9.28.2010

Ever Wonder?

Ever wonder how it's made? Over at Bike Radar, Owen Coutts got to visit our boys over in Australia and got a tour of how they handle things on their end.

Velocity wheels: A quick spin around the factory

By Owen Coutts

Australian industrial estates, like many in Europe, are packed with big trucks. The trouble is that Aussie trucks aren't just big, they're massive, making the tiny hire car I'm driving feel very small.

Then, out the corner of my eye, I spy the Velocity logo. I pull in to work out my route to the factory, which is now clear against the stunning blue sky. Joy! No more monster truck dodging.

Velocity was founded by two American brothers more than 18 years ago. Their first product was an adjustable bottle cage, the Velocage, and they slowly expanded into rims and wheels. They're still making bottle cages, too – more on those later.

At a time when many bike manufacturers' decals are changing from 'Made in USA' to 'Designed in USA' – generally with the addition of a second, much smaller 'Made in Taiwan' sticker – it's refreshing to tour the Velocity factory.

Un-rolled aluminium extrusion: un-rolled aluminium extrusion

Aluminium extrusions are dropped off outside the factory

The wheel production process begins in California, where the aluminum rim extrusions are designed, with input from everyone from top bike polo riders to wheel size experimenter and bike lug legend Kirk Pacenti. The designs are then formed in downtown Brisbane and trucked out to the new production unit.

The lengths are first rolled into shape and then cut into a number of sections, depending on which wheel size is being created – 16in, 20in, 24in, 26in (559), 27.5in (650 b), 29er (700c) and a few extras too.

Rolled section:

The extrusions are rolled into a shape like this and then cut to length

The next stage of production is to bond the rim. Some rims are pinned, but Velocity have found that their sleeve bonding system is stronger. We watched a classic Velocity product, the Deep V, being bonded together.

The joint is first cleaned and then coated with a heat activated bonding paste. The sleeve is placed inside the rim and it's then put into a jig where the joint is hand finished. While the bonding agent is still soft, the rim's position is fine tuned in the jig. This makes sure it's 100 percent true and will stay that way.

Rim alignment: rim alignment

Before curing, the rim is finetuned in a truing jig

Next, the rim and jig are placed on a heat unit to cure the bonding agent. Finally, the jig is removed and the rim is stacked ready for the next procedure. (To see this process in more detail, check out the thumbnail gallery )

Almost all the Velocity rims are available with myriad different hole options. The reason for this is that Velocity do all their drilling in-house on a custom machine. This is adjustable for at least six options: 24, 28, 32, 36, 40 and 48.

Drilling: drilling

Velocity do all their rim drilling in-house on a custom machine

The drill bit is tapered so that it produces a small, spoke sized hole inside the rim and a large hole on the outside to allow room for the nipples. Even though a monster amount of drilling happens, the factory floor is spotless and almost swarf free. The swarf that is left is recycled.

After drilling, the rims are either anodized or powder coated. Anodizing is one of the few processes that happens off-site but the process is done locally to the Brisbane factory. Also finished off-site are Velocity's Deep V Image rims, popular with fixie fashonistas thanks to their glow-in-the-dark patterns featuring crazy eyeballs and suchlike. A limited number of rims then return to Australia to satisfy the massive and still growing native fixie scene.

Image rims:

Powder coating, however, is done in-house. The first step is get the freshly drilled rims clean, in fact super-clean. Swarf is air gunned off and the rims are then dipped in a chemical bath to remove fingerprints and other surface contaminants. Fingerprints may sounds harmless but they contain oils and fatty acids that can ruin the powder coating process.

The rims go into the spray booth in batches to keep a tight control on quality. This also enables limited runs of special colours, which is great for Velocity as they can match supply with demand. So, if hot pink is this season's latest colour, they can make it happen without too much risk – a winner for the company and their distributors, and also for riders looking for the prefect rim.

