23 March, 2009

Taipei Cycle Show Update #3

The new factory that will be making our racks has all the tooling set up and showed us production samples of porteur racks, rear constructeur racks, and decaleurs. They are all stainless steel and look fantastic. The quality is much much better than I'd hoped for. These are the new pre-drilled versions that should make mounting much simpler. We will have the samples in our office in a couple of weeks (They didn't fit in our luggage.) As soon as we check all dimensions and mount them on a few bikes we'll OK the production run. They should arrive here 8-10 weeks later. The front rando racks, in canti mount too, are the next project.


We dropped off plans for the Rackaleur plans and should be getting prices for tooling and production in a few weeks.

Here is a photo of the 110/74 Sugino double crank I mentioned. It will be silver; they make strange colors for display. It has outboard bearings. I don't have pricing yet, but would imagine $150-$175 with the BB. The crank is aimed at Gran Fondo riders.


At the factory that makes our fenders we analyzed and discussed fender hardware for a very long time. The owner was very receptive to our needs and seemed glad to get the feedback from our customers that we passed on. His factory has been making metal fenders for bikes and scooters for more than 30 years, but I get the feeling that it's rare for clients to be so involved in the design process and he seemed to appreciate it. The factory will make several changes to our hardware that should, I hope, make it even better than Honjo hardware. I'll also soon post a photo of a new stay design that we may use. By the way, we will have a VO Daruma bolt. Additionally there will soon be polished versions of VO alloy fenders. A little later we'll have a VO hammered fender or two and we'll be ordering tooling for some new shapes.

Our handlebars are made at three different factories and we discussed the new VO drop bars with two of them. I hope we see at least one of the new models this summer. I was glad to see sophisticated testing machines at the various factories. The photo is of a machine that tests handlebars for fatigue failure; it repeatedly pushed down on the bars.


We are also looking for a second model of VO seat post. This one will have moderate setback and cost a little less. We saw a few interesting new designs, but this one struck me as being particularly well thought out. It is very smooth and easy to adjusts as well as being light. There is another 2-bolt post I'm considering as well.

Finally, here's another interesting stem design.

55 comments:

frankenbiker said...

no spacers yeah! I always thout they looked tacky,not quite as tacky as a red stem though.I try to keep it to silver and black for all components.No hipsters here,not that there is anything wrong with hipsters.

Chris Kulczycki said...

The red stem was designed by our friends at Tokyo San Esu for Japanese hipsters!

Anonymous said...

I think it is a great idea for trying to reproduce a classic look on threadless systems.

Mike Kelly

Anonymous said...

Can you get the Sugino crank with the old crown logo? Much cooler.

franklyn said...

If you can somehow have a way to mount the racks (especially the porteur) onto braze-ons on the fork crown (a la Kogswell P/R), that will be wonderful.

Aaron Thomas said...

The Sugino crank looks promising. But I'm curious as to what makes its design uniquely attractive to Gran Fondo riders? Can someone explain? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I will second the interest in the hipster stem. It's a valuable addition to the repertoire (should stiffen up the front end for those of use who use spacers now), and I hope you stock it in whatever colors it comes in. But the fillet brazed stem gets my top pick.

michael white

LF DC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Maybe they could make that crank in a VO version that takes a normal BB?
I'd take one!
Please sell it without rings, so we can customize.
Those Gran Fondos are exactly the type of riding I like to do and that crank is perfect. They're usually mountainous and a small ring is very handy for us non-pros. I like 46/30 which that crank is ideally suited for.

Anonymous said...

Pulls up a chair, pops popcorn. Ready to watch the square taper or death crowd rally with pitchforks and torches! No bailouts for external BB manufacturers! ;-)

Anonymous said...

you know what ? If I had know about VO last summer I would have done my Surly pacer in silver components not boring flat black--seriously

Anonymous said...

what is a normal BB, is that one of those new fangled ones that Shimano changes every week ?

Greg said...

Does anybody else think that Sugino is faking it a little with those cranks? I mean, I can take my old Shimano 110/74 cranks and run the big ring on the inside of the spider. Granted, there's no unsightly shelf "milled" into the arms showing, but still.

Anonymous said...

I'd run that hipster stem flipped to simulate the classic "undecided" threadless style, without unsightly spacers.

Anonymous said...

I like the stem a lot: It would be nice to dispense with spacers. Silver, 1" steerer, 26.0 bar clamp and I'm there!

By the way, I have always thought that the two- or four-bolt faceplate handlebar clamps are a great idea, even if they're not retro!

Chris Kulczycki said...

Regarding the crank, I also would have liked the ring on the outside of the arm, but if you think about it you will realize that would be impossible on a 110/74 double. Sugino did it the only possible way. As for the BB, we have to understand that many of their customers are very into performance and there are actually some small advantages to outboard bearings, unlike with some other recent BB "advances".

Franklyn, We don't want to sell racks specifically made for another company's bikes. But if Matthew orders some we can do a run.

I'm still not sure about the red stem (which we could order in silver). The issue is that you can't adjust the height.

reverend dick said...

I like the crank.

