Support BikePortland

Local bike industry roundup: Ecospeed, Vanilla, Renovo, Circa, North St and some Zen

Posted by on October 3rd, 2014 at 3:02 pm

In the shop with North St. Bags-3

North St. Bags owner Curtis Williams hopes to take out a “community sourced to keep his expansion on track.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

I’ve been gathering news tidbits about local bike companies for several weeks now and since today is National Manufacturing Day, I decided it was time to put it all together into a roundup.

So get comfortable and read the latest news about Portland’s always-changing bike-related industry…

EcoSpeed raises $75,000 and counting in successful Kickstarter campaign

EcoSpeed GM Brad Davis (L) and owner/founder Brent Bolton celebrating.
(Photo: EcoSpeed)

Southeast Portland based EcoSpeed has been making top-notch, American-made electric-assist bikes for over 10 years. Their product allows you to turn just about any bicycle into a zippy e-bike. Brad Davis (GM) and Brent Bolton (owner) are literally powering a revolution in bicycles and personal transportation.

But one challenge of their product and business model is that they make each unit by hand, one-at-a-time. This means the cost is high and it’s hard to expand with demand. They launched a Kickstarter campaign last month to raise $75,000 in order to create a “true production line” where they can build in batches of 50 units.

Thanks to the enthusiastic and inclusive (they fit almost every type of bike imaginable) spirit displayed in their Kickstarter appeal, Brad and Brent have blown past their goal and are currently well over $87,000 raised!

Congrats to the entire EcoSpeed crew. We can’t wait to share what they do next.

Circa Cycles looks beyond crowdfunding

Rich Fox and his Circa.
(Photo by M. Andersen/BikePortland)

Local bike company Circa Cycles chose a different crowdfunding route. As we shared back in August, they turned to Crowd Supply in hopes of raising $50,000 they hoped to use to “re-imagine” American bicycle manufacturing. In a email to supporters this week, owner Rich Fox said that although the campaign didn’t reach its goal (just $4,790 was raised), he still plans to move forward in hopes of bringing his bicycles to market.

Fox exhibited at last weekend’s Bike & Beer Fest and is overjoyed at the response. “I spoke non-stop to folks for about 7 hours,” he shared via email, “Several people even told me they came to the show specifically to see Circa, and they “loved” what we were doing.”

Now he plans to consider other options to raise capital, including a possible pre-sale program. If you’d like to be one of the first 25 people to own a Circa, check out RideCirca.com or email Rich (rich@ridecirca.com) to get on the list.

Advertisement

Renovo moves from custom to production

Renovo Hardwood Bicycles-11.jpg

Renovo founder Ken Wheeler laying out a custom hardwood frame.
(Phto by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Hardwood bicycle maker Renovo is shifting its operation from custom to production, or what they call “Ready-to-Ride.” Since they debuted 7 years ago, Renovo has seen its business flourish. Their exquisite wooden frames have garnered them lots of attention — from a partnership with Audi to a retail location in ritzy Sausalito, California.

But, even with their high-tech, CNC construction method, Renovo has been unable to keep up with demand and has faced a backlog of up to 100 custom bikes with some customers waiting over a year to get a bike. “Struggling to control this unruly beast has kept Advil profitable,” the company wrote in a press release last week, “We recognize we need to change in order to move forward.”

Beginning this month, Renovo has started offering stock bicycles with pre-selected wood combinations, sizing options, and component builds. Check out the new RenovoBikes.com to learn more.

North St. Bags looks to a community loan to keep up with demand
Curtis Williams of North St. Bags has always impressed me. I could tell from very early on that his company was bound for big things. I’m extremely happy to hear that he’s growing and expanding! His southeast Portland studio buzzes with seamstresses, his bags are now in 11 bike shops around the country (and even in Japan!), and the product line is always expanding and improving.

To keep his growth on track, Williams has turned to an innovative loan strategy offered by Community Sourced Capital. The site allows anyone to buy a $50 “square” to contribute to the loan. North St. hopes to raise up to $20,000 to buy new equipment, improve his small factory, and make other investments that will allow his staff to keep up with demand. You can help North St. reach their goal at the campaign website.

Vanilla Workshop launches ‘Built in House’ Collection

The Vanilla Workshop — an extension of famed builder Sacha White’s framebuilding business, Vanilla Bicycle Company — has unveiled their “Built in House” collection. Vanilla’s marketing guy Tom Rousculp says the first phase of the collection includes a t-shirt, patch, and a set of water bottles (also known as bidons). All three products are available online in the new Vanilla Workshop store.

Zen Bicycle Fabrication to build Lemond frames
Former Tour de France winner and American legend Greg LeMond is mounting a comeback into the bike industry after a falling out with Trek over the Lance Armstrong saga. Late last month he launched a new line of steel road bikes, and according to a report by Bicycle Retailer & Industry News magazine, the bikes will be made right here in Portland.

Zen Bicycle Fabrication will make the Washoe. The company opened their doors in Portland in 2011 and makes bikes for a number of brands (most of which are kept secret).

Greenfield Health
Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

13 Comments
  • Harald October 3, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Typo of the week: “Southeast Portland based EcoSpeed has been making top-notch, American-made electric-assist kids for over 10 years. 😀

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Todd Boulanger October 3, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Sweeet!! Welcome back Greg!!!

    I love my USA made Lemonds and their frame geometry.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Todd Boulanger October 3, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Don’t forget about … Sapa Extrusions…

    http://www.sapagroup.com/en/na/profiles/facilities/aluminum-extrusions-portland-oregon/

    ….and Ellsworth too!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • David W @ ZenBikeFab October 6, 2014 at 11:23 am

      Hi Todd,
      Sadly, Sapa closed it’s bike frame division & Ellsworth no longer manufacturers in the PNW.
      But we continue to offer brands a US made alternative to overseas frame manufacturing right here in PDX.
      🙂
      David @ ZenBikeFab

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Todd Boulanger October 3, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Jonathan…perhaps the blurb about a local frame builder now selling a line of t-shits and water bottles (made where?) is stretching the bounds of the theme of this piece…unless its Friday and one needs to reach a word count or else the “boss” won’t let you go out for a ride. 😉

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Todd Boulanger October 3, 2014 at 7:32 pm

      Oops sorry typo / text [over]corrected…”should have been “t-shirts”

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Peejay October 4, 2014 at 7:08 am

        Now THAT’S typo of the week, by a landslide!

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jerryw October 4, 2014 at 9:22 am

    Jeez, just go away Greg LeMond. We’ve moved beyond steel bikes and bitter men.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Doug Rosser October 6, 2014 at 8:46 am

      Greg LeMond isn’t bitter. He is correct.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Rich October 4, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    Hi All-

    I just posted the full text of the email we sent to our supporters for the Circa crowdfunding campaign. If you’re interested, you can find it here: http://www.ridecirca.com/?p=704

    Thanks,

    Rich Fox
    Circa Cycles

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Offer Canfi October 6, 2014 at 12:14 am

    Love the EcoSpeed, I didnt know you’ve been making them for so long…
    personally I just like anything thats not a hub motor, or that interferes with the frame. I know there is a debate over E-bikes atm but where I come from this debate has been won, by E-bikes, and I have to say it brings a lot of new cyclists onto the road, for better or worse time will tell.

    anyways cheers on a successful campaign,
    Happy rides
    Offer

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • F.W. de Klerk October 7, 2014 at 7:41 am

      I’m curious…what exactly has been “won” by E-bikes?

      Recommended Thumb up 0