Bike Check: A '90s Nike Airmax Inspired Steel Full Suss

Jul 23, 2021
by James Smurthwaite  



In recent weeks we've seen paint jobs inspired by heavy metal, hornets and even search and rescue planes but there haven't been many as striking as this Project12 Cycleworks Vertigo that was inspired by a Nike Airmax trainer from the '90s.

We've previously covered Project 12 for its Dutch Downcountry Victor but this is the much bigger sibling, the Vertigo. Rather than the 95mm travel the Victor frame had, the Vertigo is 153mm of travel with 27.5" wheels and is designed to tackle the bikeparks outside of its native country. This particular one belongs to a retro bike collector who was attracted to the straight steel tubes with fillet brazed joins from the builder Michiel Burgerhout, but to make it even more retro he added this wild paint job.
Details

Frame Material: Steel
Wheelsize: 27.5"
Rear travel: 153mm
Suspension Design: Single pivot
Head Tube Angle: 64°
Seat Tube Angle: 76.6°
Reach: 470mm
More info: @project12.cycleworks

It apparently took 6 months of sourcing and de-anodizing and polishing parts for the build to come together and then it was finished off with a paint job from Cyclepaint.nl. Even Michiel himself chipped in by swapping out his normal brass headtube badge for a custom machined aluminum one. Let's get into all the details.


bigquotesI've been a retro bike collector for about 10 years. I sold everything a few years back except for 3 bikes, but the retro vibe was still alive. I had the silver wheelset made for my Nomad as an extra set but never used it so that started the idea of a complete silver build like in the old days. The color inspiration came from an icon from 1990, the Air Max 90. I loved them back then, but couldn't afford them, especially the pink and blue color scheme. So I chose those colors and it came out as I envisioned.

project12 - Vertigo custom steel full suspension
Specification
Frame: Project12 Vertigo
Shock: DVO Topaz t3 air - green anodising stripped
Fork: DVO Diamond 650b, 170mm
Wheels: Rad15 Ozone rims, Hope Pro4 hubs
Tires: Wolfpack Enduro with Cushcore
Drivetrain: Ingrid CRS pop raw cranks with 30tchainring; Sram xx1 derailleur, stripped and customised; Garbaruk 11 speed cassette
Brakes: Hope Tech 3 V4
Cockpit: One up carbon 35 Stem: Sbone Enduro stem raw
Seatpost: Bikeyoke Revive 31.6 185mm
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite Ti

Before the customer got their hands on it, the frame started life as a raw steel version fresh from Michiel's workshop.

project12 - Vertigo custom steel full suspension
project12 - Vertigo custom steel full suspension
project12 - Vertigo custom steel full suspension
Michiel works loads of cool details into his frames

project12 - Vertigo custom steel full suspension
A single pivot design drives the rear suspension. Note the stripped DVO shock as the green anodising would have been too loud even for this build.

project12 - Vertigo custom steel full suspension
project12 - Vertigo custom steel full suspension
The pink to blue fade is done by Cyclepaint.nl

project12 - Vertigo custom steel full suspension
project12 - Vertigo custom steel full suspension
A mix and match of Ingrid, SRAM and Garbaruk parts make up the drivetrain.

project12 - Vertigo custom steel full suspension
project12 - Vertigo custom steel full suspension
project12 - Vertigo custom steel full suspension
The silver details include a custom machined aluminum head tube badge.