Ian Dickson said...

I'm willing to try outboard bearings, if that's what it takes to get an affordable wide-range double. Any idea how much these will cost?

Uncle ankle said...

Just a little brainstorm I had:

Is it possible to attach a quill-style stem in the same manner you attach a seat post? Once the bearings are adjusted you don't need the star nut. You'd use a dual clamp which clamps the steerer/headset at the bottom and the stem at the top. The stem would not need to be as heavy as a traditional quill because of the lack of an internal expander/wedge.

Has this ever been tried?

Aaron Thomas said...

I don't understand the opposition to outboard bearings, beyond mere retro-grouchdom. I recently installed a SRAM/Truvativ compact crank with outboard bearings and love it. It rolls exceptionally smoothly and its Q-factor is significantly narrower than the otherwise nice Sugino Alpina that VO sells.

Anonymous said...

I had high hopes on the Sugino crank, but with that big chainring on the inside, it's nothing more than a MTB triple with the 44 ring in place of the 32.

Tennessee Ernie Dodge said...

Then there outboard bearing s'posed to be makin' fer the stiff bottom bracket. Iffen you want be figuring coast do a googly search--ain't take no brain sirjin to figger that out.

: )

Gunnar Berg said...

The crankset - seems to miss the look and philosophy of V.O., though I suppose that is up to the Big Guy. The seatpost likewise. Both have a rather distasteful "technical" look. The racks are gorgeous, as is the tabletop, though it needs refinishing. I've always thought you can judge a man by how he takes care of his leathers and his wood.

Anonymous said...

Anon 19:25:
It ought to be better than a MTB triple without the big ring, since it's designed to be a double. On the MTB crank, you'd have a huge gap between the crankarm and the ring. This crank shouldn't have that gap.
They have to make it that way in order to have a double with two different BCDs. Of course, if you tolerate or prefer a wide tread, then an old MTB crank is the way to go.

jimmythefly said...

I like the cranks. A lot. They are not just a triple with no shelf for an outer ring, as some have asserted. If you look closely you'll see that the arm clears the ring with just enough room for the front derailleur, but not enough room to put a third outer ring on . These look like dedicated 110/74 cranks to me.

What would really turn them up to 11 would be some sort of adjustable effective spindle length method. Rotor's Agilis cranks almost have this, but they just use the non-drive arm adjustability to help with bearing preload. I could see how a system akin to Rotor's , but with moveable spacers, could result in a 2-piece adjustable Q outboard-bearing crank. Maybe, I'm just playing armchair designer here.

Garth said...

Hmmm,, I think the Sugino crank is a good solution for the person who wants a wide range double. I love my Sugino PX a lot. It's very practical and a lot easier shifting w/o the middle sprocket.

I really couldn't care less about the External Bearing. To me it's just another needless change. That Swiss made bottom bracket you used to sell made a lot of sense. It had locknuts on both sides so you could easily adjust how close the sprocket is to the frame.

Back when I had the Jamis Aurora i contemplated switching the steerer to a threaded. A shop in town has the die. 1-1/8" threaded headsets are available. And I had a mountain bike stem.

Garth

Tom said...

The finish on the table is protected with a piece of clear vinyl. Just like your grammas couches.

Anonymous said...

I think some o' y'all didn't read what Chris said about the crank, and that's bad, but think about it for a minute. How do you think that thing would shift if the big ring were on the outside of the spider? Also, it would be silly to judge its looks in VO configuration by the photo, given that Chris would only order it in silver. I think it would look great in polished aluminum. As for the outboard bearings, so what? I don't miss square tapers when I work on my modern bikes. The old ones work fine, too, since square taper was a huge improvement over cottered. I bet there are some folks stubbornly sticking to cottered just because they are comfortable with them.

Anonymous said...

sticking with cottered? that would be the same guy who keeps his cash in a bread bag between the mattresses?

No one has any love for the seatpost, but I like it. Looks simple, strong, and silver, which is the trifecta of the genre.

mw

ablejack said...

I'm excited 'bout the new racks. My VO Constructeur rear rack was a chore to drill at home without a press. I just got a Givemhell (Saluki) frameset and will wait for these to be in production. Maybe even slap them onto some shiny hammered VO fenders!
But I must know; Do the pre-drilled racks fit 650b and mount flush to the fender? Or is it drilled for 700/26? (I understand I could use a spacer on the 700 mount if need be.)

Daniel said...

Any idea when that 110/74 double will be available?

Anonymous said...

Yep, looking more closely at the ring/spider setup, I was mistaken - it is more than just an MTB-style triple w/o the outer. Looks like I'll be picking one up when available.

keithwwalker said...

How about metal cable clips for 1-1/4 and 1-1/8 downtubes? So much better than zip ties....

jimmythefly said...

PS -as long as we're on the subject, my #1 choice would be those cranks w/o rings, plus an array of rings to choose from.

If they(or any wide-range double crank you offer) must come with rings stock, I'd vote for 46/30 or 44/30.

Thanks for listening, and for posting stuff from the show.

jimmythefly said...

