A year of Speedvagen bike builds.

The year is wrapping up and there are some positive changes underway at The Vanilla Workshop. We have our sights set on the 2018 Speedvagen guidebook and what's to come. We do feel that it's a important to celebrate our craft, and all the blood, sweat, heart, and hard work that goes into what came out of the shop this year.  

Largely, as a company we march to the beat of our own drum, but we love to hear form our customers, fans, and potential newcomers to the #SpeedvagenFamily. Below is a gallery of 26 (no we couldn't narrow it down to 25) complete builds that the crew here has selected, but really we want to know which is your favorite? What do you want to see 2018? Has the lack of sparkle in our paint schemes been the hold up for you? Let us know! 


Drop us a comment below! or Shoot us an email with your thoughts, questions or high fives info@speedvagen.com

7 Nights in Beijing: An Essay on Chinese Cyclocross Racing in Seven Edible Parts

Part Three - Bring your squad / Biceps, Triceps, and Quads.  -Jay Z

Words by Laura Winberry

 All Photos are shot on 35mm film by:

Campbell Steers.

Ian Stowe &

Laura Winberry


Arriving at the Beijing airport for the first time, I see the moon through the fog outside only it isn't fog. It’s something that’s always there, reminding us of the ways in which we consume and emit. I discard the barely utilized plastic utensils and styrofoam cup and wet wipes placed on my tray table, without permission, during the long flight over. As if I wouldn’t have survived the pressurized cabin, broken seat recliner, or time changes without them.


One minute I’m arriving and I’m bloodshot sandy-eyed, dragging bags from claim #7 through customs and out a muggy exit. The next I’m suited in lavender spandex and a gunshot is piercing our thick hush of thick-gammed racers from all over the everywhere. In other words: the transition is quick and we’re off into the heat and the cicada thrum of a scrubby Beijing sidehill that’s been mowed through with precision. It’s hot. It’s a blur. It’s early-season cyclocross racing and we’re hanging on by small gold threads, some more adeptly than others, sucking in oxygen through flimsy plastic straws.

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The taped-off course is slick in peculiar places, bumpy and like old coffee grounds in others. An agitation of camera lenses lines its edges, their massive onyx eyes opening and closing at 1/1000th of a second and faster. Behind the peering lenses, a tide of locals hovers, taking in the spectacle by way of periscope, aperture, ISO. A depth of field of a field depth spreading itself out over time, slowed down and sped up in the same instant.


Shutters shutter, over and over and over. Then the race is over, for different people at different times. Sprint finishes and calculated gaps gel at the front. What had begun to splinter a lap or two prior now trickles across the white line, flushed and fully salted. Near the back, fevered swashbuckling dissolves into the final pushes just ahead of the 80% rule.

For lack of a better or more encompassing word, the front is always fun. And sometimes we’re there. Or right there. Or we’re just off the mark and watching the front take off like teenage love. Other times we’re out of focus inside a hot cave, somewhere off the back and seeing cats. Either way, a race is a race is a race. No matter how our bodies or our minds or our minutes uncurl. Salt-sweat still plummets to our top tubes. Things still hurt. We still find our reasons, any reasons, to not bow out.








For lack of a better or more encompassing word, the front is always fun. And sometimes we’re there. Or right there. Or we’re just off the mark and watching the front take off like teenage love.


Back at the hotel, before and after and between the races, I roam hallways lined with bike bags and cardboard boxes. My body wants sleep but my curiosity craves a 3D experience of all the things, all the people, all the places I can fit into seven nights in Beijing. I forgo sleep and push on. Others do the same.


At various points throughout the Beijing stay, assorted stages of fatigue settle into our small inlet of racers. While different individuals fade in different ways, the occurrence of these multihued shifts is distinct. Kind of like what happens in a race, only here I get to watch it all unravel as both observer and participant.


At dinner and during breakfast. On the bus speeding towards the Great Wall. Mid-conversation on the elevator. In a flighty side street running the length of the Forbidden City. On the subway. Exhaustion does not discriminate on the where or the who. It takes its victims swiftly and without discernment.

