Apr 16  |  New Blue Road Machine On The Loose!

Posted by , April 16th, 2014 at 3:50PM    

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We’ve been working on a new overt scheme and this is one of the first to go live. It’s further upgraded with the addition of our carbon fiber seat tube option, PRO Stealth Evo bar/stem combo and a full Di2 drivetrain all rolling on a pair of ENVE SES 6.7′s with DT Swiss 240S hubs.

It’s the small touches that add up though and make a Speedvagen special. The drop outs, brake bridge and front derailleur clamp collar are all of our own design as is the Di2 battery integration system.

A special feature we are excited to begin offering is the seat mast top cap medallion, scroll down. Here it’s set against a complimentary color on the battery cap. Our traditional seat mast top will have a slightly different design for the medallion also set against a complimentary color. Stay tuned for images!

 

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Apr 4  |  Speedvagen Family Racing Figurines

Posted by , April 4th, 2014 at 2:12PM    

This past spring we had the pleasure of kicking off a series of Workbench Racing posts on Instagram. Coming up with a storyline, finding the proper setting for each scene, photographing it and most of all reading the comments from you made this one of our favorite little campaigns of the year.

Figure Boxed

We had such a good time with it in fact that we decided to track down and create our own figurines. The figures we found have been produced in a family owned foundry in France since the 1950′s and were originally painted by women in the neighborhood. These figurines were most popular in the mid-1960′s when several hundred thousand miniature cyclists were produced annually and sold, not surprisingly, in France, Italy and Belgium.

After a couple of decades of declining sales and production issues, mostly with getting the miniatures painted correctly, things picked up again in the late 1990′s and today production is steady. We believe that home-based painting of the figures is happening again as well.

Evan SV Figure

Our cyclist figurines  were patiently hand painted, in-house by Jenn and Evan of The Vanilla Workshop, it took hours to do each one. They feature the Speedvagen Family Racing team kit made for us by Castelli cycling here in the Pacific Northwest. While this “climbing” figure has opted to wear only his Rothera team cap for warm up his team edition Giro Aeon is certainly in the money truck. He’s sporting the black Giro Code’s as well.

Figures Jenn Paint

All kitted up, the figure sits atop a custom Fizik Antares on a solid gold Speedvagen Team issue cross machine. These machines feature many of the exclusives and innovations we have developed and refined over the years including  our Paul-specific canti mounts that pierce both walls of the seat stays for a stiffer post and better braking. ENVE hoops on DT Swiss hubs and ENVE bars, cross fork, Speedvagen Integrated cross stem and SV post head to round out the team build.

Figure Boxed Year

In total we made 50 of these little racers and the first few have gone to our wonderful sponsors as a thank you for all they do to keep us focused on winning hearts and races. The bulk of them went to some of our VIP customers and friends that make what we do so rewarding. Their time, trust and loyalty is so valuable to us.

The balance, 5 pieces, are being offered as a booster for the Speedvagen Family Racing Team’s 2014/15 season. Get one here!

Mar 27  |  Speedvagen Coffee Compendium [Updated]

Posted by , March 27th, 2014 at 11:52AM    
San Francisco

Coffee with the Speedvagen Team in San Francisco

Ongoing and exclusively generated by readers(riders) suggestions, this is a compendium of places around the world to get a great cup of coffee and maybe run into a fellow cyclist or two, maybe even one on a Speedvagen or Vanilla.

East of the Mississippi:

Matt: High Five Coffee: Asheville, NC

VeloChamp: “Buddy Brew Coffee here in Tampa, FL. Great folks, phenomenal single-origin coffee roasted in house.”

California (Bay Area):

Nick: Equator Coffee – Mill Valley, CA

Jeff: Jane on Fillmore (they serve Stumptown), Rapha Cycle Club (Four Barrel coffee, SF), Cibo (Sausalito)

Ray: Sweet Maria’s – Oakland, CA

Bryan: The Mill on Divisadero – SF, CA

Southwestern:

Shawn: Cartel – Tempe, AZ “Just off Arizona State’s campus, very bike friendly, beans roasted in house.”

Tyler: Austin, TX “Once Over or Houndstooth are my most regular spots. D1 and Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shops both have the in-house coffee shop thing going on making it easy to grab an espresso before a shop ride.”

