Speedvagen has thus far been focused on drop bar bikes, with a mix of custom and ready-made steel bikes for road, cyclocross and, more recently, gravel. That said, they did introduce a flat bar gravel touring bike called the GTFO last year, but the prototype they showed at Sea Otter Classic 2019 is their first proper mountain bike effort.

speedvagen prototype steel hardtail mountain bike from sea otter classic

Designed with a steel frame like the rest of their line, this one was raced by one of their crew at Otter. It’s still a work in progress, but the details were quite polished and looking like they’re ready for prime time. They said they’re still evaluating a few things, and that technically this is just an experiment, but that based on the response from passersby, it’s likely to move forward.

speedvagen prototype steel hardtail mountain bike from sea otter classic speedvagen prototype steel hardtail mountain bike from sea otter classic

The frame uses a lot of the same designs as their cyclocross bikes, with flattened S-bend seatstays to improve ride quality, captured thru axles, and subtle 3D logos. Up front, they kept a very short stack height and still managed to use a straight downtube without creating any fork crown clearance issues.

speedvagen prototype steel hardtail mountain bike from sea otter classic

Purposeful tube shaping is one of the things that has set Speedvagen apart over the years, along with very nice finish, so we suspect the production version of this will get cleaner welds…but for a proof of concept, it’s looking great.

Speaking of finishes…

The latest paint option for their road and cross bikes is called Horizon and uses a center line to separate upper and lower colors. It’s an upgrade and runs $750 (pink) to $850 (white/gold, called West Coast Horizon).

Cutting a new path with big tires…and knives

speedvagen rough road gravel road bike with multiple wheel sizes and custom steel frames

The Rugged Road models aren’t brand spanking new (as in, they weren’t launching at Sea Otter), but they’re very recent and present the modern day gravel racer with a couple of custom options. They have two base platforms, the standard (up to 700×44) and the 650B (up to 650×47), with wheel and tire size being the main differentiator. Standard features include paint-matched ENVE gravel carbon fork, integrated seat mast, flat mount disc brakes and thru axles. Other goodies and options are available, too.

speedvagen french carbon steel knives with custom painted handles

Like any good boutique brand, they’ve got some good boutique swag. And this is among the coolest. The made-in-France, painted-in-Portland carbon-steel Opinel knives were their test bed for color matching. The wood handles were custom painted in house as a way to get their processes dialed and colors tweaked before turning the air brush on the frames. So, each one is unique, and they’re just $39.95. You don’t choose the color, though, it chooses you.



  1. Ughhh. So tired of Speedvagen/Vanilla. At least my incredulity over the awfully well finished “Prototype” is soothed by the appearance of branded Speedvagen commemorative Ginsu knives…I’m just waiting for the appearance of an artisanal “Slapchop”.

  2. Love the idea of the horizon line- hate the execution, the slightly off-kilter lines kill me. I get it (literally having done it on a custom Papillion I was tasked with a similar paintjob on) it’s very hard, but you have to set up a laser on both sides at the same elevation to give lines that wrap the tubes in a purely horizontal plane, then mask with a very stretchy tape so it can actually follow the tube contour on the off-axis line and not pull itself perpendicular to the tube. IT’S FREAKING HARD.

    Or, you can do a dip mask so the liquid level gives you a perfect planer-cut on all the tubes. But that sucks even more. Anyhow- nice looking if you can overlook the slightly off lines.

    • I second this. I recently painted my own bike in a similar style… just let me say that however bad this one looks, my home masking job is even worse. The horizon line is soooo hard. I’m going back to a simple panel design.

    • Based on their normal quality of work, regardless if you like them, I’m wagering that any off-kilterness may be an optical illusion.
      Not only is it a very hard thing to do, but it is a very hard thing to see as the tubes themselves are at different angles and width. Unless someone get a pure profile view, it’s likely almost any human will perceive the horizon panel to be “off-kilter” even if it is in fact perfect.

  3. Man Speedvagen’s welds have gotten so ugly over the years… the welds on the GTFO looked worse than mass frames coming out of china now.

  4. I can totally hear that last paragraph coming out of Tom O’Dell’s mouth as a reboot of the Cutlery Corner.

    “Folks, right now, we have the made-in-France, painted-in-Portland carbon-steel Opinel knives. These natural wood handles were custom painted in house. Each one is unique, and they’re just 4 easy payments of $9.99. You don’t choose the color, though, it chooses you. Call in the next 3 minutes, and we’ll take the first payment off for you. Act now.”

  5. Opinel knives like these cost about 10€ ($11) here in France and aren’t renowned for much beside being cheap.

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