Powder coated:

Completed powder coated rims

We're pretty sure that Velocity have the largest range of colours (16 powder coats, seven anodized options and 15 image colour ways) of any rim manufacturer, and with the potential to create limited edition colour runs in-house, it looks unlikely that this situation will change any time soon.

As the powder coating cures, a cage of freshly anodized rims arrives ready to join the production line. The next stop for some of the coated and anodized rims – disc-only and track rims skip this step – is the CNC machining rig.

Brake track machining: brake track machining

Brake tracks are created in this CNC machine

Here, a slim (less than 1mm) section of aluminum is trimmed off to provide a super-smooth and grippy braking surface. This process highlights how important the first step in the production line is. If a rim was slightly out of true at this stage, the machining would also be out.

The final stop on the production line is for the punching-in of eyelets, which are used on some of Velocity's touring and mountain bike rims. This is another hands-on machine that needs precision and skill to use. After this, the rims are ready to be shipped to global distributors or, if you're lucky enough to live in Australia, hand built into a complete wheelset.

Hand building: hand building

Velocity's complete wheelsets are all built by hand

This is a relatively new area for Velocity. Each rim is laced to a custom made hub, sourced from Taiwan. Each wheelset is made 100 percent by hand in Brisbane; many manufacturers use machines to lace their wheels and then just finish them by hand.

Another new-ish feature is the large decal on the wheelsets. This was prompted by customer and distributor demand. The driving force at Velocity is a desire to keep design simple and effective, with performance as a priority focus. Large decals may look nice but they offer no increase in performance, so they'd never been seen as a priority. However, sales have increased since they've been added, so style obviously counts for something.

Decal application: decal application

The new decals have proved a hit

By far the best selling wheelsets produced by Velocity are the fixed gear/singlespeed models. Quintin, our excellent host, told us that sales went from one wheelset a month to 16 or so a week in the space of a year. The Deep V is now a mainstream classic in fixie circles, but Velocity aren't resting on their laurels, as the recent addition of the bike-polo-specific Chukker and ultra-deep B43 rims shows.

Another recent addition to Velocity's well stocked arsenal of rims is the Kirk Pacenti designed P35. Original designed in the 'tweener size of 650b, the 35mm-wide rim is now available in old-school 26in, new-school 29er and newest-school 27.5in (aka 650b) sizes. The rim is designed to give tyres a super-wide, supportive base.

P35 rim: p35 rim

The P35 is designed for large-volume all-mountain type mountain bike tyres

The P35 should be ideal for the hordes of big-volume cross-country and all-mountain tyres that are now available. Velocity have just created a specific tubeless rim strip too, so now you can have 'big bag' (high-volume in Australian) tyres with the extra smoothness and lower pressures of a tubeless setup.

Roadies aren't missing out on new rim designs either, as Velocity have developed a new A23 and a wider version of their Aerohead, which is said to give more control and comfort by again giving your tyre a wider footprint. We looking forward to trying a pair very soon!

A23 rim: a23 rim

The A23 is Velocity's latest road rim

As our factory tour wrapped up, we were given a sneak peek at Velocity's all-new Velocage II bottle cage – a redesign of the first product they ever made and, as with all things Velocity, available in the full gamut of colours.

As we stepped out of the factory into the beautiful sunny Queensland day, it was time to do battle on the highways once again – under a blue sky brighter than even Velocity's powder coating could achieve!

9.24.2010

2fer...

Interbike... it's hard to separate these two products? Why? Well, the adhesive ofcourse. That's right, today we are highlighting our P35 rim and wheelsets along with our Velotape.