One by one, on day one or day six or hour forty-two, individuals brighten and fade into a foreground that does not cease. Eyes get smaller and slit themselves. Yawns spread, people zone out, people excuse themselves. People stand up slowly during lunch, retreat to bed without words. The long stare, inevitably, overtakes us all.


Stay tuned for part 4 coming next week. Like what you read? Get in touch with Laura Winberry


The Vanilla Workshop
7 Nights in Beijing: An Essay on Chinese Cyclocross Racing in Seven Edible Parts

Part Two - I'm biking' downhill and it sound like a fishing' rod - Frank Ocean

Words by Laura Winberry

 All Photos are shot on 35mm film by:

Campbell Steers.

Ian Stowe &

Laura Winberry


Someone recently said to me: I love how beat to shit your bike is, it tells a story. This person was referring to my gold Speedvagen and, they were right. Not only has that jazzy beast gone to Japan, Italy, Canada, a smattering of U.S. states, and, now, China, but it has also been throttled, to say the least. I’ve ridden it on trails better suited for hikers with long legs. I’ve ridden it at my favorite event ever: Grinduro. I’ve twisted it through the paved and cobbled hairpins of Europe, and through mud you’d have to see to believe. I’ve chucked it into the ice-rutted snowstorm that was last year’s Cyclocross Nationals in Hartford. Taken it down the sandiest of “shortcuts” and into the unforgiving bellies of massive cities. The list goes on. I’ve also managed to eat huge shit on that thing more times than I care to enumerate.

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The thing is, our bicycles enable us to create stories in our lives. Quite different ones than we would have otherwise spun or encountered. And, in a unique way, those same bicycles that give us the freedom to pedal down that street, across that bridge, through those un-plottable woods and weave tales of adventure and triumph and close calls, can also become the record of our stories. Our own personal Babylonian tablets, drifting beneath us. Not everything gets recorded. But still. Whether we own a home-assembled Huffy or a rusting Bianchi or a featherweight Trek or a smooth-mint Rock Lobster or a glowing Speedvagen, the stories, thankfully, are there.


Beijing, and probably most of China, is filled with bicycles. Motorized and non motorized. Some reveal their age, or at least their failure to weather well, through thick rust that hangs like dead coral reef from their tubing, their joints, all their vulnerable places. Others squint back as you squint at their sheen in the diffused light of factory dust and sun. Many slide by, unnoticed. Veiled by the sea of bikes and people and bikes in a country of almost 1.5 billion.


From strictly utilitarian to straight up aero, these bikes hold histories. Some more interesting than others. They are new and fast and slow. They are heavy and barely functioning and swift. Innumerable and vibrant novellas in motion, much like the humans propelling them forward in space and time.

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"And, in a unique way, those same bicycles that give us the freedom to pedal down that street, across that bridge, through those un-plottable woods and weave tales of adventure and triumph and close calls, can also become the record of our stories"

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And the colors, the colors are also many and as much a part of the story as the scratches and dents themselves. Eggplant and spearmint. Grenadine and hyssop. Pigeon grey. Shades of brown like a collection of taupe-inspired paint swatches from Sherwin-Williams: copper dust, russet fawn, morning syrup.

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I don’t know the stories of these bicycles or the individuals who ride them. Whether they pedal out of economics or accessibility or convenience, out of joy or ease or necessity, I don’t know. The thing is, these people pedal. And while I’m convinced that the reasons for their doing so are simple and complex at the same time, these are not my conclusions to draw, however crystalline. In fact I don’t want to draw them. I want to make note of a country, or at least a large portion of it, where riding a bike is a way of life. Not a statement. Where it’s a way of existing in this world and moving through it. And of connecting point A to point B to point J, by way of two-wheeled memoir, over and over again.

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Stay tuned for part 3 coming next week. Like what you read? Get in touch with Laura Winberry


The Vanilla Workshop
7 Nights in Beijing: An Essay on Chinese Cyclocross Racing in Seven Edible Parts

Part One - What Did Biggie Say, It Was All a Dream?

Words by Laura Winberry

 All Photos are shot on 35mm film by:

Campbell Steers.