Kim: Mudsmith on Lower Greenville here in Dallas. Don’t know if you’ll see the elusive lone Dallas Speedvagen there or not, but they have great coffee (Four Barrel) and serve local beer, to boot!

West of the Rockies:

Carl: AMANTE up on North Broadway in Boulder, CO. A good place to hook up for a ride also.

Tom: Heart Coffee on East Burnside and Stumptown Coffee (downtown) in Portland, OR

Canada:

Shorelocal: Musette Caffe for anyone visiting Vancouver, BC

United Kingdom:

Adrian: The Music Room in Lancaster, UK and Saveurs in Dartmouth, UK (I am guessing my kitchen doesn’t count…)

Chris: It’s a little ‘provincial’ down here in the Garden of England. Good coffee is starting to find it’s way through though. My fave cafe stops are ‘Brunch‘ in Canterbury and ‘Eden‘ in Maidstone both in Kent and well placed to service riders wish in to follow the route if Stage 1 of the 2007 tour.

Norway:

Arne: Tim Wendelboe, Grunerløkka, Oslo, Norway

Amsterdam:

Jon (@twotoneatl): While he’s admittedly the “new guy” in Amsterdam he has a knack for finding great spots. The FietsKantine,  Lot Sixtyone Roasters and The WestergasFabriek (around12:30 on Sundays). Also, #RollCallAMS ride starts from Coffee Company Treublaan at 8am on Friday’s!

Two For Joy Coffee

Oz:

@AdelaideArchitect: Hey Jupiter in Adelaide, South Australia

Justin: ”Nothing compares to Single Origin Roasters in Surry Hills, Sydney NSW.  A cup of Java that is second to none.”

Andy: A favourite café of mine is Short Round. Great coffee and a delicious menu. Melbourne, Victoria.

Japan:

Ichico: “My recommended coffee shops for cyclists in Tokyo are Bonsai Cycleworks, Good People, Good Coffee and Lug Hatagaya.”

 

Coffee with Sacha in SF

Feb 16  |  A New Speedvagen Is On The Horizon

Posted by , February 16th, 2014 at 10:00AM    

New for 2014, our Horizon paint scheme offers lots of different options for road and cross machines both. Light and airy, down and dirty… you can do anything with this scheme. A little background; it evolved from the 2012 Surprise Me! cross and 2013 Surprise Me! road schemes. We wanted some depth but  didn’t want it to feel heavy. We kept the horizontal stripes and simplified them, grounding the bike with a foundation color. A hit of pop-color through the middle is striking but not overwhelming. Typically this scheme is topped off with a lighter top color though it takes deeper hues well too.

We’ve put together a few examples for you here, click an image to launch a full gallery for each bike. Our long time photographer, Bob Huff shot all of these.

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We design the Speedvagen road bikes to be good stage race machines. They are comfortable for long days in the saddle and very stable at high speeds. When riding curvy roads, the bike feels better and more fun the faster it goes.

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We design and build the Speedvagen cross bikes to be great mud machines; stable through the transitions, balanced around the hairpins and quick, to power past when you get the holeshot. Off the course they love a fresh forest service or gravel access road alike.

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Leave It On The Road – Official

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2013 Speedvagen Surprise Me! CX

I love dispelling rumors, especially when doing so might totally stoke someone out. Specifically, I’m talking about the Speedvagen wait list.

We are actively accepting deposits for Speedvagen 2014, right now. Road and cross both. Give a call or check out our Order page. Questions? Take a look here for some answers or shoot an email to Jenn: customerservice@vanillabicycles.com.

Jan 30  |  Just The Facts

Posted by , January 30th, 2014 at 7:00AM    
We love hearing from our customers about their inaugural rides. It’s one of those great shared experiences that keeps us doing what we do, and more often than not makes us smile. This one, from Vikram, hit the mark on the ‘feeling’ and then took it to 11 with some cold, hard data. I can’t help but share it. Enjoy!
Vikram 1
I received the bike on Monday and got it built up at the local bike shop. Rode it for the first time yesterday. It looked amazing but I wasn’t sure how it would ride. I’ve had my previous bike for the past 3-years (been riding for 4 years) and have become quite used to it. The first few pedal strokes in the parking lot of the shop to adjust saddle height were not really revealing. It felt quite different from what I’ve been used to all these years. I kind of felt the way when I got my BMW after having driven my wife’s minivan for a while – my brain was telling me it’s better, but the body was taking time adjusting to the new sensations/feedback.

