John over at Radavist recently composed a great photo shoot of the latest bike to come out of the Signal shop. The bike was shipped to Al Nelson down in Austin and being John's home town, I introduced them for a ride and a photo shoot. Take a look. John takes some great photos!
Signal was also featured in the latest issue of Brutus, a pop culture and lifestyle magazine based in Tokyo, who beautifully documents all things cool. Track one down if you can if only for the great photos. Or enjoy the words, if you can read Japanese!
Towards the end of 2013, I decided to sell my carbon race machine. I had spent the previous six months riding and racing this amazing bike - it was super light, responsive and the blacked-out color scheme looked badass. That said, I wasn’t 100% stoked with the build kit and, being from a major manufacturer, the frame geometry made a couple of compromises that didn’t quite fit me or my riding style.
At the time, I was planning on squirreling away the proceeds from this sale for a new road machine at the beginning of 2014, but had not made any decisions as to what it would be. An afternoon cup of coffee with Nate in October turned out to be the initial spark for the Signal Pulse project and the bike I’m writing about today.
That cup of coffee began a number of conversations over the phone and through email discussing tubesets, ideal geometry for an aggressive race-worthy bike, paint schemes and color options, and a number of other details along the way. Seeing my opinions and feedback realized in the various design iterations along the way was really fun and I’m honored that Signal invited me along for the ride.
Without geeking out too much, I wanted to discuss how my desired ride characteristics were achieved through frame materials and geometry. Coming from a road racing background, I wanted a bike that was stiff, quick-handling, relatively light, and comfortable on long rides. Going into this project, I knew I wasn’t going to end up with a 15lb bike and I decided early on that I was okay with that. More importantly, I wanted a bike that could be ridden five hours, without beating the shit out of me and one that could confidently rail the corners on big mountain descents with no steering wobble. I also wanted a bike that could be pushed hard into corners without hesitation in a local crit.
To meet these criteria, Signal used a TIG welded “double” oversized Columbus tubeset with a tapered head tube matched to a tapered Enve Carbon fork. Combined, these materials result in a stiff, yet comfortable package. Highlights of the frame geometry include a 73 degree seat angle and a 73.5 degree head angle. Chainstays are a tight 408mm with a top tube length of 57.5cm and a head tube length of 150mm. Combined, these fit my 6’ height and riding style very well.
Other details on my bike include a braze-on front derailleur mount, Paragon “Breezer” style dropouts with replaceable hanger, and built-in barrel adjusters for on-the-fly shift adjustments. A standard threaded bottom bracket was used because it’s simple and proven. Finishing the frame is a beautiful three color paint job by Spectrum out of Colorado. I built the bike up with a mechanical Dura Ace 9000 group and Thomson bar, stem and post.
Having now ridden the bike for about a month, I can honestly say that my expectations were beyond met. The Signal Pulse accomplishes everything I want and need out of a road bike and it does it with style. It’s not the lightest or most technically advanced bike out there, but it’s one with a story and some history that I’m excited to be part of. It’s a bike that I plan on riding for many years to come.
Last month I was asked to be involved with a cool project at the Portland Children's Museum. It is a display entirely created and curated by the kids at Opal School, which is located at the museum. The idea of the exhibition, called "Cycle City: A Spin on Bikes," is an exploration of the creative potential of bikes beyond transportation. They also wanted to pursue the idea and importance of the creative design process and all the failures and successes that contribute to a great product, encouraging the kids to realize that failures are not something to be afraid of but to learn from.
The exhibit opening is this Thursday night but runs for a month or so. Check it out if you can! I think it will be pretty rad. Here is a link to the show and here are a few photos from the visit.
Kentaro at Hutte8to8 in Osaka sent along some photos from the races in Japan. His official report:
which pretty much means, "this bike kicks ass!"
A few weeks ago a giant crate loaded with the first run of Signal Crusade bikes left the shop and headed for Osaka, Japan. Frames, forks, jerseys, kits, and t-shirts, all destined for the cross scene in Japan.
The Crusade was a production bike idea Matt and I had been talking about for a few years. Our first production offering, created 3 years ago, was originally going to be a cross bike but after discussions and brainstorming a fendered road bike named the Saltzman was launched. We always wanted to return to the production cross bike.
For the last 3 years many Signals have made their way to Japan, both custom builds and Saltzmans, primarily through our friend Kentaro at Hutte8to8. It made sense for us to consult with him in designing the Crusade, knowing many would be sold in Japan. We met with Kentaro at the 2012 NAHBS to discuss the project and our goals. We decided on a bike with 44mm headtubes, Enve forks, a mix of Columbus Zona and Life tubing, and options for disc or cantilever brakes.
