Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

New Portland company wants to build your ‘Beloved’ bike

Posted by on September 4th, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Beloved’s “Half Full” model. One of six bikes in their lineup. See the others below.

Cycle Works Oregon is the just-launched, Southeast Portland-based company that is building a full line of city bikes under the Beloved Cycles brand name.

We’ve been waiting for this company to go public ever since a mysterious job listing for a frame builder popped up back in April along with rumors that a company was gearing up to make bikes on a larger scale than the one-person custom bike builders Portland is so well known for.

The “Everyday”.

The “Flamme Rouge”

According to one of the company’s founders, Emile Lemoine, Cycle Works Oregon/Beloved Cycles was created from a collective of cycling enthusiasts. Lemoine is a former San Francisco resident whose wife is from Holland. Lemoine has a 15-year background in manufacturing, engineering as well as racing and being a carfree, everyday bike rider in San Francisco. That lifestyle, combined with inspiration from his trips to Holland, are what he says inspired him to move to Portland and assemble a team to build bikes under the Beloved Cycles badge.

Story continues below


Beloved offers six diverse models of lugged steel bikes that are all made in Portland. The bikes have a stylistic starting point but each one is built to order with a custom fit, paint, and other details. Beloved bikes are sold through bike shops and the Portland dealer is Veloce Bicycles (3202 SE Hawthorne Blvd.).

The “There and Back”

Reached by phone while doing some dealer visits in California, Lemoine said the company’s goal is to promote cycling as a way of life and offer accessories (like racks, “luggage”, and clothing) “which integrate with the bicycle perfectly”. “With the right bicycle, one rarely needs to use another means of transportation.”

The “Morton”

The “No Haste”

Stylistically, Lemoine says their bikes are modeled after the French ‘Constructeurs’ Alex Singer and Rene Herse. “Their ability to craft bicycles which were capable of carrying loads, offering snappy performance and looking gorgeous all at the same time is unrivaled to this day. Elegant, functional, and sporty… in perfect harmony.”

From a functional perspective, Lemoine says he hopes their bikes help Americans more readily adopt the biking lifestyle so common in places like The Netherlands.

Before Beloved, Portland lacked a bike builder with a business model akin to custom bike industry stalwarts like Waterford, Independent Fabrications, or Seven Cycles. Cielo by Chris King is another relatively new Portland-based company with a similar approach, but they do not offer as diverse of a lineup as Beloved.

As for the name, Lemoine said ‘Beloved’ speaks to the “special relationship” he hopes people will have to their bikes. “They’ll want to ride this bike all the time, they won’t want to drive a car… you just can’t get that with a production brand.”

Check out BelovedCycles.com for more photos and information.

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  • Dave September 4, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Interesting–where and by whom are the frames being made? Asia or North America–the “there and back” looks much like the Japanese-made Ebisu bikes sold by a store in Berkeley, CA.

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  • Aaron September 4, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Beautiful bikes, but how about some specs and pricing? Their website is full of pictures and remarkably light on details.

    An approach like that reeks of a “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” attitude.

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  • RyNO Dan September 4, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Just take “Oregon” out of the name.

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  • Nick September 4, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Yeah, I really wish there were a Joe Bike of frame builders here in town. The obsession with expensive extravagancy is frustrating.

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  • nuovorecord September 4, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Dave (#1) – The bikes are made in Portland. “Beloved offers six diverse models of lugged steel bikes that are all made in Portland.”

    Also, why do I somehow like the fact that none of the models are wearing helmets? 🙂

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  • carlos September 4, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    nuovorecord, helmets aren’t sexy, and sex sells.

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  • BURR September 4, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    what’s with the suicide brake levers again, is that what’s ‘in’ this year?

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  • Jason S. September 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    What a bunch of negative nellies these commentators are!

    The bikes are very pretty, functional and built in Portland. We are blessed to have another bike builder in Portland. Rejoice.

    If you like Joe Bike, then go buy his bikes.

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  • Kitty September 4, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Prices please? I do have to ask

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  • Nick September 4, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    BURR (#7): The point of inverse brake levers is to eliminate interference with the front rack.

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  • nuovorecord September 4, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    @Carlos (#6) – Well, yeah that’s part of it. But I somehow want to think they’re conveying the idea that Portland is becoming a safer place to ride. I don’t know that is really the intent, but it’s what I took from it anyway.

