Innovator Chris Currie’s Latest Design is an Enduro Bike, Fully Customizable

Chris Currie has been creating bike designs and brands for over two decades. Boutique full-suspension Ministry Cycles is his latest company.
The Ministry Cycles Psalm 150. Photos courtesy of Chris Currie

Stumpjumpers and Hightowers are awesome bikes, but, for the most part, they are a dime a dozen. Not many folks crowd around complete strangers at a trailhead to ask them about their Stumpy Evo. This does happen, however, when the bike in question is truly unique.

The trick for starting and building a small bike company is to have a quality that matches the uniqueness. And that is precisely what Chris Currie is trying to do with Ministry Cycles.

After a year of giving Ministry a full go, we met with Currie to chat about his journey through the bike industry, his suspension design, and starting his brand.

Chris Currie’s bicycle background

Dirt bikes were Currie’s first passion as a kid growing up in Pennsylvania. Running out of places to ride his dirt bike, Currie was introduced to the mid-80s mountain bike scene and quickly dove in.

Currie first fell in love with mountain biking conceptually before owning a bike. Eventually, he got his first mountain bike, a used Jamis. 

“It is ironic in hindsight,” Currie said, referencing the brand that would eventually license his suspension system. “I managed to get a used Jamis Dakota from a friend. I was in love with it.”

The feeling of freedom on a mountain bike hooked Currie as a kid. His new passion for mountain biking developed through the late ’80s and early ’90s while mountain bike innovation took off. 

“As I started to get more involved, every day, you would see some whacky new design. It was an incredibly exciting time,” Currie said. Change and innovation within the industry grabbed Currie’s attention and made him want to dive in even deeper.

But, diving into the industry deeper didn’t necessarily have mean he could make it work full-time. Not yet, anyway.

“My background is all in English, which is funny to people who presume I have some sort of engineering background,” Currie explained. Thinking he would be a teacher, Currie earned an English writing degree and worked briefly as a college professor.

Working as a college professor in the early ’90s wasn’t the standard 9 to 5 that other occupations offered. Currie found himself filling his extra time working at a buddy’s bike shop. He quickly connected with the customers over a mutual love of bikes.

This course of life remained relatively constant until the mid-’90s when something happened that changed Currie’s life and, in a way, all of our lives in the future.

Speedgoat, and Currie’s first bike businesses

While working at his friend’s bike shop, Currie began selling components online through early mountain bike classifieds and places like eBay.

“I managed to sell a fork to someone who was in, I think, Singapore,” he said. “I had an old Judy fork, and somebody bought it online. I shipped it off, and the transaction was really smooth.” Currie’s first overseas sale and the seamlessness of it surprised him.

In 1997, Currie found an old one-room schoolhouse in the mountains of Southwest Pennsylvania, rented it, and opened his own shop, Speedgoat. The idea was to sell locally from the storefront and emphasize an online presence. As you can imagine, few bike shops sold products online then.

“To be on the internet at all back then was a wild ride,” Currie said. “To put it in perspective, I never had a Gmail address. We were actually selling stuff online before Gmail existed.” Speedgoat was before ads and much of the current marketing that we see today.

Speedgoat was early to the modern content marketing game. Currie used his background in English and writing to “write the most insane product descriptions you could find on the internet,” he said.

And people seemed to love them. According to Currie, Speedgoat took the same customer service and care aspect found in their brick-and-mortar store and applied it to the online store. They leaned into custom bike builds.

More than a decade has passed since Speedgoat’s closing, and Currie still connects with people who were customers at his old shop. 

“I live on the other side of the United States right now and I’ve been on rides with people who realized they have bought things from me.”

On the Rise with 3VO Suspension

Currie ran Speedgoat for about 15 years before selling it in 2010. He fully stepped away not long after.

During his time at Speedgoat, Currie, inspired by all the bikes he was selling, toyed with frame and suspension design. 

“Coming from a motorcycle world, I was always into suspension,” he said. “I fell in love with that and started doing my own designs.”

With the help of engineering friends and learning computer programs, Currie played with a handful of his original suspension designs. Eventually, he fell in love with one that worked well with 29-inch wheels, something relatively uncommon at the time.

