Nothing pleases me more than laying eyes on a bike that combines impeccable craftsmanship with well thought out graphic skill. The latest offering from the team at Vanilla Bicycles is just that. The Speedvagen CX frame, laid out in a base coat of gold with tricolour details has topped my list of typographically enhanced rolling machines.
The Vanilla Workshop is a team effort, bringing together the skills of craftspeople that obviously love what they do—the results speak for themselves. Sacha White is the man at the heart of the Vanilla Workshop, and each Vanilla bike that rolls out of the shop is a further example of his vision.
There’s a veritable feast of functional details on hand here, from the SRAM Red and Pro stem/bar cockpit to the custom painted DT Swiss hubs. The height of the 700c frame supported by 32mm Tufo tubular tyres and Edge rims are the perfect mix of rugged elegance. The devil is in the details, with a rear dropout that uses two types of steel: a stronger steel for the body of the dropout and stainless steel on the inside facing the chain.
The head badge is another example of the high attention to detail. It’s attached to the frame by 0-80 Torx bolts. The innovations are not only aesthetic, check out the rear brake cable routing which exits the seat tube and eliminates the need for a rear brake housing. Innovative enough to inspire Gary Fisher and Giant to apply the same feature on their ‘cross bikes.
It’s actually possible to get so engrossed with the finer points of this bike that taking a step back and admiring the profile is a relief. It could only be more satisfying by viewing the paint through a thick application of mud and grass. Thanks Sacha and the Vanilla Workshop. Have a look at the Speedvagen website, then head to their flickr stream for more feature shots.