Thursday, 3 March 2011

Vanilla bicycles: worth the wait

For some, the steel framed cycle is fast disappearing down the cycle track of time, usurped first by aluminium, then carbon and more recently titanium.

Steel stood its ground for decades before the march of technology finally caught up with it, but there are those for whom a steel frame remains the ultimate in cycle technology. Steel invokes a certain romance, harking back to days when cycles were built by man rather than machine and were possessed of a certain individual beauty.

Buying a steel-framed cycle these days is akin to ordering a custom-built car. With mass-production the norm, hand-welded lugs come at a premium.

But just look what a bit of patience and saving up can reward you with. This is the Vanilla Sacha, built to order in Portland, Oregon, with fully customisable colour schemes and a five-year waiting list.

The steel tubing Vanilla uses is imported from Columbus, Dedacciai, and True Temper and is more than twice the strength of something like Reynolds 531, allowing Vanilla to produce bikes which are very light and very strong. Lugs and tubes are bonded with silver to make sure the matrix of the steel is unchanged and the strength retained.

All of a sudden that five-year waiting list seems like no time at all.

If you can't wait that long, you could try Speedvagen, who work alongside Vanilla and can churn out bikes a bit quicker.

Thanks to A Time To Get for the inspiration.

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1 comment:

  1. Very nice but having ridden a steel vs titanium - the acceleration on my True Temper 3.25 + OCLV 110 Lemond Victoire is unbelievable.
    Like the classic frame geo of the Vanilla's though. Also Waterfords and Richard Sachs are worth looking at. The only frame I would really covert is a Seven built by Rob Vandermark. Or Spectrum built by Tom Kellogg (previously Merlin cycles) or even go to Dario Pegoretti (ex Colnago?) with master paint job.