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Guru Bikes “concept store”, fitting studio coming to NW 23rd Ave.

Posted by on October 21st, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Custom Bicycles of Portland will
open their doors November 1st.
(Photo � J. Maus)

There’s a new bike shop in town, and it’s unlike any other shop in the United States.

Custom Bicycles of Portland will open in November on (fittingly) the boutique-lined NW 23rd Ave. The shop — which will also include a fitting studio — will be Quebec-based Guru Bikes first-ever “concept store” in the U.S. (meaning it will only sell Guru Bikes).

The new shop is the dream of Adam Reiser, a competitive triathlete, law school graduate, and the U.S. sales rep for Quebec-based Guru Bikes. During a recent demo tour through Portland, Reiser said he and his wife “fell in love” with the city and decided to move here in July. Reiser previously lived in Austin, Texas, where he and two partners built up a highly successful triathlon-focused shop (which he left to work for Guru).

During his involvement with Jack & Adam’s Bicycles in Austin, it was named one of the 100 best bicycle retailers in the country and was twice recognized as the Best Triathlon Shop in Texas by City Sports magazine.

Upon arrival in Portland, Reiser says he looked around for shops to carry the Guru line. “I found a lot of amazing bike shops here,” he told me on the phone yesterday, “but none of them were a good fit for what we’re all about.”

The seamless carbon 2008 Guru Geneo.

What Guru is “all about” is a little different than other bike companies. The brand is more well-known on the East Coast (Reiser said there were 190 Gurus being ridden at the Lake Placid Ironman competition) but it hasn’t taken root yet on the West Coast. In the Pacific Northwest, “It’s a brand few people have heard of,” admits Reiser.

“One thing that excites me about Portland is that it’s such an amazing bike community. If I’ve ever seen a community that’s right for growing more of a tri scene, it’s Portland.”
— Adam Reiser

Even so, he’s confident his shop will find a niche in Portland.

Reiser describes the Guru Bikes business model as being similar to Dell Computers. Guru offers bikes that are made-to-order and customers can choose their paint color, parts mix, and nearly any material (steel, carbon, aluminum) or type of bike (including road, cyclocross, flat-bar fixie, mountain, triathlon, and so on).

At Custom Bicycles of Portland, customers will decide on all these options, then make an appointment to return for a professional fitting using a “dynamic fit unit” bike that has been developed by Guru. Reiser is very enthusiastic about the combination of Guru’s new fitting system and the professional fitter he’s hired — Mark Kendall (previously of Speedshot Racing).

Reiser competing at the
2007 Louisville Ironman.
(Photo: weathershenker/Flickr)

Reiser says the fit bike is integrated with a computer system that inputs every imaginable measurement. Then, as the customer is pedaling the bike (and power and other variables are being monitored), it automatically moves into different positions. When the right position is found, all the coordinates are saved.

The measurements, along with the build options are then sent to the Guru factory in Canada, and four weeks later the bike is ready to pick up.

Reiser says Gurus will have an advantage in the market because they’re more affordable (a complete bike with good components will run around $3,000) and the one-month turnaround is much quicker than other custom brands.

He’s also hoping to use the shop as a springboard to building more of a triathlon scene in Portland.

Back in Austin, Reiser said he organized and promoted a lot of triathlon events and he looks to do the same here in Portland. “One thing that excites me about Portland is that it’s such an amazing bike community. If I’ve ever seen a community that’s right for growing more of a tri scene, it’s Portland.”

As a side job, Reiser is the race announcer for several Ironman events. One of the things on his to-do list is to explore bringing an Ironman event to Portland.

“There’s room here for more great events,” he said.

Custom Bicycles of Portland (website coming soon at CBOPDX.com) will be open for business on November 1st. Stop by and check them out at 808 NW 23rd (between Johnson and Hoyt Kearney).

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

27 Comments
  • Avatar
    Natty October 21, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    My second favourite home-grown bike … after a test ride around le mont, I could have gone home with a Kandy-red Maestro, but after much painful deliberation, the Crvelo won out in the end.

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    Rider X October 21, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    The Crvelo always wins out in the end! Just ask my last girlfriend… 😉

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    Uncle Muscles October 21, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Just what Portland needs… more people who can barely handle their bikes. Seriously, pick a sport and stick with it. Don’t shoot for being mediocre at all 3. Also, our weather makes mankinis tough to wear, and the rain will wash all that magic marker crap written on your calf right off. Portland is a cycling town… With a couple exceptions, triathletes are not cyclists. 🙂

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    Rip Tatermen October 21, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Didn’t we just have some triathlon-ish thing, and it got cancelled ’cause the river is full of polio and spirochetes and things what melt eyes? This is my wine- and cold medicine-addled recollection, at any rate.

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    Refunk October 22, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Aw, c’mon! Let’s be glad to see another bike biz sproutin’ in town.

