May 15  |  That Ride

Posted by , May 15th, 2014 at 8:43AM    

The Gentle Lovers

We always try to follow up with customers to see how their first rides were. It’s great to hear about where they went and why. Often they have a shakedown ride in mind from the beginning. That climb they test their fitness on. The group ride on Sunday mornings. Maybe they even travel to a sportive. Wherever it is those first rides are so fun to recount.

Then we ask about how the bike rode and the conversation turns from a detailed accounting of the climbs and vistas to one of fewer words as they begin to explain that;

“it was great, yeah, the bike was awesome… it’s hard to explain really.”

“I can’t put my finger on it. It just rides differently, in a good way.”

“It felt right. I don’t know, it’s really hard to explain it I guess. What do other people say when you ask them about the ride?”

Well, they usually say about the same thing actually. This got me thinking, what has your experience been with your Speedvagen?  Is there something to the ‘inexplicable ride’?

Not fishing for compliments here, I’m sincerely interested in putting a finger on this.



  1. My SV came on a Friday in April. Just like Jenn told me it would (I STILL can’t believe it all came together so quickly). That first weekend was torture…I couldn’t ride until Monday, and that was only a quick spin to make sure I tightened the bolts enough. Tuesday was better. Some dirt and climbing and more dirt and rollers and 40 miles and my mind was made up. A few locals looked at me in total disbelief when I told them I’d ride it at Battenkill after 3 rides. The bike was too pretty, they said. I didn’t “know” it enough. After over 10,000 miles on the Moots, I almost felt like I was cheating. The thing is, I turned 40 this year. The SV was my 40th Birthday present from my wife. I figure I’m halfway through this crazy life. Get busy livin’…and riding, I think. Battenkill turned out to be a pretty sweet day.

    And then there’s the bike.

    The bike just felt right.

    It is hard to put a finger on it. Out of the box, tighten a few bolts, a quarter turn to tighten some cables after the first few rides, some fore/aft of the seat, get the hoods just right…and that’s it.

    I think it’s the whole process that makes it right. From the beginning, and the 30+ emails with Jenn. The sizing, the specs, the paint…it’s such a positive experience. It’s almost like it’s just GOTTA be right as soon as you put a leg over the saddle.

    And it just gets better. I did my first century on the SV this past Tuesday. Actually, it was a bit more. 110 miles. 10,000′ of climbing. Anyone who thinks there’s no climbing here in New Jersey should come and visit. And it just feels right. And there’s more to come. Summer is for long rides and climbing and beer and climbing and more beer. There’s D2R2. And who knows what else? I don’t feel like I’m cheating on the Moots anymore. I love that bike. No one will ever ask me if I love my son or daughter more than the other…I see my bikes the same way. They’re different. They’re beautiful. I’ve had some beautiful days with both of them. And I’m looking forward to what’s down the road.

    Comment by Michael Theesfeld — May 15, 2014 @ 12:58 pm    

  2. I’ve always just felt my SV’s ride themselves. Especially the CX rig…fatigued and out of gas on a race course and the bike would just do cornering for me. Pretty amazing experiences!

    Comment by Scott Ramsey — May 16, 2014 @ 6:05 pm    

  3. Scott’s comment to me comes closest, there’s a sense of poise and balance in the SV (cross) that’s lacking in other bikes, I’m thinking about 50kmh+ descents on unsealed winding roads (gravel), passing mountainbikes, don’t over brake, let it lead and this thing just rails the turns, there’s not another bike I’d trust in the same way.

    …and yet for a bike that can feel so forgiving in those situations, you can ride tight single track on it or just put the power down in the mud and it doesn’t feel like your wasting effort, it responds immediately and leaves you smiling.

    Smiling. That’s it.

    Comment by marksv — May 19, 2014 @ 3:20 am    

  4. I’m a proud owner of a 2011 SV Road (Surprise Me color scheme) custom geometry

    I have owned quite a few road bikes (Steelman, Merlin, Specialized, Cervelo, Bianchi (2), Litespeed, and Serotta) from steel to aluminum to carbon. Out of all the bikes, my SV is the favorite by far. I agree it is difficult to explain it, but you have to ride it to understand. It does everything right (sprinting, descending, climbing, etc.)

    Maybe it is the whole experience with dealing with the Vanilla crew. Sacha’s custom geo he created for me is spot on. I was concerned at first and realized I had to trust him that the bike will do everything I wanted well. He was correct.

    Definitely worth the money and wait.

    Comment by Ray Alvarez — May 19, 2014 @ 5:44 pm    

  5. I got my first SV in 2009 and was blown away by the entire process. Scott sent me the following message when it was ready “Did you see it????? I shot the signal about 5 minutes ago!!” and it was on. The reveal of the Surprise Me paint scheme was everything I had hoped for, could not have been more impressed with the level of detail on the bike. And the first ride…perfect!

    Fast forward to 2013 and round 2. Thought there was no way you could top the first time around but somehow the team at Vanilla did it. When they brought my new bike down from upstairs, all I saw was F’IN GOLD! Add to the Surprise Me colors, the stripes, the detailing from option B, the carbon seat tube, PF30 BB, oversized tubing, the custom painted components, etc. and it most definitely was taken to 11. Got it out for some miles and despite the troubles of riding with your head down to stare at it, the bike was milky smooth and ferrari fast.

    I am already looking forward to the 2017 guide book. Good luck vanilla crew trying to top the last two SV bikes.

    Comment by Tim Goode — May 20, 2014 @ 8:45 am    

  6. when I ride my Speedvagen, the song “Slide It In” by White Snake always plays in my mind.

    Comment by tylernol — May 21, 2014 @ 1:38 pm    

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