114 Comments

  • 83 0
 How can you have an article about a bike inspired by my 90s Air Nax and not show a picture of the shoes in question?
  • 2 0
 Exactly
  • 4 0
 At least post a picture of the Norco Shore that comes in the same colorway!
  • 2 0
 @dkidd: Forbidden Dreadnaught
  • 12 4
 Its behind the paywall..
  • 1 1
 @NotNamed: ok, that was a good paywall joke
  • 1 0
 69th upvote...nice
  • 1 0
 Outside market research showed that everyone on Pinkbike already knows exactly what a 90's Nike Air Max looks like, and would actually be offended if they included a photo for comparison.
  • 52 3
 that paint is nice and all...but that raw steel? Hot damn.
  • 8 4
 The best is when u let rust a bit then clear coat it
  • 3 1
 @artistformlyknowasdan: Rust or oxidize ?
  • 2 6
flag jamisdiablo (Jul 23, 2021 at 15:12) (Below Threshold)
 It's all alloy ;-)
  • 1 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: that would be awesome!!
  • 1 0
 @jamisdiablo: it literally says steel frame
  • 5 0
 @imnotdanny: Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon, at the minimum. Generally other elements too.
  • 3 3
 @imnotdanny: He said raw metal, and the only raw on this (my) bike is alloy
  • 1 0
 @hllclmbr: true
Titanium frames are also technically alloys with 3/2.5 or 6/4 percent chromium and vanadium (or is it the other way around…been awhile).
Either way no one but a troll or a jackass goes around referring to their steel or ti frame as “alloy”.
  • 1 0
 @ReformedRoadie:

Back the day, if you had a 6/4 Ti Litespeed, you’d most certainly claim it was a 6/4 alloy bike, but you might also be a jackass.
  • 1 0
 @jamisdiablo: A misunderstanding then. I'm almost certain it was a comment on the raw unpainted frame.
  • 18 0
 Having had AirMax back in the day, nothing about this says that to me. Doesn’t need that association to be cool - it stands alone, purple/blue fade and all. Reminds me of what a bunch of bike companies were doing in the early 90s.
  • 5 0
 Action-tec called....
  • 1 0
 @donpinpon29:
action-Tec. Lol
Comment gold!
  • 20 0
 He should work in some bearing shields.
  • 11 0
 WTF does this have to do with a pair of shoes older than most posters on this forum? The paint job is slick, but seriously. Nike is a douche company anyways. They charge $200+ for a pair of shoes made in a sweat shop somewhere for pennies on the dollar.
  • 4 0
 To each his/her own I guess. I love the flex of my steel bikes and I love my FS bikes. I just don't get steel FS frames at all however. I don't want my FS frame to flex in the slightest. And the aesthetics are just not there for me either, unless we are talking an old BMW.
  • 2 0
 My Cotic doesn’t noticeably flex at all, it does however provide a less harsh feel / feel more damped if that makes sense? Saying that it runs alu chain stays
  • 3 4
 What about when you're going around corners? In this case, at 45° lean for example, only half the bump forces act through the suspension, the rest act to bend the frame sideways. A compliant frames gives so much more grip and control than a super stiff frame.

Unfortunately you've applied an over simplistic idealisation to your understanding of how a bike works...
  • 1 0
 Agreed. A beautiful bike, but full suspension steel doesn’t make sense to me. For my DJ, and gravel bike, hell yes. Steel is my preferred material for those, but not full suspension.
  • 1 0
 @phutphutend: as have you. forces are predominantly directly through the bb to the tyre contact point. even with the greatest bike/body separation body position ( even pros dont display as much as the youtube 'howto' gurus suggest) your mass will be moving directly down through the frame/bb. maybe low speed then flex may help but who needs damping at low speed?
  • 6 0
 Fun until the dropouts/seatstays break. Don't ask how I know about rockers with no minor pivot...