    But, your assessment is probably closer to the truth. 😉

    These are seriously beautiful bikes. I’m going to check them out. If Demitri at Veloce thinks they’re worthy to sell, that says a lot about their quality, IMHO.

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  • Rollie September 4, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Their website says “Let us chase the sun.” Good luck with that! Must be a metaphoric sun. Still, nice bikes.

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  • carlos September 4, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    nuovorecord, I was just joking really.

    The bikes are beautiful, but it would be nice to at least have a price estimate.

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  • carlos September 4, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    on second thought. Most other indie fab bike shops don’t put prices on their site so why should they. Good Luck to them! (this is not sarcasm)

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  • gotwood September 4, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    I doubt they’ll come in lower-priced than Renovo’s Panda line (commute-ready for under $2k), and let’s face it…bamboo is far, far, sexier than steel.

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  • Dave September 4, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    It would be good if the French rando/touring bike model caught on as a popular thing in the US–it makes for a vastly more useful and versatile machine than either of the current mainstream bike paradigms, those being the excessive dual-suspended offroad bike which resembles a motorless motorcycle, or the 15 lb. throwaway carbon fiber road bike that’s only good for perfect conditions on perfect roads. I hope to hell that Rene Herse is smiling down on Portland in a couple of years!

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  • cranky September 4, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Slick looking. I wish they would put lights and generators on these. Blinking diodes will ruin the look.

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  • Ma September 4, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Jason S (#6)- I concur with Nick as to an untapped market for affordable, for the masses, made in portland bikes.

    I want to buy locally, but also don’t want to support elitist/snob steel frame builders for a frame that mimics designs from the 70’s for $5k.

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  • sabes September 4, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    Wow, I’ve never experienced so much negativity towards an indie bike builder before, especially one that builds in Portland. People on this site need to lighten up a bit. Maybe you guys need to start being a little less pessimistic about everything. Why do people immediately start nitpicking and complaining about every little thing?

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  • anonymous September 4, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    The pink mixte shown above is VERY pretty.

    Now that I’ve gotten the purely emotional response out of the way…

    Expensive bicycles such as these are often made one at a time, by trained craftspeople who have ideally taken time to study and develop their craft over a lengthy period, at more ideally at the knee of an established master. That training takes time and money, and should be compensated accordingly.

    To those here lamenting the lack of “affordable” hand-built bikes, please be more specific:

    — Do you want an “affordable bike” in general?

    — Or are you wishing, more specifically, that there was an “affordable” version of the French constructeur type?

    — How do you define “affordable”?

    — Finally, is it realistic to demand (or even hope for) a “constructeur”-styled, complete and integrated bike for under $1,000?

    — At what point are such desires indicative of a desire for a truly high-quality bicycle for its own sake?

    — At what point are such desires merely a symptom of marketing that takes advantage of the universal desire for Aping The Rich?

    Looking at the marketing, all of these elements seem to be in play somewhere in the equation.

    I would guess that, in recessionary times, these bikes will take a little longer to sell. But I also think they were were never intended for some universal Everyrider. Exclusivity — or the tiniest illusion of it — sells as much as sex, and sometimes more.

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  • Tony Fuentes September 4, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    Congrats to Emile and his team. These are lovely bikes and it is great to see a move toward higher production volumes in town.

    I hope Beloved finds ample interest in and out of Oregon.

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  • KWW September 4, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    The mixte is nice, and the Morton has a nice look, but needs a dynohub, and an internal hub (3 speed).

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  • Ethan September 5, 2009 at 7:33 am

    That rear rack design looks exactly like the ones on the new Electra “handmade”-looking bikes.

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  • Jambo September 5, 2009 at 8:25 am

    I hope to get into the local shop (Veloce) soon and inquire about the price. Guess I could just call, but if they have any in the store, it would be cool to see ’em.

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  • Borgbike September 5, 2009 at 8:37 am

    An inspiring story and I wish this business success.

    Such a business model would be much more likely to succeed if a large established bike shop would stick its neck out and really embrace this approach.

