The Development Behind the Sonder Signal

The Development Behind the Sonder Signal

By Rob Savin

As if the Camino, Transmitter and Colibri aren't enough of a statement of intent, Sonder Product Manager Neil Sutton has delivered the most incredible bike with the Signal. Our customers tell us it's the best bike ever.

We managed to pull Neil away from the workshop for a few minutes to ask him about how the Signal got to where it is today.

Tell us about the Signal

Neil: The Signal’s a super-versatile bike, great long days out, big pedals, super-comfortable over distance but also really good fun to throw around down the local woods.

What was the idea behind the Signal?

Neil: The Signal came about because we got a lot of customers asking if they could put 29er wheels onto their Transmitters. The Transmitter’s our 27.5 plus aggressive trail hardtail. 29ers do fit with small tyres but they’re not really suitable. So rather than mess about, we decided to make a bike that’s suitable for the job.

What was important when you started designing it?

Neil: Key considerations when designing the Signal were I wanted to keep the fun factor so kept the stays nice and short. It’s not but not too long in the front end so it’s nice and agile but still stable at speed. And then the other thing was we wanted it to be a really capable pedaller so it had to climb really well and just had to be a comfortable place to sit all day.

How did you manage all that in one bike?

Neil: To achieve that we kept the stays short. It’s a beautiful bike to manual. These stays are variable across frame sizes so bigger frames get longer stays, which means taller riders can get their weight further back without unweighting the front wheel too much. We’ve also got a relatively steep seat angle, which gets you into an efficient position for climbing. All that’s coupled with a low stack height and low bottom bracket so it keeps your weight over the front and gets you sitting in the bike rather than on the bike.

Why did you choose Titanium and Steel for the Signal?

Neil: When designing the Signal I wanted to keep the comfort that you have with the Transmitter and so much of that comfort comes from the tyre size. Using titanium an steel on a 29er gives a lovely supple and forgiving ride while keeping plenty of stiffness to really ride hard out of corners.

What are your favourite things about the new Signal Steel?

Neil: I like to keep a bike’s design nice and clean and nice and simple. With the steel bike I really like that it’s round tubes, super-neat lines, minimal dropouts, sleek chain stays and just a really nicely formed head tube to finish it off.

Do you get chance to ride the Signal much?

Neil: Yes, the Signal’s the bike I’d ride around my local trails. I have to pedal a good couple of miles there so it’s perfect for that. And once I get there, I can just get the seat down and go.

Cheers Neil! Find out more about the Signal range (there's even a Pinion Signal!).


  • Got my Signal Ti in February 2020 and I love it, I have done 1688 miles on it so far which isn’t a lot but my riding is split between the Signal, my Specialized Roubaix, and my Ti gravel bike. The Signal is a keeper which I call my monster truck as with a 2.5 tyre front and 2.4 rear it will roll over pretty much anything.

    John Montgomery

    June 28, 2021

  • morning neil – i did email last night regarding my sonder bike. it was due to be delivered last week but you emailed to say there was some delay but it would be with me towards the end of this week – but would contact me if there was a problem. it is now friday and i haven’t heard anything…which is disappointing – could you please update me – my bike should be here by today, at the latest, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen but i have not had any contact from yourself to let me know this – i have spent a lot of money on this bike and feel disappointed that no one has been in touch to update me either way – if the bike isn’t ready then someone should have been in touch and i should not be chasing this up.

    samantha williams

    September 11, 2020

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published