Ian Stowe &

Laura Winberry


Earlier this summer, a sweetheart of a woman from Boulder, CO got in contact with me to see if I’d be interested in joining forces with the ever-awesome Topo Designs and heading to China for some cyclocross racing. I thought about the proposal for less than 3 minutes and said yes. 

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Now in its sixth iteration, I had heard wild tales about the Qiansen Trophy Cup from friends who had attended in years past. I knew that it would be more than just a UCI event showcasing two C1 races. It would be a robust overseas adventure, replete with never-before-experienced foods, sights, smells, sounds, dialects, cultural norms, and, of course, competition. I had also been told how generous and genuine and hospitable the promoters, Yanxing Song and his father, were, and was touched to find a great deal of truth in these whisperings. 

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Come late August, I was Beijing-bound without a clue as to what would transpire on the other side. No, really, I tend to do this. I say yes, and then start moving forward and subsequently realize that there are some very major components missing from the equation. In this case, what I’d be doing once I reached Beijing, whom I should look for at the airport, where I’d even be going from there. These were all factors I… forgot to confirm. Or didn't think worthy of confirming? Still, I had my Chinese Visa and a set of gold bikes. I had three sets of ENVE wheels, a notebook, one of my favorite dresses, one lavender skinsuit, and some snacks. As for everything else, the details would somehow assemble and Beijing would end up revealing itself as the weird lucid dream state I reckoned it would be.       

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For the seven mostly sleepless nights I spent there, Beijing was a sea. Shifting, rising, and catching me off guard. Eddying, swelling, and then finally receding. As a brined, wide-mouthed body of water, Beijing and its culture and its space were not without rhythm. Not without wisdom or undertow. The whole of it kept me wide-eyed and slightly off balance in the most memorable of ways. I’m still awaiting equilibrium. 

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"Beijing was a sea. SHIFTING, rising, and catching me off guard. Eddying, swelling, and then finally receding."


Fast forward to a snapshot of the so-called end. The end where Beijing is a tide rushing out far below, foaming over a memory of my bare calves, sucking itself back into its own dark sea. The end where I am an ant in a metal capsule hurtling towards the same sunset twice. A slurry of solid images from seven nights in Beijing, suspended in the water of my thoughts. 

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Here, from inside the speeding capsule, I watch the small, intimate moments of strangers. I watch them sleep and eat and wake and dream. Their eyes ice skating beneath pliable tissue paper eyelids. I witness the wears of travel on the human species as they unfold in various ways. Looking around, the contents of this plane are a vulnerable concoction of sleep deprivation, time change, hunger, discomfort. A man’s snore gets caught in his throat. A woman curls further into her thin blue airplane blanket. I slip into a kind of blurred half-state, somewhere between that slurry and Portland.    

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Hours earlier, the morning light is punctual and jimmies its way past thick curtains into a dark hotel room. It pecks at my dry closed eyes and I keep them closed. I can still hear Alicia Keys’ high notes and Jay-Z’s low bars from the night before. The night before being only four hours ago. In this dark hotel room shot through with persistent quartz-like light, I refuse to stir from beneath a single starchy sheet on a hard bed. I am quiet and my eyes burn and behind my eyes I am still dancing. I am still sweating and laughing. Singing my intercostals out amongst a small international contingent of awkward cyclists.


And even earlier still, what to me is the sunset of this Beijing summer camp… A roommate leaving in grainy half-light, her dirty-red Chuck Taylors padding across a stained carpet. The weighted click of a heavy hotel room door. A car horn honking with abandon. The half-naked pack of a scattered room into a duffel.

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Stay tuned for part 2 coming next week. Like what you read? Get in touch with Laura Winberry


The Vanilla Workshop
Speedvagen X Maap Australian CX photo recap.

While the Portland cross season is just starting to see some mud. Our Australian Speedvagen x MAAP team wrapped up their season a few weeks back. Garry, Fiona and Jeff then headed to the US for a month of racing including Jingle Cross, Trek CX World Cup, KMC Crossfest in Connecticut, and the US Open of Cyclocross in Boulder, where Garry took the win. 

