Velo Orange 60mm Stainless Fenders 26″

7 11 2011

26" wheeled Surly LHT with VO fenders...

I’ve been riding and tweaking my 26″ wheeled Surly LHT project bike.  One thing it definitely lacked was fenders. In my opinion fenders make a bike look finished and classy fenders take it to the next level of sexy. I had been waiting to make up my mind about which tires to stick with and what size wheels I was going to use. I started off with 26″ wheels and 2.15″ Schwalbe Big Apples. I have a lovely set of Velo Orange 650B rims in my office that was thinking about using on this bike and if not some narrower 1.5″ slick tires I also considered as possibilities. If money was no object at the moment I would likely have gone with the 650B wheels, but that would require new hubs and a custom wheel build plus new brakes as well as new levers. That’s a few too many $$$ for me to spend at the moment when the I have wheels that work. I’ve decided the monster truck feel of the Big Apples makes me pretty happy and I have a 700c LHT with 35mm tires if I want a more speedy flavour of Trucker.

I managed a decent rear fender line...

Fenders aren’t hard to install – especially a set of VO fenders, but I have to be in the right frame of mind to tackle this job. For whatever reason I was in the zone yesterday morning so I got down to business installing this 60mm VO stainless ATB fender set.

The black and silver looks pretty sharp...

Stainless fenders are a bit heavier than their aluminum brothers, but they make up for it by being very stiff and strong. This LHT isn’t about being a featherweight or even touring across the continent. It’s about a practical, fun bike that’s ready to get stuff done around town.

Definitely needs a mudflap....

The Velo Orange fender kit comes with everything you need to install the fenders. It took me about 20mins/wheel once I got going. You can do it faster, but I recommend taking your time and checking twice at each step before you go on to the next.

Nice fender line and good coverage...

I do like a fender that follows the tire reasonably evenly. I don’t get too anal about this, but it’s worth spending an extra 5mins now for a great looking fender install you can enjoy for years.

Wide fenders for wide rubber...

The 60mm fender width is just enough for the ~54mm tires. Both the tires and the wide fenders give the 26″ wheeled LHT a purposeful look – kind of like an American muscle car. Both fenders will get a mudflap as soon as I decide what to use. I have a set of Buddy Flaps that I haven’t installed which are the likely candidates.

New bars...

I really liked the shape of the VO rando bars I started with on the LHT, but they were too narrow at the drops for my wide shoulders to be happy. Alix from Bike Mexico was complaining about her LHT’s drops and since she has narrow shoulders I gifted them to her so they would get to experience some Mexican adventures! Since I had a spare set of no name drop bars on my shelf I decided to use them for now until it makes sense to upgrade.

Downtube porn...

The other thing I wanted to change was my shifting setup. The downtube friction shifter isn’t making me happy with a cassette designed for indexed shifting. Unless I get the shifting position perfect the ramps and pins on the cassette try and “help” me by shifting the chain up or down to the next cog. I’ve got 3 options:

  1. swap in a 9spd indexed bar end shifter
  2. swap in a 9spd indexed downtube shifter
  3. get a 7 or 8 spd cassette without pins & ramps for better friction shifting

I’m not 100% sure which way I’ll go yet – probably whatever falls to hand easiest.





VO – Enjoy Life!

22 10 2011

A Velo Orange Poster...





Surly 26″ Wheeled LHT Inital Impressions…

12 08 2011

Time to ride...

Although my 26″ wheeled Surly LHT build project is not finished I’ve done enough wrenching so I wanted to taste the fruits of my labours and see what I thought so far. I’ll just touch on a few topics in this post.

On my way to get some groceries...

26″ wheels and 2.15″ Schwalbe Big Apples

  • big rubber lots well proportioned for the 58cm LHT
  • it rolls well over a variety of surfaces
  • rewards a moderate steady effort, but doesn’t want to ride crazy fast
  • tires are heavy as is rear wheel
I’m enjoying the monster truck vibe of the current wheelset/tires. They aren’t performance orientated, but they do roll just fine at a moderate cruising pace. The beauty is that they just keep rolling and rolling and rolling no matter what get’s in the way. Yesterday I was run off a narrow paved road onto a bumpy dirt shoulder and then slammed into and off of a square concrete curb scoring some air before landing back on the road. On my 700c LHT with 35mm rubber that would have likely resulted in a crash and/or some wheel damage. With 55mm of soft rubber underneath my 26″ wheeled LHT I didn’t even bother touching the brakes as I knew the bike would handle the sudden obstacles without drama. For 5km-15km around town utility/transportation riding missions these wheels are a blast. If I was going to run this setup 24/7 I would invest in a higher uqlaity rear wheel to lose some of the unneeded weight back there. I’d also invest in the liteskin version of the Schwale Big Apple for a faster rolling balloon tire.