Let's start with the rim itself, last week Jacobi came up with a list of 'Cobi-isms that just work in trying to explain all what you gain with the P35. But here are some of the raw stats of the P35:

- Available in 26" [28, 32, 36 hole drillings], 650b [32 & 36 hole drillings] and 29er/700c [32 & 36 hole drillings]
- rim weight: 26" - 535 grams, 650b - 570 grams, 29er/700c - 600 grams
- colors: black, white, silver, electric red, antifreeze green, and check out some of our custom images
- Standard Build* weights 26" - 2250 grams, 650b - 2360 grams, 29er - 2450 grams
- Mid Build** weights 26" - 1920 grams, 650b - 1980 grams, 29er - 2090 grams
- Pro Build*** weights 26" - 1775 grams, 650b - 1860 grams, 29er - 1940 grams

* Standard Build: Velocity ATB Disc hubs with 14g spokes and brass nipples
** Mid Build: Velocity Lightweight ATB Disc hubs with DT Competition spokes with brass nipples
*** Pro Build: Velocity Lightweight ATB Disc hubs with Sapim CX-Ray spokes with alloy nipples


As with all of our rims, we've got a number of different levels of handbuilt to order wheelsets, or we can customize a wheelset to your specific liking, need and desire. Just contact your local bike shop for details and pricing.

Check out a few of the reviews on the P35 wheelset check out these links:
- TwentyNineInches.com
- MTBr.com
- Gram Light Bikes

_

If you've read any of those reviews, you'll notice that most of them are rocking our Velotape, designed specifically for the P35.

The kit includes 10 meters of transparent Velotape, enough to setup two 29” P35s, and 2 high quality tubeless valves with removable cores. Installation is easy, requiring only a small punch and sharp scissors. As always, the Velotape is available through your favorite local bike shop or online dealer for around $29.99.

9.22.2010

Major Tom

This past weekend seemed to be a big weekend for 'cross. Lots of race series starting up and excitement for the sport growing more than it ever has. In fact, Jacobi is still celebrating his win at the Kisscross - Highland Park A race and Matt getting out for the first time on his new All-City Nature Boy with A23's. Actually Jacobi has been super humble about it.

On that note, we continue our Interbike highlights with thoughts of 'cross and CrossVegas, we can't help but think of our latest rim and wheelset, the Major Tom...

Tubular. Wide. Fast.

The Major Tom brings together everything you have been looking for when taking that next step in the cyclocross circuit Combining qualities from our popular A23 clincher and Escape tubular rims, the 23mm wide Major Tom provides improved traction for unparalleled ground control. Designed with an 11mm braking surface for precise handling and braking, along with our seam relief channel which allows for consistent and reliable tubular tire installation.

The Major Tom Pro and Comp builds are built up on our brand new Race Hubs [Front: 78 grams, Rear: 256 grams]. The Pro Build is a 24/28 combination built with Sapim CX-Ray spokes and brass nipples, total build weight of 1500 grams. The Comp Build is a 28/32 combination with DT Swiss Competition spokes coming in at 1725 grams!


And to help you get through the hell that can be a Wednesday, some videos for you... 'Cross-approved!








CRITICAL FILM from e r t z u i ° film on Vimeo.

9.21.2010

Can't miss this: Halo

Interbike: Day 2

You might have noticed in the last issue of BRAIN [Bicycle Retailer and Industry News], the September 1 issue on page 30, our Halo Wheelsets and Rims were highlighted in the Tech Briefs selection. If you didn't have a chance to check it out here is the copy:


Glass Bead Powder Coat Lights up Velocity Rims

GRAND RAPIDS, MI - When Ohio-based Halo Coatings added tiny glass balls to a powder coat formulation, it found the coating was highly reflective. That got the attention of Velocity, a rim maker that now has an exclusive to use the patented reflective powder coating on its rims. 'We've offered reflective rims before using 3M reflective decals, but the Halo coating is much more durable, and since it covers the entire rim, quite a bit more noticable,' said Adam Lorenz, Velocity USA's director of marketing. 'The coating doesn't affect braking, but there is a slightly different feel at the lever, so we offer many of the Halo Reflective rims with machined sidedwalls,' he added. Millions of microscopic glass beads float in liquid powder coat to provide a rim surface that reflects light back to its source. The Halo powder coated rims appear graphite in color, but reflect bright white when struck with direct light. Lorenz said the rims have been popular with commuters and recumbent riders who can run reflective rims instead of the hard-to-find 20-inch reflective tires. Velocity offers a variety of models including 20-inch, 26-inch and 700c rims with the Halo Reflective coating. The reflective powder coat increases the cost of the rim 40 to 50 percent.

