Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Prototype custom carbon fiber bicycle stolen from builder’s garage

Posted by on March 26th, 2014 at 10:51 am

This bike — a prototype owned by Argonaut Cycles’ Ben Farver — has been stolen.

Local bike builder Ben Farver of Argonaut Cycles has been on top of the world lately. He just returned from a very successful trip to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in North Carolina where he won two awards, including Best in Show.

But now his luck has turned.

Ben just emailed to tell us that sometime in the last 24 hours his personal bike — a prototype of his disc-brake equipped road bike — was stolen from his garage in inner northeast Portland. The bike was equipped with Shimaon’s “Di2” electronic shifting system and “all the bells and whistles” that has helped Ben’s bikes become some of the most talked about rigs in the industry.

Ben said the bike was in a detached garage in his backyard and the door was not locked. “They [the thieves] must have opened the door, seen the most blingy/easiest to access bike, and took that one.” (Note: We hear about this type of theft quite often. Unlocked garages are very easy targets!)

Ben has notified the police about the theft.

Keep your eyes peeled and please call the PPB non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333 or email Ben at contact [at] argonautcycles.com with any information.

NOTE, 3:06 pm: The original version of this story included a value estimate of the bicycle. We’ve removed that fact at the request of Ben Farver.

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  • Richard March 26, 2014 at 10:59 am

    Ben–I feel your pain. Will keep an eye out for it.

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  • thumb March 26, 2014 at 11:08 am

    that really sucks but…. leaving your pride and joy in an unlocked garage? duh?????

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    • anonymous March 26, 2014 at 11:26 am

      That’s right, Thumb. Blame the victim. It wasn’t the theives fault.

      Anyone else want to tell us how they lock their bike to something inside of their locked garage?

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      • Chris I March 26, 2014 at 11:37 am

        Cable lock or U-lock around the structure of a table would be one way. Personally, I would have a dead-bolt lock on the garage door. There are a lot of things worth stealing in most garages. Tools are really easy to sell locally without raising suspicion.

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        • Bryan Hance March 26, 2014 at 11:47 am

          For those of you curious about what kind of tools bike thieves are using, have a look at this video — bike thief was caught in Sacramento, and there’s a shot of the huge amount of cutters/pliers/snips he had on him https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POzPvI_SFc4

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      • Nate March 26, 2014 at 11:51 am

        I actually installed a ground anchor to the concrete floor of my garage and lock my bikes to that. It is a hardened steel ring permanently attached to the floor with tamper proof bolts. I figure that will deter thefts of opportunity if I forget to lock the garage.

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      • Audrey March 26, 2014 at 12:41 pm

        I had bikes stolen out of a locked garage (they just smashed the lock right off the door), I now U-Lock my bikes to a little bike rack I got from River City. The rack isn’t actually bolted to the ground (yet), but it should make it a helluva lot harder to steal 3 bikes all connected to a rack.

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      • whyat March 26, 2014 at 12:51 pm

        It really IS a duh moment. It’s like leaving your keys in the ignition of an unlocked car. The easier you make it to steal the more likely it is to get stolen.

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      • thumb March 26, 2014 at 2:12 pm

        well, my car is worth about half the value of that bike, and i make damn sure to lock it up every time i get out of it. so while the thief is certainly at fault for stealing, the owner’s negligence sure did make it easy.

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      • Spiffy March 26, 2014 at 3:08 pm

        I just lock the bike to itself… so they won’t be able to ride it away… so unless they have a trailer they’ll probably steal one of my roommate’s bikes that aren’t as shiny…

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      • Matt March 26, 2014 at 5:08 pm

        Doesn’t mean he’s blaming the victim. Just saying it’s not very smart.

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  • Buzz Aldrin March 26, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Burglaries and robberies seem to be on the rise in inner Portland, several locked homes in SE Colonial Heights have been broken into and burglarized in the last month and the police don’t even seem to care enough to assign a detective.

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  • Todd Hudson March 26, 2014 at 11:49 am

    I definitely do not feel paranoid locking up my bikes when they’re inside my locked garage!

