Velo Orange Piolet – First Impressions

I believe that one cannot have too many bikes. That said, I think most people would agree that maintenance, storage and time to ride each, would be a good problem. So, I decided to sell a few bikes to make room in the garage for another do it all steed.

I parted with the Karate Monkey and the Van Dessel WTF in an effort to find that do it all frame that can handle singletrack, gravel roads and snow mobile trails. After careful review, I purchased a Velo Orange Piolet, an easy choice, since I have always fancied their stems, seat posts, handlebars and road brakes.

After finally gathering the drivetrain and components, I was ready for the build. The 4130 double butted chromoly frameset accepts IS disc brakes, 1 1/8” headset, 27.2mm seatpost and quick release hubs, making it super compatible with older or modern parts. I decided to go with: SRAM Apex 11 speed shifters and rear derailleur, SRAM GX 175mm crankset with 30t chainring, Velo Orange Grand Cru headset, Whiskey #7 stem 80mm, Dajia Cycleworks Far Bar handlebar, Velo Orange Grand Cru seatpost topped with a WTB Volt saddle and Crank Brothers Candy pedals. I chose an FSA 700c wheelset with Teravail Rutland 29X2.2 tires and finished it off with Velo Orange Moderniste bottle cages and a Velo Orange by Road Runner Bags Day Tripper saddle bag.

From the Velo Orange website:

The Piolet is our bikepacking and rough-road riding frame. It’s designed for off-road touring, including dirt and gravel roads, double track, and single track. We built it to be sturdy, simple, and very capable. As with our other frames it’s double butted chromoly steel. The fork is triple butted for reduced weight and extra strength. The seatstays come together in a cool mono-stay wishbone and compliment the segmented fork. The frameset is covered in bosses for easily mounting any racks, water-bottles, gear cages, and even fenders. It’s happily set up in bikepacking fashion or as a traditional rack and bag tourer!

The Piolet handles similarly to a XC mountain bike, but slightly more in the touring direction. Feels natural with drop bars or flat bars. Non-suspension corrected fork handles predictably with or without a load.

The final build came in at 28.5lbs, slightly heavy for a gravel bike but very light for a steel mountain bike. After a few miles, I dialed in the fit and headed into the woods for some late winter fun. A few hundred more miles and I’ll be able to make an informed judgement. Stay tuned for the final review.


7 thoughts on “Velo Orange Piolet – First Impressions

  1. Rob,
    Cool bike. The seatstay construction is particularly interesting. I’ve been looking at the V. O. site recently and was curious about the FarBar and the seatpost.

    I’d be interested in your opinion of things in a follow up to this post.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. Do you still have this Piolet? Thoughts on it after more time in the saddle?

    I’m eyeballing a frameset for sale on for an all rounder atb type of bike to handle roads to the trails, fireroads and rural CT gravel roads.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually, I recently sold it, as I purchased the Pass Hunter Frameset. I only put about 450 miles on the Piolet, but I can say that it is a very good gravel/MTB. However, it might be a bit heavy for a road bike. Also, the top tube, while perfect for off road adventures, might be too long for a road bike.
      The other negative is it only allows a MTB crankset, but that’s also a plus on the trails as it allows you to get really low gearing.


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