    Sure, all those things (#’s 3 & 4) may be true, but undoubtedly there are people who want to do the Tri thing around here. If they can’t bring themselves to compete here, then a.) they’re not in anyone’s way, and b.) Hawaii or wherever is only a pipe dream…

    Personally, though, I would rather lick a frozen knobby clean than ship that kinda cash to La Belle Province when we have so many excellent home-grown builders. But if you’re just gonna roof-rack the bike onto your Volvo & drive the three miles to the Triathalon, well, you probably don’t even know about all the local frame talent.

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    Jeff Henderson October 22, 2008 at 9:25 am

    There sure are some ignorant replies around here. I’m the organizer of the City of Portland Triathlon, which has now been around for two editions, and neither of them were cancelled because of anything, river or otherwise. As a matter of fact, a healthy number of people actually enjoyed the race. And the attention we’ve been able to bring the river has spurred further cleanup efforts, which will ultimately make things better for all Portlanders.

    I am a triathlete. I also race road and ‘cross with Portland Velo. I don’t drive a Volvo and I biked to all of the triathlons I did last year. I, for one, welcome this shop in Portland and look forward to continuing to promote triathlon as a healthy way to be outdoors, on your bike, with your family.

    There is room in Portland for bike lovers of all kinds: road, mountain, commuting, BMX, cross, and, yes, triathlon.

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    Jessica Roberts October 22, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Yeah, how about everybody cools it with the snarky comments. It’s hardly productive. If you don’t like triathlons, how about you just … don’t do them.

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 22, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Thanks for helping right the ship Jeff and Jessica. I want to add that I’m really excited at seeing this business open up.

    And not just because it’s simply a new bike shop… but because Adam Reiser seems like a very bright and dedicated person who’s going to be a great new member of our community.

    Welcome to Portland Adam (and your family). Looking forward to the opening night party!

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    bArbaroo October 22, 2008 at 9:42 am

    I just passed through Marin County (on my bike) and spotted a Guru bike storefront there too. It was closed at the time and so I couldn’t tell all from what I saw but it was clearly a very different kind of bike store – only 3 bikes on display but lots of high-end accessories and parts. An interesting business model indeed.

    And… what’s with all of the put downs and stereotyping? I’m not a triathlete but I have seen many folks get into cycling because they wanted to do a triathlon. It’s a sport that inspires a lot of people to become more active and that is a good thing. And…who are we to judge who is a cyclist and who isn’t? I recently heard stories about a triathlete that was touring the Oregon coast – he had been in P-town for a tri and decided to do some sight-seeing. He’d rigged up a pack, filled his jersey pockets and then rode from Portland to Brookings and back – sounds like cyclist to me. And…in further defense of triathlons, whyknock the Portland Tri? The organizer of that event lives pretty much car-free, runs his event in the most sustainable fashion I’ve ever seen, and has been instrumental in working to create community around the Willamette River; to me he’s a very valued member of our community and he happens to like triathlons…so, all you insult flingers, still care to stereotype?

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    Brad October 22, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I thought the only people who could use the term “cyclist” in Portland had to be unemployed bloggers and hipsters that ride fixies or freakbikes to Stumptown for a big day of caffeinated slacking? Err…keeping it real or whatever the kids say this month.

    Welcome GURU!

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    Amy October 22, 2008 at 10:01 am

    I, for one, started riding a bike because I’m a swimmer/runner who wanted to do triathlon. Most triathletes I know are awesome bicyclists. They’re just sucky swimmers (how’s that for stereotyping? 🙂 )

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    Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 22, 2008 at 10:05 am

    One more thought… I wonder how many Tri-haters have actually done a triathlon?

    I too was sort of snooty about “tri-dorks” back when I was a hotshot road racer… but then I did my first triathlon. I not only loved it, but I found a new appreciation for folks that do it.

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    T Williams October 22, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Shouldn’t it be called, “Custom Bicycles of Quebec”?

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    Kt October 22, 2008 at 10:20 am

    I’m interesting in their bike-fitting program.

    Sounds interesting: a fit bike that adjusts, while you’re pedaling, to your “perfect” fit. How cool is that??

    I’ve got clients down on 23rd… looks like I’ll be doing a little more visiting them so I can check out Guru! 🙂

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    Natty October 22, 2008 at 11:31 am

    T Williams:

    Les vlos “hors srie” sont la coutume au Qubec 😉

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    Refunk October 22, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Hmmm.

    I don’t think my previous post (#5) actually says anything bad about either Custom Bicycles of Portland OR triathloners, though both are mentioned therein. I am not a triathlete, but I am glad you’re putting together these events, Jeff Henderson. And I did say we should welcome a new bike business — so, specifically, “Welcome, Adam, and thanks for bringing it to Portland: here’s to yer success!”

    However, I am curious about something. All that I know about Guru Bikes I have garnered from this article. Would Adam Reiser be free to establish relationships with local builders to utilize his fitting system in cooperation with them and thereby put a little more muscle into that Custom Bicycles of Portland business name? Surely, some builders here in town would welcome his shop’s professional services and marketing as an expanded venue?

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    Pete October 22, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Huh. I’m recently getting into triathlon through cycling, which I’ve done for decades. I wouldn’t have expected fellow cyclists to rank on triathlon, unless maybe they’re fixie hipsters. 😉

    OK now, don’t get your capris in a bunch – I’m just kidding around!

