May 29  |  Il Postino (via Laura Winberry)

Posted by , May 29th, 2014 at 9:00AM    

18_SVCali_Curtes_9912

Ever since I first started riding mountain bikes in the early 2000s, I’ve regarded the act of bicycle riding itself (and eventually bicycle racing) as a direct parallel to life. A metaphor, if you will. I know I’m not proclaiming anything novel when I say this. The majority of you reading the Speedbloggen, I’m sure, have already come to a similar realization. Not all of you. But still, an honest handful. Which is all we can ask for sometimes.

Much like life, when you think you’ve made a breakthrough or figured out some sliver of something on the bike, your tire hits an unexpected rock. The curb. A knotted root. And before you can take a breath, you’re on the ground wondering what the hell happened. Sprawled there, elbows embedded with gravel. A slight trickle of red just below one knee cap. Your jostled mind slowly searching for bearings and a handrail.

But falling, believe it or not, does not mean you’re back at square one. Everything you have learned up until the juncture of face and ground was worthwhile. All was not a farce. Your breakthroughs were valid. You, indeed, had figured some things out. And ultimately, you had progressed. The act of crashing did not, and does not, necessarily invalidate any previous findings or evolutions. They’re still there and you are not a failure. On the contrary, the stumbles are more a reminder that, hellooo, it never ends. There’s always something new to be gained. To be learned. To absorb. Assimilate. Experience. Bicycles or life, it doesn’t matter, absolutely nothing is seamless.

I digress. The intention here is not to prep you for an exposition on how and why you should get back on “the bike” when you fall off. We’re not in kindergarten. What I am prepping you for, however, is a new kind of experience, subjectively speaking. It’s called single speeding. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Perhaps you tried it during your experimental college years. Maybe you loathe it. Don’t get it. Or possess a passionate love affair with its monotheistic ways. Regardless of your relations, single speeding is a parallel within the aforementioned parallel (see paragraph one) of bicycles and life. And that is what’s important.

Basically, if I were to rewrite this entire blog post in the form of a standardized test problem, it might look something like this: Bicycle racing is to life as single speeding is to ________. Given the following answer choice options: a. watching TV; b. crack; c. life approach; d. a cult following; e. both b and d—which would, more or less, be correct? While several make rational enough sense, the one that fulfills the correlation is answer choice c., life approach.

Option c also happens to be the conclusion arrived at after racing an actual single speed, one Sunday in May, at McCubbins Gulch. No, I’m not about to tell you how I won or could have won. Because I didn’t (and we all know how I could have: ride faster, duh). I wasn’t even close. And so, no, single speeding did not become my savior. Nor the secret to winning bike races. Nor the answer to it all. It did, however, make me think about life approach.

Having dabbled in riding a one-geared bike years ago (and by dabble I mean tried it, like, three times), this past Sunday was a veritable first. Really, I don’t think I understood the nature of the beast prior to this point. I often wondered why others would choose only one gear. I didn’t get it. The thing is, though, I think we need to be ready for it. The not having a choice to shift up or down when things gets hard. We need to have reached a point in our lives where we are alright with making a decision and moving forward. Steadily, and with minimal hesitation or judgment. Fully. Otherwise it won’t work. We won’t move forward. In all honesty, I think single speeding comes to us as much as we come to it. Chicken or the egg, right? Did I ask for single speeding or did it ask for me?

The answer is both and all of the above. Because, new riding styles or life approaches, we all find all when we need to.

May 22  |  It’s Really About Doing Things Well

Posted by , May 22nd, 2014 at 9:00AM    

Sacha 1

Last summer we were invited to participate in the Cyclepedia show at the Portland Art Museum. It was a great show and, in addition to our bike display, we were asked to participate in the Object Stories exhibit. Object Stories is an ongoing collection of stories about things that you would never give up, objects of significance to you.

In this short, less than 3-minutes, recording Sacha touches on the benefits of proper fit, understanding your materials and caring deeply about whatever you do, to do it well.

Listen here, and share your thoughts in the comments.

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.

