We recently had a lot of fun building up a custom Velo Orange Polyvalent and thought we would take a second to share some pictures. The Polyvalent is a low trail 650B frame designed for use with either drops or flat/cruiser bars. I really wanted to build a classy and simple city bike that would be a great grocery getter as well be super comfortable for trips around town. We achieved an upright riding position with classic pull back cruiser bars and a taller nitto technomic quill stem. The bike was outfitted with fenders, front rack, a dynamo light, and a double kickstand in the hopes of increasing its utility. For us this build was an opportunity to sample some neat products we were curious about all the while creating a beautiful and functional bicycle.
As the Polyvalent is designed around low trail geometry we decided that a porteur style front rack would suit the bike. If your scratching your head trying to figure out what trail on a bicycle is feel free to peruse Jan Heine's blog where he discusses trail and how if can impact the way bike's handle. If you don't feel like doing any extra reading assignments the basic idea is that bikes with less trail tend to handle front loads better barring other variables. Below you can see a pic of the Velo Orange Porteur rack with a Supernova E3 Pro 2 Dynamo light wired to a Shimano LX dynamo hub. I really wanted to start playing around with dynamo lighting and saw this build as a great opportunity to get into it. The light has an output of around 200 lumens which is great for around town riding and even bright enough to light the way through darker paths and trails when going a reasonable pace.
A city bike in Pittsburgh has to have fenders and we chose to use the Velo Orange Zeppelin 52mm which allow for tires up to 45mm in width. Mounting metal fenders is alway a little time consuming but well worth it when the final product is so beautiful. Leather washers quiet the fenders contact points so the bike doesn't sound like a rattle spray paint can.
For the drivetrain we though something simple would be best so we decided on a 1 X 8 set up with Dia Compe down tube shifters mounted to a VO flat bar adapter. The Crankset is a VO 42T single ring model. Finding a suitable rear der was a little bit of a chore. The modern 8 speed and 9 speed derailleurs that would have worked mechanically but were at odds aesthetically with the rest of the build. Luckily we were able to trade a friendly customer for a old Suntour XCD derailleur that no longer suited his needs.
We were super curious about the VO saddles and grips so we thought this was a great opportunity to give them go. The saddle is a Model 5 touring saddle with springs. Our initial impression is that the fit and finish our top notch but the leather is more rigid than the the comparable Brooks Flyer saddle and most likely will take longer to brake in. That said the VO saddle retails for $100 while the Brooks is $150 so all in all it looks to be a good option if your butt can withstand the break in period.
If anyone would like to come check it out and/or take the bike for a spin it's here at the shop. This bike is built on a 57cm frame although Velo Orange offer this frame from a 51cm to a 60cm to fit most everybody. Hope you enjoyed it!