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The Velo Orange Camargue has arrived

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The Velo Orange Camargue has arrived

Old 10-06-14, 04:25 PM
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I had decided on a 26" wheel bike, either an LHT or Troll now, or a custom in a year or so. Then, I took my 700c devil out into the dirt with better tires (40mm and a little tread) and very wide handlebars and it felt more stable and secure than my bike with 26" 55mm Big Apples! I still want the widest tires I can get for off-road (short of 29+ or Fat Bike) and the Camargue is basically my Devil with clearance for 60mm tires. I'm really starting to lean back toward the Camargue as my first choice. I just have to raise the money before they sell all of the 56cm framesets!!

I finally found a photo of a built-up 56cm:

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Old 10-06-14, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by kimpw
How is the bike so far? Deciding on the Camargue or the Soma Grand Randonneur for touring. I intend to run Rando bag on front rack and low rider Panniers, and a smaller saddlebag if needed.

I was all set to buy the Soma Grand Randonneur, but saw the Camargue (the off-road capability is VERY tempting). Due to work, I won't be able to do anything crazy like a month, probably anywhere from a weekend to a week, and think maybe the Camargue is overkill..
The Soma Chainstays are 425mm, the Camargue's are 430 for the 47/50/53 sizes and 460 for the 56/59/62 sizes. I don't know how much of an issue heel strike is for you, or what size you need-but something to consider if you're going to use rear panniers at some point.
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Old 10-07-14, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Sullalto
The Soma Chainstays are 425mm, the Camargue's are 430 for the 47/50/53 sizes and 460 for the 56/59/62 sizes. I don't know how much of an issue heel strike is for you, or what size you need-but something to consider if you're going to use rear panniers at some point.
Yeah, got the Camargue. Loving it. It should be built up and will have pics hopefully this weekend.
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Old 10-30-14, 09:47 AM
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Hi,

I've ridden my Camarargue for a bit now commuting, bike camping, and off-road singletrack.



Build details:
Velo Orange Camargue 53cm.
2x9 friction shifting Gran-Compe ENE bar ends, Sora FD, XT RD, Sugino XD2 26/40t front, 11-36t cassette.
VO Stem, Soma Portola Handlebars, Tektro RRL Brakes
Paul Touring Cantis
Saint Pedals
Brooks Professional
VO Contructeur Rack & Revelate Frame Bag
LX hubs laced to Mavic XM317 rims, 36 spoke
26x1.75 Michelin Country Rock / 26x2.25 Onza Cannis Tanwall

When I went to pick up the frame at VO headquarters in Annapolis, MD, I was surprised by the quality of the frame. The paint is definitely better in person, more muted green, and more tint. The frame itself was lighter than I expected, but has a nice gusset at the downtube for added strength, which was a relief to see (as I had planned to also do some trail riding). The fork is nicely crafted, and is beefy, also a good thing because I like front loading when I can.
Also, to note: The guys at VO are awesome. I wanted to test ride the 53cm because I’m about 5ft6 and find myself usually in between sizing. The guys at VO didn’t have a 53cm built up, so they took apart another bike to build up their 53cm prototype frame, just for me to ride it for 5 minutes. Super helpful in giving me ideas for fit. Also when they grabbed my order, they inspected every part of it to make sure it was up to snuff.

PAVEMENT & GRAVEL ROADS:

I bike camped from NE DC to Harpers Ferry along the C&O Towpath (about 60 miles there and 60 miles back) with a 40 lbs load (mostly food, I eat a lot), and I felt like the bike wasn't holding momentum when I pushed the pedal. 40 miles later, found out that one of the brake pads were rubbing the rim. It was my first time using Paul Touring Cantis, kind of weird since the spring is outboard of the Canti Posts, but easy to fix after that. Only downside is, you will need to bring an extra wrench to hold it in place while you tighten the canti bolt (but usually a set it and forget it type of thing). Fixed that, and the ride was muuchhh better. It just ate up the gravel and roots on the roads. My riding buddy was riding an 80’s Trek with narrow 700 tires. He did fine, but he was looking to set up camp earlier than I was. I felt like I could go another 10-20 miles.

