If you’ve been at all tuned in to what the kids have been chattering about the past few weeks, you’ve known that the Vanilla Workshop has been cooking up something really cool. Sacha White started developing the concept for his Speedvagen Urban Racer over a year ago, elevating the street bike from the heavy, durable, no frills, ultra-utilitarian station wagon to a hot rod- a fun, fast, beautiful, extravagant plaything. It won’t slog your family or groceries. It’s not for cruising casually down the bike path. The Urban Racer’s geometry and spec and numerous available upgrades are intended to facilitate play and speed in your every bomb through the city, with each feature distilled down in that conceptually tight Speedvageny fashion as to maintain clean lines and thoughtful interface detailing. Nothing on this bike is “bolted on.” Every corner is tucked.
It’s a fun concept precisely because it is so contextually excessive within the current urban landscape, though it is completely unapologetic about it. But, really, what is so unreasonable about packing all of the fancy amenities and design considerations that are typically reserved for more classically-purposed, performance bicycles into something you will race and play on and enjoy daily? Why wouldn’t you put that same level of investment into a bike purely intended to make your every ride through the city a game rather than reserving it for your occasion bike? The Urban Racer is for the rider who believes that the daily experience is worth the investment, that fun should be taken that seriously.
The stock build is boiled down in terms of sizing and color options. You can chose between a 53cm, 56cm, 59cm frames in Matte Army, Vanilla Blue, or “Surprise Me!-” Speedvagen’s surprise color scheme. The bike is designed around 650Bx42C tires for all around urban road conditions. The lightweight steel frame features the Berzerker vertical dropouts seen on other Speedvagen models, cast steel dropouts outfitted with removable stainless inner and outer plates to prevent paint chipping, ensuring the bike will continue to look good after years of normal use. The seat mast, also capped in stainless, is topped standard with a painted to match carbon Ritchey seatpost head and a Fizik Antares saddle with carbon rails.
The fork is Whisky or ENVE carbon and, if you’re feeling fancy, you can have Speedvagen make a custom fork-mounted, minimalist rack. There is an option to purchase a compatible Mission Workshop Arkiv Folio Bag, available in its own array of colors, for your lock, wallet, Important Documents- what have you. Again, not designed for grocery hauls.
The drivetrain, however, is where things start to get really fun. The design features a two-speed automatic SRAM coaster hub, which keeps the lines of the bike clean and the brake and shifting controls away from your hands and chain tensioning via an eccentric PF30 bottom bracket. If you would like to save your pants while further tying the drivetrain to the frame, Speedvagen gives the option of an integrated minimalist chain guard.
You can opt for custom-made integrated steel flat bars, fillet brazed at the Vanilla Workshop per customer with a variety of stem length options and designed to be cut down to width. Japanese Honjo fenders are cut down and modified in the Workshop in order to fit the hot rod aesthetic of this bike. Both custom fender and integrated handlebar options are painted to match.
For the super commuters, there is an option for a Supernova front and rear LED light system. If you chose this option, the frame set will be outfitted with internal routing portals to tuck away all visible system wires, maintaining those clean lines.
By my count, with all the upgrades, you could pimp out this shredder to the high side of $11k with custom geometry, rack, chainguard, custom seat mast topper, Reynolds carbon rims, integrated bars, etc. (a full list is available on the website). You can get your hands on the still extremely seriously fun base model for a cool $4895.