Introducing the Speedvagen Urban Racer

The Speedvagen Urban Racer. How can I even begin here? These bikes are… uh. Well, they’re kinda completely ridiculous. They’re not a traditional commuter bike, a cruiser, or a touring bike. They’re not meant to be loaded down with gear, or to be casually ridden around a park. Like a cafe racer of the bicycle world, these rigs are stripped down machines, meant to be ridden like a rocket… on 27.5 wheels and 43mm tires. Skids anyone?

Laying waste to LA - photo Morgan Meredith

Like all Speedvagen bicycles, they’re designed to be lightweight, with nimble handling and a totally dialed race fit. The bikes are a super commuter of sorts, getting you around town as fast as possible. They’ve had all the excess stripped from them. No rim brakes, just a coaster brake and everything is tucked away on the bike, hiding its complexity.

Most Urban Racers are minimally branded and stealth. They’re not meant to attract attention as they’re locked up in a busy city.

My Speedvagen Urban Racer

Let me lay it all out for you. The Urban Racer is a two-speed coaster brake bike, powered by the SRAM Automatix hub. Once you hit a certain cadence, it shifts for you, to a harder gear. This shift literally forces you to either sit and spin around the city, or be in a sprint as you’re darting through traffic. Now, this hub is also pretty sketchy when descending for long periods of time. Let’s just say it keeps you on your toes. If you would like, the Urban Racers also can be spec’d with a “OH SHIT” front disc brake… Or, just risk it and embrace those atavistic urges.

A muted Urban Racer, base-line pricing.

Details? You want details? Here’s a detail dump for you. The Urban Racer is built from custom tubing (mine is S3, production will be custom Columbus), with a Columbus tapered head tube, integrated seat post, topper, optional custom rack, optional one-piece custom cockpit, custom dropouts, optional fender mounts, optional heavily modified ENVE fork, optional generator hub with tricked out S3 integrated lights, custom chainguard, Gran Bois tires on 27.5 Blunt SS rims, Chris King headset and one wild paint job.

A muted Urban Racer, base-line pricing.

It’s as custom as any Speedvagen, yet it’s such a simple machine. If you were to make a line-item sheet of all these add-ons and accoutrement, you’re reaching a high pricepoint. Hence the ridiculousness of these damn things. Ridiculous, but totally justifiable. Maybe? I dunno.

Mission Workshop ARKIV Bag

Here’s a cool mod: My Urban Racer has a Mission Workshop Arkiv bag on it that’s attached with zip ties to the rack. I removed the rail hardware so it wouldn’t scratch the paint. It’s the jankiest detail on the entire bike, yet it works. The bag holds a u-lock, flat fix kit, sunglasses and any other small item I’d need. No, the rack won’t support a full-size pannier, but I’ve been chatting with Scott from Porcelain Rocket to make an ultralight pannier for it.

My Speedvagen Urban Racer

Now, my only qualm with the overall façade of my UR. While I appreciate the silver hits on this bike, I’d like to put a Phil Wood eccentric square taper crank on it with some black White Industries cranks. One other mod that’s in queue is setting the tires up tubeless. Makes sense right? Skidding an $80 Gran Bois!


Are they fun to ride? Oh my god yes. I’ve had a blast tearing through fire roads in Chico, back alleys of San Francisco, hidden urban singletrack in Los Angeles and sketchy, loose corners in Austin.

OD green - photo by Nich Barresi.

Are they expensive? As noted above. Add up all those line-items with a dollar amount attached and you’ll quickly see why they’re priced at $4895 with multiple upgrade options.

I’ll continue to thrash this machine for a few months before sending it back to Speedvagen. Til then, It’s going to be hard to convince me to ride anything else around town!

Sacha White - photo by Nich Barresi.

Head over to the Vanilla Workshop for more information and a complete walk-through on pricing.

  • evilgordon

    It doesn’t make sense. I love it!

  • frank31

    What’s the downtube diameter? Looks beefy!

  • Oscar Partridge

    $4895 on a city bike? What?

  • Patrick Murphy

    I’d sure as hell rather have this than a Budnitz, even if I had to save another $2K

  • Boaz

    As much as I love and drool over this bike, I can’t help but feel SpeedVagen are taking the piss at $4895.

