The city is the petri dish that has given rise to so many aspects of our culture, inasmuch as the outdoor environment is its antithesis. Sacha White’s Speedvagen project has enabled us to explore the great outdoors on his road bikes and get muddy on his cyclocross machines and today, his Urban Racer has been revealed, which is the quintessential vehicle for ripping up the city streets.
Announced today, the Urban Racer is the epitome of the Speedvagen style, reinterpreted for the metropolis. It’s a production frameset, built by hand, that can be modified or upgraded to suit personal requirements for both carousing and commuting.
It picks up where Jordan Hufnagel’s Porter/City Bike Project left off: a custom frame builder that saw the need for an accessible, standardised and crafted bike for those that appreciate a reliable fixture to their garage and lifestyle.
As with all Vanilla Bikes and Speedvagens, the customer is free to select from a range of stock paint choices — applied in-house — like Matte Army and Vanilla Blue for example, White (of course), not to mention the Surprise Me! option.
Both the Ghost and Distressed effects are available also. The Ghost option features raised typography and is named after “the friend whose bike we experimented on to develop our process”. The Distressed alternative was inspired by the faded paint on Sacha’s 1971 Volvo 142.
So much for the paint, what’s underneath? The Urban Racer is a 650b shredder with a lack of cables, which lends the clean appearance of the fixed gear bikes from a few years ago that we loved so much. Talk about a tidy unit.
The reason for the uncluttered look is the SRAM Automatix coaster hub. Coaster hubs are grossly under-appreciated for urban applications, but thanks to the Urban Racer we may see a resurgence. It’s exciting to see a thoroughly modern bike utilise them.
The Automatic hub actually has two gears, kinda like 1st and an eternal second gear on a motorbike. You’ve got the perfect ratio for hills, starts and and climbs, and then, after a certain cadence, the second, harder gear kicks in.
The frame is custom Columbus tubing, with a Columbus tapered head tube. Then the fun starts: your list of options include, from the top, an integrated stem/bar combo, an integrated seat post and Speedvagen’s legendary topper, developed in association with ENVE.
A custom rack can be supplied, to which you can mount a mini-pannier from Mission Workshop. For lighting, you can choose to spec internally-routed front-and-rear Supernova items, which are some of the most effective products on the market.
A carbon wheelset is also available, albeit de-stickered. But who wants flashy logos on their townie anyway? It’s best not to draw attention to one’s pride an joy when you’re out and about. They do contribute to a more stealthy ride, and look the business.
The dropouts can even be upgraded to Vanilla’s gorgeous Berzerker dropouts, which are works of engineering art. Other popular upgrades include custom Honjo fenders to match the frame, Grand Bois Hetre tyres and a Spurcycle bell.
Let’s get serious now. The price for a complete build is USD$4,895, a pretty penny for a commuter, but this is a lifer. For current owners of a Speedvagen, who know and appreciate the quality of craftsmanship that goes into each frame, it’s not unreasonable.
Head to the Vanilla Workshop for more information.
Photo credit: John Watson / The Radavist