Vikram 3

I wanted to conduct a more objective test of the bike’s capability rather than relying on my feelings. We have a 10.5% grade, mile-long climb close to home that I’ve used to monitor my evolution as a cyclist over the years. I thought it would be the perfect place to go for the inaugural ride. The climb is about 7-miles from home and I used that time to familiarize myself with the bike and the Campy shifting (SRAM for 3 years). I got to the climb and decided to give it everything like all my prior efforts. I’m not a racer and don’t understand stuff like bottom bracket stiffness, compliance, etc. All I know is that the bike leaped forward with each pedal stroke. It almost seemed magical like someone had gotten rid of friction – I’ve never had that sensation before.
I knew I probably had done better and rushed home to upload the data to Strava. I was a full 56 seconds faster than my previous PR (almost 12% as per my rough calculations)!! I can understand a few seconds faster because of the thrill and excitement of a new bike, but 56 seconds can only be attributed to the bike.
Vikram Stats
I’m pretty sure I was smiling or rather grinning the entire ride. What else can I say but thank you for such an awesome and amazing bike. I know I was like an impatient kid at times and would like to thank Jenn for being so patient all this time. It was worth the wait. I could go on and on about the color scheme -  just great!

Thank you again. Attached a few pictures.

A very, very happy Vikram

Vikram 2

 

Jan 27  |  FS: Wee Vanilla Road Racer – SOLD

Posted by , January 27th, 2014 at 7:18AM    

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We are offering this  2013 Vanilla road frame set for sale. It’s roughly a 48cm, (see specs below), and features our SL (SuperLight) tubing set from Columbus. This is a one of a kind bike, built by Sacha, Vanilla’s founder and lead builder. With hand carved and thinned lugs throughout and polished stainless steel “V” dropouts this is an example of the quintessential Vanilla road bike and the best of what Sacha does as a craftsman.

This frame set includes a matching fork with hand carved crown lugs and a brushed, nickel-plated custom stem. Meticulous paint work by Coat Paint Shop highlights the subtle details you’ll  discover more of each time you ride. Stainless steel in the high wear and tear areas (drive side chain stay, dropouts and water bottle bosses) is as functionally significant as it is elegant. You’ll also notice primer-only where the brakes mount to the fork and to the seatstay bridge as well as the front drops. This is a small touch that makes for greater durability in these paint-chip-prone areas.

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Frame

This bike is built to be a good stage race machine. This means it’ll be comfortable for long days in the saddle, it will descend at speed with confidence and it will be balanced and predictable while climbing. You can expect clearance for at least a 700x28c tire.

Paint

The light cream base with stark white panels make for an unusual take on this classic race bike scheme. Burnt red fill and navy graphics. The red fills the “V” on the fork crown, bottom bracket, stem and lug cut-outs. Navy and red accents are found throughout the frame and fork as well.

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Geometry

Top Tube Length(C-C): 520.7

Seat Tube Length(C-C): 505

Head Tube Length: 99.6

Chain Stay Length: 413

Head Tube Angle: 71.6

Seat Tube Angle: 73.5

Bottom Bracket Drop: 75

Stem Length: 90

Stem Angle: -9

Stem Clamp: 26

Steerer Clamp Length: 43

Reach: 368.6

Stack: 514.7

Notes

Full build packages are available at very competitive pricing.

Price

$6500 SOLD

Contact

customerservice@vanillabicycles.com

Jan 23  |  No Pressure! – A Speedvagen Family Racing Winter Update

Posted by , January 23rd, 2014 at 7:00AM    
Seeing all the photos and videos that modern day social media provide makes me a teeny bit bummed a few more of the Speedvagen Family Racing Team didn’t head to Boulder this year. We did have one team member that raced this weekend, so please give a hearty “WOOT WOOT” to the awesome Jeff Curtes, who traveled all the way from down under to do it in style on his SS! Jeff, you really are the man and we love you.

