Velo Orange Polyvalent…

29 04 2011

Velo Orange Polyvalent...

Update: Polys may be in stock later this year. See comment from VO attached to this post.

My Boulder Bicycle All Road is a lovely 650B randonneur frame that’s well priced in terms of quality/function, but it’s not a cheap option for someone who wants to try a low trail 650B bike out. The Velo Orange Polyvalent is a deal at $400.00 for the frame/fork or $595.00 for a kit that adds wheels, seatpost and brakes. One of the local BC randonneurs rides a Poly  and it looks like a lovely bike.

The only issue that concerns me is how to deal with full coverage metal fenders and the forward facing horizontal dropouts? Metal fenders don’t have a lot of give so you’d either have to install them with loads of clearance which may not even be possible using 650B x 42mm tires or letting the air out each time you remove/install the rear wheel. The later option may not be such a hassle seeing as I would be unlikely to remove the rear wheel unless I got a flat or I was overhauling the bike. Hopefully neither would happen frequently.

Pumpkin Polyvalent...

A few Polyvalent notes:

Don’t get too excited about buying one of these frames though. I asked VO when they’d be back in stock and the response was 2012 – that could mean Dec 2012! Rawlands Cycles has a couple frames that may work for your 650B builds. The Drakkar has a 50mm fork offset with 73 deg HT angle and runs only disc brakes with rear facing horizontal dropouts. The rSogn has 63mm of fork offset with 73 deg HT angle and runs rim brakes with vertical dropouts. Both Rawlands frames sell for ~$600.00-$625.00 even better Rawlands has some stock of Drakkars and the rSogn is available in the near future.



11 responses

9 04 2011

I built one of these for my wife with an IGH and generator lighting. It’s phenomenal as a ’round town bike. I’m itching for my own now but apparently it will be a long wait. I emailed VO a few weeks back and they told me late this year. How long ago did you hear 2012?

Here’s my wife’s bike:

The basket has since been replaced with the VO porteur rack. I stole the basket for my Cross Check 🙂

9 04 2011
Chris Baskind

It’s a lovely bike, and I was waiting for the next model run, anyway. I’ll take the 650B, but a 700C is apparently also coming (along with a redesigned fork).

I expect they’ll drop the matte black, too.

9 04 2011

Velo Orange makes a spring thing to help with the fender issue with horizontal dropouts. It’s a spring on a bolt that lets you push the fender forward when moving the wheel forward out of the dropout. Clever.

9 04 2011
doug in seattle

This was basically going to be my next bike purchase, since despite a few flaws it is absolutely the cheapest designer 650b frame out there. I am very much interested in making a 650b allrounder/day-tour/summer overnighter/forest road rambler/inn-to-inn/train to Vancouver-Portland-Eugene vacation/all around awesome super bike and can’t afford any of the more expensive options.

It is very sad to hear that they are out of stock for 9-15 months. Incredibly disappointing, to be honest. Hopefully someone will get sick of theirs in Seattle and hock it on the ‘list!

RE: horizontal-dropouts + aluminum fenders.

My current townie/cargo cruiser, an ’84 Schwinn Voyageur (talk about a sleeper! Great frame), has that combo. True, I have to deflate the tires partially to remove or add the read wheel. But in reality this is a minor issue. I do bike work that requires rear wheel removal maybe once every couple months, and after hundreds of miles of commuting on Seattle’s notably chewed asphalt, have only gotten one flat. On tires I bought used last year!

9 04 2011

I’m waiting for the rSogn I pre-ordered back in October. It can’t come soon enough!

10 04 2011

@AC – I emailed them last week. They could get them in Jan 2012, but in my experience when companies are vague like that it’s not something hopeful!

@Chris Basland – the current model takes 650Bd…and the 700c poly looks like a totally different frame – not just a a revised 650B Poly.

@Steve P – thanks for the link. That’s a useful addition to a Poly build. I really like a solid fender mount so I’m not sure if I’d like that spring, but it would be worth a try.

@Doug in Seattle – sorry to hear you were on the hunt for a Poly. I hope you get one sooner rather than later. Ya I figured the deflate tire trick would work given the massive 42mm rubber. I’d prefer a solidly mounted fender and having to do that to using a spring on a mounting bolt. BTW if you are open to a different 650B frame my friend got [or is about to get] his hands on a NOS Kogswell PR frame that’s been gathering dust at a LBS. Talking to a few folks they seem to think there are a number of new PRs floating about some of the LBS in Canada/US….seems like a nice frame….might be worth casting about to see if you can get one…the LBS is pretty much giving it away just to get some $$$ back on their investment.

29 04 2011
Chris Kulczycki

Thanks for the post. Velo Orange just ordered a new production run of Polyvalents. They are dark green and have a few refinements. We delayed the production a few months while we worked to get the redesigned fork just right. The factory claims we’ll have them in about 4 months, but frames never ever get delivered on schedule so we’ll probably see them in fall. There are more details on our blog.

The 700c version will be here next year and have vertical dropouts.

2 05 2011

I have the same criteria as Doug in Seattle for the bike I want, but I had no idea the Poly had horizontal dropouts. I had almost given up on the idea of an IGH and had figured I’d have to settle for derailers on a BLT, LHT, or (maybe) a Sam Hillborne. I can’t afford it till 2012 anyway so the Poly looks like its in the running.

I don’t understand the 650b thing though. Aren’t 26″ or 700s more available and you just pick one based on frame size and clearances?

My bike has 26″ x 1.9″ with V brakes and fenders and I have to put the wheel back on before I inflate the tire just to get it past the brakes. Its not a problem at all and like you say, the tire being flat is my reason for taking it off in the first place. Really the shift cable attachment to the IGH is a lot more trouble.

2 05 2011

@Phil – 650B is less common, but it has two things going for it:

1 – an awesome tire in the ideal width of 42mm [fast & comfy]

2 – same outer diameter as a 700c with narrow rubber which allows for a bike with fat tires & fenders without a crazy wide crankset

You’ll need to buy a spare tire and keep it at home or take it with you on a far flung ride, but that’s a small price to pay for the nice handling and great ride of the 650B.

5 05 2011

Hi Vik:
I am not sure if I am the ‘local rando’ that you referred to, but I do love my Poly. It is a remarkable frame for the price and if you get the build kit it is even a better price.

The way I got around the fender issue was this – I adjusted the drop out screws basically as far forward as they would go. The QR on my rear wheel is very nearly at the forward end of the drop out. I cut a synthetic black wine cork and drilled a hole in the middle to use as a fender spacer at the BB. This is good because it will not break down, is compressable and will not rattle. Then I installed the fenders more or less normally. Works great and the fender lines are good.

I hope to see you on the road again. The VI 400 is pretty straightforward and does not feature a lot of climbing, for an island ride. And one way to reduce fatigue is to wear an earplug in your left ear only – tip from Manfred!

Cheers Lee

6 05 2011

One more thing, which I forgot to mention. There is tonnes of clearance in the rear triangle. I use 650b X 43 mm Hetre tires and I never have to deflate them to remove the rear wheel. The issue of deflating tires is, to me, a non-issue.

Cheers Lee

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