Tina Brubaker now has another thing to smile about © Josh Liberles
by Josh Liberles
In the wise words of Zero Mostel in the original version (of course) of The Producers, “When you’ve got it, flaunt it, baby, flaunt it!” And that’s exactly what Oregon racer Tina Brubaker and framebuilder Sacha White decided to do with the new Di2 Speedvagen prototype, a golden steel frame with custom carbon accoutrements provided by Enve (formerly Edge) to Speedvagen’s specs.
Speedvagen is an offshoot of White’s fully custom Vanilla Bicycles brand, created with the intention of providing full-bore steel race machines. Although custom Speedvagens are available for an upcharge, there are also stock sizes, and therefore a lot more of these are available than their Vanilla cousins.
I first caught a glimpse of Brubaker’s new ride at its grand unveiling at the Alpenrose Cross Crusade – the build had only been completed hours before. By the time we tracked down Brubaker, the previously pristine bike was dust and sweat covered for our impromptu photo shoot – just the way we like it.
Internal shift cable routing © Josh Liberles
The bike certainly falls under the “prototype” category – it’s White’s first attempt at internal routing of the Di2 electronic shifting system. And while production Speedvagens are typically Tig-welded by Mike DeSalvo of DeSalvo Cycles, since this was a one-off, White used his preferred fillet brazing technique.
All of the shift cables are routed through the tubes; according to White, the holes drilled into the frame are reinforced with stainless steel rings around the holes, forming a gusset. You only end up seeing about 1cm of the front derailleur cable, for example. White strives for a clean and smart design – something that’s both user friendly and easy for mechanics to service.
White looks forward to creating more production Di2-specific Speedvagen road and cyclocross bikes for 2011, and already has some interesting ideas for how to improve on his current design. “It’d be rad to encase the (Di2) battery rather than to bolt it on,” White said. “That’d both conceal and help to protect it.”
It might be a beauty, but it's made to race. Shown here at Heiser Farms © Matt Haughey
The integrated seat mast and adjustable seat post head is another head turner. The custom carbon seat post head is made by Enve to Speedvagen’s specs and allows for about 1″ of adjustment. Enve is also working with Speedvagen on a proprietary stem that integrates the front brake hanger, something Speedvagen is looking to do as a production run. “This will help to get the stem as low as possible with the head tube still at a decent length. A typical hanger basically creates a 1cm spacer; getting rid of that is an advantage to smaller riders like Tina.”
See more photos in the Gallery below.
Specs: Frames use a mix of custom steel tubes made specifically for Speedvagen by Columbus and True Temper. Forks are provided by Enve.
Weight: Speedvagen cyclocross frames weigh in at between 3 and 3.5 pounds – and that includes the seat mast and seat post head.
Price: MSRP for frame, fork and seatpost assembly is $3300 for stock geometry, $3800 for custom.
Colors: Each year the frameset is available in three known color options as well as one “Surprise Me” color scheme. This year that option is the gold shown here. Surprise!
More info: Speedvagen’s website.