07 October, 2008

Getting Stuff Made


Remember the vintage French bars in the photo? They were a standard bar on countless French city and utility bikes for many decades. I wrote about wanting to make them again a few weeks ago. Here's what happened; I found it interesting.

I made some measurements and drew a rough sketch that we gave to our draftsman. He made a proper set of plans that we sent to our agent in Taiwan. The agent contacted several manufacturers.

The first manufacturer was a large company whose name you are certainly familiar with. They asked a large fee for tooling and a huge first order. The second company, a medium sized handlebar manufacturer, wanted a smaller amount for tooling and required a much smaller order. The third company was a new and rather small manufacturer who would absorb the cost of tooling and required an order of only 200 bars. Their per piece cost was a bit higher, but still reasonable.

Since this bar is narrow and very simple in shape I felt we could trust this new company with it. Besides, Tom had already worked on a project with them, in his former job, with good result.

We had almost settled on the third company when our agent sent us a new drawing that was virtually identical to the one we had sent her. It varied by 2-3mm in one or two dimensions. Obviously someone else had had the same idea as us. They had copied the same bar. It seems a fourth manufacture had once made these bars for an unknown company and so already had the tooling and experience to produce them. The cost was somewhat higher as was the minimum production run. But this company has a great reputation and we could skip all the prototypes and minor revisions and inevitable tooling delays.

We should have these bars in 60-90 days. They are narrow, about 44cm (O-T-O) for slipping through traffic. There is zero rise. The bar diameter is 23.8 to accept inverse levers or bar-end shifters. Clamp diameter is 25.4mm. Cost should be around $20.

So the question is, what should we call them? I'll offer a free set of these handlebars for the best suggestion!

79 comments:

Brian said...

Expresso Bars?

What better way tie-in the French history with modern commuting speed!

Arleigh said...

City Rider

christian said...

How about "staple bar" ? They look like staples, there's the "staple rack" association, and, most importantly, it rhymes with "maple bar" and maple bars are powerful, powerful doughnuts.

Chips said...

A french bar?

Bistro Bars

darren said...

"Taureau" (francais for "bull", and these are similarish to bullhorn bars, but with that french flare/flair)

C said...

Stick to the French theme. I nominate Montparnasse. You have Montmartre so why not head across town to Montparnasse?

Joshua said...

How about
à presser bar : to squeeze (as in between cars)
or
en forme bar: fit bar

Cottered Crank said...

Looks like a VO Kismet Bar to me.

Clay Aaron Clifton said...

How about just Frenchys or Frenchies.... either way.

esaner.com said...

I like the simple and elegant "ville plate" or "ville plate bar."

Anonymous said...

I just came in from picking eggplant--how about the 'Aubergine' bar?
M Burdge

Joe said...

"Le Procope", the oldest coffee house and restaurant in Paris.

mhandsco said...

Demi Carre (avec accent).

Kevan said...

It's the V-O Flarrow.

FLat n' nARROW.

seaneee said...

Grand Cru Cafe Bar
Grand Cru Cintre Ville Bar or just Ville
Grand Cru Path Bar
Townie bar
Roadster bar

whew, that was a lot of brain power. Time for a nap.

Geoffrey said...

Skinny?
Nice curve?
French?

Bruni Bar.

Jack said...

Cafe bars?

joe said...

Grand Cru Croissant!

Michael S said...

It's a simple city bar with a french twist...

The VO Bar de Ville

The Rubbish Bin said...

I like the VO Pratique Bar. It's a nice simple, no nonsense, do anything bar. Like a more affilirdable version of the nitto albatross. I would love to see a shallower drop version of the soma walker or major Taylor bar. There was an NOS on that I saw at the Recyclery in Portland that was perfect.

Zac said...

How about the Re-Bar

fred said...

Dive Bar

Hans said...

Fu-Bar...

Or, more appropriately, maybe, "Pastis".

hal said...