    • I totally understand. It’s a lot of money. Let’s look where it comes from on my model (which would be more than the $4895 price) – here’s where the price comes from, along with a very meager price estimate by me:
      -custom fillet bar / stem ($800)
      -wheels (Blunt SS to Shimano generator hub, SRAM Automatix hub – $800 ish)
      -carbon fork and custom modification for internal wiring (fork is $460 modifications say $200 – $660)
      -custom rack (racks are expensive to make $500)
      -custom paint (good luck here. you’ll get pricing anywhere from $800 to $2000 for paint like that these days – all the masking / labor – we’ll say $1500 most single color paint that’s any good is around $600 these days)
      -chain guard plus punching through tubes / engineering ($200)
      -custom topper and insert ($200)
      -100% custom geometry with fit session which is your deposit ($1000)
      -internal wiring routing ($200)
      -tubing, for argument’s sake ($250)
      -King Headset $120
      -Sugino cranks $150
      -eccentric bb $50
      -misc polishing / machining $100 labor
      -S3 lights $300
      -labor for two people….

      That’s $6650 (minus the $1,000 deposit)

      • Matthew J

        Agree. Price is fair for what you get. Sure, you could make something that functions similarly for a lot less. But it would not look anywhere near so complete and organic.

        If I had not just taken delivery on a very similar Royal H – with coaster brake even – I’ld be in line.

        • I mean, you could get a Fairdale and have tons of fun on it. Or a Linus. OR a dumpster dove MTB frame. This is a strange bird for sure and it’s not for everyone (or everyone’s wallets)….

      • Boaz

        Completely fair call. I think a lot of my frustration at the seemingly inflated cost of bikes stems from my inability to afford them.

        • Totally understandable. I didn’t take your comment as malicious, I just used it to explain the pricepoint. I’ve never owned a Speedvagen and while I have a lot of custom bikes, they’ve all put me in the hole for a few months.

      • kasual

        Spurcycle bell $40

      • rick hunter

        200 hours of labor ? What’s the minimum wage in PDX ?

        • Sacha explained it as all the customer service, bike fitting, construction, paint masking, prepping, painting, bike build, packaging and shipping is 200 hours total. He keeps on top of those metrics and has a good amount of people working for him now.

          • Kellen Hassell

            And, from the customer perspective– as I recently received my SVRoad –the people working at the Vanilla Workshop PUT.IN.THEIR.TIME. Super responsive, helpful, patient, and clearly love what they do, and love to have fun w/ it. To me at least, that’s what all their bikes are about….. “this one just goes to 11.”

      • Tommaso Gomez

        John, I’m actually not going to knock the pricing. It’s an emotional purchase of a very niche street toy, with a lot of thought and craftsmanship behind it. There’s no point in trying to rationalize something this unique. Personally, the coaster brake doesn’t appeal to me but the 2-speed internal gearing could be handy in San Francisco or Seattle.

  • Harry

    Reminds me of some kind of vintage single seat race car. Impractical, expensive and a bit silly, but fun as hell and gorgeous as sin.

  • Doesn’t look like this frame could ever run non-electronic derailleur gears (or disc or rim brakes) so I’m wondering why Speedvagen went down the EBB route instead of using track ends for what looks like a dedicated singlespeed/hub gear bike?

    • I think it has something to do with the coaster brake…

      • I guessed it might, but I didn’t think that type of hub/brake would preclude the use of track ends. Any technical reason why it would?

        • My only guess is if it slips while in the track end (which they always do), you’ll get a chain kicked. Also, some people have done Di2 Alfine and hydro disc with theirs. I think every Urban Racer has been different, this particular one is just Sacha’s ideal vision for the bike.

          • MarioR

            Also trackends and fix fenders are pain in the ass if you have a flat -> you need to take off the fenders to remove the wheel

          • So how easy is dialling in your chain tension on an EBB every time you need to remove/reinstall that wheel?

          • You don’t need to re-dial the EBB in. I’ve repaired two flats and the only pain was having to unbolt the coaster brake arm.

          • Good to know. I’ve never had a coaster brake or EBB so was curious. Who makes the EBB on this bike, and is the shell standard British/ISO threaded?

          • tylernol

            it is a PF30 Problem Solvers

    • tylernol

      EBB is easier for dealing with fenders since the wheel does not move. (I have a single speed with track dropouts and fenders and it is a pain to get the right chain tension + no fender rub), Also the Di2 variation has disc so EBB is good for that as well. And the coaster arrestor version needs the wheel in a fixed position since the arrestor arm bolts through the stay and is not a clamp style.