All photos shot by Jeff Curtes and Andy Rogers


Garry Millburn 


"The last race of the Australia season and for the first time in Australia's history we had a UCI C2 race. It's a monumental step forward for Australian Cyclocross and a testament to the growth of the sport and the hard work our community puts in."

Garry Milllburn 


"In every season there will be some highs and lows, but racing hard and watching my team mates do the same certainly made for a hell of a lot more highs. Travelling, riding and racing with the SV x MAAP crew was always a lot of laughs, good times and even more coffee hangs. We are more than a team, these guys are like my family...and that will never change" 

"Covered in mud and completely exhausted, this is what cross is all about for me"

Fiona Morris


Andy Rogers


"I couldn't have asked for a more stoked bunch of team mates to share the last two cyclocross seasons here in Australia with. Living in different States to the rest of the team always made heading to races that extra bit special, getting to catch up with the team after having not seen them for a few weeks. Mud, grass, heat, freezing rain, huge run ups - the last two years of cyclocross in Australia have had it all and Fiona, Garry and Jeff took it in all in their stride with stoke and a smile on their face. You couldn't ask for a more infectious attitude from your teammates."

"The heat of Queensland paired with the huge run up definitely equated to the hardest race for me of the last two years."

Andy Rogers


Jeff Curtes 


"It’s been great being a part of the ever growing Australian Cyclocross community….since my first race (with a slipped pedal, bloodied face and moment captured by Andy Rogers) down in Brunswick at the legendary Dirty Deeds venue to winning an Australian Master’s National Champ in 2016 in Adelaid,  to my final races here this past August down at Fields of Joy in Melbourne, it’s been an epic few years lining up on my Speedvagen and especially sharing the love and creating the SV x MAAP team over the past two seasons.  It’s been great showing the world that Aus CX is legit and as alive and stoked filled as anywhere in the world…same shit (mud), different continent, always stoked.  I’ll definitely be back for a race or two in the coming years." 

Jeff Curtes


Questions? High fives? Want to share your stoke? Drop us a line at Info@speedvagen.com

The Vanilla WorkshopComment
Operation Hawt OG1
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It's no secret that the crew at The Vanilla Workshop loves that smooth sound of 80's soft rock/yacht rock. Maybe its the use of a synth, or just the nostalgia of growing up with TV shows like Miami Vice. For what ever reason, Hawt Pink has been a part of the Speedvagen design language since the very first Surprise Me. You know what they say... if you love something set it free, if you want to make that thing again, well, you must actually like it quite a bit (i think thats the quote). So here we are ready fire Hawt Pink back up in a limited fashion, called the Operation Hawt OG1.

Here are the FAQs

1. You don't need Eclipse glasses to view it, but sunglasses are recommended. 

2. Distracting your competitors can be an advantage. Our testing indicates Operation Hawt Pink equates to 18 min over a 100 mi ride, but our 1982 Casio T-1500 Walking Dictionary Calculator Watch is stuck in dictionary mode so that figure could be wildly off.

3. Owning a white 1986 Ferrari Testarossa is not mandatory (but if you have one we can borrow for a photo shoot and are in the Portland area hit us up info@speedvagen.com).

4. It is rumored that your collar will automatically pop at 88 mph. 


5. We may or may not have designed this bike around Crockett and Tubs Halloween costumes. 

6. No we haven't checked what they look like under a black light.

7. Yes we have linen cycling kits in the works. 

8. The Enve build package might be the best pricing we will ever offer and its only sticking around for 3 weeks. 

9. A 60cm isn't available, well if a minimum of three of you want them, then we will make it happen. 

10. All of the real info is available here: Speedvagen Operation Hawt


Thank you for being a friend...yeah we just wanted to work a Golden Girls reference in here. If you have any questions shoot us an email any time. info@speedvagen.com 



The Vanilla Workshop
Enve Dream Bike Give Away
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Back in March, our favorite partner and master of all things carbon Enve Composites, announced a contest for a custom dream bike give away. The contest was simple, each person who entered got to vote for their favorite custom frame builder, then one of those voters would be selected at random, and given the option to get a bike from ANY builder on the who’s who list of top frame builders that were at NAHBS or the new Enve HQ grand opening.