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  • Joe March 26, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I really feel Portland Police might need to focus efforts on whats really happening in the City, gotta stop these ppl its getting outta control

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  • dan March 26, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Dang, makes me glad that I can’t get rid of the black widows in our garage. Anyone creeping around at night with the lights off might get an unpleasant surprise.

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  • L March 26, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I have a tough time understanding how anyone who lives in a city doesn’t take the smallest precautions against crimes of opportunity. It’s not living scared it means don’t give people the chance to trespass and wreak havoc. I feel bad for this guy but he could have saved himself a load of trouble by merely locking his garage. Why didn’t he do it?

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  • Beth March 26, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    WHen storing indoors, I lock my bike to my lawnmower. If they really want to risk slicing their finger off while wrestling the bike away from the lower, they are welcome to have at it.
    Another optiois to bring intside the living space with you, and hang it from/lock it to secure hooks in the ceiling. (And let’s not get me started on what I think of landlord who won’t allow renters to bring their bicycles into the apartment with them.)

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    • Spiffy March 26, 2014 at 3:11 pm

      I didn’t realize that excluding bicycles from being in your home was ever a lease option… if I lived in an apartment that’s the only place I’d feel safe storing them…

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      • davemess March 26, 2014 at 4:41 pm

        I think it’s mainly in downtown apartments. At least that’s the only place I’ve heard of it.

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    • wsbob March 27, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      “…landlord who won’t allow renters to bring their bicycles into the apartment with them. …” Beth

      How common is this, and what’s some of valid reasons landlord’s offer for not letting tenants keep a bike in the apartment? Restricting motorcycles or scooters makes sense, and maybe dirty, wet bikes, but not reasonably clean bicycles.

      When I went to college, I kept the bike in the dorm room. One of those narrow, two bed things. Bike sat perfectly against the wall on a shelf just above my bed. When I wasn’t riding it, it was art.

      Some years back, a friend was living in a newer building, dinky apartment just west of Union Station. An architect, collector-rider, he had 25 bikes in his place. Only room left to sit, was on a bike. Never mentioned anything about complaints from the landlord. Bikes take up some room, not everyone can keep them there, but for more reasons than security, inside the house is a good place to keep a bike.

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  • Buckles March 26, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    This sucks, and it is wrong that it happened. Bike thieves are the lowest scum since abusers, sex offenders and murderers.

    That said, I kinda don’t care that much in this situation. Like if you heard someone’s Ferrari got stolen and wrapped around a tree. I guess they’ll just have to take the Benz today… Sucks. Isn’t right. But my heart beats unbroken.

    Where’s the article about the stolen bike whose rider isn’t at least ‘industry famous’ and whose value doesn’t roughly match my yearly income as a bike mechanic? Reporting this theft as news makes BikePortland lose credibility in my eyes, as I draw an easy parallel from this to the sort of sensationalism I see in the mainstream media.

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    • dan March 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      I don’t agree…if this was a $15k bike stolen from a wannabe roadie whose primary use for it was terrorizing pedestrians on the Esplanade, then I would be right there with you.

      Stealing a bike that someone built for himself? Now, that’s low.

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      • Buzz Aldrin March 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm

        How’s the thief supposed to know the diff?

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        • dan March 26, 2014 at 2:32 pm

          The thief doesn’t know the difference, but I do 😉

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    • lyle w. March 26, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      Or you could look at it like that $15k would go back into the economy of this city when he sold it, and would be taxed into local government.. and would create/sustain a livable wage for someone/multiple people in his business.

      Not to mention the thief and drug-addict getting their scumbag hands on something this valuable, and how it re-inforces and validates them being scumbags and thieves.

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    • Pete March 26, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      Wow.That’s an impressively myopic reading on the situation. Yes, this a wonderbike through and through. But it’s also a part of this guy’s livelihood in that it’s part of what he uses to showcase his brand. There are very few people getting rich in the bike industry and I’m pretty confident Ben isn’t one of them. It’s not like he’s an opulent dentist who had fresh new S-Works stolen (still a bummer). He’s put his own time, money and labor into creating an object to help grow his business. I hope that with as much publicity as the theft has gotten, that it will make its way home.

