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  1. #1
    Senior Member poprad's Avatar
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    Anyone w/feedback about Vanilla frames?

    I am planning on having a custom road/touring frame built by Sacha at Vanilla in Portland, OR, and was wondering what feedback anyone might have that has actually had one built by him? His stuff is Next Level S***t from the look of it, but I haven't talked to anyone that actually owns one. The money involved equates to a serious investment for me, and I hate buying blind.

  2. #2
    Team Beer Cynikal's Avatar
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    Are you in a hurry? From what I hear (which could be pure specualtion by the way) he has close to a year long waiting list. Worth every painful second in my opinion, his builds have the best balence between art and ridability.
    I'm not one for fawning over bicycles, but I do believe that our bikes communicate with us, and what this bike is saying is, "You're an idiot." BikeSnobNYC

  3. #3
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    He sure makes a pretty frame, I'm not sure he considers himself a serious builder of touring frames. Read something like that in the last few days. I guess you could ask him, he seems more a racing guy. Also, the guys at Mariposa have been building pretty frames as serious touring bikes for a long time. Or if pretyt isn't the main thing, what about Beckman or Gordon?

  4. #4
    Senior Member poprad's Avatar
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    No hurry at all. I have a very rideable stable of bikes now, and this would be my "bike of a lifetime." I agree with your comments and after searching the entire Velonews custom framebuilder's list I felt his work was the best fit for my intended uses.

  5. #5
    guy trackasaurus's Avatar
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    Having apprenticed in his shop for a few months, I can say first hand that his building setup is the cream of the crop. Every step of the way, the "best" way is used. Best meaning - most precise, while perhaps more time consuming, and most ecologically friendly, with as much attention to detail put into engineering and strength as aesthetic details. Having researched building for a year before getting there, I was struck by the no-expense spared approach. In my opinion, with the materials, process and skill involved, the bikes he builds are the closest to perfect you can get.

    To boot, his painter puts out *the* best paintjobs on the custom market. And yes, I have seen them all.

    To say he's more racing oriented is a bit of a misnomer. Sure he builds and sponsors lots of cross and a bit of road, but he puts out awesome touring rides. I saw a few killer touring setups come out, a brevet style ride, all the way to one for mega 6 month treks through developing nations. Also, he's not set in his old school touring setup ways unlike so much of the crotchety touring gurus out there. He does his research and will build you the best possible bike out there.

    Why don't I own one? I'm saving for setting up my framebuilding shop and have to deal with a raging meth habit.

  6. #6
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    I can't find this supposed comment I remember, so forget it. His stuff is pretty and his paint is really nice, The designs aren't that hard core, but then neither is my bike and it has held up to hard use. Also, being cutoms, some of the impractical features are probably specified by the rider. Just the other day when I was in Mariposa I marvelled at a frame pump placement. On the other hand, the tourer in me says I like a Topeak Road Morph in my bags along with my mechanical kit. I don't think I want those complicated rear drops if I have to clean them out with a tooth brush after a rail trail... But these sure would be lovely bikes to own.

  7. #7
    Senior Member poprad's Avatar
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    Thanks for the multiple feedbacks, mostly just confirms what I already thought. I do believe it will be worth the wait.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Trogon's Avatar
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    Sure, I have about 2000 miles on my S3 Vanilla and it is simply a great bike. Everything about it was done precisely the way I wanted it and I'm a happy customer. I buy another in a minute, but I have this thing about immediate gratification.

  9. #9
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    A few months ago when I was visiting a friend in Portland, we walked the few blocks over to Sacha's shop and talked for awhile about bikes, although I made it clear I was more of a fan, and not in the market for one of his machines. What I had heard from many, and seen on his website, was confirmed in talking to him and seeing his works in progress. He is that rare builder with the hands of a craftsman, the mind of an engineer, and the eye of an artist. Perfection is his goal, and he takes all the extra time and work necessary to acheive that. He builds perfection in design, engineering, workmanship, and beauty. This is all the more remarkable given his relatively young age and mostly self-taught beginnings - he obviously "has it" innately, as opposed to having acquired it only after long study or experience.

    There are many other builders whose bikes are every bit as good from a functional perspective, and a few whose bikes are as aesthetically pleasing, but I daresay there are none who combine engineering, craftsmanship, and artful beauty as effectively as he. If I had the money, he would be my first, and perhaps only, choice in a custom frame. If you have the ability, you should visit him to get all the details worked out instead of doing it long-distance.

    Alex

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