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As for the rest of the crew, we’ve all been enjoying the holidays, spending time with family, and catching up on things that get set aside during cross season. Brennan is busy with his head in the clouds, learning to handle something a lot bigger than a bike, in Aviation Science and Flight school. Daisuke is still racing in Japan and enjoying the snowy winter in Nobeyama. Our fearless leader, Sacha, is making beauty on the daily, and Tom and Jenn are ever vigilant in helping get all that beauty out into the world. And me, well, I had a super fun cross season, and was happy to end it on a somewhat crazy note in the 5 degree temps of Bend this year. Since then, I’ve been enjoying some quality time chasing around Wicks and Decker on my new backcountry ski gear! A whole new way to get the quads burning!
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And Husky, aka Winbraker, aka Laura Winberry, who had a transformational season on the bike and took her fitness to the next level, has been contending with a different battle this winter. It’s a bit of a story, and it’s hers to tell, but since many were wondering why she didn’t race in Bend, we decided to share the short version.
Or maybe I’ll just share a picture, what with those being worth a thousand words and all…
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She had a curious looking mole on her foot near the top of the arch. It had changed shape over the course of a year. She went in to have it looked at. And biopsied. It was a melanoma. Cancer. On her foot. They removed it the first week of December. All of it, which included a lot of tissue in the area, as you can see. Yes, scary.
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(PSA inserted here: and on that note, please, take the time to get yourself in for a check-up, or get that freckle looked at. please.)
All is well now and her bird foot is on the mend. She is in remarkably good spirits considering she hasn’t been able to walk, ride, or play in the snow to the degree that she’s accustomed. And won’t be able to for another month or so. But hey, nothing like a little cancer to help with perspective. And appreciation. Of life. Family. And Feet.
Hope you’re all out there putting yours to good use!
Much love,
Manbreaker aka Tina
Speedvagen Family Racing

Jan 22  |  FS: Team Machines

Posted by , January 22nd, 2014 at 7:00AM    
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Looking ahead to next cross season we are all really excited. Our plans are forming and we are in the process of dialing in the budget, sponsorship, schedule, etc. One of the ways we’re hoping to make this a season like no other is to raise a few additional dollars selling a couple of our team frames.
The first is one of Tina’s and comes with all the bells and whistles; Di2 ready, carbon fiber seat tube, carbon post head, fork and Integrated stem (75mm). The other is one of Kohey’s frames. It’s a stock 52cm in a traditional steel set up for a mechanical drivetrain with lots of extras. Details and specs below, please pass it along to anyone you think might be looking for a solid cross machine!
customerservice@vanillabicycles.com
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Tina’s Frame:

Model: Speedvagen Team CX

Year: 2012

Color: Gold team scheme

Specs: (Custom sizing)

TT: 51.7cm (C – C)

ST: 48.5cm

HT: 79mm

CS: 430

Saddle Height Range: 642-657

Price: $3000

Notes: 

Speedvagen x ENVE carbon seat tube (Upgrade) - Included

Speedvagen x ENVE carbon post head painted to match (Upgrade) - Included

Speedvagen Integrated x ENVE Cross Stem (Upgrade) – Included

ENVE cross fork  - Included

Internal Di2 routing for external battery (Upgrade) - Included

 

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Kohey’s Frame Set:

Model: Speedvagen Team CX

Year: 2012

Color: Gold team scheme

Specs: Stock 52cm

TT 53.5

ST 50.8

HT 109

CS 42.3

Stack 55.4

Reach 37.0

Price $2600 SOLD

Notes:
ENVE cross fork with 48mm of steerer - Included
Chris King head set - Included
Fizik Tundra2 carbon rail (Custom) - Included
Speedvagen/ENVE carbon post head (Upgrade) - Included
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ENVE Team Wheelset - The perfect compliment to either of the above frame sets.
ENVE 45 Clinchers 28h F/R
2 cross
Double butted DT Swiss Competition spokes
DT Swiss 350 hubs
11-speed compatible Shimano freehub body
Speedvagen Cross Team Custom USA/Japan Decals
Very few miles on these.
Price $1350

Jan 13  |  Jeff Curtes – On And Off The Bike At Cross Nationals

Posted by , January 13th, 2014 at 2:00PM    

Our team photographer/teammate/international ambassador/super hero, Jeff Curtes, is one of the most amazingly sincere, talented and energetic people I have ever met. So, it should come as no surprise that he not only raced at Nationals in his masters category, finishing 29th/100, but also did Vanilla proud in the SS race the day before with his brother and fellow Vanilla/Speedvagen family member, Mike. All in a days work right?!