Good idea, Keith! I've often looked at the vintage top-tube cable clips in my box and swished they were a different size so I could use them on OS tubing.

Joel said...

"that would be the same guy who keeps his cash in a bread bag between the mattresses?"

Given all that has happened in the banking industry and stock market, that guy might be on to something.

Alan Braggins said...

> You'd use a dual clamp which clamps the steerer/headset at the bottom and the stem at the top.

Like this: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/handsup.html#threadless

Tom said...

both racks will be drilled for 700c and 650b wheels, with clearance for a good fender line.

Greg said...

To be clear, I do know that the Sugino crank is purpose built to be a 110/74 double. I was just commenting on the fact that it looked like what I'd do to get a double ring configuration out of an old 110/74 triple crank, or when I have to run a single ring on a double crank on the inside to get a better chainline on a single speed/fixed rig.

I'm sure the crank makers at Sugino know what they are doing when they are designing cranks, and dies. However my preference would be for the chainring to visually flow into the spider as it can on a regular double ring setup rather than the spider being bolted on to the top of the chainring.

Also, I'll consider buying a set for my bike if/when they become available. Or should I hold out for the VO crank?

Pete Ruckelshaus said...

Broken record time...still holding out for a 172.5mm crank arm length. BB doesn't bother me...lack of a 172.5 does. Oh, and a 46/30 or 44/28 would be dandy.

web said...

IMO, That Sugino crank is DOA. Outboard bearing BB and the outer ring bolted on the inside of the spider is basically no different than running a middle and inner ring only on a triple crank - Plus it looks a bit portly like a MTB crank.
I had high hopes but this isn't doing anything for me...

nv said...

Chris/Tom-
Will the new Taiwanese SS racks include a Contructeur front rack as well?
nv

Rick said...

Really like the stem (though not the color) but in part that's because it looks to have almost exactly as much extension as I have spacers on my Pseudobecane right now!

Looking forward to seeing more of those racks. I've been thinking of designing a rack of my own but that project is far in the future right now, and the need to carry stuff isn't.

Uncle Ankle said...

>> You'd use a dual clamp which clamps the steerer/headset at the bottom and the stem at the top.

>Like this: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/handsup.html#threadless

I was rather thinking along these lines

jimmythefly said...

@Unkle Ankle

Nice drawing! -That's totally do-able(not sure if it's actually been done or not), I may try it if I can gather the parts. I'm going to get a Primo Viking or similar seatpost clamp, and a quill stem meant for 1-1/8" threaded steerers. The Viking is a double-bolt clamp that's stepped from 28.6mm to 25.4mm ID (there's also a 25.4/22.2 version). The quill stems meant for 1-1/8 steerers are 25.4 OD. BAM! The only thing is setting bearing pre-load, maybe a U.S.E. ring-go-star?

Uncle Ankle said...

Glad you like it!

Looking at that Primo Viking, I'm guessing elegance might prove to be the achilles heel of this system... ;)

The ring-go-star looks ideal, or one could simply loosen the lower collar bolt and do the Sheldon gravity thing.

Tom said...

a front constructeur rack is in the works, as well as a front randonneur rack. We had to start somewhere though and the Porteur, Constructeur rear, and Decaleurs were the ones we chose first.

david_nj said...

I think it's a big big mistake to pre-drill the racks, big enough that it flies in the face of one of the major themes of VO. Almost all bikes have their eyelets, etc. in different places, and the exact height of a rack depends on the tires and fenders used. It's trivially easy to get a custom fit and drill a couple of holes where you need 'em. If you don't possess a drill, just mark them and take it to a bike or machine shop.

david_nj said...

BTW, that stem looks terrific. A polished silver un-anodized un-clearcoated version would, I think, be the bee's knees.

Garth said...

The Sugino crank looks interesting, but yes, it's just a 110/74 crank without the outer ring. I suspect it's just XD arms modified for the outboard bearing system.

I wonder if they designed this with a lower Q factor than the triple, hopefully they would.

How about some 180 or 185 arms? Never see it from Sugino I suppose.


For us long armed crank'ers ..... TA to the rescue!

TA has a new 110 compact crank called the Vortex. It comes in 155-185mm lengths. It takes a tapered ISO BB. It's not pretty silver though, a matte grey finish. I could live with grey though....at least it's not deathly black!

Michael said...

Hi Chris,

Any news or updates on the 110/74 Sugino double crank?

Michael

Chris Kulczycki said...

The pricing of the cranks turned out to be stupidly expensive. I'll meet with them in a few weeks to see if we can somehow bring it down.

jerome said...

I like those cranks a lot.

atonaldenim said...

I am terribly intrigued by that red stem (in its proposed pure silver form)... so much so that I tried exploring Tokyo San Esu's website to see if I could order one from them! (The answer seemed to be no, although they have a similar but less beautiful Dixna stem for sale 11,000 yen.)

This is the most quill-like threadless stem I've seen and would definitely quiet my inner retro-grouchiness about having a modern threadless-forked bike.

Any possibility of getting ahold one of these?

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen that crankset listed for sale anywhere yet. Any further news?