Spotted | Signal Bikes’ Unreleased Full Suspension Marathon / XC Bike

by | Feb 20, 2023 | Spotted, Bike, Gear, Reviews & First Looks, Sports

While out at the recent Imbuko Big 5 MTB Challenge, we saw what appears to be a production ready full suspension marathon (or XC) bike from Cape Town based Signal Bikes. Here’s what we can know about the bike.

Signal Bikes is named after Cape Town’s iconic Signal Hill, drawing its inspiration from the Mother City’s unique energy and rugged outdoor lifestyle.” They are bikes for the people, just straight up, down the line, solid bikes that you can rely on with a value-for-money price tag. Their Pro 29er featured in our Top 5 Bikes under R30 000 and it is very exciting to see a near-production full suss out in the wild!

A bit about Signal Bikes

Signal Bikes is owned and distributed by Rush Sports, who also hold distributorship in South Africa for Santa Cruz bicycles, Reserve wheels, Maxxis, Enduro Bearings, a few other brands, as well as more recently Cervelo.

Signal are known for putting their bikes through their paces, often underneath the “Pinner” Oli Munnik. He’s taken the humble Signal hardtail through Cape Epic, raced an Enduro in Jonkershoek, Wines2Whales, and much more!

Spotted | Signal Bikes' Unreleased Full Suspension Marathon / Xc Bike
Oli and Charl Neethling (Marketing Manager at Ciovita) raced the W2W aboard a pair of custom painted 2023 Signal PROs. The radical designs were conceptualised and hand sprayed by a celebrated Joburg graffiti artist who goes by the tag ‘Bias’

Signal Bikes’ new full suspension machine

Now, the newest addition to the Signal family has been seen out and about earning its stripes ahead of release at the Imbuko Big 5 (as well as the Tankwa Trek)! The mountains and trail surrounding Wellington are rugged as they come so if it can hold its own out there, you can bet it is going to be a solid bike that you can depend on in a race situation.

Signal Bikes' Unreleased Spectre Full Suspension Marathon Bike
Now signal just need to find a name for it…the Skyfall? the GoldenEye? I’m sure they’ll come up with something.

We have a suspicion they may be wanting to call it the we’ll refer to it as that for now. The Spectre is a 29 inch wheeled carbon fibre full suspension bike designed for marathon and XC racing. The bike is going to be available in a 100mm front and rear option as well as a 100mm rear / 120 mm front configuration, according to Mr. Munnik.

Spotted | Signal Bikes' Unreleased Full Suspension Marathon / Xc Bike
Lithe. It makes me think of a Serval. Very nice!

Taking a look at the side profile of the Spectre, the lines are very elegant. Not a very ‘strong’ look if you’re into that sort of thing but rather a more lithe appearance. I think it’s easy on the eyes and the paint job is equally subtle but classy.

As for the suspension layout, the Spectre appears to be using a single pivot design with flexible seatstays. This is a popular design amongst bikes on the World Cup circuit including the Giant Anthem, Specialized Epic, and Santa Cruz Blur. The Cannondale Scalpel differs by its use of flexible chainstays.

Signal Bikes' Unreleased Spectre Full Suspension Marathon Bike Take Two Bottles
Oli’s Large test bike had plenty of room for hydration storage. Crucial in the African heat!

There is room for two water bottle cages, the seatpost mounted cage will likely only fit a small water bottle but the downtube bottle cage has plenty of headroom. Oli was riding a size Large frame at Imbuko Big 5. 

The spec of the Spectre

When it comes to the spec of the bike, we won’t put too much emphasis on what we see here as this isn’t necessarily what will be on the production bike but there are a couple interesting items to note!

First off, there aren’t any internal routing ports visible near the bike’s headtube and the rear brake hose and dropper post are routed through the handlebar and headset! Very high tech, though we didn’t see any remote lockout option for the rear shock (but that may still be in the works). Headset routing is a polarising topic in the Pinkbike comments these days but it seems to be a trend that will stick. I’m not against it. It certainly looks great and the maintenance drawbacks are not catastrophic by any means.

Signal Bikes' Unreleased Spectre Full Suspension Marathon Bike Might Have Headset Routing
Cable that disappear into the handlebars! Brace yourselves. The future is here.

This pre-production test bike was decked out with Fox factory suspension, Reserve carbon wheels, and a GX AXS drivetrain with a CSixx Cage (which gives extra precise shifting).

Chatting to Oli, he says that they are still finalising the spec for the Spectre range and are testing some items from the factory (handlebar stem seen here included).

Knowing Signal, there should be a spec to suit each and every budget and we hope that there is one blinged out like Oli’s Imbuko Big 5 bike to drool over included in that range!

Signal Bikes' Unreleased Spectre Full Suspension Marathon Bike
Oli shredding the Spectre down Cool Runnings at the Imbuko Big 5!

It’s great to see another locally designed full sus bike enter the mix with Pyga, Titan, and others. We’ll be keeping our ears to the ground for any more info around the release of the bike so stay tuned here to find out more as we do!

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