After a whirlwind Fit Tour Down Under, Sacha White and The Vanilla Workshop team have headed back to Portland, leaving a trail of customers that were perfectly sized up for a new Speedvagen. Sacha also brought a couple of completed frames with him for Sydney customers, a spectacular example of which was just built up by Bondi’s Skunkworks Bikes.
The Tour was photographed by Jeff Curtes, who shot this ‘Vagen in the Skunkworks workshop. Most Speedvagen imagery, including the racing scenes, was taken by Jeff, who has created work for Oakley and Nike, and was previously a snowboarding photographer of great renown.
The Vanilla Workshop is well recognised by the work of its in-house paint shop and design studio, although the schemes are limited to standard layouts that change each year. Customers can choose colours from a designated spectrum and certain layouts, and the variety can lead to stunning results.
This customer elected the ‘Hollatext’ graphics, which creates a mask under which a gradient is revealed. A black topcoat generated the maximum contrast with the pink-to-blue fade underneath. It’s stealthy and stylish with a flamboyant surprise, reminiscent of a Paul Smith suit.
The work of Melbourne’s Busyman Bicycles needs no introduction, whose reupholstered saddles in leather — usually paired with matching bar tape — have already graced many Speedvagens. Somehow, Busyman’s Mick Peel replicated the same gradient under black leather for this model.
This could very well be the first custom-framed race bike in Australia to utilise SRAM’s Force 1 groupset, which only adds to this Speedvagen’s impressive form. The Force 1 rear derailleur is an engineering marvel, incorporating a clutch system which eliminates chain slack.
The crux of the 52/30 1×11 drivetrain is the SRAM X-SYNC 1x chainring: a square tooth, wide-narrow design that grabs the chain earlier than triangular teeth and retains it even when shifting and riding over rough terrain. An ENVE 3.4 wheelset gets the whole machine moving.
One of the most attractive features of a Speedvagen frame is surely that curvaceous rear end; perfectly formed S-bend seat stays that flow down to the hub. It’s a great view, from every angle, even if it’s flying past you.