      • The bolt-thru arrestor explanation makes total sense – thanks.
        As for singlespeeds and fenders, I’ve had no trouble at all this past winter with SKS longboards on an On-One Pompino. My one essential mod was to buy a second pair of those little black SKS QR clips (the ones that come with the front fender) to enable the fender to be popped out backwards when pulling out the wheel.

  • KT

    slick! Looks awesome in that green.

  • Victor_Tvrdy

    Ok, now who’s going to be the first to ride it fixed?

  • Matt DeMartino

    That’s a good lookin’ saddle

  • Ray Penrod

    I’ve heard that the speed at which the hub shifts can be a little early. The

    • I don’t mind it. Like I said, it makes you haul ass everywhere. You can take the hub apart and modify the spring, but I’ve yet to do that…

    • tylernol

      yes it shifts a bit early for my taste, I am going to try fiddling with the spring.

    • Nua Bikes

      I think that a best solution than spring tweak is to make a hole in the clutch counterweights. You can begin with a 2mm hole and test it. Bigger hole, upper shifting point.
      We were able to change the shifts point to a more convenient and very consistent 20km/h when we tested this hub for our bikes, but we eventually discarded it because the bad brake. I think this kind of brake makes sense in a slow Dutch bike, not in a “racer”.

  • Ultra_Orange

    This is such a niche bike I’m not sure if any of my comments would matter since I’m totally not in the niche.

    Looks cool, love some of the touches. But damn, I personally can’t see it being worth that much, for so little. If I had money, lottery money still wouldn’t get one just doesn’t tick nothing but the “kinda cool” box.

    • David

      Perfectly stated. Feel the same way. I heard all this talk about how this bike is so “shreadable”…I mean, it has a coaster brake…they’re sorta made for skidding.

  • Spencer Olinek

    Minimally branded or not, I sure as shit wouldn’t lock one of these up in the city.

  • Rasmus Riemann

    Give it to the Japanese.. ☺

    • I think it might actually be illegal to sell a bike in Japan without front & rear brakes.

      • only rear brakes are mandatory in Japan, and this has a rear brake. So I guess you’re fine


          Laws are changing, they’re getting stricter, f+r mandatory as far as I know.

  • Goog Smells

    It’s kinda expensive, but it’s still way cheaper and cooler looking than a Bunditz.

    • Nua Bikes

      Yes, although if I went to spend this money, I would go to everlasting titanium, although something cheaper and cooler than Budnitz, of course.

  • Tom

    Looks fun. I just don’t get the hype. You guys did do a hell of a job making this bike look cool. I just don’t know who would/could drop 5 grand on a 2SPD coaster brake bike. So many mixed feels for this bike right now.

    • kimbo305

      There’s enough of a market out there of people who own a few 10k bikes already, and can afford the amusement of this bike at its price. It’s kind of ridiculous, but that’s where we are.

      • Tom

        I couldn’t even imagine spending 5k on a bike, I totally get the price-point though. I just don’t relate to these kind of bikes I guess? I’m sure a lot of other people that read this site don’t either. I have under a thousand into my touring/commuter/chill rig and around the same for my track bike. Either way the bike is rad and looks like a hell of a time.

  • Tyler Morin

    I think this bike is way rad. That being said, as someone who owns zero custom bikes it would not be my first choice for a custom and there is no way I’d ever lock this up anywhere! Either way, super rad and maybe someday I’ll be able to afford one!

  • kasual

    I don’t understand it, I can’t afford it, I don’t want it… but I can’t stop looking at it.

    • spcycuttlefish

      Yep, its not for me (because I can’t afford it), but i’m glad this exists..

  • Jon B.

    I just want to know how many customers will pay the $10 for SV to scratch their bike prior to delivery…

    • Keith Malarick

      lol I can’t tell if that “option” is meant to be serious or not.

    • tylernol

      I am assuming that is a joke.

  • itsme

    a couple of posts before, Tom Ritchey explained how people in Rwanda build bikes out of wood and old car tires. Now they sell a 5k bike as “totaly unreasonable”. This world is confusing sometimes…

  • Bourgeois Bomber

    • that’s GOOOOOOD! hahaha

      • Such a rad ride. It’s always fun to do more with less, especially when done this well.

