Speedvagen experiences and custom advice

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
wintershade
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:12 pm

by wintershade

Hi all -- Two questions:

1) I'd like to hear from folks who have built/owned a Speedvagen. How was your experience and what do you think about the bike? What exceeded or underperfmed expectations? Would you do it again?

2) After a long hiatus due to injury, I'm looking to build a new custom bike. I had a custom Ti Engima SR12 in the works, but the builder has gone MIA after taking my deposit and has been unreachable for months, so I think I'm back at square one. Maybe he got hit by a bus, or maybe he just got sick of my changing my mind about what I wanted. Who knows... I am first and foremost a long-course triathlete, but I love bikes and want a road bike for group rides, Gran Fondos, Haute Route, etc.

Option A) Keep riding my Canyon Ultimate SLX for the next year or so, as my body continues to adapt and I learn more about what I'd want from a custom bike, assuming I need one at all. It's a hair too small resulting in a too-long 130mm stem (which negatively impacts handling) or a 120 (which feels cramped). Nothing is really massively wrong with the bike -- it also just doesn't seem "special" enough being "off-the-rack"
Option B) Speedvagen
Option C) Maybe revisit custom Ti from Enigma or others (I have had Ti bikes in the past and loved it), but feeling kinda burned by that experience right now.
Option D) Going with something semi-custom (for full custom carbon) and a little more exotic than the Canyon, a Colnago C64 is top contender.

morganb
Posts: 577
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:30 pm

by morganb

I wouldn't get a custom bike straight from injury. I couldn't ride for two years due to health problems and my fit when I just started riding again versus my fit now are dramatically different.

by Weenie


Mr.Gib
Posts: 3174
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:12 pm
Location: eh?

by Mr.Gib

Assuming the frame size is appropriate, a 130 stem won't negatively impact handling. Longer stem tend to stabilize steering and not much else.
wheelsONfire wrote: When we ride disc brakes the whole deal of braking is just like a leaving a fart. It happens and then it's over. Nothing planned and nothing to get nervous for.

wintershade
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:12 pm

by wintershade

morganb wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:30 pm
I wouldn't get a custom bike straight from injury. I couldn't ride for two years due to health problems and my fit when I just started riding again versus my fit now are dramatically different.
I probably should clarify, I'm not straight from injury. I've been back in the saddle for about a year and am reasonably fit at the moment -- doing a 75 mile / 7K gran fondo this Sat and Ironman Canada in July. At 200 watt FTP / 70kg, I'm nowhere near my peak fitness from 10 years ago (3.5+ watt/kg FTP), but cranking out 10-15 hour training weeks for last 6 months, feeling strong, good flexibility, etc.

I think the bigger question, really, is 1) I'm about to have my first kid this winter, and 2) I'm not 100% sure what kind of racing I'll ultimately settle into. Ironman will be tough with newborn as will multi-day stage races, which is where my heart is. So there is a question of priorities for the next dream bike.

wintershade
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:12 pm

by wintershade

Mr.Gib wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:33 am
Assuming the frame size is appropriate, a 130 stem won't negatively impact handling. Longer stem tend to stabilize steering and not much else.
I think I'm between sizes and sized down. I find the 130 stem makes my weight feel too far forward (found myself choking back on the hoods so hands were halfway between hoods and bar tops), and make the steering a bit slow / requiring larger inputs that I like.... But I'm coming to road bikes from years on a TT bike, which handled like a squirrell on crystal meth.

DJT21
Posts: 209
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:35 pm

by DJT21

Enigma are a UK based company http://www.enigmabikes.com/

I'd get in touch with them, they should sort it out.

Presumably you paid a deposit to their US rep? He was very active on thepaceline forum, pushing the company, but I've not seen him post for a few months now. Wonder what happened?

wintershade
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:12 pm

by wintershade

DJT21 wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:44 pm
Enigma are a UK based company http://www.enigmabikes.com/

I'd get in touch with them, they should sort it out.

