Rapha, a UK-based bike apparel and lifestyle brand with its North
(Photos by Bob Huff)
American headquarters in Portland, has launched “The Rapha Bicycle Collection.” The new program consists of four handmade bikes whose quality and aesthetic complement Rapha’s highly regarded apparel, accessories, and growing line of products — and two of the four bikes in the collection are built right here in Portland.
The ‘Every Day Speedster’ is a stylish city bike built “for racing amidst the hustle of the city” by Chris King under the Beloved Bicycles badge. The ‘Continental’ is a bike for epic, all-day riding that is the result of an exciting partnership between Portland builders Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan. The other two bikes in the Collection are a criterium racer built by Cinelli in Italy and the ‘XS’ sportive bike made by Independent Fabrications in Massachusetts.
Pereira, reached in his North Portland shop this morning, said he’s thrilled to see this project finally come together. “We’ve been tossing this idea around for years.” (Pereira and Ryan have established a new company, Bread Winner Cycles, to manage the sales and ordering of the bike.)
Pereira and Ryan have built the bike that is a perfect expression of their love of long rides. The duo have been a part of Rapha’s Continental Team since it’s inception five years ago.
Pereira says the bike was designed, “To be ridden really hard and be comfortable riding all day. It’s meant to be ridden, not pampered… and it won’t wear you out.”
If you look closely at the Continental bike, you’ll also notice some amazing, full-wrap aluminum fenders made by Portland Design Works…
For Rapha, the extension of their brand into complete bikes makes a lot of sense. The company has struck a strong nerve among riding enthusiasts with its inspiring Rapha Continental program and events like the unsanctioned Gentleman’s Race. Like their apparel, the bikes in this collection are at a premium price point (ranging from $5,195 to $6,795) and they’ll be available in limited numbers. For builders involved with the program, the added sales will be welcomed, but the marketing exposure Rapha can bring to them is likely going to be just as valuable.
See photos and dive into the specs of all the bikes in the Rapha Bicycle Collection here.
How are portland companies making cycling more accessable when all ther products cost between “a shitton” and “youve got to be out of your goddam mind”?
They are providing a bike at a certain cost that appeals to a certain person. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
And, whoever said that a private company had any obligation to “making cycling more accessible”?
I appreciate the articles on high-end bikes; I bought a very nice bike from Clever Cycles inspired by BikePortland coverage.
However, I think there’s room for more coverage of plebeian bikes and accessories. I remember Elly (I think?) doing an article about how to stay warm and dry and under budget last winter. I thought that article was great.
I couldn’t agree with you more Alex! I would love to cover a wider range of product stories. The thing is, having good contributors costs money (both to pay them and to pay someone to manage them). JR and I are working to build capacity and expand the editorial team… there are some exciting things ahead, but for for the short-term BikePortland is a one-person newsroom (me), so I am limited in the scope of coverage based on many factors… it just so happens that these higher-end bike stories have come up and they are relatively easy for me to cover.
I totally understand the constraints. I guess I’ll start up a subscription and pay for 1/100th of a contributor then! 🙂
I think you missed the point of his comment. I did not view it as an attack on “private companies”, but rather a relevent question using some poorly chosen words.
You are right, there is nothing wrong with targeting an affluent client base. That being said, we are in the midst of the “great recession” and the client pool is growing smaller daily.
What are local Portland companies doing to make cycling more accessible to those less fortunate, say some one who only make $20-30k year?
If you’re making $20,000-$30,000 a year and can’t find yourself an affordable bicycle, you’re clearly looking in the wrong places.
What should Portland companies do to make cycling “more accessible”? I keep hearing that phrase, but I never see any examples of how a business is supposed to go about doing that.
I would certainly like to see some ideas, and then how they are supposed to be implemented by said Portland businesses.
