Ace Hotel guests now get customized Swobos

Posted by on October 1st, 2009 at 10:27 am

A stock Swobo Otis. Ace Hotel’s
bikes have been customized for
Portland streets (and weather)
by local bike shops.

The Ace Hotel in downtown Portland is set to unveil a new fleet of customized Swobo bicycles that can be checked out by guests.

Back in December of 2006, The Ace was at the head of the Dutch Bike Invasion when they made news for offering bikes to guests made by Vancouver BC-based Jorg & Olif.

But hotel GM Donald Kenney says they’re not checking out those J&O Dutch machines anymore. “They got wrecked beyond repair and they’re not appropriate for all the things people think they can do.”

Kenney said guests were taking the Dutch city bikes off-road up in Forest Park and returning with “gear housing caked in mud”. Another reason for the switch to Swobo is that Jorg & Olif went out of business last year and replacement parts were impossible to come by.

Kenney selected Swobo’s “Otis” model. It’s a basic bike, without complex gearing, and it weighs much less than the 60-pound Dutch bikes. Sky Yaeger, the woman who designed the bike for Swobo (we featured an interview with her last week), also happens to be a fan of Ace Hotels, a fact which Kenney said also played into their decision.

(Incidentally, Ms. Yaeger is in town tonight for the Oregon Manifest event kickoff.)

The Ace will have six bikes (three of them step-throughs for the ladies) and each one of them has been customized for Portland streets (and rainy weather) by local bike shops. Kenney said they wanted the bikes to have fenders (“I don’t want to pay someone’s dry-cleaning bill”), kickstands, racks, locks, and so on.

“The bikes needed this stuff anyways, and Portland is full of great bike shops, so we thought, let’s see what they can do.” The shops were given a budget and the bikes will be branded for each one that participated.

The new bikes will be unveiled tonight at the Artcrank Poster Show that is taking place right next door to the Ace Hotel on the corner of Stark and 10th.

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Nick V
Guest
Nick V

Awesome! But what if the Swobo bikes also come back “wrecked beyond repair”? Will it be like a rental agreement? And does Ace really have to pay dry cleaning bills if guests get muddy? Injustice!

Rollie
Guest
Rollie

Swobo’s cool and all, but couldn’t they have bought some Portland-made bikes?

Carter Kennedy
Guest
Carter Kennedy

Surely the need for kickstands, fenders, racks and locks is not unique to Portland. What else did they do to make them so special?

DP
Guest
DP

Props to the Ace for supplying bikes for the use of their guests. Dutch bikes are neat to look at and work well where there are no hills. The Otis bikes are lightweight, spec’d with parts that are easy to come by, and affordable.
Buying some Portland made bikes is a novel idea, but at around $700, you can buy 6 Otis bikes for a tick over $4k, which would buy you 1 Portland crafted bicycle.

xor
Guest
xor

since when are step-throughs only for ladies!?

Editz
Guest
Editz

Do us a favor and track down these people who think they can just go out and trash stuff for the hell of it for a quote. I’d love to read what they were thinking at the time.