You don’t need a custom road bike. You customize your car and purchase custom ski boots, custom suits — even custom insoles. Why not take control of every detail that makes up a bike? “That’s just for the pros!” you exclaim. Not so; a custom-built bicycle is fair game for the everyman. Content with your mass-produced stock bike? No issues there, but give yourself a minute and let your eyes and mind move idly over images that demonstrate what a custom bike is; what a custom bike means.
The Vanilla Workshop in Portland, Oregon specializes in maxing-out each of its customized Speedvagen bicycles with a keen attention to detail that spares no weld or accessory. Pictured here is the just-announced Speedvagen 650b Rugged Road, a light and fast road bike built to go everywhere. The Rugged Road is streamlined, but it isn’t a thoroughbred — The Vanilla Workshop designed it for those who will ride the occasional half-century but are more likely to ride to the store and back or weave through traffic on the way to the beach. It’s less about what the bike can do — which isn’t unimpressive — and more about the ride itself. It doesn’t hurt to throw in a frame pump and fenders to match though.
The Rugged Road is a perfect example of a custom bike that’s designed for the anti-pro. Someone who doesn’t strive to hit a new FKT on every ride — or even know what that acronym signifies — but instead does it for the feel of the wind, the connection with the pavement and the unique, one-of-a-kind paint job.