  • Alex B

    This type of bike (especially the green one w/ fenders) is an ideal city bike for flat urban environments. I hope your position as an influencer leads to more people embracing this kind of practical but fun bike.

    I think people are getting hung up on the price point. It doesn’t seem like anyone at Speedvagen is serious about them being urban bikes when none of these press pics show with any security features like locking skewers, bolts (and they use ISPs). These custom builds are logical extremes, just something awesome to ride from safe location A to safe location B. As John pointed out, one could be just as happy on a Linus.

    John, hows the handling when you’ve got that front mini-rack loaded?

    • Matt O’Donnell

      If you read the PDF on their site Sacha talks about keeping the paint low bling so as to not draw too much attention. Even the carbon wheel upgrade features wheels with no logos. I think they’re very serious about you locking this thing up.

      • kimbo305

        There are enough thieves out there that can spot a nice dropout, or a CK headset, or an Enve custom fork. It’s not the paint scheme but the aura of quality.

        • Matt O’Donnell

          I don’t disagree with you, just saying that I think they are serious about it. I’d think security bolts would be absolutely necessary if you are going to lock this up. And if you’re going to purchase a $5k custom bike, I think it’s a safe bet you’re also going to insure it.

  • Trevor H

    As great as that Enve fork is, I can’t help but think that a segmented/tapered steerer steel fork would be more applicable for someone wanting to run a pannier/lights/etc. Especially having to modify the carbon one for internal wiring/fenders/etc.

    Hell, even using a sacrificed standard fork crown like Eric from Winter did on the Velvet Hammer would lead to the same level of uniqueness, or maybe even more so..[email protected]/17224263871/

    • Sacha wants to explore options like this… ;-)

    • Albert


  • James R

    If you are crying that this is overpriced, check out the GT Meatball. Has all the same basic features as the Urban Racer; frame, wheels, seat, crank, handlebars, fork, 2 speed hub, coaster brake. It even comes with a front brake that you can remove for a sleek urban look. It can be had for less than the $800 custom fillet bar / stem.

  • Tony Clifton

    I can’t wait to see the first meth head riding a stolen Urban Racer down Market Street. Bummer he won’t be able to turn the handlebars upside down DUI style…

    • Matthew J

      I chain my custom commuter to racks in the city all the time. Use the Abus U Lock with thick stranded chain and do not leave it out overnight. I don’t ride and drink so take a cab or bus rather than risk lock up evenings out. Been doing this 10 years now without a loss.

      • Tony Clifton

        And not more than an hour ago I saw a meth head riding a Ritchey P-21 down Mission! I commute on a beat to fuck old Pinarello cross bike that won’t break my heart if it gets pinched or stuffed under a MUNI bus.

        • Matthew J

          Not all meth heads are thieves. That Ritchey could be his/her one possession.

          I ride my commuter at least once every day. Riding a dog that much would break my heart.

          • boomforeal


    • Charles Southgate

      “90 Day Bars”

      • Tony Clifton

        Hahahaha – perfect for cruising to the liquor store for an ice cold Steel Reserve!

  • TheAnsible

    sup with the cosmonaut helmet

    • My buddy Jesse rode his motorcycle to Golden Saddle that day, so I got photos of him wearing it on the bike.

      • TheAnsible

        That’s fair. Seemed like an impractical helmet to push pedals in but makes for some cool photos.

        • Yeah, it was totally impractical, but I love how the photos came out!

          • TheAnsible

            I agree well shot friend

  • STW

    What if the next time Sasha came out with a bike…you didn’t write an article on it, and wrote an article about something else instead. Like…bicycle politics, or a new bicycle pathway, or a bicycle charity. If you can turn this mundane, wildly expensive city bike into a fancy photo-shoot, I bet you can do a greater good writing about something else!

    • Matthew J

      What if you become a photo journalist and do articles consistent with your editorial philosophy?

      • He’s an engineer. They don’t understand philosophy.

        • Jano

          Don’t group us all into the same category there, bud

    • Chris Valente

      What if when the next article about Speedvagen/Vanilla is posted, you don’t bother reading it?

    • What about all those ride photosets? What if you went through life not being so cynical?

      • michael p

        Anderson, IN wants to put my local mtb trail (1 of 2 In central Indiana where I live) under 20 feet of water so they can build expensive houses. The alternative plan is linking 109 miles of segmented “greenway” trails together, an idea whose possibilities excite me, as a cyclist, beyond belief. Would you be willing to make a post on that? I can email you additional info of course.