    I admire shops like River City which do at least attempt to stock brands along the lines as what Beloved attempting to create. Waterford (Gunnar) and Cielo come to mind (though these are more performance road bikes.) But it often seems like these bikes are few and far between and tucked into a corner.

    I’ve seen one other shop (I won’t name it) that stocked one token local custom-built bike. I felt like it was displayed like “you can’t afford this so you don’t want it anyway.”

    I would love to go into a shop someday and see a row of locally built steel bikes displayed front and center and a sales person saying “yes these cost a lot more but here’s why we love them.”

    I do believe that there is a market for a locally-made production-built bike that would have more modest components such as a Shamano 105 or Tiarga group set (or the Sram equivalent) and not so much in the way of boutique-y ultra high end stuff. Someone above suggested a price point of $1000. My layman’s guess is that consumers would have to adjust/accept paying a lot more.

    The appeal of Beloved bikes is that they seem to be practical performance commuting/city bikes. They aren’t turbo road bikes and they aren’t clunky tank-like Dutch bike. I think a lot of riders would like to see more bike options like this.

    Probably it’s a pipe dream but maybe it’s not. It’s easy for me to sit in my arm chair and say shops need to share this risk and stock bikes but, if some venture like this is going to have any chance of success, that will have to happen. In the mean time I’ll be in my easy chair, smoking my pipe reading the Rivendell Reader. 😉

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  • Steve September 5, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Nice looking bikes, over-the-top pretentious website (no specs, models with no helmets, cutesy-pie company name and model names). Really does seem to convey “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.”

    It’s 2009. Even builders of custom, hand-made bikes with year-long waiting lists put their prices on the website.

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  • anonymous September 5, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    I suggested a price point of $1,000 as the highest price that many who work for an hourly wage can practically afford to save up for. Complete Surlys (Cross-Check and Long Haul Trucker) sell for around that price at most shops, and are a good example of maximum bang-for-buck. But they don’t offere individuality or exclusivity; LOTS of folks ride Surlys so that now the brand has become ubiquitous, and (shudder) common.

    Grant Peterson used to publish little flyers about various Rivendell bike models and would justify the relatively high price of each (average price now hovering at around $2,000 for frame and fork) with the statement that it was affordable by “anyone with a job and bicycle priorities”, a phrase that offended me to no end.

    There are working people with bike priorities in that they already live car-lite or car-free and ride their bikes everywhere. MANY are underemployed and/or unemployed, and their bikes are their only transportation. These people may also be burdened with “rent priorities” and “child priorities”, and as such, even a thousand-dollar bicycle is well beyond their reach.

    Bike shops who reach out to this population will survive the recession because a majority of their product is affordable by a larger majority of the public. Bike shops that have focused on the high-end customer are hurting right now — not because customers can’t afford those bikes, but because there aren’t ENOUGH customers in Portland who can afford — or who need — those bikes.

    All the same, these are some pretty bikes and I hope the new company enjoys enough success to stay in business.

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  • are September 5, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    what I want to know is, if the guy is building these frames in Portland, where are the frames being built?

    and if he is building them custom to fit each individual, will they be priced the same as mass produced bikes?

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  • riffraff September 5, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Address is listed on the site:
    Looks industrial enough.
    Same price as mass produced in Asia? No way. Materials and labor would be 1/3 of what they are in the US, especially with a fit session. I’ll be amazed if a frame/fork is less than $1600. Sweet looking orange rando and I predict that the handle on the Everyday model is the new fad among other companies next year.
    Maybe we can see them at the OBCA show or Oregon Manifest.
    Maybe the world will wise up and follow Portland’s lead in valuing useful, beautiful bikes over cars, guns, kids, television and big box stores filled with crap nobody needs.

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  • martina September 6, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    Where’s the bike for the commuting woman?

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  • martina September 6, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Oh, wait — it’s the half full and guess what? It’s PINK…

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  • Andrew September 6, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Surleys are made in Taiwan hence the 1k price point.

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  • beth h September 6, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    (#29) >>”Maybe the world will wise up and follow Portland’s lead in valuing useful, beautiful bikes over cars, guns, kids, television and big box stores filled with crap nobody needs.”

    @ #29: Well, it’s a nice idea.
    Reality — and a majority American demand for cheap goods of all kinds — dictate otherwise. I think it will be an uphill struggle.