Seat boy said it rode like his Cross Check. I agree to a certain extent. It's similar unloaded, but rides much front loaded IMO. I think the Revelate Bag is also convenient and well designed, although I'll just use panniers if I'm not going through rough trails next time. Also will switch out the Michelin Country Rock for Paselas once they wear out. The Michelins were nice and cheap, with good treads but about half a pound heavier per wheel than the Paselas.

Over 120 miles, the bike was stable and I almost forgot about it. It has a very grounded feel, but it's also not sluggish when unloaded when just riding around the city. I'm thinking about selling my '87 Trek Elance 531 Reynolds steel bike, because I just don't see a need for it.

Now, my favorite part...OFF-ROADDDDD:

I switched out the drivetrain between my bike camping trip so I had Wolftooth Wide & Narrow 36t up front and 10 speed 11-36 out back.
I got the 26x2.25 Onza’s from VO. These tires are amazing. Nice and supple, and nice and wide. Great grip and surprisingly fast. I’m not an experienced mountain biker by any means, nothing too rocky and downhill. I’ve only ever ridden rigid mountain bikes. But I like to hit trails when I can. DC area has a great MTB trail called Fountainhead on the VA side, which has a dedicated trail for MTB of different difficulty.

The Camargue was a lot of fun. I usually ride my Surly 1x1 on this trail, which has XT V Brakes (before it was redesigned to 100mm travel fork). The Camargue was pretty comparable, but felt lighter and more maneuverable. I’m not sure if it was because the tires, or what. I also don’t know if I was having a bit more fun because I was riding with dirt drops, and everything was a bit new again. I’m also thinking of selling my Surly 1x1.

My only two gripes about this bike would be the head tube. VO says they designed this for drop bars, which explained the short top tube, but it takes too many spacers to get the bars up. Since I’m riding dirt drops, I want my drops to be even with the saddle, but feel nervous with that much steerer tube. This was a constant thought in the back of my mind when on the trails. A simple head tube extension would be nice. However, it’s not too big of a deal, I will get a riser stem, or a maybe bite the bullet and get a custom dirt drop stem made. Any suggestions?!

The other gripe is only a half-gripe. I wish they did a 650b version for the smaller sizes. This would be nice for touring and mtb applications, but I'm kind of glad they didn't because the 26" has more tire options, and easier and cheaper to find wheels with rim brakes in that size.

Overall, this bike is awesome, and has me thinking of selling off two of my bikes. Again, I cannot stress how well made this bike is. A lot of people like to compare VO bikes to Surly, which may seem to make sense since they are near the same price point, but I've seen all the VO bikes in person at their showroom and feel like they are better quality. The paint on most of their models have a metallic wet paint look, instead of the Surly flat Powder Coat. The forks on their bikes are a beauty.
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Old 10-30-14, 05:43 PM
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Thanks for the lengthy update and review!

And I had just about gotten over my Camargue-envy.
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Old 10-31-14, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by corwin1968
Thanks for the lengthy update and review!

And I had just about gotten over my Camargue-envy.
I think VO might've shot themselves in the foot with this one. It's such a complete production bike. It's a swiss army bike. It's just light enough that I'm thinking of making it a "mountain rando" bike, but that gusset lets it hit the trails (very important to me). Aside from the head tube extension, this bike is so versatile. All the braze ons allow it to be used however you want! Take the plunge!

I don't know how it compares to the LHT as you were looking at earlier...I've only ridden one unloaded, which left something to be desired. But I hear it is awesome loaded machine. I'm sure you can't go wrong either way.
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Old 11-16-14, 07:51 PM
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I made some changes to my Camargue this weekend:



New bars and new tires. I like the Albastache bars so far, but I'm thinking the tires were a mistake. The (nominally) 55mm Big Bens fit with fenders, but it's tight, and make the bike feel pretty slow.