How about either "urbain" or "utilitaire", given your description?

hal.

ryeguy said...

I really like Christian's "staple" suggestion. Just to riff on that and add some french flavor:

French for staple is "agraffe", which is not very catchy, and kind of hard to pronounce. Why not call them "Graff Bars" as a americanization, and ignore the fact that everyone will think you are referring to the tennis player.

Tom said...

Graf is also a single piece of graffiti.

Dive Bar is already used by S&M for one of their bars. Townie would get us sued right quick by Electra.

Re-Bar is also in use, and it's a heavy piece of steel used to reinforce concrete- not something we would want to associate Velo Orange with.

Pavel Yusim said...

How about the Flaneur bar?

blando said...

Looks pretty square - how about La Place?

GhostRider said...

How about "resurrecteur"...brought back from the dust of history to shine once again (also a play on "constructeur", I suppose).

I'm going to have to build another bike now...so many great parts coming out of Velo Orange that it makes my head (and wallet) spin!

Anonymous said...

I would continue with Paris districts in line with your overall theme. It can't be Left Bank or Montmartre. . . of the really great places left, I'd pick the Marais.

best,

michael white

Anonymous said...

Since these are for a working bike, how about "camionnette" bars (little truck)
-Tony

Brian said...

Frog bar

ktz said...

I know I probably wont win an awards with this one, but I really think "City Bar" would be best.

I know it isnt the most creative and we could stay french with something like "Guidon de Ville," but at the end of the day, i think most people looking for these bars will probably be googling "city bars". ( = more sales from non-VO blog subscribers! :)).

Glad you are making them!!!!

PsySal said...

I like "Talon" bars. Naming bike things after birds is always great, and they look a bit like talons. Also Talon is the same in English as in French, I believe.

Greg said...

bar et tabac
bar à vin
jean seberg
eclair
D.S.
Small Cargo Bar

zman said...

4th version....

Call it the MkIV.

david_nj said...

It might be fun to start naming them after Breton lighthouses, or say subregions of Bordeaux or towns in Calvados. Something a little more off-the-beaten-path than areas in Paris. (Personally there are very few things in the world that touch my sole like the wave-washed lighthouses off Finistiere, which for the most part have insanely cool Breton names. But dat's just me.)

Anonymous said...

How about "Boulevardier"?
Tom
Novato CA

libraridan said...

"Madeleine", a name that has come to mean, in English, "something that triggers memories or nostalgia" in reference to a passage from Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time.

In the French novel, when the narrator tastes a madeleine (a small, shell-shaped cake), long-forgotten memories are evoked. I think when people see these bars they'll remember their childhood in the French countryside, as well. Heh. ;)

James said...

réverbère

Chris, don't you have a photo of a bike with the Zepplins mounted? There is nothing to be found on the internets, not even woods.

Steve said...

James asks:

Chris, don't you have a photo of a bike with the Zepplins mounted? There is nothing to be found on the internets, not even woods.


Here's a bunch:
http://flickr.com/photos/97916047@N00/sets/72157606169015639/

I have them on my Velo Orange Randonneur.

Greg said...

raconteur

david_nj said...

Boulevardier is great.

Or perhaps you could tip your cap to Chuck Baudelaire and call them Flâneur bars.

nv said...

Sourire Bar.

nv

nv said...

PS- even if I don't win a free bar, I've been waiting for these and I'm stoked they'll be in the $20 range!
Super work Chris & Tom!
nv

James said...

I just found those photos Steve and they are beautiful, but I meant to ask for photos of the 650B fenders.

david_nj said...

Steve, that's one fine looking rig.

Z said...

I vote for the Rand-town Bar. Get it? Anyway, I am totally psyched about these bars. When I saw them on the site a while back I knew I wanted them. Thanks for making them!

Greg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'd call them French flattop bars.

Anonymous said...

Domme Bar, a cool village in the Dordogne region.

James said...

