Rodeo was in Oregon for a weekend of racing at the Gorge Roubaix series, and we were the invite to stop by The Vanilla Workshop to take a tour of one of the finest hand built bike manufacturers that we know of. Rodeo co-founder Peder Horner has a Vanilla touring bike in-production at the shop, and it was a great excuse to check in and see how one of these beautiful bikes comes together. Most of the Vanilla crew was out to lunch, so we had the place mostly to ourselves while Tom Rousculp showed us around the facility. Thanks Tom! We brought the camera along so that we could share the experience of what lies beyond this unassuming door. Willy Wonka style.

IMG_2428 This is the stand where Sacha White does most of his work. Both Vanilla and Speedvagens are entirely hand built works of art, built for the long haul, so it isn’t uncommon for a bike to be well loved and later sent back to the workshop for repairs, repaints, or modifications. Steel is nice like that, and unlike most modern frames these are not disposable.  On this particular frame the brake bosses have been removed, which left me wondering if it would end up as a fixed gear or perhaps a disc brake frame.

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Hand tools for handmade bikes. The scale of each effort that goes into a build is intimate.

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Milling, machining, it happens on this beautiful contraption.

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Even tiny cable routing bosses are closely examined and held to tight tolerances. There were at least four rejects for every one that had passed.

 

Raw tubing waits to be crafted into speed and adventure machines.

 

I have no idea what happens at this bench.

I have no idea what happens at this bench.

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Head tubes – Before

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Head tubes – After. Sleeved with carbon and highlighted with just a bit of green.

Every ounce of space is used at the Workshop, which means that everywhere you look you see something cool.

Every ounce of space is used at the Workshop, which means that everywhere you look you see something cool.

A door in the shop opens to the paint area, aka Coat, where finished frames are given candy coatings in any hue that clients request. Peder and Tom in the background are discussing Peder's Vanilla touring bike, which is about a month away from completion and about to get it's paint.

A door in the shop opens to the paint area, aka Coat, where finished frames are given candy coatings in any hue that clients request. Peder and Tom in the background are discussing Peder’s Vanilla touring bike, which is about a month away from completion and about to get it’s paint.

A close-up of the brazing on Peder's frame.

A close-up of the brazing on Peder’s frame.

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Frame pump mounts. Remember those? Classic and functional touring style is the theme of this build.

A new touch on Speedvagen frames are these beautifully machined and detailed seat mast caps. Most people will never even see these hidden beneath the seats, but hours and hours are spent crafting them to perfection.

A new touch on Speedvagen frames are these beautifully machined and detailed seat mast caps. Most people will never even see these hidden beneath the seats, but hours and hours are spent crafting them to perfection.

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On frames where the carbon seat tube is selected, this machined derailleur mount is added. The purple masking is applied to leave the raw metal visible after painting.

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In a room to the side, frames are masked by hand and graphic details are added.

In a room to the side, frames are masked by hand and graphic details are added.

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No decals are used on these frames. Masking and fine painting are used for even the smallest details.

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Individual folios follow each frame from creation through completion.

Individual folios follow each frame from creation through completion.

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Ever so close to the open road… or trail.

Envy forks, pre-paint, looking almost common in present company.

ENVE forks, pre-paint, looking almost common in present company.

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This "jig" secures fenders during painting.

This “jig” secures fenders during painting.

I'm pretty sure these are some of the original Vanillas and Speedvagens, campaigned by Sacha himself.

I’m pretty sure these are some of the original Vanillas and Speedvagens, campaigned by Sacha himself.

Tucked upstairs is an archive of Vanillas and Speedvagens of the past, including these ultra rare MTB soft tail frames.

Tucked upstairs is an archive of Vanillas and Speedvagens of the past, including these ultra rare MTB soft tail frames.

On another wall is a library of every "suprise me" color ever created. We were able to see the upcoming "suprise-me" color, and even though we can't show photos, it's absolutely fantastic.

On another wall is a library of every “suprise me” color ever created. We were able to see the upcoming “suprise-me” color, and even though we can’t show photos, it’s absolutely fantastic.

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Custom bikes deserve custom fit geometry

Tools from the build and finishing station upstairs.

Tools from the build and finishing station upstairs.

Each frame is tracked through completion on this whiteboard.

Each frame is tracked through completion on this whiteboard.

 

A Di2 equipped bike hangs complete, fully ready to take on the world.

A Di2 equipped bike hangs complete, fully ready to take on the world.

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Final goodbyes with the crew before hitting the road to The Dalles

Final goodbyes with the crew before hitting the road to The Dalles

Hope you've enjoyed the tour. Time to ride.

Hope you’ve enjoyed the tour. Time to ride.

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