What followed was a summer of selecting tubing, finishing the CAD drawings for our Japanese customers and for US sizing, building frames, lots of braze-ons, paint designing, and shipping duties. It was awesome!
There were some speed bumps along the way and moments of stress in learning how to manage a larger production run, all of which will help the next project, which is currently in the works. Signal will be introducing it's third model this winter and it will be one of many ideas we are tinkering with. Race road, MTB, city bike, or......? Have a preference on what you would like to see? Feel free to let us know!
Below are a few photos from the Crusade project as it moved along this summer. I will be posting more photos from Japan as the cross season progresses. Thanks for visiting and I hope to hear from you!
Our good bud, John Watson, of prollyisnotprobably recently posted a photo spread of the latest Signal. This dude is on it! One of the best sources out there for the freshest, heavily curated bikes on the market. The site is full of some great photos, tall tales, and insightful commentary on the bikes he loves. Pretty cool stuff. You are warned.
A few months ago Rob picked up his Signal gravel road/all-around adventure bike and has been putting it through the ringer even since. He recently texted me after finishing the Oregon Stampede. The dude was crazy high on endorphins and I asked him to compose a guest blog post and share some pictures. The words are pure Rob, excitement and energy booming in each sentence. Thanks for the report, Rob, and thanks to Matt Danielson for the great photographs. Enjoy!
When I was maybe three or four years old my step-dad and his buddies would gather on the weekends to enjoy High Life and cowboy movies. Legend has it that during one film when the requisite stampede started, I shot up and loudly exclaimed something to the effect of, "Look at those sonsabitches run!" I learned a valuable lesson that day which is that doing awesome things is totally worth an ass-beating.
I guess thats why I love me some gravel riding; some of the best examples of which are Velodirt rides here in Oregon. Velodirt's Donnie is the Kool Keith of PNW gravel rides, a real mad genius. Ride the Rapture about 70 miles of Coast Range, loose gravel, up and down, no support, logging road, soul sucking hell and see if you disagree. If that isn't long enough for you, the crown jewel ride, the Oregon Stampede will take you across just under 130 miles of the best of Central Oregon's old west looking terrain.
After pushing a carbon cross bike up the Old Moody Road during the Dalles Mountain 60 a couple of years ago it dawned on me that there may be a better tool for the job. Maybe a bike that wouldn't shoot me to the outside of fast descending corners like cross bikes seem to do, geared LOW and with big fat tires, 35-40c. I wanted eff all to do with mechanical disc brakes despite their current popularity. Where I ride, I don't want to attract any undue attention with pig-like squealing. You know what happened to Ned Beatty and I look too good in stretchy pants to take chances. When it came time to get serious about a custom gravel rig I went to Signal Cycles and I'm glad I did.
My Signal is exactly what I had in mind. It fits my stubby legs and long torso perfectly. It doesn't kill me when I spend 11 and a half hours on it pedaling like the Yeti and I did on the Stampede this year. It rails corners at speed, hell yeah. It's a great West Hills road bike with Grand Bois Cypres tires on it, bonus. The paint scheme that Nate cooked up while I was gone fishing (thanks buddy) looks great even when filthy. I can put Clement MSO tires on there for some monster trucking which makes me giddy. My bike was born about 2 miles from my home by a dude who I've had beer with which means something to me. Like I said to Mr. Meschke after the Stampede, Signal has fatty road bikes figured the fuck out. Do yourself a favor and get one, even if you have to sell your car/pets/kids/mountain bike. You can thank me later.
Thanks to The Yeti, Matt Danielson for taking such kick- ass photos while on the move. I credit all the stoner metal he listens to for his cool hand.
Rob "Sr. Chilidog" Chapman
This last week I was lucky enough to spend 7 days driving around central Oregon with two of my best friends, Nick Soper and Jason Alexander, fly fishing some of Oregon's greatest rivers. Nick and I have been fly fishing together since first meeting in college but up to this trip all the fishing was done on another kind of trip, like mountain biking or climbing, and we always talked about doing a long trip dedicated to fly fishing. Nick bought his ticket to Portland in January for a late May-early June trip and we were able to convince Jason and his camera to join us at the last minute. We were serious about this one!
We figured we needed to fish some Cascade water and some high desert water to mix things up a bit. We spent two days fishing the upper Mckenzie River above Eugene. We camped right on the super famous Mckenzie River Trail and hiked up and down casting into the deep, turquoise pools that dominate the upper river. I've ridden the trail numerous times, shuttling to the top and ripping down to camp always telling myself I needed to fly fish this river.