_

A dang fine write up to say the least and hard to say more with less words. The Halo powder coating has been an incredible addition to the Velocity line and a must for anyone who is touring, commuting or just looking to stand out... literally.

The 7 rims [Model : Size : Drilling : Machined Sidewall/Nonmachined Sidewall] offered in with the Halo reflective powder coating go as followed:

- Dyad : 700c : 32H 36H : Machined Sidewall/Nonmachined Sidewall
- Fusion : 700c : 32H : Machined Sidewall/Nonmachined Sidewall
- Deep V : 700c : 32H 36H : Machined Sidewall/Nonmachined Sidewall
- B43 : 700c : 32H : Nonmachined Sidewall
- Cliffhanger : 26" [559] : 36H : Machined Sidewall/Nonmachined Sidewall
- Aeroheat : 20" [406] 26" [559] : 32H : Machined Sidewall/Nonmachined Sidewall

All of these models are instock and available through your local bicycle shop.

9.20.2010

I got 23 reasons and the A23 is one!

Interbike is here! This week we will be highlight 5 products from our line that we can't wait to get you out and riding on. And what better place to start than with the A23 wheelset... if you haven't heard, it's kind of a big deal.

So much has already been said about the wheelset, with reviews and press releases going out in the past how about 23 facts about the A23:

1. 23mm wide
2. 19.5mm deep
3. Uses Velocity *NEW* Race Hubs
4. Feel of a tubular
5. Ease of use of a clincher
6. Available in 20, 24, 28, 32, and 36 hole drillings
7. Available in a Non-Machined sidewall 32 hole
8. Rim weight: 426 grams
9. Jacobi rocks them on his Fisher
10. Less sidewall deflection on tire when partnering the A23 with 23mm wide tire
11. Paul rides them
12. 100% Customer Satisfaction
13. Comp Build Weight: 1580 grams
14. Comp Build Spec: Velocity Race Hubs with DT Competition DB spokes/DT Brass Nipples [Radial Front; 2x Rear]
15. Bead Seat Diameter: 622
16. Matt rides them
17. Effective Rim Diameter: 601
18. They conquered Stevlio Pass
19. It's a favorite of these guys
20. Suggested retail: $795
21. Ryan rides them
22. Pro Build Weight: 1400 grams
23. Pro Build Spec: Velocity Race Hubs with Saphim CX Spokes/DT Alloy Nipples [Radial Front; 2x driveside, Radial non-drive Rear]

9.17.2010

Take a bite out of that!

You've seen one side of our Interbike booth on Monday, and today we'll show you another. This time we're highlighting our P35 wheelsets. This shot is of 'Cobi at Velocity testing grounds showing how the P35 simply takes a bite out of the terrain or as 'Cobi has said:

- Turns any ridged bike into a Soft-Tail!

- (P35) lightest Mountain bike suspension known to man!

- Unga Me P35! Me like to eat holes in trail. Oug Onga bonga!!! Me hungry!!

- P35, make your mountain bike into a Hummer.

- Introducing the latest in rim suspension!

- How many MM of suspension does your rim have?

- P35, all mountain capable, cross country approved.

- If your erection lasts longer than 4 hours after using P35, consult your doctor

And that is just a taste of what it's like working with 'Cobi. Next week marks Interbike, if you're out there stop and say hey, booth #3400.

Here are a few different sizes for your enjoyment:

800 x 600

1024 x 768

1280 x 1024

1600 x 1200

9.15.2010

remember remember

Remember this...



Well check this out...




That's right. Track A23's taking on Stevlio Pass. Winner? A23. For more check out check out Patrick Seabase and Cutterskink sites.

9.13.2010

Back it up!

Can you feel it? It's that time of year, we're on the verge of it. Interbike is a week away! As all the last minute prep falls into place, we'll take time this week to give you a little taste of what we're bringing to the show then next week truly highlight what Velocity product we will be showing off while in Vegas.

