It’s no wonder that there’s more Speedvagen bikes appearing on Aussie roads and cyclocross circuits. Americans have known about their high level of quality for years, and it’s beginning to make a big impression on the Australian market too.
This bright orange model just arrived Down Under a couple of weeks ago, built by Sacha White specifically for legendary snowboarding photographer Jeff Curtes, to showcase the Speedvagen brand on Australian soil. He just took it out for this photoshoot at the famous Centennial Parklands.
If you picked up any snowboard magazine over the last few years, you’ll have come across Jeff’s work. He’d been Burton’s principal photographer until 2012, and helped to establish the image of the snowboarder’s lifestyle within our consciousness.
More recently, Jeff has documented The Vanilla Workshop and its community, on the road and in the mud. An avid cyclist as well as snowboarder — and, until recently, resident Portlander — his eye perfectly captured the passion these bikes inspire and the people that ride them.
Jeff was lucky enough to fall in love with and marry an Aussie photographer, Jess Mooney, who persuaded him to move to the Lucky Country. He’s found the coastal sunlight of Sydney to be just as complementary to his Speedvagen as the crystal light of the snowfields was to the snowboarders.
This year, The Vanilla Workshop built twice as many bikes for Australian customers than last year, so it’s obvious interest in the brand is on the rise. The closer you get to a Speedvagen, the easier it is to see why, as the details reveal themselves.
A Speedvagen has a very distinctive shape, due to the consideration that is given to the tubing selection — Columbus and True Temper — and how they are turned into a bike frame. Note the larger thickness of the top tube as it meets the head tube, just where you need extra rigidity.
Where it hits the seat mast, it’s thinner, for a little give. That seat tube topper is like the bonnet of a sports car, with the raised Speedvagen badge; lift it and you’ll find another badge that, when removed, reveals the battery for your electronic shifters.
In this case, it’s a Campagnolo EPS system, married with a Super Record group. The EPS brain is hidden inside the stem, another nice detail. Jeff went all out with this build, from the ultra-rare Bora Ultra 35 clinchers to the ENVE finishing kit.
Zak at Skunkworks Bikes did the final assembly, once it arrived in Australia and, from a mechanic’s perspective, was supremely impressed with the thoughtfulness that went into the frame, like the stainless surfaces in places where they will be exposed, preventing rust from entering the steel.
The ‘Berzerker’ dropouts are truly things of beauty: not only are they finely sculpted, the inner and outer faces are also stainless steel to eliminate damage from wear, tear and the elements. All smaller details aside, those curvy rear seat stays must be the most seductive in all the world of cycling.
Jeff has been mixing it up with the final setup: Depending on the riding, he’s also got a pair of ENVE 4.5 tubulars with handmade FMB Paris Roubaix tires. The superb machining of EE brakes have replaced the Campy units too.
If you live in Oz and want to learn more about Speedvagen features and availability, contact Jeff Curtes via his website (if not just to browse his inspiring photography) or Instagram. Oh, and keep an eye on that #speedvagen_aus hashtag… You might spot Sacha White holidaying in Australia soon.