Remember the Ministry Cycles Psalm 150 that we showed you last year? The 150mm-travel aluminum frame is machined in two halves and then stuck together using aerospace-grade glue, the result being, in my opinion, one hell of a good-looking bicycle. Those who agree with that will be happy to hear that the Psalm 150 is close to production, with the first twenty frames being available this spring either on their own or as part of a complete custom build. As you might have guessed, these are not inexpensive things; a frame costs $5,000 USD, including the $1,000 refundable pre-order deposit.
That will get you the 7075 frame with either a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate RC2T, Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate, Fox Float X2, or a DHX2 rear shock. Another $300 USD will see your Psalm 150 come with a custom-tuned EXT Storia Lok V3
Psalm 150 Details
• Intended use: Trail / enduro
• Travel: 150mm rear / 160mm front
• Frame material: CNC 7075 aluminum
• Wheel size 29"
• 3VO suspension
• Interchangeable dropouts
• Head angle: 65°
• Seat angle: 77.7°
• Reach: 480 / 490mm (adjustable)
• MSRP: $5,000 USD (frame + shock)
• More info: www.ministrycycles.com
The one hold-up, at least for shorter or taller riders, is that the Psalm 150 will only be available in a medium-ish-to-large size with a 480mm to 490mm reach number that's adjustable via headtube inserts. Chris Currie, the man behind Ministry Cycles, has plans for other sizes down the road, and you can follow his development process on the Ministry Cycles Instagram page.
Why not welded tubes or molded carbon fiber? "I'm looking for a fabrication method that can scale while still allowing for customization, flexibility, and agility," Currie told me adding that it also gives him more control over the manufacturing of his bike, especially compared to following the same route others have that eventually lead to, "big bike factories." Ministry is aiming to produce more frames than most small builders would be able to weld up, but turning to carbon fiber creates all sorts of baked-in challenges, especially when it comes to timelines and, God forbid, wanting to make a quick mid-production cycle update to the design.
All that led Currie to look at CNC machining, but he explained that it required outside help and plenty of homework: "When your goal is to make more than a handful of frames a year, you need to build a team and systems. I finally found a great engineer, Jordan Jackson at Certa Design and Engineering in the UK, to work out the shapes and do FEA so we were sure we had a solid foundation. Then researching the best way to bond, and the different adhesives, and finally finding a factory capable of machining the frames--at a time when aluminum was hitting record high prices--it was one hell of a learning experience. I've been in the bike industry for a long time, but almost none of that ended up mattering. Making this frame meant tearing up the playbook and finding new ways to do things."
If you want to know more about the Psalm 150, you can check out our First Look article that has all the details
or listen to our podcast with Chris Currie
THE PINKBIKE PODCAST // EPISODE 145 - MINISTRY CYCLES ON ALTERNATIVE MANUFACTURING, GLUING FRAMES, & STARTING A BUSINESS
September 22nd, 2022
Aluminum, glue, and online sales.
Umm, that seems backwards to me ... it certainly is easier than welding, perhaps cheaper even, so the price, wow, I can only imagine how much more a welded frame would cost
Was my MTB for 10 years before I started riding more serious trails, and since then has mostly been relegated to commuting and touring. Would have done at least 35000km on it in that time. The drop-bar 'gravel' conversion is new in the last couple of months.
trigger warning - bike has a rack and mirror
a.) 7075 is not easy to weld but has vary good properties and strength to weight ratio
b.) Percisely CNCed and glued parts have MUCH better alignment then welded
So, glued 7075 is potentially better in every way then welded inferior alloys. Of course the for most of us this is just not worth the price and the explanation in this article/release is really poor However this is a valid way to make a luxury frame and has some real (but probably small) benefits. It's just a luxury good.
c.) CNC requires less special tooling (no hydroforming, no heat treating) and has much greater potential for in-house manufacturing.
This is a very good point, in practice if you do not want to make it in Asia, you need to make it carbon or steel or cnc alu.
One middle ground I was thinking about is, why not just machine the lugs and glue the tubes to that? You get the same amount of customization. Just a bit more work afterwards to glue parts together (just like Robotbike/Atherton have to) but at least you don't have to machine so much material away. You won't need the double shear lap joints that Robotbike/Atherton needs so it shouldn't be too hard to machine those lugs.
5000usd doesnt Sound that bad- an S Works frame or SC goes for 4000usd and is 10x Times (or more) more scalabe.
I am curious though, what your thoughts are with the future of "on-demand custom", and the possibility of super quick customization/geometry changes. People say they want to have control over customizing frames, geometry, etc but if you give customers as much design freedom as they ask for, they will get confused and overwhelmed. How do you see that balance playing out as we gain the ability to quickly change designs, and do you think at the end of the day, people ACTUALLY want control over geometry/suspension tweaks? I would almost rather receive a bike that I know the geo is good, and then I have a bit of adjustability either way in flip chips for reach, bb height, cs length, and suspension progressivity. Cool stuff Chris! I will definitely be following along and hope to see you and Ministry around for a long time. Absolutely love the angular look of your bike!