A few weeks ago, we shared our new A23 wheelsets with the world. Part of that was also showing off one of our product shots of the wheelset in form of a computer background. I took some time this morning and sized them down to a few common screen sizes for some new background goodness for you.

Besides showing off the A23 wheelset why might this be important? Well, this photo appears quite prominently in our Interbike booth, #3400.

800 x 600


1024 x 768


1280 x 1024


1600 x 1200

A thanks to Geoff Kuyper of Leadout Racing, sponsored by Chicago Drive Cycling, for serving as the rider for this stellar shot of the wheelset.

9.09.2010

Go Big or Go Home

You might have seen this over at Prolly's blog or at Heavy Pedal a few days ago. But Rick Anderson took this photo of Torey Thornton's rooftop drop and if you notice he's got some Antifreeze P35s.

Crazy.

9.07.2010

Alo's Voyage....ur....

This past weekend, I was able to finish my latest bike. Hardly able to contain my excitement for it, I posted the bike over on my personal blog and figured it fits our '...because we ride' blog post series. So for today, my 'new' 1987 Schwinn Voyageur, enjoy:

Life's a Voyage-ur

That's right, life is a voyage. We're all going some where, we talk to people, make new friends and keep up with old ones. The story of my newest bike is some thing like that. 3 years ago, as many of you know, life brought me to the high five of Michigan after the time came for much needed change. One of the many people I have kept up with since moving is the one and only Guitar Ted. We've exchanged emails, gone for rides when I've made my way back to the homeland, and the such.

Recently, Mark [ask G-Ted] posted on his Twitter that a Xtracycle could be in the future for him. Being in the middle of a move and evaluating what I have, what I need and didn't need. In seeing that, I sent him a little what's up and said that I had a Xtracycle kit that had spent the last year in pieces since taking off the K-Monkey to finally get a mountain bike going. Since I was moving from a house to a studio, space was the issue and with 6 other bikes floating around having the Xtracycle wasn't the best idea.

I told Mark, I was looking for a touring bike and a few other odds and ends. And what do you know, Mark just so happened to have a 1987 Schwinn Voyageur gathering dust in his basement. A trade began to work itself out and through some middlemen the bike made its way here and the Xtracycle kit his way...

Here is what the Voyageur looked like when I got it:

The bike came with Campy barend shifters, Shimano 105 brake levers, Shimano Deore front deraileur, Shimano 6 speed rear, Suntour cranks, Blackburn front and rear racks. To be perfectly honest, I was so excited about getting the bike that I didn't really pay a whole lot of attention while I was taking it down to it's frame for paint. Yes, that's right, paint. I decided that I couldn't deny my desire to update the look of the bike and started on the 'winter' project right way.

I asked around to the guys in the wheel department at Velocity what a classic or pseudo-classic color for the bike might be and in the end I landed on a baby blue. As luck may have it, parts began to compile. As I stumbled onto the actual decal set from Alger Cyclery along with a few year old, yet still in the box 105 crank and 105 rear deraileur. I had the WTB Mountain Drop Bar floating around from my Trans Iowa set-up a few years back and decided that it would be a good way to go for touring. The canti brakes, front deraileur, Campy bar end shifters and 105 brake levers all cleaned up great with a little elbow grease. I couldn't help myself when I had the chance to bring the baby blue down onto the racks. I topped off the touring rig with a Shimano Dymo hub in the front, laced to Velocity Reflective Dyads [32 hole 3x front, 36 hole 4x rear], bronze Bottle Traps and a brown Chris King 1" headset.

So without much ado, the after:


I'm excited to get this thing out on the road, I could easily see this become my main commuter. Either way, there are 3 rides begging for this bike to be used: the November 13th/14th 200 mile Cadillac and Back installment: honoring the 29 men lost with the Edmond Fitzgerald, RAGBRAI, and my personal goal of riding around Lake Michigan. We'll see what become of it.

