Getting the fender just right
Today I received and aftermarket saddle binder bolt and was able to secure the saddle into the bike. Despite pouring rain, I took it for a ten mile jaunt on gravel and pavement. Wow, I love it! The ride is supersmooth, it tracks just fine freehanded, and the fenders worked very well. I was soaking wet but cozy and warm in a merino shirt.
The other bikes I have been riding lately are a Soma Smoothie (steel road bike set up in a racer direction) and a Shogun (vintage sport-touring bike with VO porteur handlebars and baskets on the rack). The Shogun is actually amazingly spry and nimble, but not as much so as the Smoothie. The Campeur, which I was not expecting to feel quick, is right between the two. It is lighter than I was expecting, and the gearing is well-chosen. The bike was about as pleasant as a bike can be while climbing, and for the first time I did not dread the "fork hill" on the way back to my house. Probably just new bike excitement, but I really am feeling great about this bike.
Also, VO replied to my concerns of the damaged paint, broken bolt, and missing pieces. They responded rapidly despite the hurricane closing their office. The issue with the bolt was indeed that a crucial washer was missing, and they are addressing this on other frames. The paint damage seems to have happened while being shipped, and they are adjusting their packing procedure. As I took the brunt of this as a beta-tester of sorts, they are graciously sending me a front rack. This is about 1/5th the price of the frame, which I feel is more than adequate for the slight damages I have to put up with. All in all, I am a very happy campeur, and wouldn't hesitate to continue to recommend Velo Orange as a dealer of parts and bikes.
Of course I am going to need more time to properly assay and review the Campeur bike, but after that first ride, I really love it! The fit is great, the shifting is smooth, and the components feel solid. I really like the micro-ratcheting shifters in particular.
I am not sure I love the pedals I put on it, some Shimano hybrids which I used on the platform side. Not as grippy as I had hoped, and I had a little numbness in the foot. I need a little more time to determine if they are keepers or not.