The wall of DNFs surrounding me is beginning to crumble!
Aug 23 | Add Some Flour
On Sauvie Island,
Lookin’ like wealth
‘Bout to call the paparazzi
- Jay Z, sort of
As long as your definition of “lookin’ like wealth” is a dude in ratty, mismatched, sweat soaked kit, sporting hairy drumsticks, about 10 pounds of lumpy flub around the midsection, and death-grimace induced by his blistering 21 mph on the flats, that is. If so, then I’m lookin’ like wealth exactly.
Aug 8 | “One More!”
We were fortunate to have Speedvagen CX team rider, Jeff Curtes, shoot our upcoming road lookbook back in June. We followed the Gentle Lover’s up into the west hills of Portland to some of their favorite training rides including Old Germantown, Thompson and Rock Creek. They chased me down in the rental car while Jeff, ‘tied in’ with climbing webbing and carabiners, hung precariously out of every window and dangled his feet out the hatchback, inches from the road all in an attempt to get the shot. Totally exhilarating!
All the while Cam Sylvester, from F-Stop, was filming him. Cam himself dangling out the back, leaning way too far, getting the shot of Jeff that would tell the story of how he works and why. Showing Jeff’s passion for cycling and photography, was part of their Life In Focus (LIF) story series.
The result of Cam’s time with Jeff is the feature of this post. Take a couple of minutes to check it out and then pass it along to a friend that loves cycling, photography, life. Watch the Film.
*Stay tuned here for the release of our 2014 Speedvagen Road LookBook due out soon. We will officially begin taking deposits for the 2014 Road Machines then as well!
“Photography Is Not About Tomorrow, It’s About Getting It Done Right Now” -Jeff Curtes
Jul 28 | No Hints, No Regrets!
SURPRISE! Introducing the 2013 Speedvagen Road Surprise Me! paint scheme.
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.”
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.
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.
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!
Jul 17 | Of No Significance
Occasionally we get notes from our customers/friends from around the world wanting to share a story about their bike. This one, from our buddy Jakes, made us all chuckle a bit and I thought it was worth sharing.
Funny story today. Jazz Kuschke from Ride Magazine met me today to takes pics of the Speedvagen for the next issue of Ride. They are doing a “riders and their bikes” series. An out of shape gent approached us on the shoot and asked what make of bike is that. I told him it was a Speedvagen – he gave me that “I have never heard of that” dismissive response and promptly added that he used to own a Cannondale 3.0. He then asked how much it goes for and are we going to be distributing them in South Africa? I politely advised him that it is a one of a kind custom bike and no we are not going to be distributing them here. Predictably he asked the weight and when I told him it was 7.2kg he contributed in a meaningful fashion to advise that it is damn heavy. Satisfied that it was clearly of no significance to the cycling world he just walked off. I was bemused and stoked. I wanted a special dream bike that only those truly in the know would realise what they were looking at – this gent was the acid test that I had achieved my objective with flying colours. -J
Jul 11 | Garage Sale Pt. 2
We still have a lot of amazing parts and accessories at great prices! Mark your calendars and come see us next Saturday at the Workshop. We would love to show you around and send you home with rad stuff!!
Jul 5 | SRAM 2013 build
Gentle Lover brother and fellow small guy Mandy Bootz is on a brand new Speedvagen as of a couple weeks ago. He, like all of us, found it incredibly difficult to wait patiently while his machine was crafted, so when he heard that the paint was dry and the frame was prepped, he hurriedly snapped it up from the shop and swung over to my house, where we immediately got all ten kinds of na$ty on it with wrenches, beer, grease, beer, cable cutters, and beer. As it was with the two other SVs I’ve put together, the frame prep was impeccable; bottom bracket cups threaded all the way in by hand, all water bottle bosses were perfectly on the center plane of the frame, etc. That is, of course, no small feat at all, but it’s also exactly the quality that I’d expect the shop to turn out, so I won’t spend too much time gushing over it. Instead, I wanted to share my thoughts from setting a bike up with 2013 SRAM Red bits and pieces (10 speed) since I was, up until now, completely lacking any experience with the stuff. As a dyed-in-the-synthetic-athletic-fabric campy man, would I dig it, or would I find myself at the end of the day longing to go back to the land of ergos and ultras?
Jun 28 | Speedvagen CX Team Kit (Pre-Order)
Daisuke warms up with his number one fan at Lake Biwa. Thermal jacket and AeroRace bibs.
The Speedvagen CX Team Kit Is Available For Pre-Order Through July 12th.
Army green has been one of Speedvagen’s core colors for, well, since the very first prototype I made back in 2006. I love the icon of militarism and the toughness that the color represents juxtaposed by the goofiness of racing your brains out and crashing cross bikes in the mud with your friends. I’ve wanted to do an army green kit for a long time but as I started to dig into the design I was conflicted: On the one hand, you have all of this space that you can fill with words and logos; get all bilboarded up, right? But I kept coming back to the idea of a uniform. A uniform is clean, crisp, balanced, minimal. This kit doesn’t need a lot of shit on it to get noticed in the peloton and for that matter, the more I put on it, the less it really says.