He should make he frame out of adhesive then - much stronger...
"I'm looking for a fabrication method that can scale while still allowing for customization, flexibility, and agility,"
And how the heck is CNC milling from ginormous blocks of aluminum "scalable"? That is the exact opposite of scalable.
That extra $3500 for the santacruz must just be for shipping it across the ocean… oh and the glovebox of course.
I'm the guy making these, and happy to answer anybody's questions directly. Feel free to get in touch and help talk me out of all this as soon as possible. Seriously, happy to answer questions about the project, or just talk bikes.
Are you guys using 2 part self-curing adhesive or 1 part with a heat cure? Also, did you ever consider hydroforming the 2 halves instead of machining?
the problem is sometimes theres no actual advantage
7075 often ends up as a ticking timebomb
Also, almost all AL-alloys are recyclable, technically speaking - the problem is that almost no one actually does it. The vast majority of high-strenght alloy material gets down-cycled rather than recycled and ends up as low-purity casting material. Thinking that you save the planet by buying an alloy bike is a pipe dream. Absolutely none of the aluminium used to make your shiny new bike comes from recycling.
wow, bunch of douches on this forum. Guy makes an amazing looking bike with an extremely viable construction method and gets total crap from a bunch of trolls. its like i can be worse douche than you. speed goat, your effort is amazing an i am totally impressed what one can do when you stop complaining and start doing. hope it works out for you, this forum sucks. "
Welcome to Pinkbike. Think this is bad? Try TGR
This guy material sciences
Aluminum generally has a very limited fatigue life. Yes, it will flex, however, flex is a killer with aluminum. Flex is the reason aluminum fails, when it does. That's why bending back aluminum is so iffy. 6000 series aluminum cracks easily when subjected to flex.
7075 Aluminum is a different beast. What I meant was, it has far greater spring back properties than all other grades. It actually acts more like steel or even Ti in this regard.
Same with rims. We were constantly breaking carbon rims for years before manufacturers started designing in a certain amount of flex.
Most cars that use an aluminium chassis are still glued together. Stronger than welds and you don't risk warping the frame in production.
saw them a couple times; fun shows for sure. jello biafra made a surprise cameo at one & they ripped a couple lard tracks - very cool.
Bead blasted by hand or tumbled? In any case attention to detail is excellent.
While its fine to critisize Pole for that, apply the same criticism to the popular bike brands that make carbon frames that crack all the time.
I assume the pricing at Pole is helped by the fact they are using pretty similar designs and production for the e-bike and the MTB - which probably helps to bring costs down a bit.
Chris Currie is just starting out, that’s pretty different. What he‘s put together so far looks amazing. And the price for the frame is not excessive for a boutique brand.
And for all the detractors: I also admire Pole for having the guts to do something different. If one likes normal, there are plenty of other brands.
@Wilm: A perfectly smooth finish is ideal. Any bumps, nicks, dings, grooves, etc create stress concentrations in the surface which can become failure initiation points down the road.
The headtube failure does look that way, the others look like the metal had deformed first. Either way I'm not really concerned about the bonded joint. The Psalm also has some additional hardware securing the head tube area.
I didn’t sit through the podcast, but it seems like a great way to start small.
They’ll get the bike sizes worked out, and then it’ll be the same process as this one. If they can reuse the aluminum scrap, they’re good to go!
I tried to get an aluminum insert glued into my carbon rear triangle once. Broke every extractor. Even the big ones!
I watched a video of Santa Cruz doing an ultimate strength test on a carbon and aluminum frame. It was just a frame in a fixture, sitting “wheelie” position, with a welded tube structure replacing the fork.
They would take a (heavy) weight from varying heights and release it onto the end of the rigid “fork” until the frame failed. Like slamming a wall at 30mph..
Not only does it give you a reference of failure point, but it showed exactly where the frame buckled.
Oh, I see, you’re going to apply “science” to your validation.
They must have called this the “Bevis and Butthead” lab, because the only purpose was break stuff!
I’m assuming they have hydraulic test rigs for things like fatigue and rigidity and the sort.
I only watched it because I wanted to see if the carbon frame broke before the aluminum version. Since I have one.
I dig the way you’re doing this. Good luck Man!
Oh that’s nice.. Glasses broken, sweater all torn up by the time it’s over.
I’d tune in for that.
I'm a bit on the tails of the bell curve in body proportions, so customization is probably more important to me than to most. It's also why I immediately noticed there is no number on your web page for the max seatpost insertion. I need 780mm from bottom bracket to saddle rail. Can I fit a 240mm OneUp dropper into your frame?
The production method is not quite unique but still unusual, and there is a good reason why small, innovation-driven companies opt for it (e.g. Actofive, Pole). Two thumbs up for Chris, I am sure he will be successful with what he‘s doing
2. Also only makes literally one size?
It's a pretty well engineered concept.