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Embacher bicycle collection to be sold at auction

Posted by on April 27th, 2015 at 11:13 am

Starting bid: $170.

If you dreamed about owning one of the amazing bicycles from the Cyclepedia exhibition when it was at the Portland Art Museum in 2013, now is your chance.

Michael Embacher, the man behind the much-heralded Embacher Collection, has decided to part with his entire collection of 203 rare bicycles at an auction to be held in Vienna next month.

Embacher’s office emailed us with the news this morning along with a personal note from Embacher about why he decided to part ways with the bikes. It seems partly a matter of circumstance (he has lost the attic space the collection has be housed in) and partly philosophical. Here’s a snip from his note:

“Like with every collector one of my fundamental needs is to be near the object I collect. Until two years ago this was possible, as the attic of my former office was my private museum. And so during the last ten years I “visited” my bikes daily and selected one of them to take a ride on. The attic was a part of the collection, which had been started there and put together with this place in mind. Unfortunately, I had to give up this attic space and during the past two years I was unable to find an alternative.


Making the decision to separate myself from a unique collection that had been built up with immense passion was a protracted and difficult process. For many years I had hoarded, cared for, documented and exhibited my “slender travel animals” (quote: Gabriele Petricek). Looked at in visual terms bicycles for me are anarchical beings, a kind of synonym for untrammelled freedom.

Therefore the idea of now setting them free again greatly appeals to me.”

I can’t imagine how he can get rid off these beauties. I have a garage full of old bikes and I can’t seem to let any of them go!

The auction house Dorotheum has set up an online catalog where the opening bids range from $55 for a 1950s Peugeot city bike to $6,500 for an Alex Moulton.

The collection will be on view for 10 days prior to the auction on May 19th. I have an invitation to the cocktail preview party on May 12th but I’m unfortunately unable to attend. If anyone would like to go in my place, let me know. My only requirement is that you bring me back a bike.

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  • David Lewis April 27, 2015 at 11:57 am

    I haven’t been to Vienna in a while…

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  • caesar April 27, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    I hope there’s a Vienna, OR, because the one in Austria is a bit too far away for me. Checking Google Maps now….

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  • gutterbunnybikes April 27, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    One of a kind titanium Moulton…

    Wish I had more dough, though my birthday is in only a few days.

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  • Todd Boulanger April 27, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Perhaps this might be an opportunity for a NW centric investor to bid on a batch and start/ enhance a bike museum in this region (Seattle, Portland, or in Washington, Oregon etc.).

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  • Dave April 27, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    He has some unique, prototype folding bikes I have never seen anywhere until the PMA show.

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  • JerryW April 27, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    Several Rene Herse bikes look intriguing, I’m sure the bids will go out of sight on them. I’m a bit surprised that he didn’t own a Cunningham bike.

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  • slow malenky lizard April 27, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    someone buy all of them and start a cycling museum in portland

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  • Paul Hanrahan April 27, 2015 at 2:14 pm

    Johnathan, is that picture of the bikes available as a poster? I cannot afford a bike, but a large picture of the colection would be nice!

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  • Joe April 27, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    awesome rig!

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  • Dwaine Dibbly April 27, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    First, I’d like to thank Michael Embacher for bringing much of the collection to the Portland Art Museum. It was a wonderful exhibit. Mrs Dibbly & I enjoyed it very much.

    Secondly, I really hate to see the collection divided and agree that it would make a great core of a NW Cycling Museum.

    Thirdly, I’m tapped out & can’t afford to create an endowment to get the museum going. Sorry.

    Lastly, if anyone feels generous, please buy #60 for me.

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  • David Guettler April 27, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Hmmmm, it’s been a week or two since my last new bike….

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  • Carl April 27, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    That thing’s not REALLY a Moulton and that’s one of the coolest things about it. It’s a faithful titanium copy built in Somerville, Mass based on measurements taken from Christopher Igleheart’s real, steel Moulton. It was pretty cool to see Christopher explain this to Embacher in-person at PAM!

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  • John Lascurettes April 27, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    Wow. I wonder if Velo Cult is in the market to add to their collection.

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  • Dwaine Dibbly April 28, 2015 at 5:06 am

    I wonder if Jordan Schnitzer or some other local patron is interested. Hopefully PAM knows about this.

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  • Eric Moss May 19, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    That thing’s not REALLY a Moulton and that’s one of the coolest things about it. It’s a faithful titanium copy built in Somerville, Mass based on measurements taken from Christopher Igleheart’s real, steel Moulton. It was pretty cool to see Christopher explain this to Embacher in-person at PAM!Recommended 5

    That’s neat to know. When I commissioned the bike to be built, it was because I saw a white Speed ridden by Dave Bogdan in RAAM in an issue of Bicycle Guide (or was it Bicycling?). I thought it was the coolest thing ever, but would be even cooler in Ti with a fairing. Anyway, I wrote Moulton, who wasn’t interested in Ti for a bike (why are you Americans obsessed with exotic alloys?). Mike at One-Off was the one guy in the ads in the back of the magazine that was game. We talked a ton on the phone, got help from Doug Milliken and the suspension innards from Moulton on the promise that we’d never do anything like this again. I drained my savings, and by 1991 had a bike. It was fun, but sat a lot because of jobs in bike-unfriendly cities. I finally had to sell it in 2008 to buy a crappy used Honda to get to work. I did *not* make out like a bandit on it. It apparently re-sold for 30,000 Euros. I wonder who bought it and if they’ll ride it…

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