Oakridge fire destroys headquarters of bike company with Portland roots

Posted by on November 25th, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Planet X was on the left.
(Photos: Vincent Rodarte)

A fire in Oakridge early this past Sunday morning has completely destroyed the headquarters of Planet-X USA. The company sells bikes under the Planet-X, On-One and Titus brand names and is owned by its parent company which is based in Sheffield, England. Vincent Rodarte, the company’s operations manager, moved the business to the mountain biking mecca of Oakridge on August 1st of this year. Planet-X USA opened in Portland in 2011 and expanded significanly in 2013.

Planet-X’s Portland location had 10,000 square feet (we visited them back in 2013), but much of that inventory had been crammed into the 1,200 square foot showroom and office in Oakridge. Fortunately the company is insured against fire, but it’s a huge blow to Rodarte and his effort to strengthen the U.S. business.

Rodarte, who lives in Portland, just published photos of the damage and his thoughts about the fire at ORBike.com:

Advertisement

“The showroom is now a box filled with blackened debris of carbon shreds, partially consumed tires, and wheels that seem to have melted into the floor.

The office was reduced to blackened mounds of melted printers and computers. The tool box I left on my desk on Friday was a black pool of plastic with some tools embedded in it. There is the silhouette of two solid figures that stand out above the chaos all over the floor. Our Park Tool double armed repair stand in the back room and the Feedback Sports mobile stand standing by the front door.

I haven’t been able to see much else in the two back rooms, which were filled with our stock of Titus service parts, stems, seat posts, grips, bar tape, etc. Peaking through the busted out back windows, tool boxes are leaning as if they are drunk. Nothing else is recognizable.

Today I got the chance to stand inside the showroom. Steel frames were still holding up. Carbon frames were merely ghosts of their former selves. Carbon wheels had come unwoven. Disc brake rotors hung onto portions of hub shells. Display cases were reduced to piles of molten glass and charred wood. It was not the smell of a bicycle store.

I’ve been wearing a strong face for the last few days, but I think it’s only because it hasn’t quite hit me yet. Calls to utility companies are making it a bit more real to me. The community of Oakridge has been extremely supportive. The Brewers Union 180, our local pub, has been my makeshift office.

Standing in front of my home away from home since August, I cracked a little. It wasn’t due to the extreme physical loss I saw before me, it was for the loss of time, effort and pure love that went into making this shop in a tiny town happen.”

Reached today, Rodarte says authorities still don’t know what caused the fire (it also burned a bakery in the same building). For the immediate future, he says, “I will be back in Portland working from a home office. Planet X USA is in mobile mode now.”

For more about the fire read the story in The Register-Guard.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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

7 Comments
  • Avatar
    Alison Graves November 25, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    So sorry to hear this news. Our hearts are with you, Oakridge.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    The Bike Concierge November 25, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    This sucks. You have our sympathy, and if there is anything we at The Bike Concierge can do to help, please let us know.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Eric November 25, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    On the bright side, Planet X is fortunate to have someone on the ground with Vince’s level of enthusiasm and good nature during a disaster of this scale.
    Vince should be drinking for free for the rest of the year, since we should all buy him a beer the next time we see him.
    Keep your chin up, buddy!

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Avatar
    soren November 26, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Sorry to hear this. I’ve always been a fan of on one’s bikes/frames.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    onegearsnear November 26, 2015 at 10:51 am

    MTB saved that town after logging went away yet so many old timers despise us there and hoping this wasn’t part of the recent strings of arson’s… Either way, hope Vince can rebound as it was so cool for him to embrace the town and support it with a business like Planet X!

    Hoping the bakery can recover too as one of my favorite lunch stops while riding there.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    GlowBoy November 28, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Wow, this is really sad to hear. I bought a frame from Vince last year, and he was a great guy to deal with.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Tomaz July 20, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    I was there in 2015 (or whatever year) in which there was at least 3 arson fires there including one just near the reservoir that had just been set off. On that same trip, we encountered 2 mtb girls waving frantically near deadmountain (between Oakridge and Salmon Creek campground). When my friends pulled the car over, they heard shots and a tree branch fell on their windshield. Needless to say the girls got in the car with their bikes and they were out of there. So yeah, it’s the wild west meet modern society. You can sense the resentment on some of the town folks (old logging business vs the businesses developing around mtb). So its really sad to see the bakery and bike shop burn down which it is hard to believe that is not part of the string of arsons. Oh, lets not go into the 10 bikes that were stolen off Salmon Creek that same year in one fell swoop.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar