Monday, October 24, 2011

Andrew's VO Polyvalent Build

Earlier in the year I worked with my friend Andrew to build his city bike. I met Andrew at a local weekly social ride called the butterlap. He was riding his nice Moustasched Rivendell Sam Hillborne. We chatted up and found that we live pretty close to each other in Berkeley and his wife and I went to the same middle school in Taiwan! Andrew is happy with the Rivendell, but wants something more functional for his city-riding, especially since his last urban bike was stolen.

He chose the first-generation Velo Orange Polyvalent. He got a 54cm version from Box Dog Bikes in San Francisco. We talked over in length about his use of the bike and the parts suitable for those purposes. Here is a rough parts list:

-- VO Polyvalent frameset; 54cm (top tube 56cm)
-- VO porteur front rack
-- 650b Dyad/Shimano LX Dynamo (equivalent to 3N80) front wheel built by Handspun
-- Dyad Shimano LX rear wheel (both wheels 32 spoke holes)
-- Busch and Muller nearfield IQ Cyo front light mounted below the rack
-- Velo Orange Zeplin 52mm 650b fenders
-- Soma B-line 650bx38mm tires (they measured 37mm on the Dyad rims)
-- Shimano LX rapid rise derailleur
-- Shimano HG-61 12-36T cassette
-- Shimano LX crank with single 40T ring (and no front derailleur)
-- VO Grand Cru setback seatpost
-- Brooks sprung saddle
-- Shimano LX V-brakes and mountain bike brake levers
-- Soma Oxford sweep-back handlebar
-- Raleigh old grey rubber grips
-- Single falcon thumb shifters mounted on the right side
-- Nitto technomic tall stem

More pictures here:


The build was pretty straight forward. The fenders and the V-brakes took the most time, the latter because it was the first time I installed V-brakes. I mounted the VO porteur rack to the rear-facing eyelets on the fork because it was designed to be mounted there and this way it allows the rack to be parallel to the ground and staying close to the head tube to reduce straining on the rack tab.

The finish product looks great, and Andrew has been riding it for 9 months and seems to be enjoying the bike. The 40T/36T combination is low enough for his purposes, and the light, rack, and fenders make it a very practical bike, especially in rainy Bay Area winters and springs.
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