *GAHB, p. 78) or one with nominal gears (hey, a three speed internal/fixed gear hub would be nice) would also be most welcome..

Lesli L said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I too like the idea of an upscale city bike, especially with internal hub gears. I'm on the verge of ordering a Nexus 8sp hub for such a project. Unfortunately both the hub and related twist shifter are just plain ugly, which might bother me if I'm sporting my freshly polished wingtips.

nmberg said...

I have forwarded pics of a black Cinelli opera bike. Must have chrome chain guard to keep the tux legs from getting greased. Maybe internal gearing. Also in a mixte.

Andy said...

I'd like a simple but beautiful city bike. Elegant, utilitarian with everything I need, but nothing superflous. And it should be suitable for the next 40 years.

david_nj said...

Anonymous -

I've just about finished completely retrofitting an old PX-10 frame into a city bike/ Nexus 8-speed setup. Has a chainguard from an old Raleigh 3-speed and is sort of a loose assemblage of cleaned-up parts from manky old boxes in my storage room. It came out really well; I'll send CK some pics at some juncture, in case he wants to post them.

They are vanishingly hard to source, but there is a super cool "rapidfire" type shifter you can get for a Nexus 8s setup which can be used in lieu of the twist shifter. It has an almost art deco look to it. You do of course need to take out the simichrome polish and get rid of the Shimano logos.

As far as the basic looks of the hubs, I used a Nexus "red band" 8s hub, and a front Ultegra generator hub, and I painted them in epoxy paint that looks pretty much like galvanizing, albeit shiny.

The point of that bike literally is to be ridable in wingtips and a fine suit, without risking soiling either.

patrick said...

I second the idea of a camping bike.

An elegant, relaxed geometry fixed/singlespeed bike seems a natural choice...perhaps the "city bike" could use rearfacing dropouts and either single, fixed, or internal-hub gearing. Fenders, low-ish trail, a custom low-centered front basket. Yo.

Consider also a "mini bike" like the Raleigh and Moulton "shoppers" from the...um...was it the 70s? Lightweight, 20" wheels, front and rear carriers, internal hub gearing, good for lugging home groceries. Perhaps a folding option, but not for fold-and-go, more for just fitting into a small apartment or crowded house. A good urban solution.

Anonymous said...

I personaly like the idea of a pass hunter. I like the idea so much that I just put a deposit on a mercian audax spercial to use as one. Sigh.
I'm also really into the idea of a nice city bike I can wear my suit on and not fear. I've turned a few old 3 speeds into nice fixed city bikes.
-alexi

Anonymous said...

if anyone is interested here are some pics of a city bike I built, at one point it had a home made wooden fender on it. but it craked. I always thought the sogreni chain gurads were really neat looking and would look great on a city bike.
http://www.fixedgeargallery.com/2006/may/AlexiDolloffbrammer.htm

here is a link to the sogreni chain guard:
http://www.sogreni.dk/Chainguard.php#

-alexi

Andrew said...

My vote is for anything other than a Porteur. I can't see the attraction of these bikes and why people go gaga over them (unless they are a courier/messenger). They just look plain heavy and slow to me.

How about something completely different, like a trailer that is both light and has decent load capacity?

buck fitty said...

This'll probably get me laughed off your site, but heck, you asked for ideas, so here goes...

Rather than using the "golden age" as an end point, use it as a place to begin. Think of all the really fantastic things that have been invented/improved/advanced for cycling in the last 50 years. How can you take the best of these and blend them into a bike that retains the kind of timeless beauty you're looking for?

For example- avid mecanical disc brakes. There's no brake that's simpler to set up, easier to adjust, or that gives you as flexible a frame- think about it- with disc brakes on your frame, you could run 700c, 650b or 26" wheels depending on your mood or your need. No issues with brake reach, no issues with fender clearance, but the flexability to quickly set up your bike for the needs of the day.

Of course, this would be one hell of an engineering challenge, worthy of the great constructeurs- how does one design for such flexability and still maintain elegance?

Anonymous said...

Another vote for a Pass Hunter. for 650A or B wheels.

Ryan

Anonymous said...

My vote would be for a bike
designed in the mode of a 1947
Alex Singer porteur...

I love the idea of owning a bike
which would be a workhorse
commuter during the week (but not
for delivery newspapers) and a
sporty road warrior by the
weekend.

A mixte version (from *GAHB, p.
78) or one with nominal gears
(hey, a three speed internal/fixed
gear hub would be nice) would also
be most welcome..



Isn't that pretty close to what Kogswell is doing with their Porteur?

I've heard talk of mixtes in the next batch.