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Velo Orange Polyvalent (60cm)
Another Polyvalent, another Ben though this is the first fixed one we’ve done. Using a Build Kit as its base, customer Ben specced it for practicality as he wanted to use it for Sunday rides as well as trips to the shops. Featuring stainless steel 58mm Velo Orange mudguards, Pass Hunter front rack with integrated decaleur and a Campagne waxed canvas bag, it’s ready for whatever he has in store. Nice touches are the Velo Orange Copenhagen kickstand, Spring Thing rear mudguard mount and leather washers throughout (including mudguard to rack mount). It’s on a set of Velo Orange Diagonale 650b rims laced to Velo Orange Fixed hubs built by Velo-Smith for us which will have contributed to his first experience of the bike:
‘Took it for a 27 mile jaunt today, one I know fairly well and includes some fair climbs and very rough tarmac too. I know how this feels through 23mm Vittorias/Gatorskins on a steel fixed Charge and geared 631/531/Columbus Aelle. First mile, struck by how easy the bike was to steer. Usually It takes a mile or so to get used to a new geometry feel of a machine, but this was fairly good from the off. The first couple of miles are on a dual carriageway and the bike was extremely smooth and nimble, and very quiet. A testament to your building btw. Nothing needed adjusting or tightening after the ride.
Coming up to the first climb and....well tbh I couldn't fault it. It is heavier when I did the 'in the hand' test with the Charge, but the surprising part was the lateral stiffness. The Polyvalent feels stiffer - very noticeable whilst climbing, and certainly better than the Gazelle Mondial I had. This surprised me, quite frankly, as the Charge has larger diameter tubes, shorter stays.
Anyhow, reaching the top of the climb I start downhill and the Hetres feel lovely when cornering at higher speeds. Extremely planted. The pressure is still where you left them since I had no point of reference to try anything else. The other nice realisation is the stability when checking behind. I have long since stopped the 'underarm' look and just tend to turn my head. On traditional geometries I tend to fix a point, plant the bars then look. The Polyvalent doesn't require the same degree of effort to hold a non-impact course.
Cutting down a small lane there is a small hill with the edge of the tarmac effectively 'moguled' by years of lorry abuse. This always has me riding in the centre of the lane as much as possible; it is that bad. Now I could still tell the tarmac was awful, but instead of the bone jarring nature of the ascent, it is more 'bouncy' which is certainly a large improvement over 'jackhammer' and doesn't necessitate moving out into the lane...
Overall, the rest of the journey, passed pretty much the same. The one thing I can say that, after two hours in the saddle, I certainly feel fresher. I can heartily recommend both 650b fitted with Hetres, and the Polyvalent.
All in all, best money I have spent on a bike. Period. Please pass on my regards to Velo Orange for creating the Polyvalent next time you speak.’
Full Build specification below:
Velo Orange Polyvalent Build Kit - including Grand Cru 1” Alloy headset, Grand Cru seatpost, cable hangers and Tektro Cantilevers
Brooks Saddle
KMC Chain
EAI Steel Cog
Problem Solvers Shifter Boss Caps
Grand Bois Hetre Tyres
Velo Orange Polyvalent (60cm)