Lovely Velo Orange water bottle cages...

650B & Grand Bois Hetres
  • fast and comfy
  • I love this setup on my rando bike
  • would provide a spare wheelset if my primary wheels on my rando bike fail
  • not nearly as plush as 55mm Big Apples, but much faster
I have some 650B Velo Orange rims leaning against my garage wall waiting for some love and a spare set of Grand Bois Hetres 650b x 40mm tires that I could use on them. I love these tires on my rando bike and having a second 650B wheel set in operation means I have a spare should my primary wheels fail before a ride or even to take with me to a big event as a spare emergency set. The downside is the don’t exist yet so I have to spend a far bit of $$$ [new hubs, spokes, wheel build & new brakes+ levers] to make them happen and they won’t be nearly as plush as 55mm tires.
To be honest both options have a lot of merit and maybe in the long run I’ll do both. For now I’ll ride the 26″ wheels I have and give it some more thought. I’m enjoying the monster truck vibe well enough at the moment….=-)

Velo Orange stem mounted bell...

Velo Orange Rando Bars

I’ve really enjoyed the shape of these VO Rando bars. The complex curves all seem to fall to hand very naturally and make my hands happy. I ended up with a fairly narrow set [37cm at the brake levers – 44cm at the flared ends]. I need closer to 42cm at the brake levers so I’m going to have to swap these out for a wider set. VO makes a set that are 48cm at the flared ends which will likely be perfect for me. Speaking of the flared ends it’s nice to be able to have both a narrower position on the hoods/in the drops and a wider more stable position further back towards the ends of the bars. The VO stem and headset mesh well with the bars and the LHT. They provide a classy modern look. No issues with any of these items so far – although it’s early in the game.

Velo Orange Bell & Bottle Cages

I use a similar setup on my rando bike and they are very nice to use. The bell is attractive and stays out of the way until you need it. The sound is pleasant and isn’t overly jaring which makes for friendlier encounters with other bikers and peds. The bottle cages are light and grip a bottle securely even on bumpy roads.

The elusive Acorn Roll Bag...

Acorn Roll Bag

My online buddy Gary helped me score this Acorn Roll Bag [thanks Gary!…=-)] I’ll use it on this LHT and my rando bike depending on what’s going on at the time. The Acorn bag will get a full write up later in the year.

VO elk hide chain stay protector...

VO Chainstay Protector

The VO chainstay protector looks nice on the bike and keeps the chain off the chainstay. I have one on my rando bike as well and so far it’s worked well.

Ortlieb panniers on an OMM Sherpa rear rack...

Ortlieb Bags on OMM Rack

Ortlieb bags and OMM racks are my go to solution for carrying gear on most of my bikes. They’ve served me well for a decade plus. You can’t go wrong with them.

Bike Wrappers...

Bike Wrappers

I put a set of Bike Wrappers on my black 58cm LHT. They fit on the bike without issues although they don’t cover as much real estate on this big frame as they do on Sharon’s Cross Check. Sharon has been complaining about her commuter MTB’s ugliness and since she is forced to ride it until her Cross Check is back in action I think I’ll move these Bike Wrappers to her current commuter to make it a bit easier on the eyes. I haven’t tested the visual safety aspects of this product yet [the dark times they are coming!…=-)], but they do provide an easy and very fast way to change the look of your ride if you want a different feel without committing to the $$$/effort of a repaint.

Might as well get rid of some recycling...

Downtube Friction Shifting

So far the 9 speed drivetrain has worked well. I’m fine with the limited gear range for my utility riding around town. The shifter falls to hand well enough and I like the simplicity of this setup. Using a friction shifter with a cassette designed for indexed shifting isn’t ideal as any offset from a narrow optimal cable position results is ghost shifting under power. I don’t shift like mad so it’s only a minor hassle to tweak each shift to get the right derailleur position. I’m going to keep the shifter on the downtube so in the long run I will either get an indexed downtube shifter or a cassette that isn’t ramped and pinned for index shifting. I’m not in a rush to make a change on this.

VO Crankset

I’m only using the smaller ring of this double crankset. I can manually shift to the larger ring if I need to. Despite a long BB spindle these cranks have a very low Q-factor. I’m not overly sensitive to a variation in Q-factor so this is not terribly important to me. I haven’t noticed any flex in the long BB spindle, but I’m a fairly weak rider so that’s not shocking. Not much to say about these bad boys – I turn my feet, the chain goes round and my Trucker trucks…=-)





VO Chainstay Protector

10 07 2011

Effective, but F-ugly!