Fast forward a few weeks and the eventual winner was announced. Soon after that, we received an email from Enve letting us know we were the winner’s pick. It was a honor to say the least. We reached out to Manny (the winner), and suggested for this to truly be a dream bike we should give him the full Speedvagen experience, including a bike fit here in Portland. When a Speedvagen customer comes to our workshop to get fitted, they get to tour the shop, see our processes, and meet everyone involved in making their bike. We tend to think it's this all encompassing experience and the ride quality that sets our bikes apart from every other brand.

You see, buying a Speedvagen isn't as simple as spending some money and then, "boom", a box arrives with a disassembled bike inside. Thats intentional, our goal isn't to make a million bikes, it's to make a few, truly meaningful bikes for our customers. We guide you through your purchase, we discuss with you which options will give you the best ride. From saddle all the way down to the tires; how the cables get routed, the angle of the hoods/handlebar, and hundreds of other little, but important, details. We talk a lot about balance in design and fit and how for your new bike to perform to the best of its abilities it needs to be more than just a comfortable position. Your position on the bike also affects how the bike performs under you. The harmonious connection between rider and their bike is elusive and it’s also the thing that makes the difference between a good bike and a great bike.

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To get you in this place of balance, first we line up your center of gravity above the bike. This evenly distributes your weight across the contact points, (the saddle and handlebar). The second part happens when we design your bike from the ground up to distribute your weight perfectly onto each wheel — an elusive attribute of bike design and the secret to next level awesomeness.

When they’re balanced, the rider has an intuitive connection with their machine and through that they feel connected to the road. Because the bike is perfectly weighted, you can push harder through corners with more confidence than ever before.

We took Manny through these vital steps to determine the best fit. With that aspect dialed in, it was time to move on to the fun part, the bike build and paint options. Since this was a dream bike give away, Manny went for it. His choice, a SuperLight road frame featuring our lightest tubing, an Enve carbon seat tube, and a feathery Enve 1.0 road fork - a Speedvagen exclusive. The carbon seat tube will soak up shock from the road, offering a weight savings of about 200, depending on frame size, and comes standard on the SuperLight Speedvagen model.

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Given that the entire cycling components world was at his fingertips, Manny picked Kit X (our hand selected component package featuring the best of super light weight, yet durable, components). Following that, he chose a classy Horizon paint scheme featuring our favorites of the 2017 color palette; Slate, Vermillion and Dark Slate. A scheme and palette that will stand the test of time.

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Being that this contest was hosted by Enve, they provided their full offering of products. This included the Enve SES 4.5 rim, bar, stem, computer mount, bottle cages, and our proprietary Enve seat post head.

This is a good time to point out that we have been partnering with Enve Composites since they opened their doors over 10 years ago. Not only do they make the best carbon products on the market, they stand behind what they do and take great care of their customers.

Other special features on this bike are the Quarq power meter and CeramicSpeed full suite. The final detail was a custom leather work by Mick Peel of Busyman for the bar wrap and saddle.

The bike was then packed on our shipping Sled. A packing method that we designed and developed in house. Seldom scene, but one of the final touches we are super proud of. Simply pop on the bar/stem, front wheel, and saddle/seatpost head, then adjust the headset, the bike arrives fully tuned and ready to rip. 


The Full Build:

  • Frameset: Speedvagen Super Light Road, with Enve carbon seat tube and Enve 1.0 fork 
  • Seat Post Head: Enve painted to match
  • Stem: Enve painted to match
  • Handlebars: Enve
  • Groupset: Sram Red eTap 
  • Brakes EEbrakes
  • Wheelset: Enve SES 4.5 w/  Painted to match Extralight Cyber F/R Hubs
  • Tires: Schawlbe One 
  • Headset: Extralight UltraTop
  • Bottom Bracket: CeramicSpeed
  • Pulleye Wheels CeramicSpeed
  • Saddle: Fabric Scoop with Custom Busyman leather work.
  • Bar Tape: Custom Busyman leather work.
  • Bottle Cages: Enve Carbon
  • Computer Mount: Enve
  • Skewers: Speedvagen Carbon (yeah, we haven't announced these yet)
  • Frame Pump: Silca Impero Ultimate

Want to build your own dream bike? Reach out to us, we can make it happen! info@speedvagen.com

The Vanilla Workshop
Speedvagen Duffle Bags Restock

We now have more Speedvagen Duffle bags in stock ready to ship! Just in time for your fall / holiday adventures. We love traveling with these bags on fit tour, its why we wanted to bring them into the world in the first place. They are heavy duty, utilitarian bags with a touch of #Speedvagen style. Simply load them up and toss them in the overhead or check them. They will be just fine on the other end. 