I put up more pictures and details here.
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Old 12-12-14, 11:02 AM
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Hi,

I have the 53cm velo orange and looking to possibly sell the frame bag. It's a great frame bag with well thought out design, and that has been used on several camping trips, but probably won't see any much use in the future. PM if interested.
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Old 12-16-14, 11:13 AM
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If anyone else was curious, the 26" Camargue will fit 650b wheels with 40mm tires and lots of room left over for fenders. Tektro 720 brakes have just enough range to work.
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Old 01-18-15, 10:25 PM
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@seat_boy - How has it been so far? Looks like you had to move the rear axle back pretty far to get the 2.1" tire to fit. Pretty cool bike, though. I've been looking for a road-ish geo, rim brake, fat-tired frame (2.1"+) and I think this is the only one in production currently.
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Old 01-19-15, 05:11 PM
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Nice!
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Old 01-20-15, 07:18 PM
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It's been going well. Not a whole lot of saddle time lately, with the holidays and splitting my riding between this and my newly converted 650B Trek and my fixed gear Crosscheck, but I think the Albastache bars a really nice addition to the Camargue. I'm looking forward to some longer camping trips this spring.

Regarding fat tire clearance, I really didn't have to move the axle so far back to clear them, but why not? On a bike like this, short, snappy chainstays don't make a whole lot of sense. However, I did have to deflate the tire to get it into the dropout--the 55mm Big Bens are really a touch too big for this frame. When my bike budget recovers from my latest purchases, I really want to try a pair of 700x38 Compass Barlow Pass tires on this frame. I think those will be an ideal size for it.

For your frame image, you might also check out the Hansome XOXO. It's 26" wheel, though, and only available in a few sizes. There's also the Long Haul Trucker, but it's quite a bit stiffer frame... not a good thing, in my book.

Originally Posted by palu
@seat_boy - How has it been so far? Looks like you had to move the rear axle back pretty far to get the 2.1" tire to fit. Pretty cool bike, though. I've been looking for a road-ish geo, rim brake, fat-tired frame (2.1"+) and I think this is the only one in production currently.
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Old 01-20-15, 08:14 PM
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seat_boy, do you have any experience with the Surly Ogre?
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Old 01-20-15, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by seat_boy
It's been going well. Not a whole lot of saddle time lately, with the holidays and splitting my riding between this and my newly converted 650B Trek and my fixed gear Crosscheck, but I think the Albastache bars a really nice addition to the Camargue. I'm looking forward to some longer camping trips this spring.

Regarding fat tire clearance, I really didn't have to move the axle so far back to clear them, but why not? On a bike like this, short, snappy chainstays don't make a whole lot of sense. However, I did have to deflate the tire to get it into the dropout--the 55mm Big Bens are really a touch too big for this frame. When my bike budget recovers from my latest purchases, I really want to try a pair of 700x38 Compass Barlow Pass tires on this frame. I think those will be an ideal size for it.

For your frame image, you might also check out the Hansome XOXO. It's 26" wheel, though, and only available in a few sizes. There's also the Long Haul Trucker, but it's quite a bit stiffer frame... not a good thing, in my book.
Thanks for the reply, but confused at your suggestion for the XOXO. Pretty cool bike, but only 26x1.95" tire clearance. LHT is overly stiff/heavy and less clearance as well...
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Old 01-21-15, 08:15 AM
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I like the Velo-Orange frames in a lot of respects, but their geometry is totally wrong for me. Their frames have huge gaps between sizes, so I would end up with a bike too large or too small. All of their frames have very short head tubes. I don't get it. They aren't making racing frames. Why the short head tubes? You are forced to either set up your bike with handlebars very low or use a big stack of spacers. Do most cyclists really want frame geometries like this?
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Old 01-21-15, 11:22 AM
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To answer some items above:

- I don't have any experience with an Ogre, though I had a Karate Monkey for a while. The Ogre uses heavier tubing, which isn't a plus in my book, and they both suffer from track ends, which are a big PITA to deal with. As a mountain bike, I like the short chainstays combined with big tire clearance and a steeper head angle, but for mainly road riding, this wouldn't be in my top 10.

- I thought the XOXO could clear a 2.1", didn't realize it was limited to smaller tires.