        Edit: I love all your work on the site, but I saw that comment and was planning on emailing you about this anyway so I couldn’t resist just posting this here ;).

      • stefanrohner

        and again, somebody has a different opinion, what is absolutely fine, he is “cynical” ;)) pictures look like a fancy photo shoot.

        • It’s his presentation or tone dude. Perhaps that is lost in translation for you? And you’re a photographer. You should be able to tell how simple these photos were to make.

    • Montag

      John makes a living blogging about material goods. If you consider the implications of that for a minute, I think you’ll realize why what you’re describing will never happen. When you get past all the copy about intangible things like “stoke”, blogs like this are ultimately supported by the movement and hype of products, and there’s certainly more compensation (monetary or otherwise) associated with a “fancy photo-shoot” like this than content about the topics you mentioned. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing! We wouldn’t have all these pretty pictures of bicycles and rides to drool over otherwise.

      • I don’t get paid to post products or goods. I actually didn’t make a cent doing this post… Just to be clear.

        • Montag

          Hence the “or otherwise”. You do get to ride around on this $5k bike for a few months, and you did get to travel and document the fit tour. A post like this (and all the lead-up to it) would not exist otherwise. It’s all part of the marketing of products, and I was just pointing out your blog’s place in it.

          • For sure. It’s my job to document rides, riders and bikes. I have a slant to frame builders and love to support people who make things. Yes, I tend to make things look “cool” and “fun” but it’s only because I love what I do. :-)
            The only money I make is from the ads on this site. Just to be clear… ;-)

  • recurrecur

    that little front rack is all kinds of genius.

  • Salim Riley

    But can it do a ton up?

  • adanpinto

    too cool…so you pay for fit sessions and then you get a city bike with a drop saddle-bars like Ryder Hesjedal’s bike and a brake system which is perfect to slide below a car when it rains? I guess people would prefer to get a Rohloff gearhub instead

    • The fit on this bike is perfect on me. It has me wanting to reconsider how my road bike is setup…

      • adanpinto

        Exactly, geo looks fine for climbing the Mortirolo but I guess it is not the right one for the bike lanes and streets where I am commuting on daily. Anyway, it is a beautiful bike to look at, love the clean lines of the bars and the absence of brakes.

        • I dunno if this is a “commuter” in the traditional sense of the word. I love the fit and the way it rides because it’s not a normal commuter. I have a touring bike, this is like a sports car.

          • adanpinto

            Could we define it like an exclusive custom-made track bike with a 650b conversion and a coaster hub?

          • I call it a sport klunker sometimes haha.

  • Dan

    Of course you’d chain this bike up and commute on it if you owned. You’d have to have a shit-load of bikes in your collection before you’d stoop to one of these so you probably wouldn’t care. I officially vote this the worst bike I have ever seen on the Radavist. But I love all the rest.

  • telemonta

    what’s that jacket?

    • Robert0321

      The olive jacket is a Levi’s Commuter jacket (Hooded Trucker).

  • reteptterrab

    oh man I love it! usually takes about 3 comments for any “discussion” here to Jump The Shark, this one just started off on the wrong foot all together!
    my advice to every one;
    build your own bike, lace your own wheels, fix your own flats, fight your own battles, start your own blog, run what you brung and continue to have fun!
    I like the Urban Racer, have a nice day.

    • Brian Keeffe

      I agree with everything you said!

  • Public_Parent

    Nice bike, obviously, but I bet, besides the industry guys that get some sort of hook-up, this bike will mostly sell to non-cyclists. Hey, it’s worth whatever people are willing to pay.

    • Why would you assume that? I know a few people that own these and they’re avid cyclists. They race road, cross, ride MTBs and have been riding bikes their entire lives.

      I never understand why people will always resort to cynicism or judgements over a bicycle. It’s just a bike. Yes, it’s an expensive bike but at least people aren’t buying cars!

      • thebennonite

        Right on. #bikearentbad

    • Sacha White

      Thank you for the compliment but Mostly Non-Cyclists? Dude………

      Our customer base rides _so_ much. Leaveitontheroad, (a few comments above), for example is one of the first Urban Racer owners and rode his SV road bike across the country in 24 days with 170,000 feet of climbing.

