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New Speedvagen Urban Racer For Those Who Take Fun Extremely Seriously

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Vanilla-Workshop_Speedvagen_Urban-Racer_CompleteIf 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. 

Vanilla-Workshop_Speedvagen_Urban-Racer_berzerker-dropout

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.

Vanilla-Workshop_Speedvagen_Urban-Racer_Complete2
Photo: John Watson

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.

Vanilla-Workshop_Speedvagen_Urban-Racer_Complete1

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.

Vanilla-Workshop_Speedvagen_Urban-Racer_Chain-guard
Photo: John Watson

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.

Vanilla-Workshop_Speedvagen_Urban-Racer_integrated-bars

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.

Vanilla-Workshop_Speedvagen_Urban-Racer_lights
Photo: Evan Dudley

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.

TheVanillaWorkshop.com

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fergus
fergus
7 years ago

Almost 5 Grand for a base model, think the initial point of these single speed courier style bikes is that they were inexpensive to maintain and purchase. You could buy a very nice Ti road bike for less and have the ability to ride up and down gradients greater than 10%.

Ck
Ck
7 years ago

It’s pretty, and I want it. But we’ve gone through this before. Is there really a market for a $5k, stripped down commuter?

DRC
DRC
7 years ago

Wow, so does anyone make a similar bike for maybe 1/5 the price? Would love a racer style around-town SS, but I’m not spending more than my full carbon road bike to get it.

JD
JD
7 years ago

$5k bike… built around a 1.4kg $70 coaster brake hub.
This is what’s wrong with a certain blogger-centric bike-scene.

internet stoke
internet stoke
7 years ago

i worked for 3 years as a courier on a $500 Pake with upgraded cranks, and spent my money keeping my bearings in good shape.

Gunnstein
Gunnstein
7 years ago

The SRAM 2-speed is a great little hub, perfect for low maintenance in flat(ish) terrain. But intending to ride fast without a front brake – or on any 1-brake setup for that matter – well, one can only hope they don’t learn the hard way why that’s a bad idea. (The fact it’s illegal many places is not what I’m hinting at…)

Spandau
Spandau
7 years ago

I could make anyone the same bike for less than half the cost. A lot of people can. But hey, if you can charge it, people will pay it. That’s pretty much it really.

satisFACTORYrider
satisFACTORYrider
7 years ago

kinda cool. i dig it. i’m priced out though. urban “racer” meet cell phone driver = dead urban racer

Johnny Bones
Johnny Bones
7 years ago

Blah blah blah… too expensive, I’ll judge anyone on them etc.
These are the usual rubber stamped opinions.
As predictable as fat bike tire width growth.

I like bikes. And I really love the ones that catch and hold my eye. To me, Vanilla bikes could be the best paint out there. perhaps….
And the SpeedVagen can be included near that standard.
I like to see a builder doing something a bit outside of the usual plus tire size adventure gravel grinder w/ color matched frame bags.
I like to see them doing what they want, not what the crowds are clamoring for.

Would I lock it up outside of a movie theater? Good god no. Not even in my town, where nobody even uses locks.
Would I stuff it onto a bus’ rickety rack? Nope.
Would I want fenders? And some different parts? Yep.
Would I ride and love it? Of course.
Would my day be better than it is on a FrankenMorphed Karate Monkey? Probably not.

But none of that stops me from wanting it. And for the right person- Get it. Love it. Ride it lots.

J. Charles
J. Charles
7 years ago

I thought this was really cool til I saw the price point. “urban” to me is more about practicality than style, and I’m fighting my own battles there after having parts continually stolen off of my $400 Haanjo.

cool looking piece though. glad to see some bike fabbers making a little scratch.

scott
scott
7 years ago

I’ll wait for the Rapha collabo.

Wally
Wally
7 years ago

53 to 1:01 mark of video, “the bike brings out the kid in you, like not making prudent decisions”.

Yeah, like spending 5K on this bike.

trash
trash
7 years ago

Fenders, chainguard, generator powered lights and that rack bag make it better than most “urban” bikes on this site.

IDGAF about the price, it is rad.

Volsung
Volsung
7 years ago

I get that the name is made to sound German, but in German the letter V is pronounced like an F.

Speedfagen is offensive.

raphael
raphael
7 years ago

Considering that for 5k you could build a lighter, faster and better bike. (deleted)

Sully
Sully
7 years ago

Kudos to Sacha for building his “funnest” bike! If you have a vision, make it real. And if you happen to sell a few, even better!

(just wait until he tries to climb the west hills to get out of downtown Portland……not so fun!)

Vanilla is specific brand for a specific clientele. Most (all?) of us posting here on bikerumor are not that clientele.

Personally, my fun is flexible and adapts to whatever bike I happen to be on. I don’t have to build a bike to fit my fun. But that’s just me.

satisFACTORYrider
satisFACTORYrider
7 years ago

let’s face it fun urban is on bmx 20s. fact.

bsimon
bsimon
7 years ago

I want the 70s snowmobile helmet

Katherine
Katherine
7 years ago

I’ll stick with my rebuilt, repainted ’90s Stumpjumper, but I don’t think that makes me more or less of a bike rider/commuter/person.

