11 December, 2017

Dirt Drops - a Setup Guide

By Scott

I've long been a fan of dirt drop style handlebars. My buddy Kevin and I were typical mountain bike riders of the early 90's in BC. Our bikes had super narrow flat bars to enable us to ride between trees on the narrow single track trails of the area. A bike shop owner in Whistler, who had all the cool parts from the US that we'd only seen in magazines, convinced us to try drop bars. The bars were a hoot to use. On flowy single track, they felt more precise than traditional flat bars. The dirt drops also gave my bike an unconventional look, that helped it stand out in a sea of bikes in BC.  I don't think we saw anyone else with them in years of riding in BC and the western US. I used them on my Brodie  for off road riding, commuting, and touring for over a dozen years.

An original set of WTB off road drop bars circa 1987(?)

Fast forward to now and you'll see a proliferation of drop bars with flare being used for all sorts of bike builds. So you've seen them on builds on sites like The Radavist or Cycle Exif and you've gone and bought a set of bars. Now, how do you set these up? Well, let's work on that shall we.

A brifter shifting set up

The basic tenant of using dirt drops is that unlike traditional drop bars, you want the brake hoods to be at least the same height as the saddle, preferably higher. The idea is that you can ride with your hands on the hoods for comfort and you can get into the drops for "rough stuff" and still maintain control. You'll see that many dirt drop bars have a fair amount of flare, compared to road drop bars, and this extra leverage gives you more control in those situations where finesse is needed- threading the needle on single track trails or trying to get through a mud pit on a remote gravel road in western PA.

Getting your bars up high is key to taking advantage of dirt drop bars

So you should look at your current cockpit set up. If you are running a threadless set up, you might need to get a new stem. Something like the Cigne stem would help to move your new drop bars up into a higher position. If you are running a threaded headset, using a Cigne adaptor lets you use the Cigne stem or you could use a removeable face plate quill stem to move the bars up higher.


What else to think of when switching to dirt drops? Shifters would be the other thing. You can set up shifting in three different ways. You can use traditional bar end shifters. The Dia Compe ones we sell work great for up to a 9 speed set up. You can do with "brifters" like Igor did on his Piolet build. Or you could be more unique and go with the thumb shifter mounts and put them up by the handlebar clamp area and shift with your thumbs on the flat section of the drop bars.



What's your set up with dirt drop bars? Let us know in the comments.


06 December, 2017

New Tires and Grips Replenished

By Scott

In spite of it being close to the end of the year, new stuff keeps arriving here at VO HQ.  This time it's a new size of the popular Fairweather Cruise tires - now in a 650b x 42 mm size. These tires use the same tread design as the other Cruise tires (the traditional Pasela PT tread) and Fairweather's more supple casing. We brought in the Brown tread and the Cream tread, both with a traditional tan side wall.


Measuring them on a Diagonale Rim, with 40 psi and at 150 feet of elevation, they measure a pretty spot on 42mm. Fairweather has hit a home run with their Cruise line. They provide a comfortable ride, nice grip on the rough stuff, and long life - what more could you want? Weight wise, they weigh 474 gr.


Also arriving yesterday was a restock of our very popular Rustines Constructeur Grips in Gum. These grips have proven to be the most popular color of the variations we offer. It might be the subtlety of them that allows them to work well with almost any color scheme you might have going on.

See they even work with this wild color scheme

04 December, 2017

Polyvalent and Piolet Pre-Sales are Live


The pre-sales for the Polyvalent and Piolet are up! While the retail price of both framesets is $725, the pre-sale price is $675.


Here is the fine print for the offer:
  • Frame and fork in Deep Emerald Green for Polyvalent and Poppin' Purple for Piolet
  • Pre-sale cannot be combined with any additional promotions or discounts
  • Early April 2018 arrival
  • Pre-sale concludes January 15th, 2018
  • Shipping fees for orders outside the contiguous 48 states will be quoted and billed separately at time of shipping.

In order to keep pre-sales nice and tidy, one thing we'd request is if you're placing an order for other items now, please place one order for the frameset, and another for everything else. All other products will be shipped immediately.


Can't wait to see how you all build them up!

30 November, 2017

A Bike Nicknamed Lilac and Upcoming Pre-Sale Details

by Igor


When we get in prototypes of frames, each size is a different color. We often get tube samples of paint we like, but seeing a whole frame and fork really lets us envision how the rest of the bike will flow.


Sometimes a color we thought to be perfect, isn't, and sometimes a color we select as an off-the-wall trial is perfect (Poppin' Purple Piolet).



This bike we've nicknamed Lilac is a Polyvalent prototype that turned out to be just lovely with polished silver components.



The paint isn't something you'd commonly see on a stock bike, but it's fun to see what happens when you don't have limitations on your color palettes. We'll put this one in our collective back pocket for later.


The components are all taken off the last Polyvalent we took on tour to Eurobike, with the addition of the Rando Handlebar Bag and Day-Tripper Saddle Bag - which have been marvelous.