If you need a quick refresher we have three sizes starting with the Nooner Dopp Kit, perfect . The middle size is our weekender, and the Long-Hauler is the biggest option with board straps below.  

The Vanilla Workshop
2017 Speedvagen Road Disc - Overt

It's hard to not talk about paint with this bike, so lets get that out of the way first. This is a new 2017 Overt in a color palette used for the first time. The Overt is our most most intricate paint job, it requires sharp lines, and a custom layout every time we do one since each bike we do is custom, because of that the text pattern will never lay out the same way. Though we are committed to putting out great looking bikes, thats never what its about. The real beauty in in the ride. This is something we have come to realize as a team, more and more over the last year. We want out bikes ridden hard, really hard. Sweat on it, take paths that you probably shouldn't, get it dirty, muddy, and gross. Push your own limits and by all means scratch it! And when you do, we'll be here celebrating with you. This is nothing new in our beliefs, sometimes I think we just forget we have new people looking at our work everyday, so being a little more clear about our expectations from those who purchase our bikes can't hurt. 


2017 Speedvagen Road Disc Overt with Enve 2.0 Fork

  • Groupset: Shimano 9150 Dura-Ace Di2
  • Wheelset: Enve SES 3.4 w/ DT Swiss 240 hubs
  • Tires: Schwalbe Pro One
  • Headset: Chris King
  • Handlebars: Painted to match Pro bar/stem
  • Bar Tape: Fizik Superlight Microtext 
  • Stem: Enve painted to match
  • Seat Post Head: Enve painted to match
  • Saddle: Fizik Arione 00
  • Bottom Bracket: Kogel 
  • Skewers: Enve Ti
  • Frame Pump: Silca Impero Ultimate
  • Power Meter: Pioneer

Pricing for similar builds can be found in our guide book, check it out!

Custom Speedvagen Track

You may remember this custom Overt Speedvagen Road from a few months back. As it turns out, the owner had a second bike idea in the works while we were working on this one. This time around he approached us with the idea of a custom track bike. Something we haven't made since 2011. Wanting to stick with a "matching" but distinctly different Overt paint scheme, the plan was set in motion. 


Never a company to shy away from a challenge, this bike is everything that Speedvagen as a brand stands for. Striping away all that is un-need and innovating what is left.  The build started out knowing we would use our signature stainless Vanilla track dropouts. We then braze on a brass plate to give superb gripping power to the track axle nuts. A tapered head tube allowed us to forgo using an external King headset cup, keeping the front end sleek and minimal. 

The bar-stem combo may be the icing on this unicorn themed cake. We used an Enve Composites bar paired with a built in house steel stem that also integrates with the Chris King bearing cap. The bars and stem were then carbon wrapped together giving a near seamless transition from bar to stem to head tube. 



Speedvagen Overt Custom Track Machine. 

Slate, Gold, Vermillion, Army

  • Frameset: Custom Speedvagen track featuring polished stainless Vanilla track drop outs and tapered head tube. 
  • Seat Post Head: Enve Composites
  • Crank: Sugino 75
  • Chain: CeramicSpeed UFO track chain
  • Cog: EAI Gold Medal Pro 14t
  • Wheelset: Enve SES 7.8 w/  Phil Wood track hubs
  • Tires: Continental Sonderklasse II
  • Headset: Chris King
  • Handlebars: Enve carbon wrapped to custom steel stem
  • Saddle: Fizik Arione 00

The only question left is if we did a batch of Ready Made Track Machines, would you pull the trigger? Shoot an email to info@speedvagen.com and we will keep you up to date if or when this might happen.