Handmade Bike & Beer Fest October 3-4

Rapha chooses Portland for U.S. headquarters

Posted by on February 8th, 2008 at 12:30 am

NAHBS_Rapha Roleur Photo Exhibit -2.jpg
Rapha hosted a cycling photography exhibit
in the Pearl District tonight.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Portland just added another company to its burgeoning bike economy: Rapha Performance Roadwear.

Company co-founder Luke Scheybeler, who I met tonight at an event hosted by Rapha as part of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS), said Rapha will establish its U.S. operations in Portland.

I asked Scheybeler why he chose Portland and he said, “The U.S. is massively important to us…and Portland is so obviously a center of cycling, there’s an amazing bike culture here and a real appreciation for it. It just feels right.”

NAHBS_Rapha Roleur Photo Exhibit -5.jpg
Former Nike product manager
Slate Olson will head up Rapha’s
Portland office.

Taking the reins of Rapha’s U.S. presence will be seven-year Nike veteran Slate Olson. Olson worked on the Nike Cycling line and he told me tonight that the Rapha office in Portland will handle all the company’s U.S. operations, marketing, and customer service duties.

Olson said the company also considered San Francisco as its U.S. base, but Olson, a former Bay Area resident, convinced them that “there’s no better place for Rapha than in Portland.”

Rapha currently has 15 employees in London and Scheybeler hopes to have a similar sized staff in the Portland office. The company sells their high-end (and high-fashion) cycling apparel consumer direct via their website at Rapha.cc.

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  • Matt Picio February 8, 2008 at 3:12 am

    That\’s awesome news, and it\’s great to see more companies recognize the awesomeness of the local bike \”scene\”!

    And apparently in this case at least, we\’re hipper than San Fran – that\’s cool with me.

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  • Chris Smith February 8, 2008 at 7:09 am

    Cycling = Economic Development. Yeah!

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  • girlgear February 8, 2008 at 8:26 am

    I\’m excited to hear that Rapha is finally putting down roots in the U.S. (and no better place than Portland) as I enjoy their classic cycling style. When are you going to start making women\’s clothing? River City Bicycles, the one store I know sells Rapha, just won the \”Female Friendly\” award from BRAIN. There is a very lucrative market in women\’s clothing and accessories. Just ask us (or River City).

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  • Jessica Roberts February 8, 2008 at 8:51 am

    I love it…now we can demonstrate that investing in bike facilities and bike culture makes Portland competitive as we seek to attract companies!

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  • Mmann February 8, 2008 at 8:57 am

    This is GREAT news! This is a wonderful company that makes a fabtastic product. Welcome to Portland, Rapha!

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  • Sherry February 8, 2008 at 9:27 am


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  • k. February 8, 2008 at 11:10 am

    I suppose from an economic standpoint, this is good news. And maybe it adds to Portland\’s burgeoning reputation in the cycling industry. But you won\’t see me sporting any $147 African hair goat cycling gloves. Probably not too many other cyclists in town either.

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  • Patrickz February 8, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Good news, of course..Maybe some of us will get to touch some of those impeccable seams..But I must say I appreciate the fine design in the same way I can admire beautiful frames and components, far as they may be from my budget\’s reach.

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  • JackO. May 23, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Money Money and more Money. The last thing I want to see is everyone on PCH wearing Rapha. Mass production takes out the coolness of products like Rapha. I like a small company rather then a greedy large one. I just hope Rapha remains a tad underground cause I dig their stuff.

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  • Theo Gerritsen September 8, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Slate Olson,
    since I am back in the Netherlands I made two rides in my new Rapha outfit and a helmet. I had the feeling I had a better condition than before. Thank you for your advices and all other services.
    I hope to see you next year.
    greetings out of the Netherlands to you and Lisa and Becket
    Theo and Addy Gerritsen

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