05 September, 2006

Johnny Coast's Shop

I was in Brooklyn New York this weekend visiting Johnny Coast's shop. Johnny is making the Velo Orange frames. Here are a few photos I took.

The orange city bike was just out of the paint shop. Johnny had a local guy do the lug lining which was only okay, but the workmanship on the frame is just outstanding. The orange paint is flawless too.

Johnny says we can figure six months from order to frame delivery. That's about a quarter to a sixth of the wait from many builders. But it's still a long time. Of course many experienced riders say that once you get a made-to-measure frame you'll never go back to a stock frame, so it's worth it.

We talked about the VO city bike. That's a very hard bike to spec. We're going to use the same geometry that Herse used. But deciding on the drivetrain is a challenge. I think we'll offer both a derailleur and a hub gear version.


16 comments:

dscp1 said...

Hi Chris -- Looks really nice. Just curious, does he do his own paint?

Do you have paint codes for the V-O colors?

What is the latest timeline on Johnny starting on the V-O frames?

Dan "yeah, I'm getting one" Sullivan

Chris Kulczycki said...

Dan, Johnny uses two paint shops. A local shop, which will do the stock Velo Orange silver, is his standard finish. An upscale shop, that does paint for a number of high-end builders, will do the optional Velo Orange colors. That's the reason that the optional colors cost more; they come from one of the best paint shops around.

The paint codes are: silver-5032, black-99, orange-24592, blue G-9369 (but we might go with a lighter shade of blue. It is really hard to decide).

I saw the "order board" in Johnny's shop and there are a lot of frames on it. He says to tell everyone it'll be six-months from the time they put in the order so no one is disappointed if there are delays. But I think it'll be more like 5 months.

Bob said...

Hi Chris,

It looks like Johnny Cycles does great work. I love the understated elegance of the lug work on that orange frame with rear fork ends. Could you published the geometry for these frames? I understand they are to be low trail, custom sized bikes. Are there any specifications regarding seat tube and head tube angles, BB drop and chain stay length? I am interested in any specs you can provide. Thanks, Bob

david_nj said...

I don't know if the V-O frames are going to have a more retro or moderne bent, but one thing I've seen that when crisply done can be so incredibly elegant is a bit of box-lining. No fine city bike, I think, should go without it (if I ever own a fine city bike, it will have it even if I have to trade in my Audi for a donkey). If you look at the Mariposa site, some of their bikes have this and it's pretty jaw-dropping. I think the Curt Goodrich bike that Chris had posted was done in this way too. Don't much care for the lined lug look though.

Andy said...

I agree; box-lining is perfect for a city bike. I also like the idea of no downtube decal, just a headtube badge and maybe a small decal on the seat-tube. Any thoughts on decals?

Chris Kulczycki said...

Andy and David and Bob,

Box lining is very cool and all we need to do is find someone who is really good at it. That's not easy. We're going to talk to some folks in the hot-rod world who do pin striping.

The geometry for the rando frame is a few posts down. I'll post the city bike geometry as soon as we give it a bit more thought.

I'm not a fan of big decals. We've thought of putting just one decal on top of the top tube like on many pre-war bikes and on some more recent Singer's. Thoughts? Of course we'll gladly leave off any decals you don't want on a semi-custom frame.

dscp1 said...

Decals -- small is good. I don't like decals on the top tube, not sure why, just don't. I would like a small one on the head tube and center of the seat tube, and depending on size/style, a nicely understated one on the down tube can look good too.

However, right now both of my main bikes are repainted and thus decal-free, and I like the look.

Dan S.

Neil M Berg said...

The older French bikes had hand painted graphics. Maybe a decal that captures that handcrafted look, if you could pull it off subtley enough to not look hokey. Just have a good sign painter do them by hand as well he can and reproduce that as a decal.

Neil M Berg said...

Curt Goodrich has someone at Joe Bell do the box lining. Photos don't do them justice compared to seeing them in person.

dscp1 said...

Neil -- the handpainted graphics are a great idea. Done well that would be a really nice touch.

Dan

Chris Kulczycki said...

Actually, if you want the graphics to look like an old French bike I could ask our 7-year old to paint them. He won't charge much. Even the graphics on many Herse bikes is an embarrassment.

I've been told that box lining is not particularly hard to master. So why is it so hard to find someone to do it?

david_nj said...

I am so bullish on the idea of doing away with decals altogether. Just hand paint the logo, etc. Agree with Neil, an antiqued decal would look hokey.

It matters nought if the handpainting isn't perfect. Hey, it's the idea, not the execution, sometimes at least. Look at some of the Bauhaus furniture. Stunningly beautiful but in many cases, simply thrown together. The idea was not to be so precious about the object itself, but rather to elevate it to the plane of ideas.

Preciousness in bicycles is one of the more backward concepts I'm aware of. Build it with all the elegance in the world, then ride it like you stole it.

Andy said...

Chris, you might contact the guys at House Industries in Wilmington. Definitely more than graphic designers, they have plenty of people on hand that can (expertly) paint stripes and lettering. They're friends and one of the owners is a bike guy too. And the other owner's father is an old-school hot rod guy.

A simple seat-tube decal can be beautiful. It just needs to be well-designed and well-executed by a good screenprinter.

Perhaps a simple, but beautifully crafted, hand-painted logotype paired with a super classy metal headbadge. One variant to Rivendell's form-follows-function chatter is their special pewter head-badge, which I like quite a bit.

Neil M Berg said...

Chris,
Does the guy who says that it's easy to master box lining, actually know how to do it? I think I've seen more poorly done than well done.

Steve H said...

I'll second the shout-out to House Industries: we're building a rando bike for Rich Roat, one of the owners, and Rich's pal Paul Barnes was kind enough to design our new logos (which are not yet in circulation).

Brouse the website, order the $60 House book (it's a steal), and if you're like me you'll feel insanely jealous of guys who just sit around all day dreaming up cool products and having them made. They make fonts or something but that seems almost a sideline...

david_nj said...

I don't think a city bike should be hard to spec, at least from the POV of the frame itself. Just use long horizontal dropouts and a derailleur tab. That way you can happily use either internal or external gears.

Even poorly done box lining looks OK, I think. But maybe ask Mike Barry how they do it up there ... the lining on some of the Mariposa bikes is nothing short of perfection. And they don't make a big deal out of it.