After two days we jumped over the range to the Deschutes River to fish the tail end of the salmonfly hatch. These are huge 2 inch bugs that hatch in great numbers and the trout go nuts for a few days eating tons of them. When fishing a hatch like this, it's all about the timing. A few days before or after the peak may lead to a 2 or 3 fish day instead of the 12 fish day we hope for. I think we were a few days too late but still had an awesome time. Not a lot of fish but every one was super healthy and incredibly strong!
Most of the days were spent watching each other fish or just staring out to the water or canyon walls hoping to spot a big horned sheep. On the drive back to Portland we stopped at the absolute headwaters of the huge Clackamas River where it is only a tiny spring creek. I fished this stream a few years ago and wanted to come back again. Super peaceful and full of aggressive brook trout. Great trip! Can't wait for next year. Now back to work, Nate!
Signal just introduced Rob to his new bike last week! We have been building a steady stream of these adventure road bikes lately and this one takes it to another level. 35c tires with fenders with room to run up to 40's without fenders, full Ultegra matched with Chris King bearings and Paul Racer brakes make this rig ready for the woodland backroads! Please check out our flickr as I have posted photos there and will post more dirty post-ride photos soon.
My old buddy, Nate Woodman, was recently interviewed for Bike Radar. The topic was the incredible bike shop he co-owns with another good friend, Eric Peterson, in my old college town of Lincoln, Nebraska. I love Portland, and it has become my home for now, but many times I find myself deeply missing my old Lincoln friends and the unique and intimate bike scene centered around Monkey Wrench. In a scene like Portland, where everybody would consider themselves a cyclist on some level, bike shops abound, and a community saturated with past, present and future bike industry folks, it can be hard to find your place. A place you feel at home, bound by a group of the most sincerest friends who share your personality and lifestyle. Nate and Eric have done a great job creating that vibe in Lincoln and Monkey Wrench is the epicenter. Congrats Nate and Eric (and Carl). The shop deserves so much respect.
Signal's old friend, Jay Ritchey, has been putting together some great short films over the last year or so under Jay Bird Films. I found my way to one of his latest videos documenting the life and culture at Rivendell. Inspirational, honest, beautiful work! Nice film, Jay.
Eric commissioned Signal to build what he called an adventure road bike, a gravel grinder. Part classic road bike, part cross bike, all fun! The bike features Columbus tubes, modified Artisan lugset and s-bent stays for clearance for 35-38c tires. Sram, Chris King, HED Belgiums and Paul components round out the kit and after a few long rides this bike will have a custom stem built to complete the package. View the full photo set, including some build sequence photos on our flickr page.
A neat little something to inspire.
This beautiful frame is headed to Japan to be the personal steed of Kentaro Yagi the owner of Hutte 8to8 bike shop. He was looking for something to replace the Surly Troll he's been using over the last year. This should do the trick. I can't wait to see it all built up!
NEW PRICE $2500!
We were planning on offering this bike as a raffle prize, but found out that putting a raffle on quickly becomes a sticky situation. State laws can be so serious. So we will be selling this little beauty outright. It is a beautiful Columbus steel touring frame, fork, headset and matching frame pump. Paint was done here in Portland by Coat paint shop. Lugs are mildly re-worked Richard Sachs castings. The frame is a 56.5 top tube and a 57.5 cm seat tube. Built for comfort on long rides, this frame would be perfect for long multi-day trips, loaded with gear, or built up as a lean commuter with fenders and lights. We added low rider braze-ons and house made shift cable stops. The frame should accomidate a rider in the range of 5'7- 6'. It's ready to ship and is worth $3900. We will consider all reasonable offers. Email email@example.com with any questions. We could easily add a full parts kit and get you a complete bike.
We have three Saltzman frame sets that need homes. Each one is made in the Signal shop and in an unpainted state. This means you can pick the color for no additional cost. For the first time ever we are willing to sell these as frame/ fork combos, or if you need a complete bike we can hook you up. We have one 53 seat tube 54 top tube, one 55 st 56 tt, and one 57 st 58 tt. These are measured center to center. If you need guidance with fitting, give a call or email. Price is $2500 for a painted frame and painted to match Wound-up carbon fork. The forks are made for us by Wound-up to achieve the proper brake hole offset so it's possible to use fenders with a standard caliper brake. We are only offering these as frame/ fork sets or as complete bikes.
Paint job is our standard Saltzman scheme in just about any color you might want. If you desire something a bit more wild, we can do it, but the balance of paint cost will be covered by you.
These are first come first served. We won't put holds on them. We should be able to deliver the bikes in 4 weeks (to allow for paint).
If you need more information give me (Matt) a call at 503-313-9800.