The paint on my 650B Boulder Bicycle All Road is delicate and it gets ridden with less care than it deserves as I am usually pressed for time and not at 100% when I’m riding a brevet. I managed to get a couple decent chips in the right chainstay’s paint in the first ride or two so I threw on the Lizard Skins chainstay protector shown above. It works well, but it’s not aesthetically well suited for this fine machine. I could tell it was bugging Aaron as he offered me a clear stick on protector on more than one occasion!..=-)

Velo Orange elkhide chainstay protector installed...

I declined to swap out the Lizard Skin protector until I could get my hands on one of these Velo Orange elkhide chainstay protectors. It suits the bike much better while being cheap and effective at its job.

That's much better!...=-)

You can get the VO protectors in a bunch of colours shown below. I’ll report back with a long term review in the winter.

Lots of options...





LHT 26″ Wheeled Build PT6…

8 07 2011

My 26" wheeled LHT with cranks and pedals installed...

I installed some lovely Velo Orange cranks and MKS pedals on the LHT using a Shimano square taper BB. The shot above is a bit low to let you see the saddle vs. bar height, but it’s now set where I’ll be riding it.

Crank and pedal detail...

The Velo Orange crankset is the Grand Cru Fluted Double [34T/48T]. It’s got a lovely finish and useful ring sizes. The MKS pedals are nothing special, but they were sitting in my parts bin and looked like they would suit this LHT build so on they went.

BTW – just realized I didn’t install the decorative covers over the crank bolts in the image above…my bad…you can see them in the photo below.

Bike parts porn...

I used a 118mm Shimano square taper BB. As you can see from the photo of the left crank arm below this does not provide a ton of clearance with the left chainstay. I’m pondering swapping in a 122mm spindle BB to get 2mm extra clearance on each side.

Tight!

Up next I’ll install the brakes and levers…





LHT 26″ Wheeled Build PT4…

30 06 2011

It's starting to look like a bike...

I decided to install my bars and stem next since it makes the frame look like a bike sooner than if I worked on the BB cranks.

Velo Orange Chris' Rando bars...

When I saw the VO Grand Cru Chris’ Rando Handlebar on their website a while back I made a mental note to try one on my next build. It’s got an interesting shape with lots of bends that look like they’ll be quite comfortable. I got the 44cm width which means the tops are about 38cm apart centre to centre. The finsh quality is great and at $50 they seem like a great option to consider for a long distance bike.

VO Product shot...

The VO product shot above shows some of the curves better than my photos.

VO stem...

Continuing the theme of nicely finished functional parts that don’t cost a lot I attached the bar to the fork with  a VO 4 bolt threadless stem [26mm clamp, 90mm length and 6 deg rise]. It looks sweet and at $35 it’s priced well. I need to track down some silver 1 1/8″ headset spacers and ditch the black ones I have on the bike right now as they look goofy with the silver stem/bars.

VO stem product shot...

Here is a VO product shot that does the attractiveness of this stem justice. I’ve mounted it will a 6 deg negative rise so that I have the option of turning it upwards on a tour if I need some ergonomic relief. I’ll set the tops of the bars level with the saddle once I get its position finalized.

My next move will have to be the BB/cranks/pedals!





LHT 26″ Wheeled Build PT3…

28 06 2011

Velo Orange Grand Cru 1 1/8" threadless mirror finish headset...

When I was young and foolish I used to buy premium headsets for my bikes because I thought they had to be superior given the exorbitant cost. Then as my fleet grew I was forced to buy some lower cost headsets and was surprised to find no difference at all in using or maintaining them. Ever since I’ve been buying quality mid-grade headsets at a reasonable price and been totally satisfied.

Exploded view of the internals...

When it came to my 26″ LHT build I wanted something that would look nice with the mostly silver parts build I was using, that was high quality and was not expensive. Velo Orange has become a regular stop for me when looking for parts for a bike build and I ended up with a Grand Cru 1 1/8″ threadless headset. It’s got a lovely mirrored finish and uses high quality sealed bearings at a reasonable price of $52.

VO headset install in my 58cm 26" wheeled LHT...

I took the headset down to Cycles West [my new LBS] a few blocks from my house so they could install the headset for me. Now that I am home for a few weeks I hope to get this project rolling again and finish of the build.

Next up is the BB, crank and pedals. Then stem and bars. It’s almost a bicycle…=-)





How hard is it to install metal fenders?

24 05 2011

Velo Orange hammered bling...

I just finished installing a set of Velo Orange fenders on my Surly LHT. This is my second set of VO fenders. Having previously installed a couple sets of Berthoud stainless fenders which required a lot of DIY I was ready for a decent amount of work to install these VO fenders. I was pleasantly surprised when they went on as easily as a typical set of plastic fenders, which is to stay pretty easily with no drilling or difficult setup that I could mess up. Taking my time I managed to install both fenders and mud flaps in about an hour on my LHT having a bit of practice on the first set.

