Every year, throughout the Grand Tours, we hear rumors about big name pro riders receiving custom geometries on their team bikes so that they fit perfectly. More often than not they’re nothing more than rumors, but for Aussie CX pro Gary Milburn both of his race bikes are completely custom — because his team is sponsored by Speedvagan.
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Formerly riding for Trek, Millburn’s new team Speedvagen x MAAP was dreamt up by legendary action sports photographer Jeff Curtes.
Garry Millburn says of his move: “To sum things up, Trek Australia did not have the budget for cyclocross to offer me the kind of support that I needed to race here [Australia] and beyond at the highest level. Speedvagen x MAAP came about after a little chat over coffee with Jeff Curtes."
“He [Jeff Curtes] is SpeedVagen’s man on the ground here, you could say, and loved the idea of forming a new team. Being the networking man that he is, we formed a partnership between Sascha [White] of The Vanilla Workshop and Ollie and Jarred at MAAP. Both brands complemented each other really well and we have formed the team to get the presence of the brands out there in the 'cross scene down under!”, explains Millburn.
Cyclocross in Australia is still very much in its adolescence, it’s growing fast but still isn’t anywhere near what it is in North America and Europe. Not only are local racers still learning the rigors of ‘cross racing, so are local brands ― not so long ago you’d be hard pressed to find a shop that would sell you a CX bike in Australia.
Speedvagen x MAAP has also brought ENVE on as a components sponsor and Millburn noted that the team's willingness to provide ‘extras’ will help him get through not only the Aussie CX season but also the US and European races.
“I guess the advantage of working with a North American brand is that they understand that you need more than one bike and more than one wheelset to get through the season,” he said. “EVNE is also on board supporting the team with wheels and have given me a good spread to ensure I have the right tubs for the day. Although not always essential, it is really nice to be able to turn up to a race and have the choices all this gear provides and it will also make things much easier for overseas racing.”
With this new team, Millburn is working directly with Speedvagen and components sponsor ENVE to create a race bike to his exact specifications. Going in he told White that he wanted a bike that has shape steering, no toe overlap and short rear stays. The result is a fully custom steel race bike that includes a rad paint job, SRAM Force CX1 group, ENVE touchpoints and CX tubular wheels, and weighs 8.04kg. Millburn says, “I could go lighter, but I don’t need to.”
Speedvagen is best known for its Berzerker dropouts and custom paint jobs, but there are a few clever details that are more subtle. Underneath the paint, the seat tube is actually carbon and so is the fork, and the rear disc brake caliper actually sees one bolt going into the seat stay and one bolt going into the chainstay. Speedvagen says this mounting system helps braking forces to dissipate into the frame and allows the team to make a lighter and clean looking dropout.
A steel frame certainly offers a unique ride quality, especially when compared to the full carbon Trek Boone Millburn was riding last year, but he says it’s not something he really takes much notice of.
“The ride is certainly different to a carbon fibre bike, but when you're in the moment racing, striving for that win, you just want the bike to do what you need it to do and the Speedvagen does this," he says. "It's nice to ride a bike that has been designed around me and you do take a little more care with it, maybe even get a little upset with another paint chip here or scratch there. That’s racing and I guess these bikes are designed to be ridden hard and get dirty!"
With the Aussie CX season well and truly wrapped up, Millburn is headed to SuperCross in Japan in November but won't be heading to the US or Europe this year.
Flick through the gallery at the top to have a closer look at Garry Millburn’s custom Speedvagen ‘cross bike.