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  1. #1
    cs1
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    Velo Orange the new Rivendell

    Seems that they share the same philosophy. http://velo-orange.blogspot.com/
    Is there really room for 2 retro grouch companies. Heron folded sometime last year even with big boom in bike sales.
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    1989 Raleigh Technium, 1989 Schwinn Traveler, 1986 Specialized Rockhopper
    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

  2. #2
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Seems like they've been doing fine for 3 years now.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  3. #3
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    Seems like they've been doing fine for 3 years now.
    Velo Orange is doing fine but Rivendell seems to be on hard times lately.
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
    1989 Raleigh Technium, 1989 Schwinn Traveler, 1986 Specialized Rockhopper
    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

  4. #4
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Velo Orange comes off void of pretense, unlike Rivendell's haughty self-importance.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
    Velo Orange comes off void of pretense, unlike Rivendell's haughty self-importance.
    FWIW, Riv doesn't strike me that way at all. I've dealt with them for years (got a five-year-old Atlantis and a 2YO Rambouillet, plus a lot of parts), and everybody I've talked to or met, with one minor exception, has been helpful, friendly and well-informed. I was in the area (I live five hours away) a year or so ago and stopped by the shop about 15 minutes before closing, and Grant himself showed me around and discussed some of his plans (I didn't ID myself as a customer, just said hello and asked questions). And I love the writing in the Reader and the catalogs--it's what attracted me in the first place and made me buy the Atlantis.
    Having said that, Velo Orange looks a lot like the same general idea for half the price, and in these hard times that's got to hurt Riv. I hope they can hang on.

  6. #6
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I haven't bought from Velo-Orange yet, but I love reading the blog and looking at their stuff. I will probably buy from them eventually. They clearly put a lot of care in everything they do. I wish them luck.

    They seem to have good connections with French companies, so they get French components we can't get here. They also have nice "new old stock" of various interesting bits.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  7. #7
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    I have purchased stuff from Velo Orange. They've got things that would be hard to find elsewhere, their products are aimed squarely at the kind of riding I love, and their prices are not completely unreasonable. I hope they're around for a long time to come.

  8. #8
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    I like 'em both! Hope they both stick around. Or, if push comes to shove, think about some form of merger.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

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    I've been following Rivendell since the beginning, and I check out Velo Orange fairly often. There are some similarities, but it strikes me that Rivendell is more about the bikes, while Velo Orange is more about the accessories and components. The philosophy may be similar, but slightly different in that Velo Orange favours traditional "French" randonneur type bikes, while Rivendell favours more of a 1970's type of 10 speed sport road bike (with more gears, of course). The concepts of these bikes are different, and the steering geometry is not the same. Velo Orange are about low trail randonneering bikes meant for front load handlebar bags, while Rivs are higher trail sport touring bikes meant for rear load saddlebags. Rivendell also gets into off-road cycling more with most of its bicycle models.

    But they are similar in their preferences about handlebars, saddles, fenders, bags, bells, pedals, etc.

    BTW, I love both of these kinds of bikes, but I don't now and never will own any toy for the affluent like this. Way too expensive for me. In the interest of full disclosure, I do ride a bike that is fairly similar to Riv's idea of a road bike, custom-made locally for me more than a decade ago when I had a bit of short term extra cash - but I didn't go overboard, staying mid-range for everything from frame tubing to drivetrain.
    Last edited by Longfemur; 05-28-09 at 01:42 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JOHN J's Avatar
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    Im happy both exist, both companies promote casual fun riding /commuting vs YOU have to own carbon everything.

    as in an above post Riv is more about the bikes That was Grants Gig and Chris got VO started with nifty stuff that was hard to find or didnt exist anymore.

    Riv stuff is $$ USA or Japan (pricey labor) VO gets Very nice quality stuff (built to their spec)from offshore fabricators (pakistan, taiwan??) that wont break the bank.