Jonathan, it’s Portland. Most people think private business is there to serve non-customers and that making a profit is unethical.
david, Ouch, I hope you did not see this post. http://bikeportland.org/2010/12/27/unique-bike-shopart-gallery-to-open-in-portland-44920
Your point is not lost on me. Personally I would like to see Portland do more to support the growth of affordable cycling. Perhaps if there’s ever a bicycle registration fee it could collect some revenue (perhaps progressively) for that purpose. The Community Cycling Center and other similar organizations could really benefit from that type of stable funding.
Many on this site would have no issues with a luxury tax or gas guzzler tax on autos it would be a bit hypocritical for cyclist not to have the same feelings about their own devices.
$5195 for an every day rider? Ouch. It’s not every day you see an every day bike with a price tag like that. I’m all for high-quality products, but the price-to-value ratio for these bikes is way out of kilter. If you’re willing to shop around a little bit and maybe turn a wrench yourself you can get a high-quality stock steel frame every day bike with great components from Salsa, Surly, Soma, Kona, Bianchi, etc. at a much better price point. Will it have the same style and speed inspired by the French constructeurs from the golden age of handmade machines that puts your every day bike into another category? No, but if that’s what you want then you are indeed a certain kind of person…
Yeah, calling a bike that expensive “Every Day” seems like the builders are tweaking the noses of “lesser” customers. My two cars combined are worth less than that bike, much less my Caloi mtn bike.
After working 45 years so I could retire, if i want to spend 6000.00 on a great bike it really in no ones business except mine ..No one is makeing anyone purchase one of these.
I think the well off have forgotten how democracies work. The top tax rate in the 50s, 60s and 70s was in the 70-90% range.
You must be a bad person for being fiscally responsible and to be able to afford one.
Thanks for the article. It was great speaking with you this morning. For the record, our bike is “only” $5000.
Yeah, yeah, it’s expensive. I know.
It’s an exciting day for us. Thanks again for the mention.
Exciting indeed, and the cost does place it competitively amongst many other comparably equipped high-end handbuilt steel bicycles.
Whatever the market will bear…
I prefer to see the positives. These very expensive boutique bikes appeal to an affluent consumer. That consumer is more likely to be an influence leader in the community such as a CEO or prominent attorney. When those folks ride bikes and get passionate about riding their bikes it brings cycling a certain legitimacy that it didn’t have before. I know some will get angry with this but, when “respectable” people ride then it tears down barriers. It’s becomes hard to dismiss cycling as an activity solely for poor people, young hipsters, and scofflaws. Plus, when a passionate pillar of the community starts to lobby for safer riding conditions then politicians pay more notice than when hearing the same arguments from the same advocates over and over again.
In any event, they’re just bikes and shouldn’t be a threat or affront to anyone.
$5000 does seem a bit steep for a stock steel bike that is all black, but it does say Rapha on it.
Personally, I would opt for saving a few hundred by ordering a Pereira and getting custom sizing and a choice of color.
Same goes for Ira’s bikes.
Why do people get so pissy about the cost of high end gear. If you want to by it dont buy it?
We all have things that we prioritize and place value on.
I would never buy a 1,000 television, or a 60,000 car, but many people do.
Quinton, you can’t compare a surly or something similar to a handmade steel bike with a top of the line group on it.
Is a Pasbt the same thing as a Deschutes Abyss? They are both Beer right? but one can be had during happy hour for a buck and one is at least five bucks for 12 ounces. The Abyss is then about 5x the cost of the pabst.
I don’t mind paying top dollar for high quality products, I’m just saying that for $5195 someone could get a lot more bike for their money, like custom geometry and all premium components. A $5195 bike should not come with a $150 Sturmey Archer hub, it should come with a Rohloff hub for that kind of price tag. Judging by their cheesy marketing description about “French constructeurs from the golden-age of handmade machines” it looks like Rapha is charging a premium for nostalgia and marketing hype and hoping people won’t notice that they skimped on the rear hub.