Presumably you paid a deposit to their US rep? He was very active on thepaceline forum, pushing the company, but I've not seen him post for a few months now. Wonder what happened?
Interesting. What is the handle of the US rep on paceline? I placed my order with a bike shop owner / builder who was working with the US rep. I paid the builder.

Update on my end:
1) My builder finally got back to me today. I'm mostly just glad to hear from him, because I was kind of worried about him (he's had some health issues) and I've know him a long time. Apparently my frame is in his workshop and he's just waiting for a few parts to complete the build. So... I'll get my Enigma. In his defense, it sounds like Enigma has been a real PITA to work with missing deadlines and stuff, though he took responsiblity for not getting back to me sooner, which I apprecaite.
2) Speedvagen -- Before scheduling a fit, I priced out a build. It's really kind of insane what they're charging. I get it, the level of craftsmanship especially paint/finishing seems high and I'm willing to pay through the nose for unmatch quality in other areas of my life (such as for my A. Lange Sohne watch, for example). But I'm not ready to drop that kind of coin with out knowing exactly what I wanted (which I clearly don't, at the moment) and without hearing from more people who ride them.
3) Still might sell the Canyon Ultimate for a C64 at some point. I just lust for something more refined -- handpainted, handmade, etc. -- and have a soft spot for Italian bikes. Maybe once SR 12 EPS and Bora Ultra 2WF are released.

All that said, I would be interested in hearing from people who ride a Speedwagen, for a future purchase. Maybe I'll get one next time they're in Bay Area for a tour and I know what I want.

Robbyville
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:12 am

by Robbyville

I had been lusting for a Speedvagen for over 4 years and finally was in a position to pull the trigger this past November. My original intent was to purchase just the frame fork, bar/stem and seat post topper and then port all my parts over from my previous bike (I'm a one bike guy). In the end I got some good deals on parts and sold my previous bike as a complete and then built the Speedvagen on my own. Of course, they are no longer selling only framesets, just complete bikes and limited to about 111 of them (while maintaining prices flat and even lowered the prices on groups which is pretty cool).

I flew into Portland for my fitting with Sasha. All my arrangements for the shop tour and fitting were made by Jenn who is their front end/customer experience / designer / manager. They all wear a few hats it seems. My experience was absolutely fantastic from start to finish. My fitting with Sasha took about 3 hours including conversation during the fitting. It was very cool, different from previous fittings I had done, most probably due to them building the bike around you vs. getting the bike to fit you. As an example, I'm only 5'7 and really was hoping to limit the amount of sloping top tube. Sasha was able to build the bike with the fit I wanted (granted more aggressive than what I had previously coming off of a Trek Domane) and kept the top tube at a barely noticeable 3 degrees. While there I also bought a jersey, socks, etc. The shop tour was really cool in that I got to meet everyone involved with their builds. They have a total staff of around 12 I think. I learned a ton.

I placed my deposit in the middle of November, did the fitting at the end of November and my frame was delivered the first week of February. I think it takes roughly 12 weeks once you sign off on your final paint and design/group and upgrades. Overall it was a fantastic experience.

The bike itself has surpassed all my expectations, but, would I say any differently after spending that kind of coin, not exactly sure :)

It had been quite a long time since I rode steel, I also have the carbon seat tube and carbon seat post topper. The first time I stood on the pedals and climbed I was incredibly surprised at how stiff the bottom bracket was, mostly because it's such a small (ok traditional) shell size and most of us are so used to these massive carbon BB shells. At any rate, the ride quality is truly outstanding. I'm very comfortable on it for long days in the saddle, but to be fair I haven't done more than 75 miles on it at one ride yet. Normally I do at least 4 centuries a year, I don't think I'll have any problems with it on the vagen.

I guess I can't really give any "cons" since I haven't had any. Maybe the only thing was that I felt guilty putting some chinese carbon wheels on it so I'm mostly still using my Easton alloys lol. I also seem to be spending more on it than before in that I want to keep it equipped with the best, not necessarily the smartest. As an example, I for some reason decided that the Busyman leather bar wrap with accents to match my frame would be a good purchase at $185 (This wrap better last a really really long time)! I should have that in my hands within the next two weeks.