- I agree about the short head tubes on the VO models (notice my big stack o' spacers), but I otherwise like their geometry. There aren't many bike models offering low or mid trail geometry out there.
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Old 01-22-15, 03:00 PM
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What's wrong with using a stem with a steeper angle instead of using piles of spacers and a flat stem? Dimension makes a great stem and they come in 55 degrees. VO also sells that threadless stem that has a built in spacer stack so it looks a bit more like a quill stem (I guess?)
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Old 01-22-15, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by clasher
What's wrong with using a stem with a steeper angle instead of using piles of spacers and a flat stem? Dimension makes a great stem and they come in 55 degrees. VO also sells that threadless stem that has a built in spacer stack so it looks a bit more like a quill stem (I guess?)
The only set up uglier than a tall stack of spacers is a super high rise stem, in my opinion. Cunningham LD excluded.
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Old 01-22-15, 10:54 PM
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Just a style thing. Yells doesn't fit. But so do the stacks. I kinda like the look of all that aluminium stackage, but it should yell doesn't fit. I suppose you could argue form follows function. So if you have a stack it is to make it adjustable on the road, for which I have had the occasional need, but the big up is not adjustable, or fitted either. Double bad. But the real reason is it makes it look like a comfort bike.
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Old 02-10-15, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by palu
LHT is overly stiff/heavy and less clearance as well...
Overly stiff is relative. If you'r heavy (like 200lbs) or carry a load then it would be stiff enough. Also, it's weight tends to come from the build rather than the frame itself. And less clearance? if you are talking about the 26" LHT, it will take at least a 2.1 tire, and many run wider ones.

I had a Camargue (59cm, 700c) for a brief period of time. I returned it when the third replacement fork also came misaligned. The frame was so flexy that the chain would jump out of gear at the chainrings when I sprinted of climbed aggressively, and I'm "only" 200lbs.

I now have a LHT and I love it. The only thing it looses to the Camargue is tire clearance, even if my LHT can fit Continental Race Kings 29x2.0 and 700x50 Schwalbe Marathons with ease

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Old 02-11-15, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by ze_zaskar

I had a Camargue (59cm, 700c) for a brief period of time. I returned it when the third replacement fork also came misaligned. The frame was so flexy that the chain would jump out of gear at the chainrings when I sprinted of climbed aggressively, and I'm "only" 200lbs.
Was this with indexed or friction shifters? I had a ton of trouble with my Handsome Devil ghost shifting when I ran a 9-speed cassette with a friction shifter. This was just sitting down and pedaling! I switched to indexed shifting and in the little time I've spent riding since then, I haven't had a single ghost shift.

I finally ruled out the Camargue from consideration. I don't like riding my Devil because the front-end feels too fidgety to me, even with 40mm tires. I'm used to riding bikes with MTB geometry and the Camargue has even lower trail than my Devil. I'm either going with a 26" LHT (first choice right now) or either an Ogre or a Troll (distant 2nd & 3rd choices, respectively).
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Old 02-11-15, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by corwin1968
I finally ruled out the Camargue from consideration. I don't like riding my Devil because the front-end feels too fidgety to me, even with 40mm tires. I'm used to riding bikes with MTB geometry and the Camargue has even lower trail than my Devil. I'm either going with a 26" LHT (first choice right now) or either an Ogre or a Troll (distant 2nd & 3rd choices, respectively).
Having owned an Ogre, a Camargue (just a little) and now a 700c LHT and having read your posts for a while, I think you should go with the LHT without hesitation.
You could also consider the 700c LHT, at least the latest ones on the big sizes can take big rubber
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Old 02-12-15, 07:54 PM
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@seat_boy, do you have close-ups showing how you mounted and wired your light? I have Sanyo dynamo hubs on two of my bikes and like them a lot.
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Old 02-13-15, 04:17 PM
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It looks super clean in the above picture only because I don't have a light installed. Typically, I just wrap the wire around the fork blade, very un-constructeur like.

Originally Posted by noglider
@seat_boy, do you have close-ups showing how you mounted and wired your light? I have Sanyo dynamo hubs on two of my bikes and like them a lot.
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Old 02-27-15, 11:46 AM
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Current Camargue set up for town and commuting use. Switched to a lighter wheelset, XT cassette, mini nitto front rack. Also put 26x2 Big Bens, much better cushion and roll better than the Michelin Country Rocks I had before. The more and more I ride it, the more and more I appreciate the mid trail and neutral handling. Coming from a low trail 650b bike, it is nice to have a bike that has similar handling characteristics front loaded and unloaded.

I just got a Carradice Nelson saddlebag that I'll probably just attach on the handlebar for my morning work commute from now on. I also got the Nitto RM013 handlebars that I'll put on. The Soma Portolas definitely help with climbing, but I ride on the hoods most of the time commuting.

Also got the Velo Orange Campeur front rack for summer bikecamping.
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