Anyway, most people probably consider their “every day” bike to be the one they’re not afraid to abuse a little bit and wouldn’t really care if they chipped the paint. Calling a $5000 bike an “every day” bike just doesn’t seem realistic to most of us who use a perfectly good Surly or Salsa for our “every day” bike.
That argument is disingenuous, at best. Even at $5, 99% of the people in this city can afford a glass of Abyss. How many people can afford a $5000 bike? I have a good job and get paid pretty well, and there is no way that I could work something like that into my budget.
This blog can cover anything that it wants to, but it seems like a little more sensitivity to the recession and the readers, most of which cannot afford something like this, would be nice. How about covering some nicely built $500-$1000 bikes?
It is a matter of personal interest and priority. I have saved the necessary monies needed to fully pay for my $4,800 hand made bike. My annual income of $14,000 has been prudently budgeted and prioritized. If there were comparable quality handmade bikes for $500 dollars I would be skeptical. If I chose to only spend $500 on a bike I could easily buy one and have a bike who’s quality reflected the price.
You cannot really get ‘more bike for less money’. Instead you get what you pay for. I am not sure why people are balking at the price tag of a well made bike; they do not have to buy it. Sure you could buy some cars for less, but the cost of owning and using said car would exceed the cost of the $4,000 bike in a short amount of time.
Aug, I appreciate your post. Though you don’t make a lot of money, you do not have a sense of entitlement. I respect that.
I guess I should made it clear I didn’t mean buying a beer once.
Most people in portland like beer right? We have friends who drink only cheap beer and friends who only drink 6.7% IPA’s. So I will compare two friends.
They both drink three nights a week, and both will drink 3 or so beers. If the Pabst drinker spends 5 bucks per night(with tip) three times per week(15 bucks), then the IPA drinker spends 20 bucks per night and 60 per week.
Pabst guy spends $780 bucks per year on Beer.
IPA guy spends $3120 per year on Beer. Obviously there are variables here, but the point is…….
Would you criticize the guy who chooses to spend his money on “good” beer?
I also own three bikes(and about to have a fourth) that cost more then my car is worth as do most of my friends. I make a very average income, again as do most of my friends. To me a bike is more than something I get around town on. Three of them are custom built, because I place value in my bikes fitting perfectly and having perfect shifting and durability.
My city bike is worth less then 500 bucks, but my bike built for 80 mile plus road rides is obviously like the same animal.
Also saying this bike isn’t an “everyday bike” means that it isn’t for you. I know people who commute over 300 miles per week on a bike. and I custom high end road bike IS their daily rider.
I just applied for a graphic design spot at Rapha so I may be biased. While their stuff is a bit spendy, Ian is spot on. It all depends on where your priorities are……
I feel like custom bikes are idealizations of the basic values of the cycling community, or at least a part of the community, for example, durability, utility, simplicity, or whatever. The demand for similar yet more economically viable options is in the process of increasing. And I see realizations of this aesthetic all the time around town, like nitto bars and porteur racks on steel frames, as well as many other eccentric variations.
I just bought a $6000 bicycle. I’m not affluent, a CEO or have any pull in local politics. I love to ride and I love bicycles. Just because someone is willing to spend that much on a bicycle doesn’t mean anything about their wealth or social status…its all about priorities. Heck, if I smoked, hung out in bars 3-4 times a week, I would probably spend that kind of money in a couple of years.
It most certainly does say something about your wealth! Millions of Americans are having a hard time buying food and keeping their homes. Millions of Americans don’t make that much money in a year.
You obviously have no idea what it’s like to be poor, what it’s like to live at -or below- the poverty level. I hope you never do.
So does that make the person who has saved their money a bad person? Is wealth an “evil” thing in itself?
Seems to be some hatred of those people who have worked hard, saved, and gotten themselves in a position where they can afford to buy something they obviously value.
The reality is that there will ALWAYS be people less fortunate/hard working/etc. than others. Should I hold off on a bike purchase until each and every one of them has a unicorn?