Was it worth the money? For me it was. I really wanted a custom bike that I could control every part of, paint, etc. and as mentioned I had wanted a Speedvagen for a very long time. In the end it came out fully built to not much more that a comparably equipped Pinarello F10 would have been. for a bike made for me, that's worth it. I ride it about 5 days per week and is my only road bike. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Some other great custom bike companies out there. I hear a lot about Firefly, Baum, etc. I'm sure they all do a great job. Speedvagen/Vanilla got me with the amount of effort and labor they put into each bike. Assuming that the marketing speak is real they spend almost 45 hours on every bike
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Robbyville
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:12 am

by Robbyville

Um, did you say Bay area? You know that they're at some place called Taylor Stitch for a fitting tour tomorrow in the Bay area Valencia - Mission location wherever that is. You should go just to visit!

DJT21
Posts: 209
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 7:35 pm

by DJT21

wintershade wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:11 am


Update on my end:
1) My builder finally got back to me today. I'm mostly just glad to hear from him, because I was kind of worried about him (he's had some health issues) and I've know him a long time. Apparently my frame is in his workshop and he's just waiting for a few parts to complete the build. So... I'll get my Enigma. In his defense, it sounds like Enigma has been a real PITA to work with missing deadlines and stuff, though he took responsiblity for not getting back to me sooner, which I apprecaite.
2) Speedvagen -- Before scheduling a fit, I priced out a build. It's really kind of insane what they're charging. I get it, the level of craftsmanship especially paint/finishing seems high and I'm willing to pay through the nose for unmatch quality in other areas of my life (such as for my A. Lange Sohne watch, for example). But I'm not ready to drop that kind of coin with out knowing exactly what I wanted (which I clearly don't, at the moment) and without hearing from more people who ride them.
3) Still might sell the Canyon Ultimate for a C64 at some point. I just lust for something more refined -- handpainted, handmade, etc. -- and have a soft spot for Italian bikes. Maybe once SR 12 EPS and Bora Ultra 2WF are released.

All that said, I would be interested in hearing from people who ride a Speedwagen, for a future purchase. Maybe I'll get one next time they're in Bay Area for a tour and I know what I want.
Glad to hear your Enigma is sorted!

As for Speedvagen, they are well marketed and seem to be a middle aged dentist's wet dream. Obviously they're nice bikes, but you need to buy into the rhetoric and become part of the Speedvagen family, then the price doesn't matter.!If you want something finely crafted then Llewllyn must surely be worth a look https://www.flickr.com/photos/llewellyn ... les/albums

Robbyville
Posts: 33
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:12 am

by Robbyville

I’ll look at those llewllyn’s but FWIW I’m no dentist, just your average F&B hospitality type!

KWalker
Posts: 5892
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:30 pm
Location: Bay Area

by KWalker

Dude you shouldn't be buying custom. 1cm stem length should not dramatically alter handling nor should you be "choking up". Who did your fit? My guess is it is sub-optimal and you're hoping for Sasha to solve it for you, which he may or may not do and then paying out the ass for a bike you may or may not need. The problem is that you will have confirmation bias if he does solve the problem and if you drop that much coin on a bike. Plus with a kid coming along and a good, modern bike in the stable I'd want to completely exhaust the fit option before I went custom especially a custom that is a bit overpriced and (especially if you search here or Paceline) has had a noticeable decline in finishing quality the past few years.
Don't take me too seriously. The only person that doesn't hate Froome.
Gramz
Failed Custom Bike

wintershade
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:12 pm

by wintershade

Robbyville wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:24 am
Um, did you say Bay area? You know that they're at some place called Taylor Stitch for a fitting tour tomorrow in the Bay area Valencia - Mission location wherever that is. You should go just to visit!
Thanks Robbyville, for the detailed post of your experience. Super super helpful, and sounds absolutely fantastic. I did notice they were in the Bay Area, which is what prompted the post. I was fed up with my Enigma experience and going to spring for the SV rather impulsively, as I love the paintwork so. They only had a couple time slots left which wouldn't work for me. But that said, I think I'd rather just take a trip to visit them in Portland and get the full experience. At the SV price, you're buying more than a bike -- it's an experience, and I want the full one.