On a side note, since we have had such an overwhelmingly positive response to, and demand for, the Polyvalent and Piolets, we will be doing a pre-order for all frame sizes starting Monday, December 4th. Retail price for both the Polyvalent and Piolet will be $725, but those participating in the pre-sale will be able to get a frameset for $675. Deep Emerald Green and Poppin' Purple are the production colors, respectively. We're looking at early-April delivery.

Pre-sale closing is still TBD, but it will be generous, and we'll give notice of its conclusion. 

26 November, 2017

20% Off Winter Sale

We're having a sale!

Starting today and going through December 15th, get 20% off the entire VO store. That includes in-stock frames, wheels, components, accessories - everything except gift certificates.

All you have to do is use the not-so-secret coupon code: Orange17. Here's how to get the deal:

  • When your cart is ready, click "Checkout".

  • Enter the discount code Orange17 and click apply.

  • Confirm the code has been applied, and finish checking out!

Happy Riding!

22 November, 2017

Closed Over Thanksgiving

by Igor

We'll be closed on November 23rd and re-open on November 27th to give our hardworking staff some time off to spend with their families and get in some long bike rides over the Thanksgiving holiday.


If you need an order shipped today, please place it before 3pm EST and we'll get it out the door.

Please have a safe and happy Thanskgiving break, and we'll see you bright and early on Monday!

Ps. We just got in these nifty Opinel No.8 Cyclist Knives! Stainless steel blade and classic Opinel design.


21 November, 2017

Update on Luggage

by Igor


For those who were able to make it to Philly Bike Expo, you were able to have a hands-on look at the upcoming luggage we've been working on in collaboration with our good friends over at Road Runner Bags in Los Angeles. It's a line that is intended to be durable, reliable, and straddles the line between traditional and contemporary. All of the following bag options should be here in the time for Spring riding, so stay tuned for any updates!

Randonneur Handlebar Bag



The Randonneur Handlebar Bag has a familiar shape and function, but has a bunch of modern design cues and construction techniques to launch it into this century.


In addition to the beautiful Cordura outside, the inside has an exceptionally durable and waterproof hi-vis truck-tarp liner - no more losing your wallet in a black hole.



The pockets are modular and use high-quality velcro straps so they can be mounted to the sides of the bag or facing the rider. Mix and match the pocket positions to dial in your riding preference!

The Cell Phone Pockets are sized to fit larger, modern smart phones. It gobbles up the iPhone 7s Plus (5.5" screen) with ease.


The Snapper Sack fits small point and shoot cameras, lenses, or anything else that might fit such as a waterbottle, soda, or 750ml wine bottle.


Both of these pockets can be mounted to your backpack's straps as well!

The bag is grommeted so that it easily works with our Integrated Decaleur system. No need to use a drill or soldering iron to install the bag mount.

Pricing will be $185 for the main bag, $30 for the Cell Pockets, and $45 for the Snapper Sack.

Day-Tripper Saddle Bag


Our Day-Tripper Saddle Bag is the perfect mate for an all-day ride. So pack up an extra layer, tools, mini-pump, camera, and film.

It uses a rip-stop nylon roll-top with a buckle for expandability and security. A simple flap holds everything snug as a bug in a rug.



There is Mega-Grip under the saddle rails and around the seatpost strap to keep everything in place for out-of-the-saddle efforts. The side pocket is sized for a minipump and also has Mega-Grip to keep it secure.

Pricing will be $95.


Transporteur Bag



It's so simple. The main cavity uses seam-sealed rip-stop nylon and is waterproof. While the bottom is flat and sturdy, the overall construction is not rigid so it can be compressed down or expanded easily depending on the load you're carrying.

There is also a small, forward facing boxed-out organizer pocket for your smaller stuff.


It fits on our Porteur Rack as well as the Wald 1372 Basket.

Pricing will be $125.

All of the bags will be available in Burgundy, Navy, Black, and Teal. We're really excited to bring in this cohesive line of bags that we designed to meet the functional needs of riders, while still looking great. A blend of form,  function, and some pretty sweet colors. 

16 November, 2017

Beaujolais Nouveau 2017 Review

By Scott

November is an interesting time of year. Here in the northern hemisphere, it is the real start to winter in a lot of locations. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the beginning of spring in many latitudes.  Here at VO HQ, or at least my corner of it, November is a bit of a let down. October has warm days, cool nights, the celebrations of anniversaries, birthdays and Thanksgiving in Canada. November's increasing darkness and colder weather brings a reminder that the year is close to an end and that the rush of the holidays is almost upon us. But in the midst of that, there are certainly many things to celebrate.


Thanksgiving (The US one) is coming up in about a week and I love getting together with friends to converse, eat, and enjoy their company.  The week prior to it is the release of Beaujolais Nouveau - the youngest of the French wines, that are released at on the third Thursday of November. These are wines that have only been bottled for 6-8 weeks, so the Gamay grapes that are typically used, have little tanin and a very fruity flavor to them. Perfect for those of us who aren't the biggest wine drinkers.