    If I’m not mistaken, the USAT just had their AG Nationals here in Oregon at Hagg Lake? That was a pretty big thing, I think. I’ve also been told triathlon as a sport is one of the fastest growing in the US.

    And puhleese – driving your bike around – ever hear of mountain biking?? Like you can ride to all the great singletrack the city has to offer…

    The only thing I see wrong with a Guru shop here in Portland is that my garage and savings account may end up even smaller.

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    Uncle Muscles October 22, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Obviously triathletes lack a sense of humor as well. It must be all that time spent training for your made up sport. Come on people, learn to take a little good-natured ribbing. Just keep your aero bars out of my group rides and your sleeveless jerseys away from races. Seriously though, we should use all the tools we have to grow cycling in Portland, but I just can’t resist making fun of triathletes. It’s like shooting unathletic fish in a barrel.

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    T Williams October 22, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Natty,

    Touche 😉

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    Icarus Falling October 22, 2008 at 12:45 pm

    My sentiments exactly…

    Not even close to being Custom Bikes of Portland….

    It does scream of using a great custom bike town and image to sell Quebecian bikes….

    It has been said for years, there is no truth in advertising, Now there isn’t even truth in what is printed on the front door.

    And, you couldn’t pay me to participate in a triathalon in the Willamette.

    I feel in fact, that throwing one is an irresponsible act of immense proportions. Might as well just line them up and inject them with any number of bacteria….

    Then pick a winner.

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    Icarus Falling October 22, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    On another note, welcome to town, and I hope business goes well at this shop.

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    Tankagnolo Bob October 22, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    I would love to do triathlons, but can NOT SWIM. I have a sub 4:30 mile and a 3:40 marathon, and have cycled in centuries and accross the U.S. BUT, I can only swim the length of a hot tub, so I am OUT in the first event. If swimming were the last, I would have arrived there in the lead and the QUIT.

    I think triathlons are great though. Dont sweat some of Portlands narrow mindedness, the kind that argues about if fixies are real bikes, are cool, or whatever. RIDE RUN SWIM, and for me HOT TUB.

    Socialized Coffee NOW – Tanko Bob, out !!

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    Natty October 22, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Icarus:

    just an FYI .. nothing is “Qubecian” … it would be Qubecois … (or perhaps Qubecoise … si c’est fminine)

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    Russell @ Upper Echelon Fitness October 22, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Triathlon is a common entry point to competitive cycling now, so we should all be very careful not to criticize. Of course to us cyclists is might not appeal, but who cares? It’s a great sport and gets people on a bike. How could we ever say anything negative about that? There should be nothing but praise. Some folks might not think jumping on and off your bike looks like fun – but we sure love cross right? Whatever it takes to get people on bikes is good for me and good for all of us!

    Thanks to Jeff Henderson for putting on the PDX Tri. This event has huge potential. If you haven’t been down for it, mark your calendars for ’09. How cool is it to see the streets blocked off and people racing bikes on the waterfront? And drawing attention to the water quality in the river? Don’t criticize the event for water quality. It can only be a good thing to raise attention to this. This is a great event.

    As for a real “Custom Bikes of Portland” that would be a hard bike shop to make work. Portland’s custom bike makers sell direct to consumer. So there is no wholesale structure. So it wouldn’t work in most cases – But believe me, I have though about it. I have done work with a lot of frame manufactures for fit and design. And that works well, but there simply isn’t a margin or quantity to support a wholesale structure for most small independent makers, like most in Portland. And I don’t see many Portland frame makers doing TRI or TT bikes. I wish they did, I would love to send them some business if someone would do it. Any takers?

    There will be good options for TRI shopping in NW with Athlete’s Lounge’s new location just down the street with Cervelo and Scott.

    Dynamic fit system? Not sure if that changes the fit process too much beyond eliminating the 5 seconds it takes to stop pedaling and adjust the fitbike. The biggest affect on any fit is the fitter’s experience and knowledge. There is no tool or device that can replace that.

    And yes, welcome to Portland, Adam. I have known Adam for a while since my last business sold GURU bikes. For those unfamiliar, Adam is a major player in the TRI world. His last shop is one of the leading TRI retailers in the Nation. I would look for Adam to contribute highly to the local community. We are lucky to have him.

    RC

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    Ayala October 22, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    “…check them out at 808 NW 23rd (between Johnson and Hoyt)…”

    Between Johnson and Hoyt…you mean Irving? Google Maps puts that address between Johnson and Kearney, anyway.

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    Icarus Falling October 23, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    I must let you know that I have done a couple triathalon’s. I suck at them. I don’t swim distance too well. And my $15,000 knee doesn’t like too much running. I do kick ass in the biking part though, passing people left and right.

    But to throw one in the Willamette, especially the downtown portion of it, is just disgusting, gross, and dangerous. And I repeat, IMO, irresponsible.

    I will never swim in the river after it enters Eugene.

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    BoggyWoggy November 11, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    I just want a bike actually designed and built in the USA. I’m talking about top-to-bottom parts, designs, and fingerprints from a local who did the welding! Now, THAT would be cool…

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