      Another commenter on here (Tyler a ways down in the comments) Commutes _everyday_ in Austin; something like 20 miles per day. Sometimes on his Vanilla that he’s had for almost ten years, sometimes on his Engin Mtb (when he’s going full nomad) and sometimes on his huge lavender colored Urban Racer. He has nice bikes and works hard and is super down to earth. The kind of guy that you’d want to go on a bike riding road trip with.

      Sometimes a brother just has to realize that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about, ya know?

      • Public_Parent

        “Mostly”, not all. I still believe that. Anyway, nice bike.

        • Ever hear of the “narcissism of small differences?”

        • Sacha White

          Well public_parent, you would know better than me.

    • AidanNW

      when does one become a cyclist? after the first pedal stroke or millionth?

      • I think it’s after they “suffer” on an “epic” “gravel grind”.

  • -Steven

    I love everything about this. But that mother’s day photo, that’s the fucking best!

  • Hamish Mcdougall

    The lovechild of a beach cruiser and nascar, right tool for no job, seems to of enraged half the cycling world. 10/10

  • Kyle C

    the bike that broke the camel’s back

  • leaveitontheroad

    I’ve had my Urban Racer for about six months now, and I have to say, pretty much everyone here is right in some way. It’s polarizing, and that is kinda what bike is all about. I’ve tried to explain it to people, hell I had to try to justify it to my wife – why I wanted it & how it was different from my other bikes. All I know is when I saw Sacha’s prototype I was intrigued, and when he let me ride it around the block, I was hooked. That’s all it took. There are days I don’t want to ride a race bike to work in jeans, and I’ve had commuter bikes that have made me hate riding to work. Somewhere in between those two things are millions of different bikes at all price points, this one just happened to be from a company I dig and a builder I trust. It’s sketchy and weird and quirky and rad all at the same time, and it looks damn fine. When I look at it, I want to ride it, and so I ride more than if I didn’t have it. It was a head vs. heart thing for me, this bike is all heart and that’s what I love about it.

  • Dan

    Does this mean we’ve reached peak hardtail/bikepacking? has fixie fashion come full circle? I’m nowhere near ready for that.

  • PDX

    The bike that broke the internet.

  • I’d have to sell my car ten times over to finance the deal, but I do love it. I might stick to Surlys.

    • mrbiggs

      Antoine, the second I read the comment, I didn’t even have to read who wrote it. :)

  • Nua Bikes

    The price of some products is very subjective, especially in products such as a bicycle, where the passion factor is important.

    Our city bike is similar in concept to this bike, but with a titanium frame and fork, and belt driven. Despite it cost less than half that the Urbanracer, many people tell me it’s too much money for an urban bike. They may be right, but I now have a good example to show when I hear this comment.

    • Where is it made?

      • Nua Bikes

        Hi John, our bike is not made in US, so I guess it’s no longer interesting.

        • It’s very interesting and very relevant, but it is a reason for the massive price differential. That’s all I’m saying! I own a taiwan-made bicycle and it’s one of my favorites. Besides, we almost all ride taiwanese-made component groups. :-)

          • Nua Bikes

            It would be interesting to know how much cost to make each frame, to know if there is a real reason for this massive price differential ;)

          • I laid it all out below in the comments…

          • Sacha White

            Ok, the wink got me.

            -We have $750 into materials for each frame, including paint materials
            -The fork cost us $280

            -Labor for each person _producing_ in the shop is billed at $75 per hour, which is what we need to charge to pay rent, utilities, health insurance, good wages, etc.
            -Speedvagens take between 25 and 35 hours in fabrication and another 12-40 hours in paint; the Urban Racers take 28 for fab and 10 for paint.

            This makes:

            materials = 750
            fork = 280
            Labor = 2850

            Total = 3880

            This is frame only.

            I wouldn’t expect that the place that makes your bikes has (as you say) slaves working there. I would expect though, that their cost of living and therefore wages are _very_ low. I would also expect that they don’t have benefits, or other high costs of doing business like you would in Spain, or like we have here in the states. That’s not to say that having your frames produces inexpensively in Asia is bad, it’s just a different animal and like John said, a massive difference in in price.

            Our process and the detail that we incorporate in to our frames is the way we know to make the best bike we can. One example is direct mounting our coaster arm rather than using a clamp like most other coaster bikes through out time have used. It’s a small thing, but it’s cleaner and works better (especially with a very light chainstay), so we do it. It isn’t about cost, it’s about making the best we can. To do that, we do everything in house including fit, design, fab, paint, final build, shipping customer service, etc.

            I really like the looks of your bikes, by the way. Very clean and industrial.



          • Nua Bikes

            Hi Sacha

            I’ve always been an admirer of your work, especially in Vanilla. You take years proving that you are able to make unique, beautiful and functional bikes, and eventually you’ve got your personal and unique style, a reference for me.
            And now that you post here the costs of the frames, also says a lot of positive things about you as a person. Thanks!
            As for the price difference of the frame, it is clear that corresponds to face all those hours of labor, so expensive.

            About the UrbanRacer, it has something intangible that seduces me. Congrats. Only a little complain about the Automatix hub.
            2 speeds and brake without cables is something near irresistible, so we tested it a couple of years ago, but we found many negative points that made me give up the idea of installing in our first model. I’m curious to know your experience with it.

            Thanks again and keep the high level of your work, no matter the cost.


      • Nua Bikes

        I design and build myself the bikes in my little workshop in Barcelona, with a lots of love :)

        If you are asking me where the parts of the bike are made, some are made in England, some in Germany, some in US, some in Japan, some in my neighbor’s workshop and son on… and yes, if you ask me when the frame is made, you are right: far east is the answer, in a little titanium specialized workshop that takes over 15 years welding titanium with a incredible quality. And no, its workers are not slaves, but real people proud of his work, like US or european people. And no, the frames are not cheap, quite the opposite, but the quality and professionalism that they put in everything they do is worth it. And yes, I also must to pay the very hight european taxes, health insurances and so on.

        I hope I have answered your question.

  • HumbertiusRex

    $515 rack/bag: requires zip ties… ‘rad’.

    • As I said, I’m working on a more elegant solution.

    • Sacha White

      This was a bag that John affixed on his own, last minute at the Mission Workshop. The bag that comes standard will not be zip tied. I can’t believe I even need to say that….

      • Kellen Hassell

        drop mic, ride bike.

      • adanpinto

        I guess nowadays it is very difficult to make quality things domestically at democratic prices. For example, Cannondale was able to do it, and probably that is why they were a successful company.

        • nahcaz

          cannondale also stopped making their frames domestically in 2010

          • adanpinto

            Yes, I know. The ambitious motorcycle project killed them and finally it was sold to Dorel industries (Cannondale, Schwinn, GT, Mongoose, Caloi, IronHorse…) who had another plans :-(

        • Sacha White

          It’s also a completely different story if you’re talking about making thousands of something, versus a handful. We’re smart about how we group frames in our schedule, but economies of scale don’t really apply to custom, or very small batch.

          • adanpinto

            Agreed, it is not the right comment for a post of a custom made bike.
            Just wondering…in addition to the volume of manufacturing, do you think they also found a way of making frames without using tools and materials coming from mainstream suppliers that do not allow for enough margins?

  • David

    This whole thing has taught me three things:
    1. I don’t like/want/need this bike. No interest.
    2. The patronization of those that do not “feel the STOKE BRO” continues, it and it completely baffles me. It’s ok to be cynical, judgmental, and have opinions that aren’t 100% positive stoked bro.
    3. I’m clearly not cool, and I am perfectly fucking cool with that.

    • 1. All good! It’s a strange / expensive / weird / unpractical bike, not for everyone.
      2. It’s more about being tactful when presenting opinions. Being positive for the sake of positive is just as bad as being negative for the sake of negative. Be opinionated, be cynical, just be tactful and intelligent about it. My life is full of moments where my opinion changes after talking to someone who can clearly communicate frustration or cynicism. Otherwise, opinions look like “trolling”. Make sense?
      3. You are riding bikes and commenting about bikes. That’s pretty cool with me!


      • David

        thanks John. Appreciate the reply. Agree about #2. I just don’t want to see people who aren’t compliant have their opinions stifled, really appreciate the thoughtful comment.
        (and as far as #3, thanks)

        • The LAST thing I want are a bunch of inauthentic comments. I love opinions, I just prefer to discuss things online as you would in real life. Form an opinion and take the time to express it in a tactful manner. Let’s keep the “stoke” going by being constructive and respectful. Ya know?

          As a “journalist” or “blogger”, I spend a lot of time online and I read other sites’ comment sections. It baffles me and really bums me out. I’d rather have discourse than banter.