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Jeff Curtes by Mike Curtes

Well, then he spent all day Sunday engaged in his other passion. The one that has paid the bills for the last 20+ years. Shooting amazing photographs of athletes and adventurers pushing their physical and mental abilities to the limit and then digging for a little more. And that’s where you’ll find Jeff, at that place, in that moment. The real treat is hearing from him about it later, he’s so humbled and thankful for having been there, it’s really special.

Anyway, he took a some of those photos this weekend in Boulder, CO and has asked me to share them with you here. Of course, the pleasure is mine. Enjoy!

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Jan 10  |  HIRING – Workshop Assistant

Posted by , January 10th, 2014 at 12:34PM    

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-We are hiring for a Shop Assistant -

The Vanilla Workshop has been building bicycles by hand right here, in Southeast Portland, for 15-years. The Workshop houses three brands: Vanilla Bicycles one of a kind and built by Sacha, founder and lead builder; Speedvagen, our small batch race bike brand; and Coat Paint Shop, painting and powder coating for independent bicycle frame builders including Vanilla and Speedvagen.

We do a lot of things here at The Vanilla Workshop. At the core of what’s going on are the design, innovation and refinement of the bicycles we make from scratch for our customers. Equally important to us though, is standard of living, happiness and fulfillment. This means having a quality of life that allows for time spent with family and friends doing the things that bring us joy. We like to stay active and have fun. Whether that’s a run together at lunchtime or an impromptu BBQ in front of the shop on a sunny afternoon, we enjoy each other’s company and believe quality comes from caring about what you do.

We’re looking for someone who is organized, energetic, and hardworking. Someone who likes challenges, learning new things, follows through, is good-natured and who feels at home in a shop environment. A mantra at our shop is that if it isn’t going to be 100% not going to do it. As part of this, we will hire someone who is particular about detail and comfortable shifting between various tasks.

 

Paint prep:

-           Checking in incoming frames and parts to paint cards

-           Preparation of masking materials including weeding

-           Prepping incoming frames for paint including masking and plugging.

-           Media blasting

-           Sanding primer

-           Polishing, finish and buffing

-           Cleaning and organization of paint shop on paint days

Fabrication prep:

-           Clean, measure and mark tubes for cutting and drilling

-           Drilling for braze-ons and braze-on mock up

-            Pre-polish and polishing small parts and dropouts

-           Pre-fabrication parts prep (bead blasting, cleaning, fluxing)

-           Brush & polish stainless

-           Pre-paint and post-paint prep

-           Cleaning and organization of fabrication floor on fabrication days
-           Support machine maintenance

Shop & Office Maintenance:

-           Regularly sweep and dust entry area, bathroom, shop and paint areas

-           Stock bathroom and kitchen

Back Up on Shipping and Receiving

-           Pick and pack orders

-           Ship orders

-           Check in inventory

 

This job is going to be a good fit for you, and us, if you’re into bikes and love to learn how things are put together. You’re probably attracted to really excellent custom paint and metal work on bicycles, classic cars and pre-war motorcycles. You’ll like to get things done and have ideas about how to make them better. You also need to be able to lift a case of hand grenades, or about 50lbs.

 

Pay and benefits:

This is an entry-level position and base pay starts at $9.50 per hour. We have a good benefits package including 100% paid health insurance, profit sharing, and paid time off.

If you feel that you’re a good fit, please apply by email. Send a one-page resume and cover letter describing your work and life experience as it applies to this position, including any experience in the bike frame building or fabrication environments.  In the body of the email, state the length of your last two jobs and the amount of time you’ve spent working in a workshop environment.  Please send your application materials in .pdf format to:

hiring@vanillabicycles.com

The deadline for submissions is Friday, January 22, 2014.

 

 

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