I’ve just spent a good 15 minutes staring at the profile of Signal Cycles‘ creation for a lucky customer named Fasil. I’m getting mixed flashes of old and new, traditional and futuristic, memories and premonitions. I don’t think I’ve come across a more perfect combination of age-old classicism and ultra high-tech in the one bike before. Of course, Ultegra isn’t Shimano’s top-of-the-range groupset, but I’m no longer concerned. This isn’t a race bike, and we don’t care about grams. This is an everyday rider, built for long hauls. Long, fast hauls.
Signal Cycles is a two man shop from an epicentre of US cycling, Portland Oregon. Matt Cardinal and Nate Meschke are not only impeccable builders, they also hold Fine Art degrees, and it shows. Their bikes naturally exude a quality aesthetic. Appropriately, the one colour liquid paint is called ‘Asphalt’. Across the bike, there are a variety of textures: matte shades, hues, gloss details and a touch of suppleness at the contact points. Even the typography is flawless. True masters of style know there’s no need to be showy, the forks even make a point of hiding the logo on the inside of the fork leg.
Like a Seurat painting, more features are revealed upon closer inspection. Like the stainless band around the seat tube, and the branding on the dropouts. Now take a step back and admire the s-bend seat stays. Combined with the Columbus oversize spec tubing, this is going to be a comfortable and responsive ride.
Not only does Fasil’s ride look the business, it’ll sound the business, as the Chris King R-45 rear hub does it’s thing, all 72 engagement teeth on each drive ring. Poetry.
What I’m most impressed by, however, is just how well a modern groupset has come together with the classic form of a steel frame. A bike appropriate for every mood—bleeding edge of modern day, energy bar, electrolyte technology, or a merino and silk scarf, banana and espresso ramble.