Here at VO, the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau has always been treated as a great excuse for the staff to relax and taste test that year's vintage. None of us are great wine drinkers, so this is always a great contest to see who could sound the most, ahem, "wine critic-y" of all. Talk of fruitiness, of the taste of plums and such waft around the office here as we taste these wines that, at most, come out to $10 a bottle.


We tried Pierre-Marie Chermette vineyard this year.  This vineyard has a different take on it's grapes, using older ones for the Beaujolais then most vineyards do. The result is a wine that was more robust then other varieties that we had previously tried.  It has a dry finish, but good legs. Igor could taste some plums with an air of strawberries. Will thought that it was "very aromatic." Derek's comment at the end of the tasting was that he was "a fan", of this vintage.


Wine might not be to every one's fancy, but certainly it is a reason to stop, smell the cork as it were and relax with friends.

P.S. Just a reminder to shops: with our updated site, you need to create an account on the new site using the same email address used to log into the web site previously. This will tie the new account to the old one. After you have created a new account on the site, you'll get an email confirming the account. Just follow the instructions and you'll be good to go.

Any questions, please contact us by email: info@velo-orange.com

14 November, 2017

A Blurb on Bar Ends

by Igor

https://www.flickr.com/photos/53954458@N07/21541899494
Bar End shifters lend themselves well to ease of access for folks riding in the city or self-sufficient applications such as randonneuring and touring where simplicity and durability is paramount.

For city riders, bending to reach your downtube shifters can be a distraction from traffic ahead or is simply inconvenient. One of the first things to go in a road bike turned townie conversion is the drop bars in favor for a more upright position. This allows you to get a better view of traffic ahead, to have a quicker reaction time as the conditions change.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/47299046@N00/3825012900/
For tourers and randonneurs, bar ends are incredibly popular for their ease of maintenance and cross compatibility. When stripped of frills and indexing, bar ends simply pull and hold cable tension to move front and rear derailleurs around. Although less common in newer offerings, many indexed bar ends feature a friction mode if indexing goes out of whack. Additionally, you can cross pollinate component groups to really dial in what you want out of your bike's gearing and performance.


Most handlebars compatible with bar end shifters have an outside diameter of 23.8mm, and an inner diameter between 19 and 21mm. There are a few handlebars such as the Klunker which have a 22.2mm grip area and take bar ends, but these are more uncommon.

While the lion's share of drop handlebars accept bar end shifters, the proliferation of carbon construction means you should consult the handlebar's manufacturer before installation - lest you crack a handlebar.


Installation of a bar end shifter is easy. Similar to a quill stem, the bar end body expands within the handlebar's end. Just remember that turning the bolt counter-clockwise expands! If you try to install it by turning clockwise, all of the expanding pieces will fall into the handlebar and you'll have to fish them out.


Our more popular handlebar styles for city bike conversions are the Left Bank and Porteur Bars. The former gives a super upright posture with a very classic city bike appearance, while the latter gives a bit more of a racy stance with the bars flipped down and a moderate rise with them flipped up.


All of our drop handlebar offerings are bar end compatible including the Dajia Far Bars, which have become a hit with the mixed terrain crowd.


Cotton Handlebar Tape is the easiest option for wrapping your bars. For upright bars, it is typical to wrap as much as you'd like to suit your padding preference, then finish off with tape or twine. I prefer using Rustines Constructeur Grips and modifying them a bit (scroll down on the post) to work with bar ends as they have more cushion than cotton tape.


Happy riding!

09 November, 2017

The Velo Orange Website Has a New Look

by Igor


Those logging into our webstore today were welcomed with a new Velo Orange website. It's now more easily navigated and mobile optimized. This transition has been something we've been working very hard on and we hope you like it.



With shopping and research going mobile, we also needed to have a mobile optimized website to allow our customers to access VO from any device they want. Be sure to check out some of the new features of the website: zooming in on product images, pop-out quick view, and an improved dealer locator.

This new platform will allow us to manage the website with much greater ease, allowing us more time to focus on the things that makes VO tick: product development and audience connection.

So here is what we are requesting of you: please go to our website and create an account using the email you used to login to our previous webstore. If you are having trouble accessing the new website, you may need to clear your browser's cache and cookies.


This will tie your old account to your new one, and allow you to see your previous orders as well as adjust any shipping/billing information you may need to change since you last logged in. You'll receive an email confirming your login information - simply follow the directions provided.


Domestic shipping has stayed the same, with a free shipping option for domestic retail orders over $150. You must use the code 150SHIP to get the deal. Find the fine print here.

For domestic wholesale orders over $400, you will get an option for free shipping - no coupon code needed.

International shipping has been simplified! Rather than quoting every international order that comes through, we have put a table rate into place for orders under $300. With shipping charges assessed at checkout, processing times with be cut down considerably. If time is of the essence and you need your VO bits stat, just send us an email at info@velo-orange.com and note in the comments section of your order that you would like a quote for your shipping options.

Any orders over $300 USD will receive a shipping quote by default, as these larger orders tend to be too variable for a table rate.

We want your experience to be enjoyable and easy, so please, if you find any issues or want to give us any feedback as you peruse the new website, drop us a line.

Happy riding!