Custom Bike Shop Opens on North Main Avenue – The Durango Herald

Sanitas Cycles embraces Durango’s titanium frames, durability and cycling history

Sanitas Cycles was founded by former Fort Lewis College student, David Siegrist, along with his father, John. (Courtesy of Sanitas Cycles)

For Sanitas Cycles owners John and David Siegrist, life has always been about bikes. The father-son team has spent countless hours perfecting their craft and now serves the Durango community with their custom titanium frames.

John Siegrist started building frames in 1990 as the owner of Dean Titanium bikes in Boulder. It is one of the three original manufacturers of titanium bicycles.

“I kept this business until 2014, then I sold it, but I stayed with the new owner. And then around 2018 one of the owners left and we merged into a new company,” John said. “I was brought back as a partner and we bought Merlin metalworks, which was another of the original titanium bike frame makers.”

John sold the business in 2021. David Siegrist grew up working in the store and learned to build bikes from an early age. He built his first frame at age 15.

David graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in Environmental Studies. He regretted not racing with the cycling team but approached the coaches. He developed the Sanitas brand after graduating.

“The very moment the pandemic started is when things got crazy for bike manufacturers,” David said. “The orders started piling up, so I went back to Boulder and took the full crash course in building bikes to help out my dad. Right after, I launched Sanitas Cycles.

Sanitas offers bike adjustments for its custom bikes. The company makes calculations based on a person’s body to create the right size bike frame.

“We can be a bit like a stop. You can come in and have a bike ride. Then we take that and put it into BikeCAD and transpose it into AutoCAD and then build the bike,” John said.

The store, located at 3067 Main Ave., will also do bike adjustments for anyone who doesn’t want a custom bike but just wants to make sure their frame fits properly.

Sanitas builds primarily in titanium. Siegrists focus on titanium frames because they are repairable and durable.

“The problem is that it is difficult to solder. That’s why you don’t see a lot of people working in titanium because it’s a difficult material to weld. You have to back purge with argon and it has to be super clean,” John said.

Siegrists find titanium easier to customize as they can take a bike and build it around an individual’s body. John has built bikes for many famous people including former NFL player Jim Zorn, Eddie Van Halen and Linda Hamilton. He also built bikes for professional road cyclist Levi Leipheimer and Olympian Kristin Armstrong.

David wants to get more involved in the FLC cycling community and wants to start building cyclocross bikes for the team.

“A big thing I want to do is help them with cross bikes. Because talking to Dave and other riders up there, it seems for other styles of racing the top athletes already have bike sponsors,” he said. “But it looks like they need cross bikes. And titanium is a really good material for cyclocross.

Durability is important to Siegrists. The hardware they use is made in the USA and is leftover aerospace hardware they buy from a warehouse.

“All of our tubing that we use is originally machined for aerospace uses and these companies buy 10,000 meters of tubing. The rest that they don’t use just sits in a warehouse,” David said.

He said the process by which aerospace companies obtain the material and not use it creates a lack of sustainability. And for Sanitas, using this material to create bicycle frames as a means of transportation has many environmental benefits.

Due to Durango’s cycling history, the Siegrists believe it was the perfect place to set up shop. They enjoy how community members will stop to watch them build bikes, and they hope to get involved with organizations like Durango Devo.

“We just have a rich history of building bikes. We want to keep going and it’s good to be in Durango because even though I lived in Boulder, I raced bikes here back in the day with guys like Overend and Tomac,” John said. “Durango never lost that community.”

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