NAHBS :: New Tensioners :: Headsets

I'll be in Austin for NAHBS next week so stop by booth #1214 and say hi. I'm super excited about the bikes I'm taking. Except for one borrowed bike, they're all my personal bikes and they're all special to me. There will be a few never-before-seen components on two of them from some of my supplier/partners that are particularly interesting so be sure to check them out.

My pal Jon is letting my borrow his Vertigo for the show and it happens to be the first bike to use the headset I designed for tapered steerer forks. Judging by the number of frame previews I've seen that use the new headset, it seems to have become quite popular...I'm very proud of the idea and my contribution.

I've also announced a new small part that should be available in about a month. If you haven't seen them already, click on over to my Flickr area and take a look at my new integrated tensioners/bolt-on skewer. If everything goes smoothly, I'll have a batch of these ready for sale in March. They'll be available with titanium or chromoly skewers with black or silver aluminum bits. They should fit most horizontal dropouts and will be easy to modify for drops that don't initially work (aluminum trials frames for example). There will also be a very small run of FunBolt compatible tensioners as well. I'll update on this page when they're ready.

New Headset with Cane Creek

Read the Press Release.

Look for a lot of bikes using this headset coming out of the Vertigo shop this year.

Oregon Manifest

My entry in the Oregon Manifest Constructors Design Challenge took third place. It was completely unexpected and I'm flattered to have placed so high.

I built a titanium commuter bike with a titanium porteur rack and a split drive side seat stay to allow a Gates belt to pass through. Unfortunately, the Rohloff compatible belt drive cog that I've been waiting two and a half years to receive didn't make it here in time for the race but the frame is ready. Both front and rear disc brakes sit atop 74mm post mounts rather than more typical 51mm ISO mounts and a front hub dynamo powers front and rear LED lights.

I owe a lot of gratitude to a lot of people for even being able to present a bike into the event. I knew full well that the deadline was coming and had originally planned on entering the cyclocross bike that I was building for myself for this race season in between finishing up another customer bike and teaching a frame building class. It wasn't until two weeks before the deadline that I decided to actually build something specific to the event and without a customer lined up to buy it, it had to fit me. It usually takes about a week for me to build a frame. I'm a relatively new full-time dad who can only build at night and on weekends so my average build time these days is closer to two weeks. I had to build a frame, fork and titanium rack; not to mention make a dozen or so one-off machined parts for the bike; and I had to do it in two weeks.

First, thanks to my wife, Heather, for working extra hard for three straight weeks while I built the frame, fork and rack into the wee hours of the morning. It felt like we hardly saw each other for more than a few minutes while I would hand our daughter Madeline over when Heather walked in the door from work.

Thanks to Dave Levy of Ti Cycles for allowing me to use his breakaway design. Dave's design is one of the simplest, smartest and most elegant ways I've seen to allow a belt to pass through the frame.

Thanks to Aaron Hayes of Courage for allowing me to use his fork fixture and horizontal mill despite being busy preparing for the event himself.

Thanks to old friend Adam Stewart for lending his brazing setup.

Huge thanks to uber-customer and friend Kevin Kagarice for spending so much time over here finishing the rack and frame and cleaning up the fork so well.

Thanks to Mitch Pryor from M.A.P. Bicycles for lending me his tube bender so I could make the rack even though he was also under the gun to finish a frame, fork and rack.

Thanks to Pam Royal of PDX Cross for holding Madeline and giving me a few breaks on Friday while we checked in the bikes and for lending important encouragement while I suffered for 40 miles on Saturday.

Thank you Shawn Small of Ruckus Components for making a set of custom carbon fiber fenders that I unfortunately didn't have time to install before check in on Friday.

Thanks also to everyone at Oregon Manifest. I had a great time.

Fox Racing Shox

I am very excited to announce that your new Vertigo can be ordered with a Fox Racing Shox fork. Fox makes an outstanding product and their 2010 offering looks fantastic.

Seattle Bike EXPO 2009

Wow! What a weekend! Aaron Hayes of Courage Bicycle MFG and I left Portland around 4AM on Saturday morning with six bikes and display goodies loaded into his Toyota van. Things got a little sketchy in I-5 just a few miles outside Olympia, WA. With all the signs of a toasted alternator, Aaron pulled into a truck stop in Tumwater where we sat for a few hours trying to re-formulate our plans. Aaron made some phone calls and coordinated the weekend reengineering project.