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  • beth h September 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    @ 29: wait a minute — did you include kids in that list, and why? (Missed that one)

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  • Jeff September 6, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    The reality is people generally don’t expect to pay higher price just because its made locally. They instead, end up purchasing $1k or less Asian made bikes simply because it’s all they can afford.

    A quick inventory of bikes on the street will tell you that very few people purchase boutique steel bikes, yet Portland is chocked full of high-end steel frame builders.

    The real sad fact is that people on this list and on the street will turn their nose at you for purchasing an Asian made bike instead of a locally made frame when they should be praising you for riding a bike at all.

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  • Zaphod September 6, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    What is up with the anger against a new frame builder coming online creating high-end commuter rigs? Hand built frames cost money, plenty of it. I believe the pile of tubes and lugs that become a *nice* frame is about $300 ish, more for fancy lugs. The work requires precision, expertise and hard work. Frame builders do not become rich, they do what they love and pay the rent.

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  • cheem September 7, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    nice bikes…an indication of price or “starts at” would be nice…anyone looking at this type of a custom bike needs to know where they stand budget wise to even consider looking into it…

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  • eric September 7, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    Dear Zaphod,

    It seems that the grumping is less to do with this particular frame builder and more to do with the YAEHBUBB* effect. Basically, high-end nice bikes aren’t interesting anymore, since they are all made roughly with two wheels and are blingy as heck. It’s like reading about a BMW or some other luxury car: Sure, they might be nice cars, but who cares what their new model line might be: I’m never going to buy one. So, it goes with another someone joining the two score expensive builders in Portland. Let me know when someone sets up a relatively inexpensive utility bike builder who makes useful production frames in Portland. That would be exciting.

    *Yet Another Expensive Hand Built Urban Bicycle Builder

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  • Jon September 7, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    So what should a locally made frame set cost?(production or custom)

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  • Trekkie September 7, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    I recently saw a bike with a belt instead of a chain (may have been a Trek). That might work on some of these bikes if they are making them for Oregon. I’m sure many of you have seen bikes with belts – sound like a good idea for rainy,grimy Portland.

    I do like the looks of the traditional frames on these bikes. With those straight tubes it’s easy to attach pumps, lights, etc…

    Get a new bike with a frame shaped like a pretzel and good luck attaching racks, lights, pumps, etc….

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  • Trekkie September 7, 2009 at 11:07 pm

    I applaud the entreprenurial spirit of these folks for starting a business here at the start of the depression. We need the jobs. Good luck to them and for those of you who can afford it, please give them some business.

    If enough people will take the risk and start businesses that employ Americans it might make the depression a little less nasty.

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  • Trekkie September 7, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    Someone wrote: “Maybe the world will wise up and follow Portland’s lead in valuing useful, beautiful bikes over cars, guns, kids, television and big box stores filled with crap nobody needs.”

    Maybe when there is less riffraff in the world I’ll value my gun less, and maybe when the cops show up just BEFORE the criminals arrive, instead of just AFTER, I will not need it. In the mean time, it is a tool I will keep and hope I never need. It is the tool used by Americans in the early days of this country to beat the British and gain our freedom. It is the only thing standing between Americans and evil tyrants that would be happy to dominate us the way many other people in this world are dominated who do not have the freedom to own guns and therefore cannot fight back.

    Yes, it is unfortunate that we need guns-it is a shame that our maker could not do a better job making the systems we live with, but you go thru life with the cards you were dealt, not the cards you wish you were dealt.

    I am happy to say that the US will NEVER be invaded by a foreign power as long as we, the people, are armed to the teeth. They might beat our military, but they will NEVER beat 150,000,000 gun owners.

    Thanks for the comment, Trekkie — but please all, lets keep this thread on topic. – Elly

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  • SlimSlamSam September 7, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    In the post mega-recession era there will be 2 types of riders. Those who like me are looking for a steel frame to salvage and rebuild into a beauty – and those who can afford custom made bikes. The two shall never meet except in the bike lane.

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  • Al from PA September 8, 2009 at 8:44 am

    [snip] (BORGBIKE:) I would love to go into a shop someday and see a row of locally built steel bikes displayed front and center and a sales person saying “yes these cost a lot more but here’s why we love them.”

