Sarif Cycle Worx custom steel 29er mountain bike

Sarif Cycle Worx is a new custom builder right in our own backyard in Greensboro, NC. Founded by longtime cyclist David Johnson, he’s focusing on fillet brazed steel and, thus far, has only made 29ers despite his personal preference for road.

Shown above is his latest test mule. It’s being raced by Tommy Rodgers, who pedaled it (and those Geax prototypes) to the fastest lap time at the 6 Hours of Warrior Creek. The frame is a very interesting mix of tubing, including some NASCAR-spec tubes for the seatstays. The cranks are also worth a look; they’re fully customized thanks to plenty of machining and matching orange CeramiKoat on the chainrings.

Click on through for all the details…

Sarif Cycle Worx custom steel bicycle workshop

Everyone’s gotta start somewhere, and David’s garage set up isn’t all that different from many other one-man (or woman) builders. At the left and below is his homemade jig, and on the right atop the wood table is the alignment rack. He paints the frames here, too!

The name, Sarif, is pronounced like you would a font with flair. The original idea was to call lugged frames Sarif and brazed San Serif, but the simplicity of a single brand name thankfully ruled the day.

Sarif Cycle Worx custom steel bicycles

The headtube comes from Stijl in Virginia. He says it’s about 75g lighter than the straight 44mm headtube from Paragon. You might remember Stijl’s Iron Man bike from NAHBS. If not, it’s absolutely worth a look!

He also says Stijl is starting to make more tubes and parts available to other builders and wants to grow that side of his business. David’s pushing him to make a more flared version that’ll take a hidden inset lower bearing so it can match up flush with Niner’s carbon rigid fork. Inside the headtube, he drills small holes in a symmetric pattern rather than one large vent hole between it and the top/down tubes. He says this keeps the head tube stronger, and it looks cool.

Sarif Cycle Worx custom steel 29er mountain bike

The headbadge design came from a photo he took (check the link at the top). Locals liked it and insisted he put it on the front of the bike and it stuck.

Sarif Cycle Worx custom steel 29er mountain bike

This bike uses True Temper S2 road tubing for the top and seat tubes. The downtube is a 29er specific piece from Tange.

Sarif Cycle Worx custom steel 29er mountain bike

Seatstays are 4130 German steel from Stock Car Steel. They’re also used for NASCAR vehicles. He had a couple unfinished ones laying around and the wall thickness is substantial, yet this bike came in around 22lbs. Not too bad for a steel frame with suspension and gears.

Sarif Cycle Worx custom steel 29er mountain bike

Sarif Cycles custom steel 29er with machined XT cranks and Ceramikoat chainrings

Tommy’s cranks come from Shawnee Trail Bike & Performance Coatings. They’ll take any crank you send in and customize it to your desires. For these, the XT cranks were machined down to save weight first, then brushed and given a clear coat.

Sarif Cycles custom steel 29er with machined XT cranks and Ceramikoat chainrings

The chainring is from Homebrew and was old stock at Experimental Prototypes. STB then coated it with CeramiKoat to make it super slick and super durable.


  1. Wow. Nascar seatstays! First, that’s nothing to be proud of. Nascar is the pro wrestling of auto racing. Second, just because it comes from a Nascar supplier doesn’t make it Nascar spec. There’s not one tube in a Nascar chassis that’s that diameter. Just because someone orders tubing from Aircraft Spruce doesn’t make it aircraft spec.

  2. Nice wheels! I have same set up, i9’s with supercomps on crests’. Took forever to have them ordered. I bet they play well with those XTR’s

  3. @Funtooley. Just because Nascar is a spectacle doesn’t mean that it’s not an extremely technically difficult and demanding form of sport. Also, I didn’t see anywhere in the article where it was specified that the tubing had anything to do with the chassis itself. Nascar builders use MANY different types and sizes of tubing to accomplish everything from suspension mounting to holding in place air ducts, rollover flaps, water bottle holders, tach mounts, etc. I could go on and on. Believe me, I’d take Moto GP racing any day over Nascar, but let’s not describe it as a mindless southern redneck activity. Let’s see you put together a team and see what happens.

  4. Nice bike David. I saw another out on the trail and is was well made and thought out. The owner who was really tall was in love with it. Glad Tommy gets to road test it and burned up that hot lap.

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