    Ive bought product from both VO and Riv and its been a good experience with both companies,

    I ride a [B]full Custom Marinoni frame (tigged), I do find Both VO and Riv frames a bit pricey, though VO frames were made by John coast I believe (good stuff) but if I were to drop 1500-1900 on a frame It would be FULL CUSTOM and I would find a local boutique builder that would spec and build me a Fillet brazed cromo frame.

    but again I enjoy riv and VO . VO is always comming up with somthing new , (very cool)

    "John"
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  11. #11
    Senior Member cod.peace's Avatar
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    The Velo-Orange touring pedals are really, really nice. I've ordered one or two things from (incl. the pedals) them and shipping was very fast.
    old steel Specialized Hardrock

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    Well, my experience is that Velo Orange does (or possibly did) have some pretense, as a year or more ago I inquired about Honjos for 26" wheels. The response I received at the time was that they specialize in "randonneur and high end city bikes" and seemed to imply that those of us with 26" wheels aren't worthy of aluminum fenders. Now I've noticed that they have a nicer selection of fenders, including VO aluminum ones in 26" sizes. So maybe they've come around, but my first impression wasn't well received. Now to be fair, they also said that 26" fenders don't sell as well, but I think that part of the problem was the chicken/egg problem. They didn't seem to offer 26" fenders some time ago, so they obviously can't sell them. Now they [VO] may have gotten more popular, so they do offer them now. Either way, I'm happy to see that they sell 26" aluminum fenders.

    I do like the looks and prices of the VO fenders, so I'll give them the benefit of doubt, and will try them in the future. They also have some interesting accessories.

    I hear accusations of Rivendell's snobbery, but I like their products and they have been nice to deal with in my experience. Their bikes are way out of my price range, but the accessories are squarely within it. I'm glad that VO is around as well, some bike accessories are hard to come by.

  13. #13
    Senior Member wickedcold's Avatar
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    I bought a bottom bracket and a headset from VO and am probably going to use their pedals as well. The headset is one of the "prettiest" I've ever seen: http://www.velo-orange.com/grcru1thhe.html

    I just found out my LBS (Old Spokes Home, Burlington, VT) carries a few of their products so I can see a lot of it in person. Nice stuff.

  14. #14
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longfemur View Post
    I've been following Rivendell since the beginning, and I check out Velo Orange fairly often. There are some similarities, but it strikes me that Rivendell is more about the bikes, while Velo Orange is more about the accessories and components. The philosophy may be similar, but slightly different in that Velo Orange favours traditional "French" randonneur type bikes, while Rivendell favours more of a 1970's type of 10 speed sport road bike (with more gears, of course). The concepts of these bikes are different, and the steering geometry is not the same.

    My OP referred to the fact that both companies are marketing to those who covet lugged frame steel bikes AKA Retro Grouches. I think the French vs Japanese thing has less to do with it. I'd be happy riding either bike.
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
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    1984 Specialized Stumpjumper, 1986 Specialized Stumpjumper and just way too many projects to list.

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    Rivendell tries to get stuff made here in the USA as much as possible. They can't get everything made here, but they do try really hard. Their new line of bags is all made here, and actually looks really snazzy, and aren't much more expensive (and have more features) than the bags from Velo-Orange which are made in Japan.

    Velo-Orange has some really cool stuff. I have yet to buy from them because my LBS stocks most of the same stuff but I am considering talking to them about a generator hub and light set sometime this fall.

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    My OP referred to the fact that both companies are marketing to those who covet lugged frame steel bikes AKA Retro Grouches. I think the French vs Japanese thing has less to do with it. I'd be happy riding either bike.
    I think you're reading too much into their marketing. Some of us just want practical, durable bike accessories. I could usually care less what style construction my bike is, provided it does its job correctly.

    I've been "marketed" to all my life. I've developed a good sense of what is marketing and what is a really good product. Rivendell might have some awesome bikes, but I get by with much cheaper ones.

    Am I running afoul of Rivendell if I put their parts on a MTB converted for city use? Is randonneur just a French word for "bike snob"? Is it retro grouch to want a decent handlebar or rack?

  17. #17
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    Most real "retro grouches" first got involved with cycling when welded bikes were considered to be inferior products - fit only to be sold at K-Mart and other such stores, which they were. Nothing has changed today except the perception. They are still the same inferior, cheap way of building a bicycle, only people today don't care. And it's not just cycling, but the same phenomenon is evident in every aspect of life, from politics to music.

    I would be forced to ride whatever I could afford, but I sure am glad I could afford my lugged bike at the time I got it. I care about what objects look like, and how they are made. I care about craftsmanship and the care with which objects are made. I care about human intervention as opposed to robotic fabrication. I can be forced by my economic circumstances to use a Timex, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't prefer to own a Rolex.

    Even today, those well-made road bikes of the 60's, 70's and 80's still command loving attention, but most of those old welded department store road bikes ended up in landfills a long time ago. Even if they are still around, not too many people are lusting after them.

