Velo Orange Polyvalent

Yesterday, I was asked about my Soma Grand Randonneur Build and whether or not I liked how it rode. Since I referenced this build, I guess I should post about it.

Here are the build details:

  • Velo Orange Polyvalent frameset with Velo Orange fenders and Randonneur rack
  • 26″ Velocity Cliffhanger rims laced to a Hope rear and SP front dyno hub with 26″ x 2.3″ Rene Herse Rat Trap Pass tires
  • Rene Herse Randonneur handlebars with Nitto stem and Berthoud decaleur, bags, and saddle
  • Rene Herse crankset and IRD square taper JIS bottom bracket, which, while beautiful, turned out to be the worst fucking pain in the ass I’ve dealt with since that piece of shit Velo Orange crankset on the Grand Randonneur.
  • Drivetrain is Shimano 105 R7000 because it just fucking works. Least problematic thing about this bike. Gearing is 11 speed 11-32 x 46/30

So, let’s talk about Jan’s Rene Herse crankset and the fucking fits it gave me. First, the drive side pedal threads were all wrong. As in it was impossible to get a pedal onto the crankset at all. Looks like a step may have been missed as the ridges on the thread were very deep, effectively reducing the diameter of the pedal bore. This had to be chased with the proper tap, and frankly for as much as I spent on this crank, that’s totally unacceptable. Secondly, and far worse, in my opinion, is the tendency of this crankset and|or bottom bracket combo to back off the crank bolt. On five consecutive rides, within 5 miles the crank bolts would loosen so much that I would be forced to return. Each time I would re-install to specification (because I can fucking read) and each time they would back off again. The solution was to replace the beautiful but worthless Rene Herse bolts with bog-standard SRAM crank bolts, put some blue loctite on them, and let them sit over the winter.

That aside, this is a wonderfully riding, albeit not overly spirited bicycle. Total weight as pictured above (sans water bottles) is around 29 lbs, definitely not a lightweight, although you don’t really notice the weight so much, even on hills.

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