Towards the end of the 2015 Speedvagen Fit tour I managed to align the stars – literally.
In my mind, two brands in the custom bicycle, scratch that – amazing machine market that have stood above all others for the past decade are Baum Cycles and The Vanilla Workshop. Though their styles or shall we saw ‘genres’ are different, they share more commonalities than differences once you look past the riffs, curves and paint. Masters of their craft, inspired by precision, passion, and a drive to create great bikes.
This is why I was really excited at the prospect of two leaders of the handcrafted industry in the same room at the same time. Reluctant legends that shy from the spotlight in favour of ‘making’ I had no idea if they’d be open to the idea. Would they bang heads, try to out flex the other, or being willing to divulge details of how they make their own blend of magic. Only a phone call would give me an inkling and after speaking with Darren – he said he’d be really happy to show Sacha around. Sacha was equally keen to meet the man behind Baum Cycles and the stage was set.
What was obvious was both of these peers have massive respect for the other, and not in the competitive manner you might expect from what many may assume to be competing products.
Short of looking in the sock drawer, Darren gave an in depth tour of the site, their processes, paint shop and was an open book. Similarly Sacha was keen to share stories of success, failure and learnings as both are of the opinion a stronger industry is a better industry to be a part of.
Favourites from both stables of mine are these.
Speedvagen RD with 2015 Surprise Me! paint. Di2 and Enve.
BAUM Coretto – Motorola colourway – Campagnolo Record
Both brands have led the way with paint. Not only paint on frames, but components, and selection of palettes and designs. Both BAUM and Speedvagen bicycles have close to 20 hours of paint labour dedicated to them alone and if you’ve got an hour up your own sleeve, the links above will take your to their respective flickr galleries.
Things got really interesting when the subject of fishing came up.
I often get asked what I’d prefer – a Baum or a Speedvagen? My answer has and will continue to be – BOTH.
The landscape of the industry would not be what it is if not for these two, who both tread their own path, and in doing so create one for many others to follow. Massive thanks to both of them for taking a day out of their lives and letting me be a mere fly on the wall.