What’s up with the 2014 Surprise Me?!

Everything in this shop is an evolution. New ideas that build on little, or big things which have been successful in the past. Here, Sacha gives some insight into the design and process involved in creating the 2014 Speedvagen Surprise Me! scheme.

About a year and a half ago (late summer 2012) I took a photo of a team bike in the process of being painted. The top tube was masked with the name Curtes (for team member Jeff Curtes) with masking for the US flag next to it. The frame and the masking had been sprayed with metallic gold paint. The next step was to remove the mask and reveal the color below it. What I got a glimpse of in that photo though, was this 3D effect that showed the outline of the graphics as a result of shadows cast. This was new, subtle, textural, and I knew I wanted to do something with it.

Since then, we’ve done a bunch of samples trying to replicate that look, but in different colors and also with a clear coat over the top for protection. While the 3D effect added some dimension it was very subtle and I thought we might be able to layer some color(s) and then sand off the top layers to various depths and reveal hits of the different colors underneath. The test samples ended up being a lot more abstract and organic looking than I had imagined, but I liked it. It was fresh. Admittedly, I can probably credit some of the inspiration for this look to my ’71 Volvo 142 that needs a new paint job, but looks like a hotrod where the top coat has been worn to primer. Anyhow, I knew that this was not just the look for the next round of SM's, but that this raw graphic style would make it's way into much of what I do from here on out.

Volvo surf

Taking an existing paint scheme or technique and freaking it out a bit has often yielded good work. The newest of our standard paint schemes is Horizon. It isn’t graphics heavy, but it is bold and and stripe-y and colorful, like a race bike ought to be and the way the three colors stack up offers a ton of cool combinations.

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This year's Surprise Me! paint job is a culmination of all of the above. We've used different tones of our signature sky blue on top and bottom, as a classic and beautiful base. From there we used a paint worn pattern of Speedvagen shields on the center stripe and distressed other graphics as well. It is this graphics treatment that makes the impact.

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Each SM! in this run is different; something that we’ve never done before. On each bike the underlying colors of the center stripe are going to be unique to that bike. And the graphics pattern, being that they're all hand laid by humans, are one-of-a-kind, too.

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Posted on June 26, 2014 and filed under Uncategorized.