    No problem–just go to 53 Blvd. Victor Hugo, Levallois-Perret, France (just outside of Paris, accessible by Métro). That’s the address of Cycles Alex Singer. There’s more than a row: the entire shop is filled with drop dead gorgeous bikes, many 50+ years old in impeccable condition.And it’s not a museum.

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  • Paul Manson September 8, 2009 at 10:08 am

    The Alex Singer portuers from the late 40’s are my current obsession.

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  • riffraff September 8, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Tubeset = $200
    Fork materials = $100
    Lugset = $100
    Consumables (sandpaper, Oxygen/acetylene, etc. = $50

    Basic Paint/powder: = $200

    Labor: $10/hr (one frameset can take 30-100hrs not including time for sales and promotion = $300-$1000)

    Overhead (rent, electricity, connectivity, etc): $350/mo (YMMV)
    Production speed of 1 frame per month for easy math.

    Total handmade custom frame cost: = $1300-$2000

    Oh wait… you want to have wheels and pedals and stuff too? Maybe another $1000

    So for a buyer that makes $2300-$3000 before markups, shipping costs, upgrades or fancy stuff.

    For a solo framebuilder that means less than minimum wage once you take into account all the time that goes into the effort that is time not spent constructing bikes. One either has to produce quicker or raise prices to expect any more income than that.

    So if Beloved can make a custom frameset locally for anything less than a couple grand, they have figured out some serious efficiencies or have bought materials in very large volumes or they’re actually an elaborate money laundering operation.
    In any case, I hope they rock it.
    The bikes look great in pixel form.

    To eric’s (#38) point: What happens next if there is a glut of skill with a saturated local market? Will we see more innovation? Consolidation? Would love to hear UBI or OBCA or builders chime in.

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  • Sean Chaney September 8, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    riffraff, thanks for illustrating that in a general cost breakdown. You’re pretty close but some of your price estimates are way low. Higher end tube sets can cost more, titanium is MUCH more for the ti builders. Some of the higher end builders can pay $800 – $1000 in paint alone if they’re including racks and fenders.

    Shop space can be about $1/sq/ft, then add power/connectivity on top of that.

    Let’s not forget $2K/year for liability insurance. Or how about healthcare and retirement account. Marketing expenses, show expenses, sponsorships, travel, promotional items, accountant fees, taxes…it goes on and on.

    One person custom shop prices don’t have as much to do with snobbery as some people might guess.

    Good on Beloved for going for it. I hope they’re successful. Best of luck to them.

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  • Paul September 9, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    The Morton is $2K for frame and fork over at Veloce.

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  • charles September 10, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Hi Sean,
    which liability insurance that does 2K I thought it is alot more than that. Thank you

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  • matevz September 10, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    I talked to Dmitri at Veloce yesterday. The base price for any of the frames is $2,000, and includes a professional fit and any design alterations (add braze-ons, etc).

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  • Ed September 10, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Beloved bikes are so pretty and cute. I just wanna hug them and never ride them. I will hate to get them dirty!

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  • Matt Picio September 10, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    Sabes (#19) – Amen. To borrow from Pixar:

    “In many ways, the work of a critic is easy … We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”

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  • eric September 13, 2009 at 12:37 pm


    I understand the price of having a handbuilt custom bike leaves little room for profit for the builder. The only way I could see someone making useful utility bikes locally is by using advanced automated production techniques, the same kind which the makers in Taiwan use to make all those less expensive bikes.

    I expect that some day, someone will figure out how to do that here, but only if they can figure out how to get over the gap between boutique quantities and into mass produced quantities.

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  • Seatown March 13, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    I live in Seattle. I envy you Portlanders and the great bike culture you enjoy. Indie builders who make beautiful bikes are just part of that culture, so don’t bash them. I make $100k a year and still can’t justify spending $3k on a bike when I love my $1k Surly so much. You are aware that some folks in the states to the East think we’re a bunch of pussified yuppies because we pay $4 for excellent coffee or a pint of local microbrew. Maybe someday, these bikes will end up on the more affordable used market and more of us will be able to afford them. Cheers Ptown!

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  • Ablejack March 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    These bikes are beautiful. Anything less than 4K for some models would be a bargain.
    /This East Coast Saluki rider appreciates and understands. Bravo.

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