We wanted to offer something special to our Speedvagen family and friends. The team kit seemed like just the thing to do. You will be supporting the team this season with every kit you buy here. We hope you can join us this cross season, in person and in spirit as we take it to 11! Stay tuned for more on our race schedule.
We are taking orders for two weeks only and we won’t be keeping any back stock. This means that only a handful of you will have the kit, well, you and our 6 team members. This will be the last time this kit is offered. If you need a piece to round out the kit you already have this is the time to grab it.
The jacket and vest, originally designed by Jeremy Dunn (of Embrocation fame) are an abstract design in our signature blue, army green, and red with an explosion of Speedvagen text and sheilds. The answer to the abstract outer layers is the strictly business base kit in army green with color bands as punctuation on the sleeves, legs, and collar with Speedvagen shields enblazoned on the chest, back, and legs. We also have a new Team cap that you can add to your order.
Castelli makes some of the best apparel available and has for over 100 years. Plus, they’re right down the road from us, so it only makes sense that we work with them for our racing gear. All of the clothing is made here in the Northwest and the items we’ve selected for you are the top of the line of what Castelli has to offer. Wear them well. To place an order please visit the Vanilla Workshop Store. If you have any questions drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scroll down to see the team at work in the kit.
Laura and Daisuke cool down in the money truck. SS skinsuits (post race), Laura threw on the team jersey.
We are thrilled to be part of the Cyclepedia show at the Portland Art Museum this summer! The show opened a couple of weeks ago on the evening of the World Naked Bike Ride with a hilariously effective promotion, entry would be $1 per item of clothing you wore. Only in Portland right? Well, we’re happy to say that another, ‘Only in Portland’ moment is the fact that we have enough frame builders here to feature a Bike of the Week from a different builder each week for the duration of this show. That’s just one of the places you’ll find Vanilla and Speedvagen in cooperation with Cyclepedia this summer.
August 2-9, Vanilla Bicycles – Trike – 2006
August 30-Sept 8, Vanilla & Speedvagen Road Machines – 2012-13
Object Stories is another place you’ll find The Vanilla Workshop. A multi-media installation including our friends at Sugar Wheelworks, Chris King Components and a couple more TBA, in the basement of the main gallery at the Portland Art Museum will offer visitors a deeper look into the parts of the process many don’t get to see. Vanilla will present the stages of hand carved and thinned lugs from raw blanks to finished products. You can hear a bit from Sacha about the process as well via the listening station.
We’ve saved the best for last. We have partnered with Provenance Hotels, presenting sponsor of Cyclepdia, to take the exhibition beyond the museum’s walls with awesome bicycle design installations in the lobbies of Hotel Lucia, Hotel deLuxe, the Governor Hotel and the Westin Portland. *Book Your Room With The Vanilla Bicycles Preferred Rate By Clicking A Hotel Link Above*
The installations are an official museum-sanctioned extension of the Cyclepedia exhibition, with each hotel artfully displaying a one-of-a-kind, custom made, Vanilla bicycle or Speedvagen racing machine. They will be on display for public viewing through the run of the show at no cost to visitors. Of course, you can always call for a tour of the Vanilla Workshop while you’re in town too. 503-233-2453
There’s also a pretty tasty package available for the run of the show that includes some amazing, if unconventional, ice creams from Salt & Straw that are inspired by and/or infused with some of our favorite local craft beers. You’re going to have to take my word for it, the IPA Upsidedown Cake with Gigantic Brewing is incredible!
About Cyclepedia + the Collection
Drawn from the collection of Vienna-based designer and bike aficionado Michael Embacher, this special exhibition features some 40 bicycles, each chosen by Embacher as examples of pivotal moments in the evolution of bicycle design. The exhibition will include racing, mountain, single speed, touring, tandem, urban, folding, cargo, curiosities, and children’s bicycles.
You can view the whole calendar of events accompanying the show here. Hope to see you soon!
Jun 14 | 2013 Vanilla Team Kit (Pre-Order)
It’s been a while since we released a new Vanilla team kit. We’ve been focused on building some great bicycles and gathering inspiration for the clothing. Well, it happened and we’re so excited about the result. Read on and check out the images for more info.
You can get to the order page by clicking on any item below or follow this link.
The origins of this new Vanilla kit are anchored somewhere between the 60′s and 2013. 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.
We’ll be doing two base colors for tops: Cream and Navy Blue and then navy base colors for Bibs, Wind & Thermal Vests and Arm Warmers. You can see drawings of these options below.
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 headbadge zipper pull as well as other craft touches to infuse these garments with the specialness that you expect from our workshop.
PRE-ORDERS FOR THE KIT CLOSE JULY 4th… Kapow!
p.s. A hand-made, matchy-matchy cap and a few other tasty morsels that tie in with this collection will follow shortly. Keep your eyes peeled.
Runs Small – Consult Sizing Chart for Best Fit
Estimated delivery window is August 21st-26th for Domestic orders and August 23rd-30th for International orders.