Bespoke Builds - Speedvagen CX Disc

By: Brandon Feb 23

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On a recent trip to Portland I was the lucky recipient of a guided tour of the Vanilla "factory" that produces these amazing Speedvagen machines. Unfortunately I was not taking delivery of one for myself, but I was fortunate enough to shoot this one, one of the first disc-brake-equipped Speedvagen CX bikes to come out of the factory.

Sometime in the future I'll elaborate on the adoption of disc brakes to Speedvagen as explained to me by Sacha White himself, but until then, suffice it to say the decision wasn't easy. Sacha had no desire to slap on a caliper mount and call it good, and by the final result I think we can all agree he has maintained the Speedvagen aesthetic.

Rather than going on and on about my love for these bikes I'll just dole out some specs. This example is running Shimano's Di2, a mix of Ultegra and Dura-Ace. Wheels are ENVE SES 3.4 disc to Chris King R45d hubs. Cockpit is also all ENVE, with a painted-to-match stem. Speaking of paint, this is the Ghost theme in Matte Army Green.

Enjoy staring at this bike. The vast majority of us will not only never be able to afford one, but may not even see one in person.

photos and words by Brandon Elliott


Bespoke Builds - Josh Kelly's Cielo Cross Racer

By: Brandon Jan 11

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We don't cover race bikes too often. Sure, we shot Sven's, Katie's, and Jeremy's bikes in Vegas this year, but that's mostly it.

Here's the thing: Josh's bike isn't just another bike. You see, we love handmade frames. That's of course going to come as no surprise, we know this. But when you combine a factory-backed racer who is damn fast, along with an impeccably-built frame from one of the best machine shops in the country you really do end up with something special.

This isn't to say I am ignoring my bias. I have owned multiple Cielo framesets, but I can say comfortably that the builders in Portland know exactly what they are doing with these frames. Chris King was in the frame business before he was in the headset/hub/bottom bracket business.

I'm not sure what this world has come to for me to say "this is a pretty straightforward build" when it's a handmade frame, ENVE fork, Thomson cockpit, Reynolds carbon wheels, Shimano Di2, and King bits everywhere, but really, it's all off-of-the-shelf stuff. Top shelf, yes, but nothing you couldn't build with the right checkbook from just about any shop in the country.

The major difference of course between you or I building this and Josh's bike is hte rider. Josh took a number of OBRA wins and almost countless podiums this year. So while it may not be about the bike, Josh certainly is winning with some incredible style.

photos and words by Brandon Elliott


Bespoke Builds - Field Cycles Road

By: Brandon Dec 12

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Field Cycles may not be a household name in the US, but that clearly isn't for good reason. Founded by Harry Harrison, he told me a little story about where Field came from:

I set Field up about five years ago and build the frames and generally keep things moving then my pal from Art college John Burke paints the frames and Tom Smith does the design and photography. We work really well together each completely focusing at their own bit of the puzzle and pushing for the most beautiful bike we can possibly make!

I started to build frames because I love cycling, I love making things and it just sort of joined up in my shed one day - I knew I would never be able to justify spending a fortune on a bike so I thought I had better make one if I want one, I have always looked at beautiful things with a view to making them rather than owning them!

It's a simple thought I think many of us have had, but clearly some of us (Harry and his team) are better at actually completing the vision.

Without getting all wound up in stories, I can't help but to want to learn more about Field as we stay in touch with them and get photos of more of their builds. My hope is to one day that they get a larger presence in the US so we can see these things in person.

Thank you to Harry and the rest of the Field Cycles crew, and here's to hoping a lot more of their bikes make their way into our pages.

photos by Tom Smith and words by Brandon Elliott


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