9.03.2010

A Post-weekend, pre-weekend recap

On the verge of a new weekend, why not a recap of the past weekend. Matt and Alex headed up to the Fixed Gear Symposium in Traverse City, MI as part of the Third Coast Bicycle Festival that was going on there. I asked Matt to do a little write up and here's what he came back with this and a fair amount of photos [ for those of you who don't like to read or wanting to see reference photos they go in order to Matt's red notes, sorry if the formatting on today's post sucks]... Enjoy your 3 day weekend everyone!


Ever heard the story of creation, told by a Michigander? It generally includes the events associated with the formation of the globe, depending on the orator’s religious, spiritual or scientific views…but ends with a twist. Michigan, it turns out, is the handprint of God him/her/it self. This places Traverse City, Michigan and her twin, magnificent bays at the tip of the left ring finger of the creator of the universe. If you’ve ever been to Traverse, you realize that’s not much of a stretch.

This weekend I had the privilege of traveling to TC for the first Third Coast Bike Week and my fourth Fixed Gear Symposium. The Symposium is put on by Dennis of the Fixed Gear Gallery, who tirelessly organizes, promotes and executes a number of events glorifying the simplicity that is a fixed gear bicycle. My crew [::bikerack] and I arrived late Thursday night and set up camp [:: cinelli tent] in a back yard on Webster Street. We were graciously hosted by JW’s parents who have two wonderful dogs [::daag] and a very centralized location in the city, which proved to be a very effective base camp throughout the weekend. We rolled out to say hello to the town and have some drinks at U & I, when suddenly a cyclist veered in front of me and we collided head on. Needless to say I was a bit upset at his carelessness and the busted jaw I received as a result. Straightened out the handlebars, checked the Deep Vs for true (they were) and headed to the bar to cleanse my new wounds with a bit or rail tequila. Properly lubricated, we set out and pre rode the hill for Friday’s Wayne Street Hill Climb.

Alex competed and took home seventh place in the fixed division [::alex hill climb]…not too shabby! Jill took second [::jill # two hill climb] in the women's division, 2010 Hillclimb Times. With beer levels at an unacceptably low level, we headed to Right Brain Brewery and treated ourselves to a few of their fantastic brews. We departed and headed down to the Cherry Roubaix sprints, where Jay was able to capture third place in the highly competitive fixed division and first place in “doing it in style” [::jay sprint] division. The star of the show, however, was a guy on a BMX [::sprint BMX] who was keeping pace with kitted roadies for ¾ of the course. The crowd loved it! Since we had an early morning alleycat the next day, we all decided it would be best to rip around the city and consume copious amounts of beer for the rest of the night. We did so and casualties were minor, hilarity was major [::casey party], and the morning of course came too quickly.

After a good breakfast [::alleycat breakfast] (remember I’m on a liquid diet at this point), Bob and I rode the alleycat [::bob alleycat] at a leisurely pace. “Mustache” [::mustache] was the first rider back and took home a set of special edition B43 wheels. After awarding prizes and congratulations, we scooted over to the Ben's Cycle Polo Tournament, which was held inside the Cherry Roubaix Criterium Race circuit. Six teams competed for top honors, and our team (Bob, Casey {casey polo} and myself) was able to take second place after a disappointing shutout handed to us by the Ann Arbor team. Big Matt {big matt} is a fantastic goalie, and we played him all together too clean. Next time your @$$ is mine, Matt.

Jay won the shark competition [::jay shark] and took home a really nice Mission Workshop backpack. Nate from TC won the trackstand competition [::nate trackstand] and with it a slick Aerospoke front wheel. Thoroughly exhausted, we headed back to the Symposium tent and were treated to a taco bar [::tacos] complete with Katy’s own homegrown chicken. Yum…only took me one hour to down two tacos. We drank our fill, rode a bit and hit the sack. Sunday’s agenda included only two things, pack up and hit the beach [::bay]. What a fabulous weekend. Thanks again to Dennis for all the hard work and to the city for its hospitality. Can’t wait for next year!