Portland’s framebuilder scene has changed a lot since its heyday more than a decade ago. At one point it felt like a new builder would arrive on the scene every month. Builders were the toast of the town and were invited to display their creations everywhere from City Hall to City Club and even the Portland Airport.
The boom has passed and the number of local framebuilders has shrunk back to just a handful. The builders that remain are mostly the ones that seemed to have always been here. Sacha White is one of them.
White’s Vanilla Bicycles were some of the most coveted bicycles on the planet. “What Tiffany is to pearls, Sacha White is to bicycle frames,” was how he was introduced to a group of business leaders at an event in 2007. Now known as The Vanilla Workshop, a collaborative approach to business White launched in 2015, he and his team of bicycle artisans continue to set standards in the industry.
The Vanilla Workshop’s Richard Pool recently got in touch to share their latest “Ready Made” offering from the Speedvagen family. White stopped making only one-off, custom bikes long ago. Like other builders, he realized it’s impossible to scale-up and get more of your bikes on the road when you make everything by yourself with your own two hands. White found a niche doing small-batch builds. Vanilla’s Ready Made bikes are semi-custom. They start with a stock geometry and design and build a run of sizes. Customers can then choose a parts kit, paint and which braze-ons (attachment points for racks, pump, bottles, fenders) they’d like.
Their latest Speedvagen Ready Made model is the Disc OG. Here’s more from the company:
“The Speedvagen Disc OG is presented without preciousness. There are no frills, the Disc OG is a dedicated hand crafted tool for road riding and racing. It’s a workhorse. Following our Speedvagen method of stripping away all that isn’t necessary we landed on a bike that is ready to rip and easy to work on, or upgrade later. The frame design uses our own Speedvagen tubing, signature seat mast, hour glass seat stays, head tube and race ready stock geometry, perfect for long days in the saddle or sprints to the line.”
The bike comes with a standard build kit that can be upgraded and customized to your wishes. The base price for a complete bike is $5995 and it takes $500 to reserve one. Wait time is just 2-3 months, a relative blink of the eye compared to the 3-4 year wait back in Vanilla’s custom days.
More details on their website.
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(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
I’ve been gathering news tidbits about local bike companies for several weeks now and since today is National Manufacturing Day, I decided it was time to put it all together into a roundup.
So get comfortable and read the latest news about Portland’s always-changing bike-related industry…
One of the perks of living in a great bike town is great bike shopping. This weekend you’ve got two opportunities to find major scores from two very cool bike companies: The Vanilla Workshop and Vespertine.
Vanilla needs no introduction. This is the brand developed by southeast Portlander Sacha White and it includes his world-famous Vanilla Bicycles, his Speedvagen production line of cyclocross and road bikes, and the various other art, fashion and other design collaborations housed under the Vanilla Workshop banner.
This Saturday, White and his talented crew will throw open the doors of their shop at SE 17th and Powell for a “Garage Sale” that is sure to be full of brag-worthy, hard-to-find items at great prices. The event flyer promises deals on products from Edge, Phil Wood, Chris King Precision Components, Fizik, Shimano, Campy, Vanilla team kit, and much more.
Everyone in the handmade bike industry must wonder where framebuilding phenom Sacha White gets the inspiration for his always impressive bicycles.
Judging from his famous tricycle that won Best of Show at the 2006 NAHBS (and is currently in a museum exhibit in San Francisco), and the poster he unveiled last year, my guess is that the answer lies very close to home — his two young daugthers Cybelle and Delilah.[Read more…]
the 2006 Made in Portland
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)
According to an article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, the exhibit, “New West Coast Design: Contemporary Objects,” will feature 60 items from 40 West Coast artists.
The article says the exhibit, “will shine a deserved spotlight on West Coast designers who might otherwise be ignored in an international setting where the name brand is king.”[Read more…]
For small, independent framebuilders, each bike that rolls out of the shop takes months to create. From getting to know the customer and purchasing and prepping the frame tubes, to welding and laboring over all the details.
Then, at the end of that process, the frames are usually boxed up and shipped out to one of a handful of painters nationwide that are capable of delivering a reliable and high-quality paint job.
Unfortunately that last step is often one of stress and frustration for both the builder and the customer — who has likely been waiting months or even years for their frame. Frames sometimes don’t get painted within agreed upon timeframes and often, even when they do, the quality of the paint does not live up to the standards of the builder.[Read more…]
Photo: Marko Muellner
Last Christmas, Marko Muellner’s wife bought him a 10-week course in documentary filmmaking.
Long before that, he was walking down NE Alberta Street when a locked-up bike caught his eye,
“When I started to look more closely I was amazed, it was beautiful, and the details were really really interesting.”