BikePortland

Portland cargo bike maker Metrofiets calls it quits after 11 years

Ross and his daughter in 2011.


Metrofiets bikes were known for a near-perfect combination of utility, ride quality, and aesthetic beauty.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

Just over a decade after launching as “the Portland-made bakfiets”, the owners behind Metrofiets have decided it’s time to move on.

Phillip Ross standing in a hop farm during the Fresh Hop Century in 2016.

Our friend Phillip Ross just sent over the official announcement:

All good things come to an end. 

After 11 years of making cargo bikes, Metrofiets will cease production at the end of the month. It’s been super fun making cargo bikes for countless families and business alike. We’ve had a great run and wanted to finish on a strong note. 

For now, we will finish fulfilling existing orders; selling any additional inventory on hand and then, that’s all folks.

If you need to contact us, through the end of the month, please email info@metrofiets.com

Thanks for such an amazing journey. We couldn’t have done it without you. 

Team Metrofiets

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Metrofiets launched in 2007 just as the Dutch and cargo bike invasion was heating up in Portland. At that time the company was Ross in the sales and marketing role and his partner Jamie Nichols did the building (Nichols has since moved on). Together, the duo built an excellent product that was very well-respected.

Metrofiets distinguished itself by making custom rigs for businesses; most famously Hopworks Urban Brewery. The “Hopworksfiets” that debuted in 2009 featured a hardwood bar, beer taps, and plenty of room for kegs. It became an iconic bike that seemed to show up everywhere fun on bikes was happening. The Hopworksfiets was such a success that it allowed Metrofiets to start a beer bike rental service in 2011.

While mobile businesses were their specialty, Metrofiets were also renowned for their mix of utility and performance. Their “Suppenküche” (German for “soup kitchen”) came in at just 58 pounds and the customer who bought it (a restauranteur from Los Angeles) gave it a maiden voyage on the 200-mile Seattle-to-Portland ride. Charlie Wicker of Portland-based Trailhead Coffee Roasters once road his Metrofiets coffee bike on the entire, 7-day Cycle Oregon ride.

Pedal Powered Talk Show host Boaz Frankel in a promotional image.
(Photo: Metrofiets)

Behind Ross’ marketing talents, the company had a knack for interesting projects. Their Pedal Powered Talk Show was a novel twist on the genre. With host Boaz Frankel behind the mic and Ross behind the handlebars, the show survived for five seasons and landed guests ranging from Grimm TV show star Sasha Roiz, band Blitzen Trapper, and actor Daniel Baldwin. For one of their last shows, the crew managed to get the talk show bike to the top of the Space Needle in Seattle.

Another way Ross helped redefine what cargo bikes could do was by supplying bikes for the Fresh Hop Century. This ride (co-hosted by Base Camp Brewing) took a crew of bakfiets pilots from Portland to the Willamette Valley in search of hops that would be used to brew beer in Portland. I joined them for the 2016 edition and watched with a smile as Ross himself lined up his Metrofiets cargo bike at the end of a conveyor belt at a hop farm before pedaling the bounty back to Portland where it was loaded directly into a brewing vat. Now that was fresh!

Last year Ross moved his production facility into a shop on North Page Street that is shared with Breadwinner Cycles.

Ross says it’s bittersweet to be saying goodbye to the brand and business he has nurtured for over a decade; but he also knows the time is right to call it quits.

It was very good run and we’re proud to have shared such great memories with a quality local business.

Congrats Phil! I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of you in the bike biz.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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