Sacha White and the Vanilla Workshop has been around for over a decade and in that time, they’ve shaped what it means to be not only a frame builder in the US, but what it takes to be a successful brand. Whether it’s a custom, hand-built by Sacha, Vanilla frame or an in-house production Speedvagen, you’re going to get the best frame possible.
The growth of a brand from an idea on social media to a brick and mortar store is always inspirational. For Portland, Oregon’s the Athletic, their brand began with a simple idea; designing socks, and has transformed into an entire retail space nestled in NorthWest Portland. In the few years the brand has existed, they’ve released dozens of designs online. Their most notable being a pair of turquoise 6″ tall socks embroidered with the PDX airport’s carpet pattern.
While their PDX Airport Socks might be their most famous work, the Athletic has worked with a number of small companies, as well as cycling teams to create that last essential piece of their cycling wardrobe. While most of their stock just so happens to be, you guessed it; socks, a lot of what the Athletic is doing reaches beyond that.
As the name implies, they are showcasing a particular façade of sports. Not necessarily the most current team’s rankings or franchise gear, but the art and culture that is inspired by athleticism. With zines, posters, bags, jump ropes and even a few pairs of Nike shoes on display, the Athletic’s storefront is more of a gift shop for the sporting enthusiast than it is a standard-issue sock store.
See some photos of their space in the Gallery and swing through their shop if you find yourself in Portland, or browse their stock online.
925 NW 19th Ave
M-Fri 12pm – 6pm
Sa-Sun 12pm – 5pm
For years I’ve admired the Vanilla and Speedvagen dropout design and yesterday, I finally got to visit their home at the Vanilla Workshop in Portland. While I work on the photos of the space and the bikes, I’ll share with you a photo I took of an in-progress Vanilla road bike.
Expect more to come…
On the eve of NAHBS, Zipp invited a handfull of journalists to visit their facilities in Indianapolis, Indiana. Back in 1988, Zipp first launched their products with a disc wheel at Interbike, which back then was in Anaheim, California. Over the years, Zipp has stayed true to their roots, constructing both disc wheels and aero sections by hand in their facility.
Having moved from Speedway to Indianapolis a few years back, Zipp’s facilities themselves are far from space-aged, yet the technology used to cut, mould and form their carbon fiber aren’t that dissimilar from military-grade carbon facilities. Everything is precise, clean and for most of the process, done in secret.
While Zipp will gladly open their doors to media, a lot of the how’d they do that remains a secret.
Austin has a certain magnetism when it comes to framebuilders relocating here from Boston. Icarus, Tomii Cycles and now Saila Bikes have all made Texas their new home, bringing with them their successful framebuilding practices.
Lauren Trout began working at Seven Cycles, where she cut, prepped, welded and finished frames over the course of her employment there. If you’re going to learn how to work with titanium, Seven ain’t a bad place to learn. At some point, Lauren decided it was time to work for herself and began Saila Bikes. Specializing in titanium road, track, touring and cross frames.
Saila’s shop is nestled in an industrial complex a few miles from the Radavist HQ on the East Side of Austin. Inside her roughly 600 square foot space, Lauren has set up shop over the past few months and is currently building a queue.
I swung by Saila after all the Cyclocross Nats buzz had simmered and photographed Lauren working in here space, as well as a complete cross frame. More on that to come…
Saila’s frames begin at $2,400 for titanium and $1,300 for steel. Find out more information at Saila Bikes.
Vancouver’s Super Champion
Words and photos by Morgan Taylor
In 2007, former pro snowboarder Tyler Lepore opened up a track bike shop in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. With its wood paneling and white walls, carefully curated framesets and splashes of colorful parts, the space had a modern, almost gallery-like feel. Add in clean branding and a collection of t-shirts with hand-drawn art, and Super Champion felt more like a skate shop than a bike shop.
In the ground level of a beautiful home in Los Angeles, Javiar Yanco makes bags, caps and other accessories used by cyclists of every kind. From randonneurs, to bikepackers, road cyclists, MTB racers and cross bike explorers, Yanco’s bags have a cult-like following. One product in particular, the Ramblin Roll, sold by Tracko, literally launched him into full-time production recently.
But his work doesn’t stop there. From packraft bags, musettes, bar bags, bikepacking bags, caps and yes, still a few top tube pads, Yanco makes products that he’s inspired to make slightly different than the rest.
Through using bright colors, unique zippers and yes, camo, lots of camo, these bags will always fetch the comment on Instagram: “what kind of bag is that?…”
I caught up with Yanco last week in Los Angeles, as he was in the zone making Ramblin Rolls, and asked him a few questions for a Ride Along.
Check that out below!
San Francisco’s Mission Workshop has been on a steady climb of growth since their first bag was released. Originally on Rondel, an alleyway off of 16th street, they recently expanded their space to continue all the way onto Valencia street, a prominent shopping thoroughfare in the Mission.
The brand’s design aesthetics carry over through a palette of raw wood and steel, as well as stark white walls overlaid with vinyl appliqué and photography. Taking center stage is their high end Advanced Projects and fledgling brand ACRE.
I had the opportunity to photograph this space, prior to the brand’s opening party last Friday… If you have the chance to see it for yourself, swing by. If not, check out the Gallery!
Tuesday – Saturday 10am-8pm
Sunday – Monday 12pm-7pm
541 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
When Mash first opened their storefront a few years back, it quickly became a clubhouse of sorts for the local riders. Group rides would meet up once or twice a week to explore the roads and trails of San Francisco. As quickly as the storefront became popular, the brand itself grew and the need for more space became apparent, sending Mike Martin on a hunt for a bigger store, with space for a design office.
Yesterday I swung through their new storefront and design offices in SF and hung out for a bit, soaking in all the random artifacts both from SF’s street racing culture and cycling’s most iconic brands… See more in the Gallery!
As you can probably tell, I’ve been really stoked on what Chumba is doing here in Austin, Texas. During MTB season earlier this year, I caught up with Vince, who was riding the first prototype Ursa 29+ MTBs. At the time, Chumba’s production was in Oregon, but in recent months, they’ve moved all production in house, using USA-made tubing…