A version of this article originally appeared in the July issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.
DURANGO, Colo. (BRAIN) — John Siegrist, one of the best-known custom frame builders of the mountain bike boom of the 1990s and beyond, has joined his son, David, in starting a new frame-building business. executives called Sanitas. Sanitas builds custom steel and titanium frames for consumers and on an OE basis for several boutique brands.
John Siegrist founded Dean Titanium in 1989 with partner Randy Dean Sisson, whose middle name provided the company name. Dean took off with the $1,500 Siegrist got selling his titanium Litespeed frame. The first Dean frames were built by Sandvik in Washington State, but Siegrist later began welding the frames himself.
Siegrist kicked Dean off with $1,500 he got from selling his own Litespeed titanium frame.
“I spent 25 tough years building this brand and growing it. It was hard work…we were building bikes and selling bikes and just moving forward,” he said.
Along with brands like Fat Chance, Merlin and others, Dean became one of America’s best-known hardtail mountain bikes in the 1990s, popular on the premier NORBA cross-country race circuit. For the past several years, it has remained a small custom brand with a strong following along Colorado’s Front Range and elsewhere.
About six years ago, Siegrist and his partners formed Janus Cycle Group as Dean’s parent. Janus acquired the assets of Merlin Cycle Works and distributed imported brands such as Knight Wheels, Rossin and Ionic. In early 2021, Janus was acquired by Chicago-based real estate investor Phil Joseph. The company remains based in Boulder.
Siegrist left Janus at the end of February this year and moved to Durango, where he has owned a cabin for several years. David, a recent graduate of Fort Lewis College in Durango, worked in the bicycle industry as a US agent for Jet Black, the Australian brand of stationary trainers. He also welded frames.
“David grew up in the shop,” John said, referring to Dean’s frame-building shop in Boulder.
After moving to Durango, father and son decided to partner with Sanitas.
Named after a peak in Boulder that’s popular with hikers and trail runners, Sanitas has already booked business nearly through the end of the year, John Siegrist said. Much of that business is OE for a handful of smaller brands he declined to name.
“They’re very busy, so we’re very busy,” he said. “Touch wood, we’re sold out through November and probably soon into December.”
Sanitas relies on Durango-based Agave Finishworks for anodized, brushed, or polished finishes on many of its frames. Agave also offers premium finish options for titanium components including Cane Creek eeWings cranks, Durango King Cage bottle cages and more.
In addition to titanium hardtails, road and gravel bikes, Sanitas produces steel frames and is working with suspension innovator John Castellano to develop a pivotless titanium softtail.
Siegrist said he is enjoying life in the quieter community of Durango. “Durango is so small, but there’s a huge cycling community. It’s beautiful and there are lots of trails. Dave and I love fishing and duck hunting and it’s just a great life here,” he said. -he declares.