The most essential component in a custom bicycle is the fit. It’s difficult to have an in-person fit experience these days with customers ordering from across the country or around the globe. Because of this, builders will chose to rely on either previous bicycle’s geometries or body charts. While it is possible to hit the nail on the head with these metrics, having the proper fit can be difficult without letting a builder witness how your body relates to the bicycle and vice versa. Hence the Speedvagen Fit Tour. Bringing the builder to the customer.
For Speedvagen and Sacha White, the owner of the Vanilla Workshop, fit is paramount for frame design and execution. In short: a bicycle should fit like a tailored suit. Every millimeter counts. Sacha’s fit philosophy is obsessive, thorough and merits a total fit experience. One that coincidentally, has been mobile for the past few weeks as it took to the road in California.
The fit tour is a concept that is ever-evolving, much like Speedvagen itself. It’s been in the works for years, with both tours launching in California, as future plans for Australia in August are being made. Bottom line is, Speedvagen will go to where the clients are…
“We love meeting our customers face to face and to have real human interaction and connection. That’s something you rarely get through email. Taking Speedvagen on the road and partying and riding with “our people” in their own backyard just feels right.” – Sacha White
That’s exactly what we did. We planned on being in two main hubs: Mission Workshop in San Francisco and Golden Saddle Cyclery in Los Angeles. We’d do group rides in both cities and parties in the evenings. All the while Sacha met with customers for 20+ fitting sessions.
It just so happens we drove an armored truck from Portland to SF during the first leg of the trip. Yikes! Ok, it wasn’t that bad. We swung by Chico, California on the way to SF and got to hang out with our friends at Paul Component.
As an outsider looking in, or an insider looking deeper within, I couldn’t help but appreciate the amount of thought and detail go into these fit sessions. Every single piece of data is catalogued and filed away, ensuring the customer’s Speedvagen matches their intended use and most importantly, their body’s architecture.
Watching the Speedvagen team assess a client’s needs, proportions, routines, habits and even pedal stroke was impressive. As someone who obsesses himself about custom bicycle frame details, I suddenly felt more drawn to this process than the clean weld beads of a Speedvagen or the insane paint.
That’s where the difference lies with my perspective: Speedvagens are elegant vehicles for racing or just enablers of freedom, but the fit separates them from many other options. Seeing the process that leads up to a custom Speedvagen is almost more impressive than the final product. Almost.
Speedvagen are the ones building the bike and want to control the process to give the customer the best bike possible. These fit-tour attendees and clients will forever have an emotional connection to the brand, the builder and most importantly, the bicycle.