 

Apr 30  |  2014 Speedvagen Cyclocross Guide Book

Posted by , April 30th, 2014 at 2:25PM    

 

37_SVCali_Curtes_0750

The very first Speedvagen was a single speed cross machine that Sacha built for himself to race in 2006. That was eight years ago and although we’ve refined details of the design over the years the mantra has remained the same, take away everything not essential and innovate with what’s left. We love these machines for their handling and acceleration in the worst conditions. They’re light, stiff and inspired. It’s the bike we want to race and we think you’re going to dig it too. So, with that in mind we will be offering the solid gold Speedvagen Family Racing Team Issue this season for the first time. Available only as complete builds these are the same uncompromising bikes the team has been racing to podiums in Japan, Australia and here in the US since 2012!

2014 Speedvagen Cross Guidebook 

 

2014 Road Guidebook 

Apr 24  |  Complete 2011 Road Machine Offered [SOLD]

Posted by , April 24th, 2014 at 8:48AM    

SV_WHITE_2011_4_SALE2415

We are happy to offer this beautifully maintained 2011 Speedvagen Road Machine. Owned by a friend of the shop in Japan this semi-custom 54cm bike is on offer today as he upgrades to a full custom fit. We have the bike here in the Workshop now and have walked through it personally. Honestly, you couldn’t hope for a better build in our opinion. Everything on this bike is in very good condition (85-90% of new) meaning it’s ready to be ridden for a lot of miles right out of the box.

Details and frame specs below. Inquiries can be made to: info@speedvagen.com

We will pack and ship this machine anywhere in the world, please inquire about rates.

IMG_0842

IMG_0857

IMG_0845

IMG_0869

IMG_0863

IMG_0866

IMG_0870

IMG_0862

SV_WHITE_2011_4_SALE2418

SV_WHITE_2011_4_SALE2417

SV_WHITE_2011_4_SALE2416

SV_WHITE_2011_4_SALE2411

SV_WHITE_2011_4_SALE2409

SV_WHITE_2011_4_SALE2408 SV_WHITE_2011_4_SALE2407

SV_WHITE_2011_4_SALE2403

Frame: 2011 Speedvagen Road Machine

Paint scheme: Cream with stark white panels accented by Vanilla blue and light army green pin striping.

 Gruppo: Camapgnolo Super Record 11-speed  (Very Good condition)

Crank: 172.5 (50/34)

Cassette: (11-25)

*Bar/Stem combo: PRO Stealth Evo (40 x 110) – Custom painted by Coat

Headset: Chris King

*Fork: ENVE 1.0

*Seat post assembly: Speedvagen – Custom painted by Coat

Wheels: ENVE 1.25 Tubulars

*Hubs: DT Swiss 240S – Custom painted by Coat

Skewers: ENVE

Tires: FMB Paris Roubaix Pro tubulars, 700×25

Pedals: Look Keo Blade (Carbon)

Saddle: Fizik Arione carbon rails – Custom color to match paint scheme

Bottle cages: King Cage Ti

Price: $6900 (A savings of 40% off the new bike price)SOLD

 * = Upgrade

This is a Used bike. There are some scuffs but overall it is in amazing condition. 

 Below is the original BikeCAD drawing for this bike. The current saddle range is 730 – 740mm, though the seat tube could be cut a little shorter if needed.

Masishi 54 SC

Apr 17  |  Speedvagen Coffee Compendium [Updated]

Posted by , April 17th, 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.

Justin: Penny’s Cafe in Orford. The best coffee on the Suffolk Coast!

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

Sweden:

The Swedish Speedvagen Society has reached consensus: Via Patch

Copenhagen — The Coffee Collective. The Kenyan is perfect.

Malmö — Solde Kaffebar. Whatever single-origin they have brewed will be solid. High chance of ’Vagen come autumn.

Vismarlöv’s Gårdsbageri (20km from Malmö). Not the best coffee, but easily some of the best pastries in Sweden. And not a bad ride out.

Stockholm — Drop Coffee. Talk to your barista, he or she will know what’s up.

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

Apr 16  |  New Blue Road Machine On The Loose!

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

SV_BlueBlue_Di2_3_19_14_Profile

 

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!

 

SV_BlueBlue_Di2_3_19_14_3QtrF_DS_1

SV_BlueBlue_Di2_3_19_141516

SV_BlueBlue_Di2_3_19_141530

SV_BlueBlue_Di2_3_19_14_Battery_3

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!

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.

SV14_Keefe13_Road_3QtrR_Cob

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.

SV_2014_Cross_RedWhtGreen_3QtrF

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.

LIOTR_SV_2013_MT_3qrtRear

Leave It On The Road – Official

IMG_7726

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

 

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »