There’s nothing cooler than a fully customized bike, built to perfectly fit your body and please your eye. Fans of custom bicycles are probably familiar with Portland, Oregon’s Vanilla Workshop, a collective of bicycle fabricators, painters, and wood, fabric and leather workers who produce some lustworthy bikes, including the Speedvagen brand.
A fully custom operation, the workshop provides everything from a personal fitting session to customizable component options to personalized paint work and graphics. They also build all their frames for high performance riding, not just for lookin’ pretty. Every piece of tubing they use is custom-drawn to Speedvagen’s specifications, and add-ons like cable stops and brake bridges are all designed in-house.
In the past a small run of Speedvagen bikes were produced a few times each year, but for 2016 customers from anywhere in the world can now place an order anytime and expect to have their bike within a few months. Read on to see the many customizable options for Speedvagen’s 2016 bikes…
First, there are a few new things happening for 2016: Speedvagen has introduced three new paint colors: Lavender, Solid MF’ing Gold and Cyan. The ‘surprise me’ option, where you leave the aesthetics completely up to the painter and only see it when it arrives at your door (!), will be offered again due to last year’s popularity.
There are also more component options available like hand-built wheels with Enve 2.2 rims, power meters, custom saddles and bar tape from Australia’s Busyman, and Silca frame or floor pumps custom painted to match your bike. Also, Speedvagen bikes will now ship almost ready to ride, with a table-top work stand/floor stand included.
Speedvagen produces stock frames in 2cm size increments from 48cm to 62cm. With a rim brake setup, they use 1-1/8 head tubes, 68mm BB’s, and 130mm rear spacing. For disc brakes, the frames use a tapered head tube, PF30 BB shells and 135mm axle spacing. Full custom frames are built around the results of your fitting session and all angles, measurements and fittings are up to you. Each frame comes with an ENVE carbon 2.0 fork and a Ritchey seatpost head (unless you choose otherwise).
Speedvagen’s frames all carry a few standard features, most notably the use of True Temper and Columbus steel tubing. Down tubes are bi-axially ovalized for stiffness at the head tube and compliance at the bottom bracket, and the seatstays are curved to absorb shock and flattened to resist pedalling forces. Each tube is selected and shaped specifically for every custom frame.
The brand’s Berzerker dropouts, which use stainless steel inner and outer face plates over a steel alloy core, have been redesigned into their lightest iteration yet. On disc brake versions, the calipers attach to the underside of the seatstays to transmit braking stresses into the frame rather than the dropout.
Integrated seatmasts are cut to fit each buyer, and feature bare stainless steel where the post head mounts to provide a clean clamping surface. Stainless steel plates are also found on their machined brake bridges to eliminate a potential rust spot where the brake mounts and inevitably chips off some paint.
Among an endless list of options, some popular ones include: ENVE custom carbon seat post heads, which weigh just 90g and can be custom painted to match the bike. ENVE also makes an optional carbon seat tube which absorbs vibrations and shaves 1/3 to 1/2 a pound off the bike’s weight.
Since over half of their bikes leave the shop with Di2 or EPS drivetrains, Speedvagen offers internal cable routing for either system. You can also hide a Di2 battery inside the seat mast, but this option can only be added if you have also chosen internal cable routing. The battery can be removed and replaced with no tools, and is weather protected.
If you opt for disc brakes, the brake cable is routed internally through the down tube and BB shell, then pops out of the chainstay. Finally, one-piece bar/stem combos from Ritchey or PRO can be added to road bikes, and paint-matched if you so desire.
Each year sees a new color palette from Speedvagen. This year’s four main colors are Lavender, Cyan, Metallic Gold and Matte Army Green. The four graphic styles for 2016 are Ghost, Hollatext, Horizon and Overt. Or you can always choose the ‘surprise me’ option!
Of course, there are tons of options for component gruppos, pre-made build packages or individual part substitutions. Speedvagen offers their top-tier ‘Kit A’ and lesser ‘Kit B’ build packages to choose from, and they can also provide full component gruppos. These kits and gruppos can also be purchased as ‘disc-ready’ packages as required.
Further customization is available for paint-matching selected components, altering Kits A or B part-by-part, or adding aftermarket ceramic pulley wheels, bearings or power meters. Last but not least, Speedvagen’s ‘A La Carte’ upgrades allow you to choose from a list of aftermarket stems, bars, wheelsets, headsets and bottom brackets, and of course titanium or carbon bottle cages.
Since about a million factors will influence the final price of a custom Speedvagen bike, we haven’t even attempted to list all the various costs here. Check out their website for complete info on pricing, availability and your many, many options…or just browse around and dream a little!