-W
  • 4 0
 Agreed. I’m afraid I’d turn that frame into a very expensive steel pretzel.
  • 1 0
 Yes, those are some of the thinnest seat stays I've seen in a long time!
  • 1 0
 @RayDolor: Thin actually probably helps here (stay can flex a bit more). But it won't matter in the end, fatigue will win as the chain/seatstay angle opens up every time you hit a bump.
  • 1 0
 @waltworks: This beauty prolly wont be ridden enough to destroy it. As I enjoyed the photo I was left wondering why my rear triangle is so beefy looking.
  • 3 0
 Cracked one of the dropouts of the hardtail version in less than 300 km. Frame flexed like mad. With a shock attached to it and everything moving, and the same skinny stays, mad flex might be a bit of an understatement. Fashion above function!
  • 1 3
 @Boozzz: jij bent gewoon een hele dikke kneus dat je dat hier maar blijft herhalen bij elke fiets van P12.
  • 2 0
 @jamisdiablo: Right dude, calling me names because I point out a big issue I had with this design, how courteous and grown up. Hope you enjoy your bike more than I did.
  • 3 0
 So many outstanding design solutions! And a really cohesive end result. It’s impressive how well you maintained the hardtail profile lines! Extra credit for your seat choice! Thanks for sharing
  • 1 0
 That is an awesome looking bike. The frame details from the builder are spot on! The collectors version is quite the looker. My kind of suspension, gorgeous cranks.. and that silver “anno” screams to me early bmx before colored anno. Very nice bike!
  • 4 1
 Reminds me of that time I painted my gt zaskar in the Burger King whopper colours. So cool.
  • 2 0
 Welcome to Good Burger,
Home of the Good Burger
Can I take your order?
  • 1 0
 @BEERandSPOKES: yeah can I get a cool bike painted like a bland consumer object from roughly the same era please?
  • 2 1
 the fat stanchions on the shock and fork look weird paired with the skinny steel tubes. considering they spec'ed the ingrid cranks, i'd think that intend_bc's fork and shock bling would be right at home with this frame.
  • 1 0
 Ingrid is quite a bit more affordable than Intend, and DVO is also very good. But the next Vertigo will be a full Intend affair.
  • 4 0
 F Nike, they're the Amazon of the foot fingers.
  • 4 0
 Looks like the “nerds” Forbidden Dreadnaught paint job, I like it!
  • 2 0
 He really missed an opportunity to go Next Level here:
m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtmZLBGzeCs
  • 1 0
 That looks rad but I am really struggling to figure out which Nike trainer it is inspired by. Can anyone enlighten me with a pic/link?
  • 2 0
 These are the Nikes I wanted back then and was the inspiration for this / my build
  • 2 0
 I hand polished a bunch of shit on my Ripmo during recovery from an injury. This speaks to me deeply.
  • 2 0
 Yaaaaa buddy! True passion and craftsmanship!!!! Modern bikes are missing this aspect as everything has become disposable and non usable unlike bikes before 2010 where you could Frankenstein and make and create your own bike. Im sad for modern crap that only works on one bike.
  • 1 0
 Just checked your profile - nice! I really like the crank arms. What's the process if I wanted to do something like this myself?
  • 3 0
 @ryan77777: For the crank arms I started with a wire wheel in a bench grinder to strip the black anodizing and then used an aluminum polishing kit from Harbor Freight to get the shine. Was quite a bit of work but I had a lot of time to kill! I polished my seat clamp (specific to Ibis frames so no aftermarket options) the thru axles, and a few of the other aluminum frame components. Those were much easier as they were already a smooth anodized finish, the cranks were a dense matte finish that was quite tough.
  • 1 0
 @ryan77777: I just bought them here:
ingrid.bike
  • 1 0
 Daaaammmm
This is pure beauty!
I love it and this I show a MTB should look!
The only miss is it should have been made in 26" instead of 27.5!!!
  • 4 0
 I’ve boycotted Nike
  • 2 0
 Boxy rims and slender seat stays just lurvely
  • 2 0
 That bike needs some ringle bling on it and some sweet ano onza bar ends!
  • 2 0
 It needs a fluo nineties sweatband to get rid of all that moist
  • 1 0
 Agreed! Or just sunny weather...
  • 1 0
 a truly LUST WORTHY steel machine I would love to carve trails and drops with.
  • 1 0
 Thanks mate
  • 1 0
 Beautiful but why mist a steel frame just for that effect? And the wheels are just too small(picky,picky,picky).
  • 1 0
 Not mist, just a typical shitty Dutch summer when we took the photos. ;-)
  • 2 0
 It doesnt look like a shoe....
  • 1 0
 It's a BSO!
  • 1 0
 Add an R and you're on the money for paint scheme.
  • 2 0
 6 months? It looks like a week end project.
  • 1 0
 I like it a lot, I thought about a retro looking build with a Pike painted in mag 21 gold and silver components.
  • 1 0
 Ti Flite taught me a valuable lesson...you're not supposed to sit on this thing for very long.
  • 1 0
 I am not a frame builder but i am a welder/fabricator. These pictures stopped me dead in my tracks, beautiful work.
  • 1 0
 Other than the paint job there's nothing retro any this bike. That is all.
  • 1 0
 the more I look at it the more it reminds me of the 90's.. Yup I hate it. sorry
  • 2 0
 Im in love
  • 1 0
 Right!!! Its brings back some cool memories and makes me think modern plastic bike look phony!
  • 1 0
 Wheeeere can i find silver MTb hoops? Or are these custom painted?
  • 1 0
 These are RAD15 rims, made in Holland. I know the owner and he was so kind to ano them silver
  • 1 0
 I am eyeballing polished velocity rims for my current build. They do silver too.
  • 2 0
 @Doogster: I wouldn't recommend it. I built some of those up a year ago for a complete silver theme. They get dents just riding in the close proximity to rocks. Extremely soft!
  • 2 0
 @garrisond5:

