Jul 28  |  No Hints, No Regrets!

Posted by , July 28th, 2013 at 9:00AM    

SURPRISE! Introducing the 2013 Speedvagen Road Surprise Me!  paint scheme.


2013 Speedvagen Surprise Me! Road Machine

The SURPRISE ME! paint scheme is available every year, and always different. If you’re not familiar with the  Surprise Me concept  let me give you a little bit of the history.

Since 2007, when the first Speedvagen rolled out of the shop there were a few things we knew. The design of the bikes followed the mantra “take away everything non-essential, and innovate with what’s left”. Speedvagen was born as uncompromising road and cross racing machines built in small batches with a select palette of three colors and three graphics options for each year. These paint schemes identify each run as a family of bikes. Pretty straightforward, right? Well, we can’t help ourselves. There is always a wildcard at the Vanilla Workshop.

Enter Surprise Me! The fourth paint option and one that lives up to its name year after year. Sacha has total creative latitude to play with colors and graphics, and he goes for it. The results have  ranged from very minimal to incredibly complex, at times requiring a laser level and a bagillion hours of masking for graphics application.

On the 2013 Surprise Me! we start with laying down the blue and green striping and then mask the stripes before the gold is sprayed on. The horizontal stripes cross the entire frame, all the way through the fork.

Sacha: “We used to use a big line of tape across the whole frame, until someone in the shop had the brilliant idea to use a laser level. That worked so well, now I’m trying to figure out what else we can use this thing for.”

2012-05-08 09.30.45

After the gold goes down the painstaking task of ‘weeding’ the graphics begins. Since we only use liquid paint on our bikes all of the text and images are applied using stencils that are carefully laid onto the frame and then, once painted, more carefully removed one letter at a time with tweezers and razor blades.

2012-03-26 10.16.36

We started doing component color work on Surprise Me bikes in 2010 and have since brought it over to our standard offerings. As a testing ground, ideas are often carried over from Surprise Me. This DT Swiss hub gets dressed up in SM colors with a little striping. You’ll also find component color work on ENVE stems, our Seatpost heads, Pro bar/stem combos, Paul brakes and the occasional carbon saddle. On this particular bike, we replaced the red graphics on the SRAM components with hits of green that tie in with the frame colors.

2012-05-23 13.58.26

Risky move, or spot on? Well, as it turns out folks like a good surprise. Roughly half of each run, cross and road, get the Surprise Me paint scheme. So much is pre-determined and shared freely these days it seems. We’re stoked to offer a real surprise to people and appreciate that our customers, by and large, respect that surprise for their fellow classmates, keeping photos of the bikes off the internet and out of chat rooms until we give the ‘all clear’. Which is what I’m doing today, letting the proverbial cat out of the bag. We love this scheme a lot and we’re really excited to finally share it with the world. Enjoy!


With every Speedvagen run we build a shop bike with the Surprise Me! paint scheme to keep in the shop archive. If you’re in Portland or planning to visit and would like to visit for a tour of the shop please get in touch.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to receive and unbox one of these machines, friend of the shop and great customer, Peder nailed it here. Make sure you watch the video too!







  1. Great post. Another beautiful sm. opening the box even when you know the color is better than Christmas.

    Comment by Scott — July 29, 2013 @ 10:02 am    

  2. My heart just skipped a beat!

    Comment by chr15 — July 31, 2013 @ 2:01 am    

  3. […] Speedvagen has released photos of their infamous “Surprise Me” color scheme for 2013. Each year Speedvagen offers their bikes in a different set of colorways. Three of them are known to customers but each year they give their painter free reign to be creative on the “Surprise Me” scheme. Each year is always something different and creative. This year’s 2013 scheme is pretty wicked. The paint scheme is even incorporated into some of the parts on the build like the hubs and drivetrain components. Read about this year’s paint process on the Speedbloggen blog. […]

    Pingback by 2013 Speedvagen Road Surprise Me Gallery | CYCLOPHILIAC - American Made Cycling — August 3, 2013 @ 7:37 pm    

  4. Awesome color combo!

    Comment by reteptterrab — August 8, 2013 @ 10:44 am    

  5. […] 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 […]

    Pingback by Speedvagen: Horizon paint scheme | Fforiwr — December 18, 2013 @ 6:09 am    

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