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Road to NAHBS 2012 – Matt Cardinal of Signal Cycles

Signal Cycles mixte womens bike with custom racks for NAHBS 2012
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Signal Cycles mixte womens bike with custom racks for NAHBS 2012

Signal Cycles is always one of the first booths I seek out at NAHBS. It’s not that they’re building anything wild, it just that the colors, the bikes and the booth are always so well put together into a tidy, calming package. It starts my show off right. The Saltzman “production” model they introduced last year seems to be progressing with an updated version heading to Sacramento. Can’t wait to see it. Until then, here’s what Matt Cardinal and his business partner, Nate Meschke, have been up to:

BIKERUMOR: What have you been working in since NAHBS last year?

MATT: Since the show in Austin, we have been keeping pretty busy. We moved our shop into a new space that is nearly 4 times as big as the shoe box we were working in. The move made it easier for both Nate and myself to become full time at Signal and to quit the bike shop jobs we were hanging onto for the past 4 years. We launched the Saltzman bike project (a Signal-made production fendered road bike in stock sizes), and learned that we still have a bit or refinement to do to make that project as successful as we believe it can be. We also spent a good deal of time working with world class design firm Ziba on a bike for the Oregon Manifest. My wife and I had our second child in September, and Nate found out that he is going to be a dad this spring. A busy year!

2011 Oregeon Manifest Constructors Challenge urban bike design collaboration with Ziba and Signal Cycles with convertible cargo sidecar bike
Signal's 2011 Oregon Manifest Builder's Challenge entry, designed in collaboration with Ziba.

BIKERUMOR: Any killer custom bike builds?

MATT: Everything we do is one of a kind (with the exception of the Saltzman). So yeah we have had a lot of neat bikes come through the shop since last year. Some that stand out are a curved top tube 29er (below) we did for a friend in San Francisco and a beautiful road bike for a local rider (bottom of post).

Signal Cycles custom curved top tube 29er mountain bike

BIKERUMOR: Did you see anything last year that’s inspired you?

MATT: Yeah, I always get excited after the show to come back to the shop and try to keep pushing things. It was great to meet Chris Bishop and to see the work he is doing first hand. Also any chance to see a DiNucci up close and personal is a real treat. I was very impressed with work that Sean Chaney of Vertigo was showing. And all these guys are really nice as well.

BIKERUMOR: Can you give us a teaser of what your bringing to NAHBS 2012?

MATT: We are working on a couple city bikes that will be pretty neat. One is a mixtie with racks that should be pretty impressive (shown at top of post). We are showing an Ultegra Di2 rain bike that should be pretty sporty. It’s for one of the owners of Corsa Concepts (wheel company here in Portland). And we are planning on showing the new version of the Signal Saltzman. We have made some changes that make it a more targeted bike. It is going to be lighter, sportier, and still handmade in N. Portland.

BIKERUMOR: If you had to race all the other builders, who would you want to inch out for the win right at the line?

MATT: In my wildest dreams it would be Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan, because I’m never going to be as fast as they are. We are really lucky in Portland to have a great community of builders that still count each other as friends.

Signal Cycles custom touring road bike in pea green metallic

“Need” to kill some time? Check out Signal’s Flickr account here.

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