    Both Velo Orange and Rivendell are run by people who like me, like lugs. There are a few other companies who do too. But there's no shortage of people who are willing to say things like they only care about the ride. Well, you can care for whatever you like. I like lugs and careful framebuilding, and I make no apologies for it. The sad thing is that they are becoming an exclusive toy for the more affluent. I probably will never be able to replace mine if something ever happens to it. In the heydey of lugged construction, you could buy a decent Raleigh or other popular makes for not that much more than the department store welded bike cost. It wouldn't have been light, but the frame itself would have been well-made.
    Last edited by Longfemur; 05-29-09 at 09:29 AM.

  18. #18
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Welding has come a long way. It can now be done under much lower heat, which allows thinner metal and thus a light frame. I believe modern welded frames have the same lightness and durability that older lugged frames have. So as far as I can tell, the only advantage to the old style is aesthetic. There's nothing wrong with preferring it for its look, but saying welded frames are as inferior as they were isn't true. The materials and method are both entirely different than how they were.
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  19. #19
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by krome View Post
    Am I running afoul of Rivendell if I put their parts on a MTB converted for city use? Is randonneur just a French word for "bike snob"? Is it retro grouch to want a decent handlebar or rack?
    How true.
    1999 Waterford RSE-11, 1995 Waterford 1200, 1989 Specialized Rockhopper Comp
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  20. #20
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    So as far as I can tell, the only advantage to the old style is aesthetic.
    I agree that's the case today. I didn't mean to say that a welded bike is technically inferior for its intended purpose. But it is a cheaper way to build one. If I have the choice, I prefer to have a nice lugged steel frame under me than a welded one, but as I said before, it may not be a choice I have in the future. Why? Just because I like how it looks. Mine feels great, but I'm sure a welded frame that would use the same tubing and the exact same proportions and geometry wouldn't feel any different. I admit that aesthetics are important to me, whereas they might not be as important to someone else.

  21. #21
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Thanks for clarifying.

    The trend is that materials costs go down and labor costs go up, in most industries. So the better value is going to be in machine-made stuff. This puts handmade stuff farther and farther out of reach, with a diminishing return. In other words, the functional advantages of handmade stuff are decreasing, compared with mass-produced stuff.

    Aluminum frames seem to be the best value if that frame suits your purpose. I believe they are machine made. I don't believe a steel frame can be totally machine made yet, which is rather surprising.

    One reason we find lugged frames so much more beautiful is because we're old, or in other words, because of our history. Custom made (or carefully mass produced) lugged frames were the pinnacle of quality back in the day. No more, so the advantage nowadays is mostly sentimental.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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    Placed my first order with VO this past Monday. Got my stuff on Friday. I like VO because they are closer to me (I'm in Alabama). They won't be replacing Rivendell however, just augmenting them. The reason is that they both still have a diverse set of products, and they don't carry the same things. There are some products that they both carry, but they each also have "unique" stuff. Rivendell seems to have the best price on one of my favorite handlebars (Nitto "albatross"). I know it is a Nitto B352, but I can't find a better price online. I really don't care for Rivendell's bikes, they look very nice and such, but like I stated earlier, they are out of my league, price wise. I'll spend good money on bikes, but I'm still buying mine used and much cheaper than a new fancy lugged bike. The bike accessories they both offer are what I'm shopping for, and as such, I'm very happy that both companies are around and catering to customers like myself.

    If that makes me a retro-grouch, then I guess I am. Personally, I don't think I fit the stereotype.

  23. #23
    Wookie Fred chewybrian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krome View Post
    ...Is randonneur just a French word for "bike snob"?...
    Anything but... A randonneur will ride for days at a time, 1000 km and beyond, just to test himself and enjoy the ride, with no thought of prestige or money for all the effort. Brevet riders are the friendliest group you would ever want to ride with, and will stop to help you in a second if you need it.

    I know you were just poking fun at the marketing. But, in case anyone does not know what randonneuring is: RUSA' website

    Randonneuring: Randonneuring is long-distance unsupported endurance cycling. This style of riding is non-competitive in nature, and self-sufficiency is paramount. When riders participate in randonneuring events, they are part of a long tradition that goes back to the beginning of the sport of cycling in France and Italy. Friendly camaraderie, not competition, is the hallmark of randonneuring.
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