Those heroic Argonauts of Greek mythology took their name from their ship, the Argo. It’s also the name Ben Farver took for his own two-wheeled vessels – Argonaut custom bikes – when he first started making steel bikes in Portland back in 2007. We know what you’re thinking: "Steel bikes in Portland?" Isn’t that straight out of a "Portlandia" episode? You’re right. It’s certainly a saturated market, which is one of the reasons Ben shifted materials to carbon. Of course, the Argo itself was named after Argus, the ship’s builder, so those that ride Ben’s bikes should really be Farvernauts, and you can now count us among those happy Farvernauts.
While the Orbis will never be subject to the UCI’s arcane rule book, it is subject to the judgement of the people: Us. And, like the Corretto before it, the Orbis is a marvel of Baum’s unmatched abilities when it comes to titanium. Like the Corretto, every tube is custom-butted for the individual rider, down to the seat and chain stays. It’s a remarkable achievement, considering the increased braking stresses placed on the rear-end of the bike – and Baum had to once more reinvent the wheel to make it happen, creating new tooling to produce the massive rectangular chain stays that started life as a standard round 6/4 Ti tube. Minute bends in the stay provide space for the rotor and tire, while the oversized 12x142mm rear dropout they’re connected to is an all-new design from Baum, designed to provide the sprightly, stable feel we’ve always associated with their race bikes. And, for the first time ever, Baum is using internal brake routing with a 3D-printed hose port, as well as a massive T47 threaded bottom bracket to keep the rear brake line tucked up underneath the bottom bracket. The custom tapered headtube has been CNC’d in-house from a solid block of titanium, and it’s paired to ENVE’s new road disc fork with clean, linear internal hose routing. All told, the Orbis frame only weighs a scant 200g or so more than its Corretto sibling, a remarkable achievement considering the huge changes to the disc-braked bike.
The brands, Speedvagen and Vanilla Workshop, are composed of high-end and custom steeds for road, cyclocross, urban riding, and beyond, most with price tags that hover at $5,000 and up. “What we are doing is analogous to a tailor or a surfboard shaper,” said Sacha White, who founded the company in 1999. “You can wear a suit from a department store, or ride a production surfboard, and they will work fine but will not be truly great.”
Each year Rapha Cycling creates a challenge for a team of riders to undertake. With each challenge, a unique bike is designed and built to the individual riders specifications. In 2016 Stinner was one of the top choices. The small frame builders resides in Santa Barbara, California. Stinner worked on a special collaboration bike with cycling apparel company Rapha. Rapha and Stinner share a commitment to creating cycling products of the highest quality that also embody simplicity, which served as the impetus for this project.