Did I suggest that people hold off on their purchases, did I say that having money makes you “evil” or did I state that owning a $5000 bike is representative of one’s wealth?
If I drove a Aston Martin Vantage, wouldn’t you agree that it says something of my wealth?
People should buy these bikes if they want and they should love them, but let’s not forget that they are the luxury supercar (err… superbike) of the bike world.
Ira and Tony should be proud of what they have created. I am proud to know them, to own one of their bikes, and think of them as friends.
Why would someone get “pissy” when they read discussions about high-end bikes and gear?
1. Who is doing significant, highly-publicized and well-supported work to create a quality, durable transportational bike at a price that’s affordable (sub $500) for the average single-digit-hourly-wage worker who wants or needs a decent bicycle? No one, really.
2. What publications, blogs or other components of popular, bike-centric mass media are paying serious attention to the needs and budgets of the single-digit-hourly-wage worker?
None that come to mind, other than an occasional article in Bicycling magazine about the latest edition of “BikeTown, USA”.
The most popular print and electronic mass media aren’t speaking to the working poor — or about them — when they focus on The Best Homes, The Best Clothes, The Best Bikes or The Best Schools. See enough of that bombarding you everywhere and the working poor may get a little, um, you know, “pissy”.
When people in the lowest-wage brackets are struggling to make ends meet and go to sleep nightly praying they’ll still have a job in the morning, it is difficult to see Yet Another Independent Business Venture focused on producing $4,000 and $5,000 bikes and NOT feel at least SOME angst and stress. And yes, envy too.
I would even go out on a limb and suggest that there’s a whole sub-class of bicycle-dependent — even bicycle-loving — people who see folks living pretty darned well off the proceeds of their bicycle-centric business ventures (whether in media, retail, fabrication or design), and wonder how on earth THEY can ever hope to break through what must feel like a glass ceiling into the rarefied stratosphere of Portland’s Bicyglitterati.
The class divide is not only based on money. It is based on access to education, having the sense to pick the “right” career, and being able to ascertain quickly who the “right” people are so you can find the angle and network with them. Good looks (and, in some circles, the right skin color) also don’t hurt one’s chances to stand on the more comfortable side of the class divide.
Advertising for fancy, expensive bikes and all the fancy expensive specialty items that go with them, is just like advertising for any luxury item: it plays partly to one’s desire to be seen on the right side of the class divide — and partly, though very subtly, on one’s fear of ending up on the wrong side of that same divide.
I would LOVE to see Bikeportland do an in-depth series on this growing phenomenon of class expression in the bicycle industry and where various people think it might lead, in Portland and across the country.
I think you bring up some good points, but as someone who helps run a manufacturing company here in Portland (not bike related), I am going to be quite honest: I am going to sell my product at the highest price possible to the people/organizations who can afford it.
My best selling product is priced “high” in the market compared to our competitors (probably 2x to 3x the cost), but it is our best selling product. The quality is there for us to rationalize the higher price, and our customers are fine paying it.
“Luxury pricing” (as it is sometimes called) is about more than “wanting to fall on one side of the class divide”, it is about selling your product for its correct perceived value, and making the most on your margins. Higher priced items often times sell better than lower prices items because of the (real or perceived) value that a higher price signifies, and higher priced items often suffer less of a sales loss during a recession (we posted sales gains throughout the recession).
I’d rather manufacture fewer items items and sell them for a higher price than have to make many more items and move more product to make up for the reduced margins that a lowered selling price would bring.
But that’s just my two cents (from the manufacturing side of things).
Capitalist scumbag! You’re a bad person for not operating as a not-for-profit and giving every extra cent to your employees instead of providing for your family. How DARE you!
Must have been a psych major. There seems to be an underlying assumption that one is entitled to all of those things you mention.
1. Who is doing significant, highly-publicized and well-supported work to create a quality, durable transportational bike at a price that’s affordable?
Why aren’t you?