I second this. My velocity blunts are made of butter ..
  • 1 0
 @garrisond5: That is too bad to hear. I ride only on rocks. I will have to look for some other rims I guess. At least for the rear. Maybe I can get away with a velocity up front.
  • 1 0
 @HonzoBro: I love butter on bread, but not rims made out of it.
  • 2 1
 Does not remind me of Air Max. Reminds me of a dodgy spray job.
  • 1 0
 not even close
  • 1 0
 selle italia flite saddle...yup, inspired by the 90's
  • 2 1
 Sure that a flex swingarm is OK for 153mm of travel?? Seems ambitious
  • 2 0
 27.5" ain't dead
  • 1 0
 A shoe company that looks down on cycling thanks to Lance
  • 1 0
 Such a sick build!!
  • 1 0
 They just did it.
  • 1 0
 sick build!
  • 1 0
 this is fucking amazing
  • 1 0
 Full sus?
  • 1 0
 Where's the thighs???
  • 4 0
 Your confusing the Dutch and Danish. But if you insist I can send you a photo of my chubby hairy thighs. ;-)
  • 1 0
 @suravida: lol lol:lol
  • 1 0
 @suravida: lol. Gross....
  • 1 2
 Hand polished parts=time wasted polishing parts that should've been spent riding.
  • 1 1
 Triggered the dorks who polish parts and spend time on the internet instead of riding.

I’m sure the Mothers Mag has your stem so bright the glare in direct sunlight makes your bikes unridable.
  • 1 0
 it's Nike, burn it
  • 1 0
 awesome bike
  • 1 0
 Needs a ringle cage.
  • 1 0
 Agreed!
  • 1 0
 drilled crankset
  • 1 0
 I love it!
  • 4 5
 It looks sketchy to ride
  • 2 0
 Sketchy is sometimes more fun! Big Grin
  • 1 4
 I'm not sure I'd trust a brazed frame off-road.
  • 4 0
 Brazed MTB frames are as old as mountain biking itself.

Look at some of the bikes from Curtis for some amazing brazed FS bikes, though there are many other companies using brazed joints as well. www.curtisbikes.co.uk
  • 2 0
 This brazed frame will outlast any carbon bike!!!!!
  • 1 0
 @insertfunusername: I had one of their Supercross ht jump frames. They were so strong they came with a lifetime replacement guarantee.
  • 1 0
 @tremeer023: "Steel is real" is a saying for a reason. Fatigue life is very different between the 4 major players for frame materials.

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