Velo Orange Two Years On
By Tristram |
The VO range of bars is huge and really cool. They’ve brought back a lot of the vintage city bike bars that came on old bikes that are way more comfortable than the flat bars that come on hybrids and fat bar road bikes. VO’s city bike bars mostly sweep back towards the rider, giving a comfortable hand-hold that leaves you wrists on a neutral relaxed angle. They also almost all come in two diameters so that you can choose to use either mountainbike levers or road levers on them.
A personal favourite of mine in their range is the Porteur bar – a swept-back bar that is reasonably narrow and sweeps forward before it sweeps back, meaning that you don’t need an absurdly long stem to compensate for the sweep. They can be set up in a few different ways. My favourite is the way Val has his set up – with road levers just near the bend so that your main position is at the front of the swept part of the bar. This allows easy use of bar end shifters, offers a few good hand positions, and looks really nice. They also do the Postino Bar, the Leftbank, the Montmartre, the Belleville, the Milan and the Tourist bars, all different variations on the swept-back town bar.
VO make a nice cork grip. Some bikes don’t look right with modern rubber grips and cork is a great replacement. It’s comfortable, it doesn’t degrade in UV like rubber and if you shellac it, it’s very durable.
VO make a nice range of traditional aluminium mud guards. They work really well and on the right bike they pull the whole thing together and give it an aesthetic unity. They take longer to fit than plastic guards but with a bit of patience they can give a perfect, smooth fender line and should last for a really long time. They come in a range of sizes for 26″, 650b and 700c wheels. There is a Smooth model, a Hammered model, a Stainless Steel model, and a Zeppelin. The names are self-explanatory except the Zeppelin, which is like the smooth guards but with horizontal ribs.
VO stems are exactly what most of us and our customers are looking for in a stem – they are available in a heap of sizes, they are silver, they’re relatively light, they have a four-bolt clamp, they’re fairly cheap and the finish is nice. There’s not that much to say about them really, they just quietly do what they’re supposed to do.
The VO Grand Cru seatpost is lovely. It has more offset than standard, so it works well with Brooks saddles. It is a single piece so the head will not loosen and creak, it has a two-bolt clamp, so it’s easy to adjust and it is cheap for the good level of finish you get.
VO make some really nice stainless steel racks. They make 2 small handlebar bag racks, the Randonneur that mounts of specific braze-ons or P-clamps and the Passhunter which mounts off canti bosses. They are modelled on the Nitto M12s and are very similar but quite a bit cheaper. They are also available with built-in decaleurs, which make a lot of sense, since the decaleur cannot twist around like a headset mounted one is sometimes want to do.
VO also make a nice Porteur Rack. It lets you load up the front of your bike and carry bulky things that a pair of panniers wouldn’t be suited to.
Finally, they make a rack called a Constructeur Rack which mounts to metal mud guards and rack eyelets. It’s a very elegant, minimalist rack which is suited to taking medium loads without turning your bike into a dedicated load carrying bike. They are light and airy so they disappear a bit when they’re not in use.
Decaleurs are for mounting handlebar bags. VO make some simple, good decaleurs which mount in place of a headset spacer. They do a good job of securing the bag.
VO make a large range of headsets. We stock their Gran Cru Sealed Bearing Headsets, their VO French Thread Headsets and their VO Roller Bearing ones. The cartridge bearings ones are similar to others on the market but with a nice finish, a classic look and good quality bearings. The threaded version is one of the few good, silver, sealed-bearing threaded headsets that isn’t expensive. The needle bearing headset can help a bike that is prone to shimmying, and should last for years and years. The French threaded headset is the best option for keeping a nice old French bike on the road.
Unusual Bottom Brackets
We also stock VO’s unusual bottom brackets. Again, their French threaded Gran Cru bottom bracket serves as an affordable way to get a French bike back on the road. Likewise, their Gran Cru Threadless bottom bracket allows a bike with damaged thread another chance at life.
VO brass and alloy bells are great and so is their mounting hardware. Being able to mount them off a spacer bell mount in the headset is extremely neat and secure and can put the bell in a good spot to use it without letting go of your bars. They sound far better than most painted bells and look a lot nicer too. You can either periodically polish them, or let them get a tarnished, weathered-in look. They come in two varieties – the Temple Bell, with a little spring to actuate the bell and the Striker Bell, with a hammer.
If you’re reading this from interstate we’re happy to send things. We sell some of these items on Constructeur, our webshop. Check them out here. If you’re after something that’s not there just give us a buzz – we may have it, and if not we’re happy to order it in for you.