2. There will always be poor people struggling. There will always be people with more money. Should I not prosper from the fruits of my labor or should I wait until everyone in society is at exactly the same economic level before I buy anything for myself? Sure, people want to distinguish themselves….that’s what diversity is about.
And taken from an evolutionary perspective, “class expression” is a normal paradigm. It’s simply natural to show one’s ability to provide for a mate (in the case of men) – hence the buying of high end stuff. Same reason why women wear makeup – to look more attractive (and often younger) to the opposite sex.
Has there ever been a time that there has NOT been a division based upon individual resources?
in beth’s defense, she has been helping people get on affordable bikes here in town for as long as i can remember. i’m not sure if she’s still at city bikes but that is where i know her from. if i remember right she was up at the c.c.c. for a while also. so she ‘walks the talk’ i guess.
i don’t think anything she said was outrageous or unreasonable. these are really hard times for a whole lot of people. myself included. i’m not furious about these bikes or anything but when you’ve been out of work for months on end or are barely employed, hours have been cut where you work or you take a job that is usually what you would do in high school (hey! i’m a dishwasher! i’m 34!), you’re pinching pennies everywhere you can, etc. etc., things like a super boutique bike from rapha just seem like conspicuous consumption. and some people are put off by that. so it goes.
These bikes are sweet. If I am not buying a new computer and biking across iceland, i would’ve spent on it.
Not to get into an argument but I am curious as to how you came to this conclusion from my previous post. You know nothing about me yet you make these claims and insult me. Shame on you.
There was no offense meant! Really – I do hope you never know what it is like to be poor. Saying that buying a $5-6 k bicycle has no bearing on your wealth is ridiculous though.
Poverty level is about $10k, 10’s millions in the U.S. live below that, and the idea that one can spend that and more on a bicycle and it has no bearing on their wealth?
People live for an entire year on less than what this bike costs!
I can afford one of these, and can only do so through making tough choices and working a job I don’t love. Does that make me evil? No (at least that aspect doesn’t).
Beth-So basically you are saying that you are justified in getting “pissy” because this site and other bike related media are not focused on covering bike options for the working poor?
Interesting that she uses what I would consider a gender-specific description (Pissy) and then goes on to assail stereotypes.
I love the head badge.
middle of the road, as cornel west once said, just because you find yourself on third base, it doesn’t mean you hit a triple.
Nope. Can’t buy class.
that’s a great question. Thanks for asking it and I’ll look into it for a possible future story.
I appreciate the feedback from all of you and I agree that it seems like an odd juxtaposition to read about expensive bikes during a time when many people are not doing well economically.
Just keep in mind that these stories are reactive… meaning I am doing them because the companies did something newsworthy and I reported on it. I’d like to be more proactive and find a topic that deserves attention and then go and get the story myself. Stay tuned.
Because a business is in business to make money, and you can’t make money selling stuff for less then it costs you to make.
Thanks Jonathan – I look forward to this article.
creating better paying jobs typically is a benefit to the community, not a negative. its what allows people to buy other peoples’ good. Talking about things beyond the basics of food and shelter (by the way, not being able to pay your mortgage is not a problem of the poor). it allows companies to pay their employees better wages so they in turn can go out and support other businesses. Hopefully if someone is making a decent wage manufacturing locally, they will see fit to buying from others manufacturing locally, understanding what it costs to do so.
there is a need for the $300 bike as not everyone can afford the higher priced ones. nothing wrong with that. however, a $300 bike doesnt do much to bring sustainable jobs to the area and it certainly doesnt help build sustainable jobs overseas where they are produced. so, when people who can afford nice bikes buy them, they are helping the local economy.
