A few years ago, while we were working on a batch of Speedvagen ‘cross machines, we noticed how clunky the traditional cable hanger system was. It seemed like such an afterthought, never really meant to be a part of the bike, just this sort of booger hanging off the nose of an otherwise really slick racing machine. I guess that next step was kind of like wiping the nose of the traditional cross bike. In that moment we think ‘cross bikes grew up a bit. Maybe now they’re just anxious teenagers with too much energy. A little like the U.S. ‘cross scene these days, making a move to be a more well recognized and legitimate as a sport instead of a hobby.
That year we started talking to our old friends at ENVE about what we could do to clean up the typical ‘cross cockpit. They worked with us over the next year to design, develop and test our new stem prototype. What we got was a lighter, smoother stem reinforced where it matters and tested for integrity.
Testing in-house is one thing, riding it, hard, that’s another. We put the stems on our team bikes for a couple of seasons and made more refinements based on our teammates feedback. Their experience was that it essentially eliminates front-end chatter while braking. The additional benefits that came with smoother cable routing, lighter braking action and 51g weight savings rounded out an improved rider experience.
In 2011 we offered the stems as an upgrade on our Speedvagen cross machines and most of our customers opted for them. We started to think that this could be a stand alone component.
Last year we did a couple of custom stems for our friends Ty and John. Ty got a Mudfoot scheme and John, the metal head that he is, went for black-on-black. All reports have been full on stokage!
This is the first time that a Speedvagen component is being offered separate from the frameset and we’re stoked to offer something that we feel brings real value to all ‘cross racers.
If you would like to know more about our stems you can check them out here.
The origins of this new Vanilla kit are anchored somewhere between the 60’s and Now. Or, more precisely, a combination of both. I’m a sucker for beautiful colors and simplicity of design. It’s so easy to do too much and when you factor in the modern technology of graphics sublimation there’s no limit to what one can shoehorn onto their kit.
Back in the day team names and sponsor logos were either embroidered on, or patches were sewn/ironed on. What you ended up with were very blocky and fairly standard fonts. Colors were mostly limited to big chunks of the jersey i.e. side panels, maybe arm bands, or complete sleeves. A panel across the chest was common. There was a lot of variation from team to team, but the common thread (ignore the pun) was that the apparel of each team was reflective of the time and a product of the available technology. Machines were basic (cars were made of formed steel sheets and you could look under the hood and identify each part of the engine). Materials were basic, (wool was common) and the aesthetic was, as a result, more pure. Maybe we’re desensitized now and we need a lot more of everything to entertain us, including lots of names, nebulous shapes and fades on our bike clothing. Or maybe we just had to push and push until we found the edge – and then we have to come back from the edge to a place that is good and tasteful.
Despite using modern materials and construction for the new Vanilla Team kit, I wanted to retain the purity of the good old days. The hard man days. The forging things with your hands days. The colors are vivid and true to Vanilla’s pallette. The design’s not challenging; its easy to understand and it’ll be easy to wear. And though you can’t tell in the drawing, we’ll be doing our own stainless Vanilla head badge zipper pull as well as other craft touches to infuse these garments with the specialness that you expect from our workshop.
We’re working with Castelli to produce the Vanilla kit for us because they’re making most everything, not just the USA, but here in the northwest. That’s important to us. They have also been a great supporter of our race team; we see eye to eye on the importance of the soul of a team. And lastly, because the quality and feel of their clothing is killer.
Leave It On The Road
The adventure is about to begin for Michael Tabtabai & Andrew Hudon. Not their first but certainly their most ambitious. The two will depart Monday from the Oregon Coast headed to Massachusetts. Along the way they’ll be raising awareness and funds for colon cancer screening and research. You can contribute to their goal here.
Both have had loved ones affected by cancer and this endeavor is an opportunity to celebrate them and their courage.
The Vanilla Workshop is excited to have had the opportunity to build the bikes that will carry them on their journey. We hope you enjoy following along with the great stories and photography from the ride and that you support their mission.
For Michael and Andrew’s custom Speedvagen cancer fighting machines we paired our Vanilla blue with LIOTR’s blue and a pop of red. The gold King components add just the right bling!
As with all Speedvagen road and cross machines the seat mast is cut to the specific height of the rider. So there’s no confusion when they roll out on day 15 at 5:00am for another 150 miles, we’ve added their names to the top tubes.
Michael and Andrew are very good at recognizing and taking care of their sponsors. Here we have called each of them out on the chain stay as a special Thank You for their support.
Ready to Rock!
The Vanilla Workshop crew with Michael Tabtabai and his new cancer fighting machine!
The Speedvagen Team kits have all landed in their new homes, the sun is coming out in Portland and summer is around the corner, except in Australia where it’s cross season right now!
We want to see the kits in action! And we want to give five of you a great new piece of gear to sweeten your already sweet kit.
Speedvagen team Captain, Tina Brubaker, sporting the seamless base layer with her team kit.
Castelli Cycling and Speedvagen will be giving away a seamless sleeveless base layer every day this week when you tag both of us in photos of you and your friends in your Speedvagen kit, or any other Castelli gear, out riding your Speedvagen or Vanilla in your part of the world.
1. Take a fun, exciting photo, with some local flavor, of you and your friends riding in your new Speedvagen kit or any other Castelli Cycling gear.
2. Post it to Facebook and tag both Castelli Cycling and Speedvagen in the photo.
3. Winning photos will be announced on the Speedvagen Facebook page daily.
4. Enter as often as you like!
USE THIS FOR EVERY RIDE. With the polypropylene inner layer, nylon outer layer and open mesh construction, this base layer was created to work with our race jerseys to move moisture away from your skin as quickly as possible. It obviously works well in warm conditions, but we like it in colder conditions under a long-sleeve base layer because this is the best way to keep dry and maintain body tem- perature.
We’ve been working on this look book for a while now and we’re very excited to share it with all of you!
Speedvagen Cross Machines
are designed to handle the sloppiest conditions. Punching through a mud bog, climbing with grace when you’ve left the last of yours on the run up and rallying for the line. Inside this book you’ll find details about our 2013/14 cross machines including descriptions of our standard features, upgrades, sizing, paint and graphics options.
You’ll be treated to some beautiful bike photography courtesy of our long-time photographer Bob Huff and of the Spedvagen Team taken by team rider Jeff Curtes, also a little bit of the history of that team and more. <Download the full PDF>
We hope you enjoy the book and share it with your friends and teammates. As always, if you have questions, want to talk about the bikes more or make a deposit on your cross machine give us a call (1) 503-233-2453 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There are a handful of slots available between the June 1st & July 1st order windows.
If you would like to know about new apparel offerings, developments, deadlines and events feel free to sign up for Speedvagen Notes. Or, you can just check back here, that works too.