Velo Orange Piolet – Final Review

A few months ago, I built up a bike that I was so intrigued to ride. My parts selection is a little eclectic, and the complete bike is anything but normal. It really doesn’t fit into any one category. This steel steed is my monstercross, mountain bike, do everything thrill ride. But, I think the ample amount of bosses, for racks, bags and bottle cages really makes this bike the ultimate backroad touring machine.

Almost all parts remain from my original build. The only modification I made was a 17 degree stem. Normally, I like a longer, neutral cockpit, but the super long top tube, left me reaching a bit. The 17 degree rise solved this issue and helps get my bars above the saddle. This is a good thing.

But how does this bike perform? For a steel mountain bike, it is surprisingly compliant. Now steel is definitely the most comfortable material you can ride and this bike does not disappoint. Over countless rock gardens and through the rip rap that covers lots of snow mobile trails in Northeast Pennsylvania, the Piolet exceeded my expectations. It’s not too punchy on flat gravel roads, but it climbs rather well for a 28 pound, steel mountain bike.

The Daja Far Bars keep me in an optimal position when bombing down loose gravel roads. The taller had tube coupled with the Grand Cru headset keep the front end stable while pounding through the rough stuff. The Grand Cru seatpost topped with the WTB Volt saddle is super comfortable. The SRAM Apex shifters and derailleur keep the drivetrain running smoothly. The SRAM GX crankset with the Dub bottom bracket is smooth. Although, I may switch out the 30t chainring for a 34 or 36 as I’m spinning out on some descents.

Whether set up with drop bars, flat bars or any of the many choices on the market today, if your thinking of steel, the Piolet should be your monstercross, gravel, touring or whatever bike. Check them out at


Tow Path

Sometimes you do more than just ride. Sometimes, you devour the scenery. Today was one of those times. It certainly helps when the weather is perfect (68 degrees and sunny) and the views are endless.

I met Mike and Peter this morning in Barryville, N.Y. For a spin up RT. 97 and the Tow Path Road. We parked a stones throw from the water and headed out on Rt. 97 along the Delaware River. 3.5 miles in, we crossed the Roebling Bridge (the oldest wire suspension bridge in the United States} over to the Pennsylvania side and cruised through the tiny berg of Lackawaxen. Once on the Tow Path Road, we crossed over the Lackawaxen River back into New York.

The Tow Path winds up hill at about a 1% clip for quite a long way. The grade and a head wind created just enough resistance to slow it down a bit until we hit the one hill we’d climb all day. At the top, we turned around for a fast, fun descent. The river views of the Lackawaxen and Delaware were stunning. Wildlife was everywhere.

The last 5 rides have been wonderful. I’m finally feeling close to 100% again. The pandemic added a few pounds to my frail frame and work and the weather have made it easy for me to make excuses as I only rode once or twice a week all winter and spring. I realize their will be peaks and valleys, but as long as I stay consistent, I should continue continue to feel good.

What’s playing (what am I listening to while writing or what’s dancing around in my head while riding) , today – Todd Rundgren – Hello It’s Me