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?
I’ve gotten a lot of emails regarding this bike. We’re dialing in some details and you can expect a thorough review and gallery in the next few weeks… For now, poke around on the Vanilla Workshop Instagram and the #UrbanRacer hashtag for more teasers.
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.
Photo by Morgan Meredith
LA has been rad for various reasons. One of which has been figuring out how to talk about this #UrbanRacer. So far Morgan has shot the best photo of the bike which I will discuss more in depth at a later date, but tonight we went up to a spot in Los Angeles to recreate it and came out with a completely different shot.
A shot that I’m still really vibin’ with. Lay waste…
Don’t forget! Tomorrow the Speedvagen Fit Tour lands in Los Angeles, beginning with a group ride at 9am from Golden Saddle Cyclery. We’ll ride for a few hours before the party starts at 7:30pm… See ya there!
Yesterday, after a morning of delays trying to get from Austin to Portland, Billy picked me up at the PDX airport in the Speedvagen tank, loaded with bikes, merch and other surprises. As you can imagine, riding in or driving an old armored money truck from Portland from SF will take a few days, so we’re making a few stops along the way to see friends.
I’ll be updating the site daily, and you can follow @TheVanillaWorkshop on Instagram for other, on-the-road updates.
We hope to see everyone at SF on Saturday night as well!
We’re en route to San Francisco in the Speedvagen tank, preparing for the Mission Workshop party this Saturday for a night of bikes, music and beer. If you can make it out, we’d love to have you! Here’s all that’s happening while we’re in town:
Saturday, May 2nd ride:
Ride with Rapha from the Cycleclub
Meet up 8AM, Roll out at 8:30
Coffee provided by Four Barrel.
Expect a 2-3 hour no drop ride.
Saturday, May 2nd party:
Mission Workshop from 6-10PM
Free Fort Point Beer and secured valet bike parking
There will be Speedvagens on display.
Drinks, and unseen art from Chris McNally from the Vanilla Collection
Bike parking will be provided by MW and Vanilla Workshop.
For one of this year’s new paint designs, Sacha White of Vanilla / Speedvagen worked with Japanese customer and brand buddy, Masashi Ichifuru, or Ichico as he’s called by friends. Ichigo initially helped Sacha design their Speedvagen National Kit for Japan.
When asked to describe the end result, Sacha White relayed the following:
“What he designed was quintessentially Japanese insofar as it had aspects that were refined and represented high craft, but it also had all of this killer, super cute Japanese pop culture vibe.”
The resulting kit that Ichico designed was a pattern of text alternating between Katakana and English, spelling out Speedvagen in the two alphabets. Mix in Speedvagen’s signature colors and it was so good it had to make its way on a bike frame, resulting in a visual representation of where Speedvagen is right now.
This Surprise Me paint scheme will make an appearance during this year’s CX season and it won’t be alone. Speedvagen will be releasing the desesign in new colors, that will be accompanied by some very special, traditional Japanese goods.
On to the build itself, we’re looking at a Rugged Road model, which is essentially a road bike with larger clearances and disc brakes. This particular bike was built using ENVE, Chris King bits and Campagnolo EPS 11 speed. Some notes of interest are the battery charging port at the bottom bracket cluster, the newly-designed Speedvagen disc dropout and that elegant seatpost topper.
On a personal note, this was one of my all-time favorite bikes from Vanilla…
I’m bad at keeping secrets, but let’s just say something rad is on the way next week in California.
Next week I’ll be embarking on a trip with Speedvagen as we cruise the Cali coast, stopping at key spots and fitting customers for the 2015 Speedvagen Fit Tour. Which, I might add, still has a few spots open. Sign up for a Speedvagen Fit today.
Even if you’re not going to get fit by Sacha, you can come hang in SF on May 2nd and Los Angeles on May 5th at a few choice locations. Our host shops are the Rapha Cycles Club in SF, Mission Workshop’s Valencia store and Golden Saddle Cyclery in Silverlake. There will be group rides leaving from these shops, with special parties at night. Come check out some Speedvagens and artwork from Chris McNally on display.
Check out the full details below.