One question I had was during the fit process -- did they have you riding one of those cool "bikes" where they can alter every aspect of geometry in real time? Something like this? http://www.gurucycling.com/wp-content/t ... tep2-1.jpg
I ask because the one thing I found somewhat unsatisfactory about my Enigma fitting experience was the builder basicly just took my measurement, asked me some questions, put me on a stock bike that was my "off the rack" size with an adjustable stem to make some refinements, and that was it. Seems like to really dial things in perfectly you'd need more tech then that, but I could be wrong...

wintershade
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 7:12 pm

by wintershade

KWalker wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 10:53 pm
Dude you shouldn't be buying custom. 1cm stem length should not dramatically alter handling nor should you be "choking up". Who did your fit? My guess is it is sub-optimal and you're hoping for Sasha to solve it for you, which he may or may not do and then paying out the ass for a bike you may or may not need. The problem is that you will have confirmation bias if he does solve the problem and if you drop that much coin on a bike. Plus with a kid coming along and a good, modern bike in the stable I'd want to completely exhaust the fit option before I went custom especially a custom that is a bit overpriced and (especially if you search here or Paceline) has had a noticeable decline in finishing quality the past few years.
I got fitted by 3D Bike Fit in San Francisco. They're a well-regarded outfit with Retul and 3D video capture. They swapped my stem from 10cm to 13cm (which I felt like ABSOLUTELY changed the bike's handling and my weight balance over the wheels), and I've since moved it back to a 12cm stem, which feels pretty good, but not perfect, but not as perfect as my custom steel fixie pathracer that the same builder (who is making my Enigma) made for me 10 years ago.

It's entirely possible I don't need a custom geo. I guess we all like to thing we're special. But without knowing my inseam, torso length, and windspan how can you be so sure? :-P

Anyways -- I'm getting my Enigma, which is will be built to an endurance/race geo. We'll see if the Ultimate is redundant or worth keeping, and once my life is transformed post-kids I'll figure out what (if anything) is next. Perhaps the Enigma will be the only bike I need, which was the original intention. But I woudl like to continue to hear from SV owners -- feel free to PM me if you'd rather not share something publicly.

tabl10s
Posts: 263
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:40 am

by tabl10s

wintershade wrote:
Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:02 pm
Hi all -- Two questions:

1) I'd like to hear from folks who have built/owned a Speedvagen. How was your experience and what do you think about the bike? What exceeded or underperfmed expectations? Would you do it again?

2) After a long hiatus due to injury, I'm looking to build a new custom bike. I had a custom Ti Engima SR12 in the works, but the builder has gone MIA after taking my deposit and has been unreachable for months, so I think I'm back at square one. Maybe he got hit by a bus, or maybe he just got sick of my changing my mind about what I wanted. Who knows... I am first and foremost a long-course triathlete, but I love bikes and want a road bike for group rides, Gran Fondos, Haute Route, etc.

Option A) Keep riding my Canyon Ultimate SLX for the next year or so, as my body continues to adapt and I learn more about what I'd want from a custom bike, assuming I need one at all. It's a hair too small resulting in a too-long 130mm stem (which negatively impacts handling) or a 120 (which feels cramped). Nothing is really massively wrong with the bike -- it also just doesn't seem "special" enough being "off-the-rack"
Option B) Speedvagen
Option C) Maybe revisit custom Ti from Enigma or others (I have had Ti bikes in the past and loved it), but feeling kinda burned by that experience right now.
Option D) Going with something semi-custom (for full custom carbon) and a little more exotic than the Canyon, a Colnago C64 is top contender.
Here's a used one that's pretty :

https://www.theproscloset.com/collectio ... -bike-2016
2016 Orbea Orca OMR:

15.2lbs/6.89kg.

2013 Wilier Zero.7:

13.04lbs/5.91kg.

2016 Rca:

11.13lbs/5.048kg(trying to get to 10lbs without tubs).

2015 Pinarello F8(build in-process).

by Weenie


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