          That said, tell me I’m wrong, challenge me, engage with other people. Just do so as if they were your friends because we’re all riding bikes that’s the most important thing to remember.


    • William Thomas

      I perused all the comments and I don’t see anyone who used the phraseology “feel the STROKE BRO”, so why do you have them in quotes? Plus there should have been a comma after STROKE. Just sayin’ if you’re gonna be all critical of people who are out to out to be positive and have fun diggin’ on a great new piece of kit, at least try to use your fake quote punctuation correctly.

  • Brian Keeffe

    This bike is fun, made here in the states by real people, born from design, passion, and creativity!
    I think it’s awesome that we live in a time where something like this can be created presented to the public, and available for those that want to buy it.
    If you don’t like it that’s fine, I’m the kind of person that chooses to focus on the things I like and not the things I don’t like.
    Gotta say I am not sure that anyone gets into building bikes to be cool, or if they do, they probably don’t build for that long. Sacha builds beautiful, bicycles, and continues to move forward with his design, and I love that he is always evolving and changing! The Urban Racer and everyone involved with The Vanilla Workshop is Fucking rad!!! Keep it up!

  • I live down the street from Vanilla, and this frameset is just over three months of rent!

  • Doug Landers

    what do you think of the velocity Blunts?

    • I actually like them a lot!

      • Doug Landers

        I’d be interested to ride the SS 29″ blunts fit with 700c nanos.

  • Matt O’Donnell

    I got to spend about 5 sweet, sweet minutes on John’s Racer when he was in town with Sacha for the Speedvagen fitting tour. Blasting around on this thing in the Mission District of San Francisco was seriously the most fun I’ve had on a bike in some time. It really just gets under your skin and makes you want to go fast and have fun. I was wearing a shit eating grin the whole time I was on the thing. I also got to spend 10 or 15 minutes talking to Sacha and much of that was him explaining the thought that went into this bike, especially those rad bars. Over a year of development and more than a hundred man hours go into each bike. Just because you wouldn’t spend $5k on a bike like this doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. Also, just because it doesn’t fit into the kind of riding you do, doesn’t mean it’s stupid. There are people that get excited by a bike like this, like me. The majority of my riding is in the city and that’s why I want this bike so bad. I know this will make every moment mashing around SF a blast. The ONLY reason I haven’t ordered one yet is because I’m considering replacing my road bike first. But someday it will be mine.

    • M. Lopez

      same way i feel about my fixed gear. the more you pedal the faster you go, the faster you go the more you pedal. it’s an ouroboros of fun.

      • Peter

        An ouroboros of fun!!

        I like that. I wonder how may people got the reference?

  • Noel Smith

    Wow.. these are pretty much the best comments I’ve seen on this site yet. and ya, the bike is hot as shit and I’d totally ride one but 5k for a coaster?! umm.. I’ll build up my own for $500 and rattlecan it matte green.

    Not really stoked on the exclusivity vibe of the bike either (if that makes any sense).

    • Matt O’Donnell

      How is this bike anymore “exclusive” than any of the other expensive bikes posted on this site? John’s Argonaut is probably a $10k bike.

  • Isaiah Kramer

    like the conversations this bike has spurred. It was the talk of the town when it debuted at the Rapha ride last month. I recall seeing Sascha and John riding them and appreciating what fun they were having. it was apparent that I would never own one, nonetheless it inspired me to strip down my commuter bike, take off the fenders, ditch the basket, squeeze on fatter slicks, drop the stem a cm to get a racier feel. For me, nice pricey custom bikes provide a welcome new look at how I could alter builds I already have to inject a new life into an old ride.

    • Western Rapid

      Totally agree. My bike is getting the same treatment next week – reverting back to single-speed, flat bars and a whole lotta attitude…!

      • Sacha White

        and yes!

    • Sacha White


  • Adam Kachman

    5k city whip outrageous? anyone ever had a wife? those are way more.

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  • Mike

    I’m drooling! What tires are those?

  • andy kappler

    I want those pedals for my city bike. What are they? Thanks.

  • william fox

    I want one. Period.

  • JRoq

    Is that doubled up bar tape for grips?

  • George

    I know I’ll get yelled at by this, but I’ve a Budnitz #1 and had a chance to extensively ride the Urban Racer, and preferred the first for the application.

  • Noah Williams

    what kind of helmet is that

    • Max Schlachter

      The Bullitt from Bell, I’m pretty sure.

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