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Sportworks to launch ‘No Scratch’ staple rack in Portland

Posted by on April 19th, 2012 at 12:16 pm

In a sign of the growing business opportunities that come with the renaissance of urban biking in America — and Portland’s reputation for being in the center of it — Woodinville, Washington-based Sportworks will launch its new “No Scratch” bike rack line at Bridgeport Brewpub in the Pearl District next month.

Sportworks is already the nation’s leading supplier of bus and transit racks (used in over 500 U.S. cities), and now they’re looking to bolster their brand and garner business in the bike parking market. This is a great example of the data we often see in the bike advocacy world being translated into pure bottom line economics. Here’s an excerpt from a press statement published yesterday by Sportworks:

Changing municipal codes, rising gas prices, and the increase in bike share programs and green buildings indicate there are significant shifts making cycling an increasingly popular transportation option. According to the Alliance for Biking & Walking (ABW) in its 2012 Benchmarking Report, bicycle commuting numbers are growing steadily, “rising 64% between 1990 and 2009 from 466,856 to 765,703 people who bicycle to work nationwide.”

Sportworks will be in Portland for the Living Future 12 show on May 2-4th. VP of Sales & Marketing for the company, Derek Sanden says they’re the first ever bike rack company to exhibit at that show (another sign of biking’s growing popularity). Prior to that show, Sanden says they’ll host a “Bikes & Brews – Racks & Snacks” event (on May 1st).

(Photo: Sportworks)

Why use Portland as the national launch-pad for new bike rack product?

“Because Portland has some of the most advanced and progressive bicycle infrastructure of any city in the US,” Sanden told me via email today, and added, “We couldn’t think of a better target audience to start with than the passionate cyclists of our neighbors to the south.”

The rack itself looks pretty nifty. It’s in the standard staple design with a “durable protective bumper.” Alta Planning + Design has been testing the rack and gives it high marks. The City of Portland doesn’t currently buy any racks from Sportworks (their current contract is with Radius Pipe Bending out of Junction City, Oregon), but next time the contract comes up, maybe they’ll take a look at these.

If you love bike parking (and who doesn’t!) and want a closer look at the No Scratch rack and the folks who made it, check the event details below…

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  • David April 19, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    I had the opportunity to tour the Sportworks manufacturing facility several months ago and check out these racks in person. They are flat-out impressive! Really pleasing to the eye, and the no-scratch material is really durable, effective, and well-integrated into the rack design. The racks are also made of stainless steel, so they won’t leech zinc like a galvanized finish.

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  • SilkySlim April 19, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    I actually kind of take pride in my super scuffed up bike! Shows how many places I’ve been.

    But still, pretty neat for another bike product being made in America.

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  • Steve Durrant April 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    We have a couple in our BikeSPA lab (soon to be celebrated Secure Parking Area equipment demonstration) and they really are great. Think they’ll blow up in use? Forget it, this is a high quality – long lasting piece of industrial design. Thanks Sportworks.

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  • GlowBoy April 19, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Just make sure the material isn’t any thicker than standard tubular staple racks. This was a problem with some of the stainless steel racks they installed downtown a couple years ago. Otherwise, with a mini-U lock you may not be able to Sheldon-lock to the rack if you have something other than a road racing bike. Both my bikes have thicker chainstays and/or wider tire clearance; I can Sheldon-lock to standard tubular racks, but not to anything substantially thicker.

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  • Scott April 19, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    good comments, GlowBoy. I can attest from personal experience that the Sheldon-lock technique will still work with these racks.

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  • Rebecca April 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I hate to de-incentivize the industrious crafters of Portland from knitting those little bike rack cozies, but this model does look nice.

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  • Dan Liu April 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Cool, though I still really appreciate that Portland is supporting an Oregon business — even better one whose name declares that its entire business is bending pipe. Besides, that blue powder coat most of those racks use is pretty scratch-free, and durable. How much more money would the Sportworks staple racks cost?

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  • was carless April 19, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Wait. .25% of people in the US commute by bicycle?!

    Think we lost, folks.

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    • Greg April 19, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      What would be winning?
      When does the game end?
      Why do you think 306 Million people commute in the US?

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  • Glen K April 19, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    For an alternative non-scratch bike rack design, you might want to have a look at http://bikerakk.co.nz/.

    No, I don’t get any commission from them; I just think they’re quite neat (esp. in the use of recycled car tyre rubber). Dunno what the relative price difference is; the design is not local, although I guess the actual construction could be.

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  • Dabby April 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    This is why I use top tube pads.
    Oh and to protect the family jewels..

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