Currie’s suspension, or 3VO, is a dual-link design with co-rotating links. The design gives the platform anti-squat and anti-rise characteristics that Currie likes. Currie claims 3VO allows him to create a bike at around 105% anti-squat and 100% anti-rise. 

He applied for a patent in 2007, which was granted in 2010. “It was around the time Yeti came out with the original Switch. It was the closest thing to what I had been working on and really validated my design,” Currie said. 

He left Speedgoat with his newly patented 3VO suspension design for the West Coast to work in cycling e-commerce as the sales and marketing director of Velotech. Currie eventually left Velotech and became the Creative Director of Stan’s NoTubes. 

It was during this time that Currie connected with Jamis Bikes. “They liked the suspension design after they rode some of the proof of concept bikes I sent. Jamis licensed the 3VO system to use and try to get a strong foothold in the world of mountain bikes,” Currie said. Jamis still uses Currie’s design. 

Currie remained at Stan’s until 2022, where he had his hand in nearly everything, from packaging and marketing to ambassadors and sponsoring teams. But, with the success of 3VO, Currie wanted to see what else he could do. Ministry Cycles was born.

Building Ministry Cycles

Currie designed Ministry around his 3VO suspension platform. He also wanted to bring back the old days of going to cycling trade shows and finding the small, unique brands mixed in with the industry giants. 

“I wanted to be the small builder, but not making gravel bikes,” Currie said. “A high-tech, small builder.”

The industry’s innovation and new ways of designing bikes speak to Currie and he sought to move away from the traditional methods of making mountain bike frames.

“So I ended up with a desire to pursue a CNC’d frame design.”

Currie’s first design was a 150mm trail bike, The Psalm 150, with the front triangle CNC’d out of a single piece of aluminum. The front triangle is produced in two halves and later bonded together. 

Currie pursued machining over traditional tooling for the preciseness and high repeatability of the machining process. Plus, the CNC route gave Currie the option of producing a dozen or so frames at a time, substantially less than the contract options for carbon or aluminum frames. This allows Currie to tweak his design, if needed, without major financial impacts. 

As initial runs of the frame came out, Ministry hit a speed bump. “I’m still riding one of those CNC machine frames, but I ran into problems with lab testing,” Currie said. While the Psalm 150 Currie rides performed wonderfully, he reported on Ministry Cycle’s Instagram that the frame he sent to the lab cracked around hose ports.

Not all boutique builders are putting their frames through testing, a step Currie isn’t willing to skip. Ministry frames are tested to industry standards.

This failure would be a costly problem for Ministry and could potentially end the company before it began. However, Currie was so impressed with the stiffness and ride quality of the CNC frames that he wasn’t finished pursuing that option.

Fortunately, Currie can put the CNC option in the backseat for now because new possibilities have come up.

Ministry Cycles on the horizon

Boutique bike builders have often stayed within the realm of hardtails. The artistry and craft is phenomenal, but having a proven suspension system is often out of reach. Currie hopes to change that by offering his 3VO rear triangles to small frame builders.

“You got a lot of really skilled artisans out there with amazing frames, but they’re limited to hardtails,” Currie said, hoping to help them break through to the next level with his proven suspension design. 

Jackalope Bikes out of Revelstoke, BC, is one such bike company benefiting from Currie’s 3VO suspension. Jackalope pairs a steel front triangle with the CNC’d 3VO to complete a uniquely rad bike they hope to launch in 2024.

Currie is also pursuing different front triangle options for Ministry and hoping to offer various options to customers in the future. With the failure of the CNC test frame, Currie has been testing a titanium frame. 

The titanium front triangle has been a completely different riding experience than the CNC option for Currie. He sees an opportunity for customers to fully customize the ride characteristics of their Psalm 150 by choosing a different frame material.

“The CNC aluminum is almost like metal-plated carbon,” Currie said, “and the titanium is so unique. I look forward to trying a steel front triangle and a welded aluminum. I see the potential to be a custom shop that can talk about the different ride characteristics of each and offer something different for everyone.”

Everything seems to come back around as Currie takes a nod from his Speedgoat days.