Sure, the Urban Racer is mostly impractical and outrageously expensive, and doesn’t even come in a size small enough for me (I’m not even that short…), but I do think it’s cool that these little frame builders can and do try some random stuff. They’re not spending thousands on market research and working on product for the 2017 season; they’re just designing and building. And they understand what many of the big companies do not: there’s a large segment of us who are driven by passion and soul in our riding experiences. I would never, ever spend that kind of money on that kind of bike, but I do get it.

Maybe think of the Urban Racer as art.

Craig
Craig
7 years ago

In comparison to a $12,000 road bike the 5k price tag is quite fair. It is a premium product after all.

Bikes like this are great for a lot of other custom builders as it makes their 2-3k single gear or commuter bikes seem much better value.

There will always be someone who produces the best/most expensive/most exclusive product in any given industry category. What is interesting is that one might guess that those who make such negative comments about said high end products are often those that cannot afford them.

anonymous
anonymous
7 years ago

If I was comfortable commuting on a nice bike, it wouldn’t be some sort of cruiser thing. I don’t ride a commuter/hybrid/urban bike because it’s some sort of amazing design for urban riding. It’s because they’re cheap, durable and do what they need to do.

Otherwise, I’d be commuting on a ride something like a touring bike with integrated shifters, but as a rule, I don’t commute with integrated shifters, so flat bar controls are cheap, unattractive to thieves, and out of harm’s way.

$dmoney$
$dmoney$
7 years ago

WTF! Sacha White is wrong… This has been done before, RIP Ezra.

Mike A
Mike A
7 years ago

Man, more importantly, why the lazy dropout/eccentric bb combo? That does the whole bike a disservice. That means there’s no practical way to tension a chain in day to day life. I’d need a chain a week like that…

Yeah, dedicated single chainline bike with PFBB, I can’t stress how unpleasant that sounds. For five grand, they could bother to use a threaded shell and track ends. Lazy.

John B
7 years ago

This is literally a “dream bike” in that you’d be dreaming to own something so expensive and use it on a real street. For a nice bike, at a good price, for real people, I cannot recommend Gunnar enough. The Waterford-built premium steel frame sets are just as gorgeous as this for 1/10 the price.

Ron
Ron
7 years ago

What to say about this bicycle…

Impractical for almost all commuters. 1) Who lives in a totally flat place? 2) Who always can bring their bike inside? (if you are locking up a $5K bike ANYWHERE you are insane and shouldn’t (have had) $5K in your bank account to begin with. Also, 2 speeds. I commute on a SS sometimes, just when I feel like it. But, my geared bikes make the ride better.

This bike is absurd because a commuting bicycle is a tool. This tool is far too expensive. That makes locking it up impossible. It’s also an impractical tool, considering the 2-speeds.

I see this as driving the custom bike market in the wrong direction, as in bringing rich fools into the cycling game. The roots of cycling and cycle racing are in the working class, not the ultra rich.

I have a friend who owns 3 Vanillas. They’re all beautiful, but they’re all rideable. One cross, two road bikes. He does road rides a few times a week. He’s also 55, no kids, and was nearly killed when a driver drove into him. I think he’s living it up now that he knows be a cyclist is such a danger. This bike…such limited uses.

I have a few $5K bikes, but this one is just plain dopey. I can afford it, I just don’t want it. And, considering how many bikes I currently own and that I’m not that old, not real eager to add a One Trick Poney bike to my collection.

Also, I own a house and have a wife. I’d rather spend $4K on a nice bike shed and $1K taking my hot wife on a nice trip.

I’m sure plenty of dipshits living in squalor with student loan debt and renting in Seaddle, and Portlandia and lame LA will shell out for these, but that’s just because they have very little self-worth or pride, so need a fancy item that 99% of folks look at an see a bike. Could be a $50 bike, could be a $5K bike.

Dude
Dude
7 years ago

Two words: market segmentation. It’s just a bike, people. One some folks are shelling out for. It does no-one any harm. Moving along…

Psi Squared
Psi Squared
7 years ago

What the Dude is saying is smart.

Roberto
Roberto
7 years ago

Say what you want about price etc but his waiting list just got a lot longer after the release of this ride!

Sasquatch
Sasquatch
7 years ago

I second the ‘Dude’. To each their own. It’s a great bike and I’m proud it’s made in cycle city USA where passion meets function. Sascha obviously has a product for the masses if you have ever been a lucky member of the wait list for one of his master pieces. That helmet is dope!

craigcraigcraig
craigcraigcraig
7 years ago

Add up the parts at full retail and what you’re left with is a stock frame available in S, M, or L for $3k. (deleted). Full custom IF Club Racer is $700 less. I would never begrudge Sacha making some extra cash off his name/reputation but this is embarrassing. And it undermines everything else he does. I get it, a fast city bike that’s well made, that makes sense. A $5k bike that doesn’t have a front brake or an option for one, comes in 3 sizes, but you can get carbon rims (for $1440) is just about the dumbest thing the bike industry has offered up this year.

Oh, and the one piece “custom” bar/stem is only available in 3 stock stem lengths and one width. I thought “custom” meant “made one at a time as per spec” and not “1 of 3 stock sizes.” Even the crap t-shirts I buy for working in come in more sizes. At least the stem is cheap at $600. Wait, what?

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