Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bike Number Two

After a perplexing and protracted 16 months of waiting for my Johnny Coast-built Velo Orange randonneur, I am instead getting my deposit refunded. I am quite sure I have been the worst sort of customer, sending email after email asking for all sorts of options. I have been very patient, though.

But things do generally work out, don't they? When I placed my order, expecting my frame last July, I had no plans to learn to build my own. When it was delayed beyond the end of the summer, I decided to take Doug Fattic's class and learn to build. When it was delayed yet again, I asked for my deposit back so that I could just make my own. But I was promised it would be delivered before riding season, and was a bit scared of making my own frame anyway. But when, after having been told it was started, I learned this week it wouldn't be ready for riding season after all, I was offered my refund back, and accepted it.

Unlike most customers who have waited sixteen months for something they were promised in eight and then don't receive at all, I'm happy. Now all those million little ideas I had, and which were completely inappropriate for a "semi-custom," I can do for myself. I have plans for an integrated lighting system that wasn't possible under the "semi-custom" scheme. And I'll make myself a stem. Imperial-oval fork blades weren't possible with the VO but will be used on this. I'll likely set the frame up for use with my Mavic bottom bracket, which might just be weirdness for weirdness's sake. Everything else (every component, that is) has been in place for the last year or more. I just need to make the frame.

I still don't really have any place to build, but I do have some leads. I already have nearly everything I need to build my frame from: see in the above photo a set of Reynolds 531, a lovely 45mm-wide Imperial Oval fork crown, some Prugnat lugs (thanks to Greg Parker for all that), and braze-ons for Mafacs (thanks to Amir). My engraved Mafac 2000s and Mariposa rack are apparently on their way back home also (they're on the side, photographed prior to their return trip to the Big Apple).

As for the equipment, there appears to have been another stroke of luck. Noah Rosen of Velocolour and Suzanne Carlsen of the headbadges are likely going to give me a ride to NAHBS. This will give me a chance (if I can get someone to bring him in their car) to show off Niles, and also hopefully to get a design jig from Doug Fattic, and maybe pick up some more bits and pieces for my next frame. The timing on this trip couldn't have been better.

Hopefully I can get started on this soon. Naturally I will post all the details to the blog!


JB said...

Good luck on your new build. You will find the Imperial oval fork rides very nicely. As well, the braze-on Mafac Competitions with good pads such as yours stop and modulate beautifully.The Mariposa rack is lovely - Mike's accessories were like jewellery.

Lesli Larson said...

Sorry to hear about your Velo Orange.

I have an early johnny Coast mixte prototype from VO which I love. I was almost thinking about getting on the list for a VO brevet bike. I think mine took maybe a half year longer than promised but that's sort of the nature of the game (my Riv custom took almost 4 years... time to save up for parts, etc).

Will VO be getting a new builder?

Curious to know what sort of small details you'll be building into your own rando frame?