MetroFiets to the rescue. Phillip from MetroFiets coordinated his customer/weekend helper, Matthew, to drive down from Seattle, pick up Aaron and I with all of our gear and safely deliver us to the EXPO just a few hours late. THANK YOU SO MUCH GUYS! Not only do they build outstanding and practical cargo bikes, they saved our weekend.

Aaron deserves a huge amount of credit as well. He took the time out of his busy schedule to take care of all of our arrangements for the weekend while I've been trying to balance keeping my build schedule on target and spending time with my wife and our new baby. If Aaron hadn't taken the time to sort it all out, I probably would have slept in the expo tent.

The show itself was interesting. We had some excitement involving water intrusion, cold temperatures and gusts of wind that threatened to lift the tent from around us but the crowd was great. I enjoyed the camaraderie at the show and met some fine folks who stopped by the booth. Thanks to everyone who meandered in and said hello.

NAHBS 2009

I've had emails and phone calls from people asking where I was at NAHBS. I wasn't there. My wife and I welcomed our first child into the world on February 4th this year and it seemed far more important to me that I stay home with my family during this time than to go to a bike show. By all accounts it went well for everyone and I'm looking forward to attending again next year. Fingers crossed for somewhere on the East Coast in 2010.

Cyclocross Magazine

Vertigo got an enthusiastic nod in the most recent issue of Cyclocross Magazine (You don't subscribe? What are you waiting for?)

Byron Go wrote: This bike was disgusting. Filthy. Sick. Nasty. Any word that technically means something horrible but colloquially means something amazing will apply. Hell, it really deserves its own article instead of the longest caption ever. Sean Chaney of Vertigo cycles created not only the undeniably most impressive Ti bike of the show, but truly the jewel of the whole show. This bike was so amazing, it didn't even need one of those snazzy understatedly elegant pearlescent paint jobs. The laundry list of custom features included: integrated seat mast, expanding quill type internal seatpost, internally routed brake and derailleur cable with internal stainless steel tube routing and custom fabricated integrated cable stops, a 90mm uber clean press-fit bearing bottom bracket shell, modified Paul specific cantilever brake mounts for better actuation and placement (idea courtesy of Vanilla Cycle's Sacha White), modified FSA headset top cap with integrated cable stop, picture perfect dimestack welds and did I mention that he did all of this in TITANIUM? Oh, and it has two wheels and pedals. Line up now for your custom-fit version of the closest thing to perfection.

Site Updates

We've had some colder than usual temps here in Portland and since the heater in the shop seems only able to get the air temp to mid 30's I decided that a long needed site update was due. Pricing has been updated with kit pricing will be coming soon, but as always, if you have a question make a phone call. I've been turning my feeble brain into mush messing with CSS code for the photo section. Check it out, there's more coming. My phone number has been added to the bottom of all pages. It seems that some folks viewing the site with Macs can't see the contact info on the front page.

NAHBS Aftermath

I was fortunate to meet so many enthusiastic and wonderful people over this past weekend. Thanks to everyone who took the time to stop by my booth to say hi. I was humbled and touched at the positive response to my work. One of the many highlights of my weekend was finally having the opportunity to meet Steve Potts. I had the good fortune to own a few Potts built frames which sadly no longer belong to me and at risk of sounding cliche, the ride was magical. Steve was more friendly, generous and helpful than I ever imagined him to be and it was great that he took the time not only to give a seminar on working with titanium, but to answer all my questions so patiently and willingly. Big thanks to Steve. Thanks to Don for putting all on, all the volunteers who helped out and everyone who came by to make it such a great show.

I got a little press on here and in the next few following pictures.

As always, Jonathan Maus of has some excellent coverage. Check it out here, here, here, here and here.

Anyone looking for a fantastic steel frame should turn their heads towards any one of the following builders: Natalie of SweetPea, Aaron of Courage (winner of this years Best New Builder award), Matt and Nate of Signal. Not only will any of these builders build you a steel bike of your dreams, it's a pleasure to get to know each of them.

Vertigo Cycles in the news

Jonathan Maus of came by on the 22nd to discuss the business. Read it here.