Thursday, 23 September 2010

Downtube Mini on top of Alpe D'Huez

By kind permission of Bikeforums member Sesamecrunch, we have this wonderful picture of a Downtube Mini completing surely one of its most impressive feats, climbing the Alpe D'Huez on the Tour De France route in an organised ride. Most of the people topping out on this mountain will have been riding 20 speed full carbon featherweights with a million decals on them, but Sesamecrunch's mould-breaking friend made his way to the top on the tiny 16" terrier. Wonderful! And look how good a Brooks saddle looks on one of our bikes, yet again....

The Mini is sadly no longer available, but if you have a picture of you completing any sort of adventure on your Downtube, we'd love to see it.


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Tax and customs now included in price!

You many have noticed that our prices have risen. This is because we have finally been able to work with our couriers to pay the tax and customs for you. I know that it has put many potential customers off, knowing that the bike would arrive with a bill, and now, you pay one price, and that's it. We're very pleased to be able to offer this.

Friday, 12 June 2009

World Naked Bike Ride Again

My wife doesn't like to ride solo, so we took our tandem. That meant only one Downtube on this year's ride!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Smithfield Nocturne - Representing the Downtubeisti

The race ready bike shown below was not built for nothing. In fact, I raced it at the Smithfield Nocturne Commuters Folding Bike Challenge, a criterium race where the competitors run 30m to their folded bikes, unfold, and race 4 laps.

I wasn't really in shape to challenge, but I almost made the cut for the final, finishing 23rd (I think) out of 40 competitors in my heat. Nest year, I'll be fit, and I hereby promise a position in the final, and will aim for the top half of that as well. If anyone fancies bringing their Downtube along too, and racing the myriad Bromptons, then perhaps we can be Team Velo Chocolate? Let me know, and we can go next year.

My 12 year old son, however, has nothing to regret, as he tried out on the roller-racing (track bikes on rollers) and set both the top 2 times in the jnr category, against approx 150 other competitors. Not bad!


And Sam Jnr in action!

A Race Ready Downtube?

I have the latest model 9 FS as a demonstrator, which means that the 07 model I had previously was rather redundant. I use the FS9 regularly, so that I'm in a real position to comment on the usefulness of the bike in day to day riding, so what was my old IXFS to do? Well, I decided to convert it into more of a fast road bike, in preparation for a folding bike race. I swapped in old drop handlebars (up til the late 80's, drop bars had the same clamp diameter that mountain bike bars have now, so if you have old drops, they'll go straight on to your Downtube). I put on Tektro brake levers designed for V brakes (regular caliper brake levers don't pull enough cable), and replaced the twist grip shifter with an old Suntour bar-end shifter I had in a box somewhere. I wrapped the bars with elkhide wrap from (if you don't know Velo Orange, go visit, they rule), and added a honey Brooks B17 to match. Finally, I swapped out the chainring for a 52t item for higher gearing (I'm a bit of a masher), and put on high pressure Schwalbe Marathon tyres. Here's the result, and isn't it a handsome looking Downtube?


Website Finally Fixed!

Finally the Velo Chocolate website is back in working order. Huge thanks are due to Dave Walker, who voluntarily looked over my bodged and fudged HTML, and offered the solution. Dave, you're a lifesaver, and should we meet, I'll buy you a beer or three.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Problems, and temporary solutions

I would like to apologise for ongoing site problems with Velo Chcolate. Our email has been down, and is now fixed, so if you've been trying to get in touch, I apologise; please try again.

Similarly, our site is garbled, and I can't work out why. I believe you can read all of the information (albeit with difficulty), but the buy-it-now links are not working. In the short term, please use the links below.

Finally, customers should be aware that our attempt to arrange to pay import taxes was a failure; the couriers would agree to send the bill to us, but would instead send it to the customer. Since customers were paying us in advance for the shipping, this led to refunds and aggravation, so we're admitting defeat. From now on, you should expect your bike to be accompanied by a bill for import taxes, which according to EU regs should be 19.9%. The good news is, this means we don't have to raise our prices. The bikes have got significantly more expensive, but we're holding the price, and simply removing the "we pay the tax" part.

Purchase links:

Full Suspension 9 Speed

Full Suspension 8 Speed Hub Gear

Front Suspension 9 Speed

Front Suspension 8 Speed Hub Gear