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      • Dan Morrison March 27, 2014 at 11:15 am

        I agree with your response and giggled because I know a dentist who rides a maxxed out S-Works.

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  • jocko March 26, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    I like to fully disassemble my bikes and the bury them in different spots around my yard……..oh wait those are nuts……and I’m a squirrel…..What am I doing at this computer!!!! Squeeekkkkkk!

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  • kittens March 26, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Perfect example of the excessive income inequality in this county.

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  • Buzz Aldrin March 26, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    you can check crime stats and whatnot at the City’s mapping site. Unfortunately, they don’t separate bicycle theft, which they consider a ‘larceny’ from other crimes of the same nature including shoplifting.


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    • Spiffy March 26, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      it’s not just larceny… it’s Aggravated Theft I (ORS 164.057), a class B felony, due to the high cost of what was stolen… even trying to steal this bike unsuccessfully is a felony… pretty much like grand theft auto due to the value…

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      • Spiffy March 26, 2014 at 3:26 pm

        btw, up to $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison… for stealing a really nice bike…

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  • John Liu
    John Liu March 26, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Well, if people with less income can sneer and mock when things get stolen from people with more income, then I suppose people with more income can feel free to sneer and mock when things get stolen from people with less income.

    For those who think that way, when your pride and joy bike gets stolen, please post here so that others can tell you how they couldn’t care less.

    Anyway, who decided that every frame builder is automatically a member of the 1%? That’s news to many a builder out there, I’d wager.

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    • Pete March 26, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      Exactly. There’s a huge difference between someone purchasing at retail an item for $15,000 and a small business owner producing a hand-made product that has a retail value of $15,000.

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  • reader March 26, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    That reminds me… Did Richard ever get his Moots back?

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    • Dan Morrison March 27, 2014 at 11:26 am

      I sincerely hope so. Moots are a dream bike of mine.

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      • Richard March 27, 2014 at 2:53 pm

        Not yet. Last Friday the police arrested the guy who was photographed with it on the day it was stolen. Unfortunately he didnt have my bike with him when he was arrested. He admitted having it,but he denies stealing it–or that he even knew it was stolen–of course. We may be one step closer to recovering it.

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        • Dan Morrison March 27, 2014 at 4:56 pm

          I got my eyes peeled for it. It’s an unmissable bike for me. If I do commandeer your Moots, may I enjoy a spin around the block after alerting you or bikeportland that it’s been found?

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        • wsbob March 27, 2014 at 4:57 pm

          Arrested, and with an admission of having the bike in question in his possession. That’s definitely progress. In this situation, the bike being particularly expensive, is likely to help keep the police investigation going.

          If he doesn’t produce the bike ASAP, they’ll use that as a pretext to snoop out all this guy’s friends and associates in efforts to find the bike. This, coincidentally may lead them to further insight into exactly what criminal stuff he and all his buddies may be involved in.

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  • Todd Hudson March 26, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    class warfare against frame builders, yay!

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  • Huey Lewis March 26, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    As soon as this bike breaks we can catch the thief when they take it to Ruckus. It’s carbon, it’s going to break…

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    • spare_wheel March 27, 2014 at 11:05 am

      but…i thought most carbon fiber bikes spontaneously asplode into dust due to uv damage.

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      • Huey Lewis March 27, 2014 at 4:55 pm

        All I know is we get broken bikes here in the shop in shocking numbers, and this is just one shop in this town. Why you’d fork out money for a carbon fiber bike is beyond me. They do not last!!!

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  • A.K. March 26, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Oh god, get off of it already. You sound jealous, and with a reading comprehension problem to boot.

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    • Caleb March 26, 2014 at 10:32 pm

      Who is this comment directed at?

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      • Caleb March 27, 2014 at 12:48 am

        Perhaps, A.K., we had the same problem? For once I felt sure the “reply” function was active, but in this case my reply didn’t fall under your comment like I intended.

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        • A.K. March 27, 2014 at 7:20 am

          It was directed at a post from ‘kittens’ which appears to have been removed.