Now, before anyone goes on about how much insane money small frame builders are making on their $4-6k bikes take in mind some numbers first. the average small frame builder is typically building 2-5 frames per month and I hear more in the range of 2-4. If they are making $1k profit per frame you can see that on the lower qty side its not much loot and if one was to squeak out five frames per month theyd be making decent money, but certainly not getting filthy rich by any means. change those numbers around a bit and the outcome wouldnt be much different. say someone puts more time into building a REALLY nice, ornate frame and they are able to make $2,000 profit from it, they wouldnt be able to build as many in the same time frame.
so, why hate on those that can afford these bikes? they are helping to create decent jobs. why hate on lower priced bikes? they afford an option for those that otherwise wouldnt have access.
I really enjoyed this article and I think the concept you mentioned would be a great read.
As an amateur framebuilder I have a pretty good idea of what goes into a handbuilt frame. Tony and Ira spend more time designing/making/finishing these things than non-framebuilders can imagine. I believe they are not wealthy and will never be unless they decide to change careers and get a job that maybe even has benefits. Bruce Gordon wrote a few years ago about what his hourly wage was when everything was added and subtracted; it’s less than minimum wage. Mr Gordon is a framebuilder of the highest caliber who has been perfecting his skills for decades.
Most of us can only justify the cost of buying a bike made by robots, overseas; managed by workers who earn a low wage. And that is fine; nobody is suggesting that we all buy handbuilt frames made by local builders. It understandably costs more to get a frame from builders who have to earn enough to afford to live in Portland, or anywhere else in the US. The Rapha name does add to the price tag; one could save some $$ by ordering a custom bike directly from the builder.
I hope someday we will have the robots to build our bike frames in this country, making an inexpensive and reliable bike for a low price. Right now, I appreciate the work of some very dedicated individuals who live locally and can offer us the option of a much higher quality bike. They are not in the position to compete with the robots overseas for a bike in the price range we are used to.
Well, what makes a bike worth over $5000?
I think the reason some of us are a bit put off by the bike, the price, the advertising, or the coverage is that it is hard to understand what makes a bike worth that much money.
More expensive cars go faster, or have more leather. More expensive houses come with better schools or more room. A bike though? After some point, it isn’t faster, or lighter, or capable of carrying more, or being more maintainable.
So, they’re art. Art is fine, but it does leave me scratching my head like an ape. 😉
I can’t wait for the law suits, and mandatory insurance for cyclists. When some individual with little wealth either puts a ding in the one of these bikes at the staple, or get in a crash with it.
Was it not the reason they put mandatory insurance in place during the 70’s?
I think these bikes a great and the price is reasonble if you have any clue what you are getting. The hubs alone probably cost $500. I hope they sell-out their entire production capability and bring some money into Portland for a change. I dont know these guys personally, but I would be shocked if either of them were getting “rich” off of their respective little bike business.
This thread is hilarious! If you want a cheap bike go to the CCC, City Bikes or hit up craigslist. Don’t hold your breath for the $500 Rapha “pauper” edition city bike.
Way to go Portland builders on securing yourselves an awesome deal! Nice bikes too.
First, Jonathan thank you for building and maintaining a site I can go to for exciting and revealing news, fashion, stories and pictures, you certainly deserve much more than you receive.
Second, if a company is unable to create enough customers for a product at a given price, certainly it will not continue to be made. As a community we should encourage local artists and manufacturers to excell at their craft, so that in time if they so wish, there will be a less expensive model, available to many more of us.
Only some of us will be able to acquire one of these unique bicycles, but all of us may covet and desire them all. Again Jonathan, thank you so very much, for enabling me to admire a beautiful bicycle.
I think the real question here is “What’s a ‘sportive’ bike?”
And all you folks grumping about Rapha’s expensive stuff? If you don’t like fancy expensive stuff then don’t buy it.
Furthermore, those $500 bikes? Who makes ’em? How much does the guy in China get for building the frame for that $500 bike? How many hours a day does he have to work?
I totally didn”t think anyone would take my comment seriously, much less argue about it. those bikes are quite nice and if someone can afford to buy one they should go for it. I am just jealous. I would buy a renovo though, those things are just fucking cool.