Pigalle.
They're narrow so you can squeeze your way through traffic in an alley in the red light district.

Anonymous said...

I suggest the Dérive Bar.

James Black

Daniel said...

What about "chouette" (cool)?

Melvin DeGaulle said...

How about the Bridget Bar-Deaux ?

Has a nice ring to it : The VO Bridget Bar-Deaux . . .

Maybe I shoulda been in advertising ?

Whatever y'all call it, it looks like a nice shape.

Carmen C. said...

ville radieuse
or
radieuse.

Matt Danning said...

How about "Belleville"? A section in Paris, and a nod to a great bicycling movie, "The Triplets of Belleville."

Matty said...

Call them the Nord-Sud Handlebar. The Nord-Sud (North-South) was the Paris metro line that connected Montmartre to Montparnasse, two very important Parisian areas made famous with bohemian artists, poets and writers. Just the kind of people that used their bike daily!

ChrisCullum said...

"Cintre-Ville" is cool because it's kind of a french pun. Cintre is handle bar and obviously "centre-ville" is downtown. "The Downtown Town Bar". Nice.

Anonymous said...

je voudrais t'offrir ça: typhoon bars.
je suis un regular customer, if i win i can prove my identity.

or, how about "thank you bars"

xia xia from a norweigan in denver

Paul said...

I just can't. I'm too boring.

Eoghan said...

Vitesse handlebars, brings to mind finesse, but with some speed too.

Eoghan said...

Vitesse bars, like finesse but with some speed too.

Anonymous said...

Siecle Guidon Century handlebars.



Frank in the PNW

patates frites said...

How about Soiree bars? Also, I'm surprised nobody has suggested Champs Elysee yet.

Anonymous said...

Calais Guidon.



Frank in the PNW

Anonymous said...

Calais Guidon.



Frank in the PNW

Anonymous said...

How about the Hulot bar? Unrelated in any way, but it's kinda catchy.

I like staple, too.

Anonymous said...

Frenchy city slicker

DannyB

Hank said...

voyageur
courier
rapide
volante
nouveau porteur

a very nice bar, great price to.

luckyluke said...

Frenchy city slicker

Anonymous said...

Close to Montmartre, but simpler and more utilitarian.
La Villette.

Bill J

LocalWood said...

How about "Jarret bars". I think jarret is french for "knuckle", as in scraping your knuckles while squeezing between cars or tiny Parisian alleyways in a big hurry to deliver a stack of newspapers.

Anonymous said...

Provence Bar


Frank PNW

Josh said...

My vote is for: Promenade

Taylor said...

The best I could come up with is "Chat De Ruelle".

Regardless, these are the bars of my dreams, materializing before my eyes. I am very excited

scott said...

the frog bar.

a slight dig, but whatever....

Jerome said...

Nameless

Michael Meiser said...

Wow, 78 comments! I have no time to read them all yet, but I recognize something here that is very important in your story:

Innovation unlike true invention happens simultaneously across the board. It's very common for people to think they're unique or thinking uniquely... this leads to a tremendous amount of duplication of effort.

I've learned this because it is extremely apparent in the software world. And so it rings true in manufacturing as well.

Do new transparency and so called "hyper-connectivity" we have more of an opportunity than ever to pool our resources as is most apparent with open source software to create a new type of innovation.

This is an effect that works backwards or toward such macro-economic trends like market verticalization or the most apt "walmatization" effect.

In essence the big idea here is to create a new marketplace of ideas... a walmart of innovation.

In many ways this is what open source is to software... but that is just one of thousands of forms it might take... and what's more we must ask how would this apply to manufacuring, particularly in the bike world.

For now... this is it... you're doing it... blogs. Given time and the transparency of blogging... superb search, and other factors of the internet in a broad sense this is the marketplace I'm talking about... it is just ad-hock and non-explicit.. but right now it's getting the job done... as I can see very clearly from the 78 comments.