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  • Tim March 26, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Where’s our community sense? This forum is built upon that and the fact is that this person had their very recognisable bike stolen from them and it is very easy to spot this bike versus many other identically made bikes, including any of mine. I for one will be looking out, as any one who supports this community should. Everyone else should go troll on OregonLive if they got nothing else to do.

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    • Beth March 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

      Either a somewhat ignorant or slightly disingenuous question there.

      How often do bicycle riders stop to help someone at roadside with a flat? How often do they stop to offer help if that person fits our visual stereotype of what a “homeless” person looks like? The class divisions in our society are mirrored in society’s little subcultures; and the “bicycle scene” (whatever that IS anymore) is, sadly, no exception.

      Some people will feel for this guy who got his bike stolen from his garage, especially if they’ve experienced a similar event. (My decidedly unglamorous trailer was stolen from my property two weeks ago and yes, it sucked. I sympathize, even though I gave up on my trailer and assume it’s gone for good.)

      Others who scoff at the apparent waste involved in producing a bicycle that is valued in the tens of thousands may see it differently.

      These differences of opinion — and the vehemence of some responses — do not surprise me. Nor should they surprise anyone living in a society where there is this level of income inequity. I hope he gets his bike back but I think the likelihood of that happening is low.

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  • John Lascurettes March 26, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Damn. Looked up Ben’s address and he’s super close to me. I’ll keep an eye out for the bike in the hood.

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    • John Watson March 27, 2014 at 10:46 am

      wow. You just took this conversation to a-whole-nother level of creepy. You sure that YOU didn’t steal the bike? In Austin, if this kind of thing happens I usually talk to my friends about the issue and most of the time it’s one of them who stole my bikes.

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      • Caleb March 27, 2014 at 1:17 pm

        Unless he has severe mental issues, I’m inclined to guess that he certainly is sure whether or not he stole the bike.

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      • John Lascurettes March 27, 2014 at 6:18 pm

        I would never steal a bike and have knocked on peoples doors to let them know when it appears like they forgot to close their garage doors.

        It ain’t hard to look up public info on the internet. When they said, “inner NE” I wondered exactly where that was (turns out it’s only several blocks away).

        If people are breaking into detached garages in my hood, I want to know and keep an eye out. Also, since I am in his hood, I can keep an eye out for his bike (because if it was methburglars, they usually don’t take their booty very far).

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  • AG March 26, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    i saw two guys on bikes riding with a third bike that could be this bike. it seemed suspicious at the time. that was at about 4:45 – 5 pm on 3/25 going west on Knott just west of MLK.

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    • John Lascurettes March 27, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      Did you share that info with the PPD non-emergency line?

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      • AG March 28, 2014 at 6:59 am

        I emailed it directly to him – there are a couple of security cameras in the area so they might have recorded the people I saw.

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  • Dave March 27, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Amen–I’m a professional mechanic, amateur framebuilder, and know a number of real framebuilders–ain’t no fat cats among them no matter what their bikes sell for!

    I don’t agree…if this was a $15k bike stolen from a wannabe roadie whose primary use for it was terrorizing pedestrians on the Esplanade, then I would be right there with you.
    Stealing a bike that someone built for himself? Now, that’s low.
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  • Adam March 27, 2014 at 9:11 am

    I lock my bike with a u lock to the lawnmower in the garage when I visit my friend. I don’t think many thieves want to haul away s lawnmower too!!

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  • John Watson March 27, 2014 at 11:08 am

    Seeing a bike that I know is well made (Ben gave me one a year or so ago, for free) that is now being ridden by someone who probably can’t afford it or blog about it really makes me want to stop riding bikes altogether.

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  • Ryan March 29, 2014 at 8:26 am

    I smell sickening amounts of jealousy on these posts. It doesn’t matter if the bicycle was worth $100, $800, $5000, or $15,000…nobody deserves to have their steed robbed.

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  • Tnash March 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Imho, the heart of the matter is, why do we see these special “keep an eye out for this stolen bike” for some bikes but not others? Is it the price of the bike, or a celebrity owner, or someone who knows the editor?

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