Vanilla Bicycles

Today I rode over to Vanilla Bicycles on SE Powell Blvd, Portland.

Vanilla's front door, also home to Coat, their in-house painting and powdercoating company, and Speedvagen, their racing bike wing.

Vanilla was established in 1999 by Sacha White, and the painting/powdercoating facility was launched about 5 years ago.  There are 7 employees, some of whom are part-time.

Vanilla make lugged and fillet-brazed frames, whereas the Speedvagen bikes are all tig welded.

I was particularly interested in the painting side of things here, so I asked my guide Mike if he would show me around.

Final frame prepping area before painting. Any masking or final finishing of the metal is done here before the frames are painted/coated.

Powder coat oven.

Some frames in the paint room.

Mike shows me the paint templates for the Vanilla logo. The different sized text width is so that the lettering can be one colour, and then another smaller template can be lined up over the first one and sprayed a different colour to give the appearance of a border. Vanilla use no decals or stickers, only paint.

Fender (mudguard!) painting jig. The wheel can spin freely.

More frames..

Paint & powder spraybooth.

Through-draft ventilation system (this is on the ceiling).

Paint curing booth.

DuPont Chromabase paints. Automotive industry standard, and the official paint of NASCAR.

Mike showed me how each pot is automatically stirred at the touch of a button a couple of times a day, to stop the paints from settling too much.

This gigantic frame was in to be painted. The owner is a basketball player.

Something is being done here, but I can't remember what.

Vanilla’s in-house painting & powder coating facilities serve many of the local frame builders.

Here are some more pictures from my visit to Vanilla:

Bridgeport milling machine. Of course.

Anvil tube mitring fixture mounted on a horizontal mill.

Finished frame with V for Vanilla dropout.

This seatpost system will be attached with a metal shim.

Vanilla fitting area.

The latest Speedvagen, with Shimano Di2 electronic gear shifting.

Close-up of Di2 front derailleur.

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