There has been a lot of interest in this bike since we posted it on our In Stock page, so we thought we'd give it a more formal introduction...
Our primary focus to this point has been on vintage bikes, however we are beginning to expand into new stuff, and given our angle, this seemed like a natural place to start. Velo Orange is a rapidly growing company out of Maryland that is probably best known for their relatively affordable line of accessories inspired by the golden age French 'constructeurs' - beautiful hammered fenders, handlebar bags, and stainless steel racks.
They also offer a selection of frames suitable for builds as porteurs, randonneurs, and loaded touring bikes (the first two terms are likely new to many readers, we'll let Jan Heine do the explaining). Velo Orange's Campeur was designed with load carrying in mind. It has a full set of braze-ons for front and rear racks, including low-riders. It has clearance for wide tires and fender bosses under the fork crown, at the seat stay bridge, and at the chainstay bridge. In the image above you can see their Pass Hunter Front Rack - with integrated decaleur. It's a pretty brilliant design which uses the canti bosses as mounting points and provides a quick release system for a handlebar bag.
Traditional handlebar bags are easily among our favourite accessories. They offer incredibly easy access to everything you need on a ride. They're big enough for a rain jacket, a wool jersey, a lunch, and any tools you might want to bring - usually with plenty of room to spare. They typically open forward so that everything can be accessed without stoping. The small rear facing pockets are perfect for snacks, a wallet, and a phone in case you need to take pictures, realize you are lost, or want find the nearest pub. You build a relationship with your bag over time and reaching into it becomes second nature. We nerd out a bit on this one and take our bags with us for zippy short rides - even if there isn't hardly anything in them.
For this build we've also included a set of Dia Compe Guidonnet brake levers. Another French-inspired component, these levers offer the comfort and a range of access similar to 1970s safety/suicide levers without the sketchy functionality. We've also used a set of vintage SR randonneur bars, which have a slight up-sweep from the tops to the ramps offering a bit more comfort than more aggressive race-oriented drop bars. Cloth tape and shellac with cork plugs round out a beautiful traditional French aesthetic.
Something should also be said about Brooks leather saddles. We get a lot of customers asking about them with varying degree of apprehension. We swear by them unequivocally: it's all we ride. The first thing to note is that they are essentially a leather hammock. There is nothing beneath you but the leather, so that once it softens and moulds a bit to your body, it gives where it needs to give, and supports where it needs to support. And this is an important thing to note - it isn't cushy, and never will be. Think of bed sores, and how a foam or gel saddle would numb your backside over time. We often put over a 100K into a Brooks on a leisurely day trip and not think twice, whereas a test ride around the block on a lesser saddle can threaten an inevitable chaffing and numbness. We realize that they cost more, but to put that into perspective, Jason rides a 1972 Brooks Professional that only seems to improve with age, (whether he has in the same time is up for debate). With regular care, like any good leather, they will last a lifetime.
We have a pretty specific opinion at N+1: these are the kinds of bike everyone should be riding. Whether it's a vintage road bike converted to a 650b urban commuter, or a $10,000 hand built custom randonneur, or something like this, they hold some key traits in common: clearance for large tires and fenders for versatility, comfort and performance; appropriate gearing for all roads; hardware for carrying your gear, so that you don't have to; an elegance in the construction and a design with minimal branding; materials that improve with age rather than have a built-in obsolescence. If you ride your bike regularly you deserve a good bike.
We carry a wide range of Velo Orange parts and accessories and can order anything we don't have in stock. This frame, and others, can be build to a range of specific needs and riding styles.
For VO's specs on the Campeur frame visit their site here.
For details about this particular build visit our listing of it here.