Simon Courtney is one of those intrepid and creative New Zealand types that embody the Kiwi spirit of innovation, enterprise and determination. Simon works as a designer at Deflux, an advertising agency in Christchurch, which must be the only creative firm in the world where you can order a handmade bicycle frame by Simon alongside an advertising and web campaign.
Simon placed an order with Sacha White of Vanilla Bicycles in 2007 for this street / track frame, instructing Sacha not to hold back and to simply create their dream bike. “Initially, I was taken aback by the aesthetics of Sacha’s bikes. I fell in love and had to have one, content with the 4 year waiting list for my vision of the ideal bike. At that point I was almost exclusively concerned with the finish and details of the bike: raw with brushed or polished script and lugwork”.
“It’s funny, looking back at it now. I wanted a bike that I’d be able to ride everyday and stiff enough to still feel great race on the oval if I wanted to — a confident all-rounder, really. The day came around to my number and I realized that what I actually wanted was to let Sacha do his best work creating a powerful, street-able track bike. I just let him realize what he wanted to create, I didn’t even want to know how it was going to be painted as long as it wasn’t grey, brown or black”.
“I left it to the builder because that’s how I like to work — let them fully envision and build their bike. I won’t be able to get another chance to own a second Vanilla for another 4 years, so go for it! This bike is more than just a vehicle, it symbolizes a journey of cycling passion and exploration. It’s a stage on a timeline of my own bike building: if I didn’t order it in early 2007, I don’t think I would’ve researched handmade bicycles so intensely and consequently learned the skills required to create them myself”.
“The frame/fork/bars/wheels were displayed on the 2011 NAHBS Vanilla stand. It arrived on my doorstep at the start of 2011 amid the Christchurch Earthquakes, which had already claimed one of my own handmade bicycles. So it sat boxed up lovingly waiting for things to settle down for a few months. Now that I’ve finally taken some photos of it, I’ll wrap the bars completely (which will be a shame to cover the custom candy stripe paint, but I need the grip), and taking it on some very long rides”.
This isn’t the first time we’ve come across Simon Courtney: his Deflux Pursuit was featured on Cycle EXIF in November 2010. And it won’t be the last, either. He recently won Steinlager’s Pure Future Award, and invested in a Myford Super 7 lathe and other necessary tools and components. He must have been inspired by his gold metal-flake Vanilla, because even though we loved his raw-finished Pursuit, he’s invested in plenty of credit at the local paint shop. Check out more shots on his flickr.