Clearly VO put a lot of thought into how they could make a fender set easy to install on a variety of bikes. They provide a lot of hardware including leather washers which are a nice touch. Especially given the reasonable cost for a set.

You can read VO fender installation instructions here.

If you’ve been thinking about metal fenders and been concerned how much hassle they’d be to install I recommend giving them a shot. They’ll be on in a flash and they add a very functional bit of bling to your ride.

My LHT with new VO fender installed...

I can’t deny how sweet a nice set of Honjo fenders is, but given they cost 2-3 times what an equivalent set of VO fenders sell for I’m likely to use VO fenders on most of my bikes and save the Honjos for a few select rides like my Boulder Bicycle All Road. Happily the Fairfield Bicycle Shop is a local Velo Orange dealer that stocks quite a lot of their products so I can buy these fenders locally on short notice most of the time.





Great Velo Orange Ad…

9 05 2011

Hook them young!





Velo Orange Dynohub

6 05 2011

VO switchable dynohub...

One of the issues with dynohubs is that when you don’t need the power for your lights during the day you are still dealing with the drag from the hub magnets. Velo Orange is offering a sweet looking dynamo hub that you can switch on and off. When it’s on it provides enough power for any modern dynolight. When it’s off you just have the normal drag from high quality sealed bearings to deal with.

Not too shabby looking!

This dynohub looks pretty nice for $130.00. I’m going to grab one later this year and test it out to see how I like it compared to the SON and Shimano units I own.

I'm warming up to silver components...

Frame Spacing 100 mm
Spoke Flange Diameter 82mm
Center to Flange Left 20mm, Right 25mm
Flange to Flange 45mm
Weight 750g w QR, 685g no QR
Manufacturer Velo Orange
Material Aluminum Alloy
Finish Polished
Hub Bearing Type Sealed
Input or Output 6V, 3W




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.





Fenders for love…

28 02 2011

These were my LHT's fenders....*sigh*...

I got Sharon’s belated Christmas Surly Cross Check commuter bike built up finally.  The only thing missing was fenders.  She had decided on hammered metal fenders from Velo Orange, but they would take a few weeks to come in at our LBS.  Since she is a daily commuter she needs fenders.  I realized the VO fenders I had bought for my Long Haul Trucker were the same size we needed for her CC [700c x 45mm] since she has 32mm Grand Bois Cypres tires on her rims.  My LHT has SKS fenders that work fine on it I gave up my VO fenders for the cause and will just wait until the ones we ordered come in.

The sacrifices I make for love…*sigh*…=-)~





Velo Orange Hammered Fenders…

23 02 2011

VO fender review - click this image to read...

I got a set of these VO metal fenders for my Surly LHT.  The price was right and they look good with excellent coverage.  I’m just waiting on a sunny warm day to spend installing them…=-)

My LHT deserves a bit of bling...





650B Tires…

29 12 2010

Pacenti Pari-Moto 650B 38mm tires...

Having looked at 650B bikes recently the one question that I needed to resolve if I went with the less popular 650B size was what tires to use?  If they stopped making 650B rims I could buy 8 and be set for 20yrs, but tires don’t last that long and don’t have the same shelf-life as a rim.  Having said that the Greenspeed Scorchers have shown me that you really only need one awesome model of tire for a given wheel size to be happy.  So I don’t care about having 15 choices. I just need a couple awesome ones.

Looking at 650B rubber it seems like the two kick ass tires are Grand Bois Hetres [42mm] and Pacenti Pari-Motos [38mm].

Grand Bois Hertres 42mm 650 tire - Photog unknown...

The Pari-Motos are 127TPI & 280g with a true width of 38mm sold by Velo Orange for $59USD.  They are very thin which makes them light and fast, but not very durable.  Jan Heine at Bicycle Quarterly calls them an “event tire” because their thin casing [1.3mm compared to the 2.3mm of the Hetres] will wear out in ~2000kms on the rear.  The Hetres are 412g and 42mm wide sold by Compass Bicycle [aka Bicycle Quarterly] for $68USD.  The more robust Hetres hold 16% more air and should last over ~4000kms on the rear.

That sounds like two great options to me.  Pari-Motos for brevets where speed/efficiency is key and Hetres for training and general use where long life and some extra plushness matter more.





Velo Orange Deep Half Clips

11 08 2010

Velo Orange Deep Half Toe Clips...

I’ve been looking for a foot retention system for my Bike Friday One Way Tikit that lets me use any shoes, platform pedals and doesn’t add much hassle to my ride.  Dynocoaster – a member of the Bike Forms.net folding bike sub-forum pointed me to these partial toe clips sold by Velo Orange.

They look ideal:

  • nice looking
  • enough foot retention to make a difference without locking down my feet
  • easy in and out
  • low cost

Unfortunately they are out of stock, but I’ll keep checking back and I’ll post a review when I get a set.