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Islabikes to close US headquarters office and warehouse in Portland

Posted by on October 2nd, 2018 at 6:28 pm

The busy warehouse as seen in June 2017.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Portland will no longer be the U.S. headquarters of Islabikes. In an announcement made this afternoon, the children’s bike company said they will close their southeast Portland office, showroom and warehouse.

(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Here’s the official statement:

Islabikes has decided to close the US office in Portland, Oregon to focus energy on the UK and EU markets. During this voluntary liquidation we will sell all remaining stock of bikes, accessories and parts in the US. It’s bittersweet, but there are great discounts to be had before closing this fall. At this time we have not set a closing date.

If you are considering ordering for the Holidays, order now, as once they’re gone, they’re gone!

We really appreciate the support from our customers over the past 5 years. Thank you for all the photos and videos of your kids enjoying their Islabikes and the emails and phone calls describing family vacations and adventures; we have so enjoyed getting to be included in those experiences.

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To the kiddos: thank you for being brave, confident, sometimes scared, hilarious, charismatic, and eager to ride your bike! Thank you for asking so many questions about your bikes. Thank you for coming out to race at Kids Cross and to try out bikes in our showroom. Your excitement for riding bikes is contagious.

If you have questions, please contact us at info@islabikes.com or on 503 954 2410 between 9am – 5pm PT, Monday through Friday.

Happy riding,

Arielle, Ben, Carrie, Dan, Mollie and Tim.

This is a big surprise to us. Islabikes opened here in 2013 and appeared to be doing well. They have been huge supporters of the local racing scene by sponsoring kiddie cross and a number of other events. The company helped establish the market for high-quality children’s bikes.

Their absence will definitely be felt. Stay tuned for further developments. We’ll update this post if/when we hear more about what led to this news.

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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Al
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Al

This is sad but I can’t say that I’m surprised by this. It’s a tough market out there for such a product and I don’t see it getting better in the near future.

Also, bike tax?

dwk
Guest
dwk

Well since sites like this scare the bejesus out of most adults, how do you think most parents feel about their kids riding bikes?
I live in a totally rideable NE neighborhood with 3 schools within a half mile and I rarely see children on bicycles.
Their is nothing unsafe about the neighborhood streets around the schools.
Total failure of adults and scaremongers that riding a bicycle on city streets is dangerous unless we have concrete barriers around us.
Thanks.

Jay Dedd
Guest
Jay Dedd

Eh, bike tax is just for Oregon — whereas this outpost of Islabikes sells to all the U.S. But yeah, small market for spending that kind of money on something so quickly outgrown.

Also, a rather high-control workplace — maybe not surprising given the meticulous nature of the product, but an odd fit for Portland or anywhere on the West Coast.

Overall, maybe a little bit of hubris involved in not quite adequately sizing up American culture before crossing the pond. (East Coast would have been a closer match.) Too bad, because the product is good and gap-filling.

Beth H
Guest

Not sure whose gap these bikes filled, but it surely wasn’t for anyone I knew personally. My friends with children couldn’t afford to buy anything new and I was constantly asked to fix up something old and junky and make it safe.
I am not at all surprised that this is happening.
For the majority of hourly wage workers in the United States, $700 is a lot of scratch for ANY bike.

Jay Dedd
Guest
Jay Dedd

I hear you, but presumably filled a gap for the kind of folks who spent several $K on their own bikes but lack the skills and patience to frankenstein something high-performance for the kid. Nationally that’s _maybe_ a big enough customer base.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

We’ve been happy owners of 3 Islabikes Beinns, 20″, 24″ and 26″. They pretty much CREATED the ‘nice, lightweight kids bike’ category in the US, which has been filled with all kinds of competitors (Woom, Frog, Cleary, to name a few), and has improved the quality and range of bikes that are now available from the major bike companies. Look at Trek’s kids bike lineup, for example:

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/bikes/collections/kids-bikes/c/B506/

It used to be nearly impossible to find a kids’ mountain bike-style bike with a rigid front fork, and now they are everywhere.

They sponsored kiddie cross and gave away bikes in the process, they hired people here in town, and they had a great fitting/buying process that was really helpful. Just because some people don’t want to pay as much for a kids’ bike as they would for their own bike doesn’t mean the bikes are overpriced, but they are now facing some stiff pricing competition that didn’t exist when they started things in the US.

I have to say, I’m surprised to see that people have anything to say about a company that wanted to do nothing but make comfortable, efficient bikes for kids, instead of making a bunch of disposable 35lb garbage.

Jeremy
Guest
Jeremy

Resale is where islabikes usually shines. While regular kid bikes are nearly given away, isla retains value (and I’ve even seen them sell for more than new cost.) They are especially great for teens that really want to ride a bike more than ‘around the block.’ It is, however, a difficult niche.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Isn’t cycling among children kind of collapsing in the US? I ride through a high school and an elementary school on my trip to pick up one of my granddaughters (almost) every day. The high school has three dozen bikes parked at it and the elementary schools have zero (not even any racks), though I did finally see two children leave school in a cargo bike last week. 1500 students, three dozen bikes, none of them operated by pre-teens. That’s pretty grim and might be a big part of why we’re losing a premier children’s bike company.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Does this also mean the end of the associated mobile repair service?

Dolan Halbrook
Guest
Dolan Halbrook

We bought a 20″ Islabike for my son, and it transformed his ability to ride. He could suddenly ride much farther and faster than before, as he was no longer fighting the weight and efficiency issues prevalent in most kids bikes. Yes, they are expensive, but they also hold their value very well. Ours has served two kids already, and I hope will serve many more. Sad news.

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Sad to see them go. But maybe I can find the money to get in on the sale to get a larger bike for a future upgrade.

mh
Subscriber

This explains “planned obsolescence.” Grow your market like crazy, or decide to move into repairs if you’ve saturated it. Fortunately for us as adult riders, and unfortunately for those with kids, decent bikes can last essentially forever (the newest in my stable is early ’90’s, the oldest from 1982, and I have no trouble finding parts). Sad, but I hope they shamed/inspired some of the big guys to build quality children’s bikes.

Zaphod
Guest

Isla makes a great product. All well made things cost real money. Given they hold their value extraordinarily well, that speaks to this fact. While it is a barrier to spend such money, people seem to have little problem justifying a 5k used car or a 16k new car. If a bike enables a child and family to roll instead, then it’s good, right?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

This really sucks. My daughter started with a Rothan and was able to switch to a pedal bike before she turned 3. Would it be crazy of me to pick up a Beinn 20 size small and hold onto it for another 1-2 years? At these prices, it seems like you could resell it for basically the same price once they outgrow it…

TonyT
Subscriber
TonyT

We really lucked out with our kid having Islabikes for most of his bikes. He’s on his 3rd at least. Fortunately for his next bike he’ll be big enough for a small adult bike so the end of Islabikes here won’t be a huge deal.

Yes they were expensive, but they held their value VERY well so the true cost was more than reasonable considering how much use he’s gotten out of them.

Sad to see them go! Silver lining is that the resale value of his current bike will probably be even higher now.

Rivelo
Guest
Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Portland – perhaps this is the bike canary in the coal mine momment…

The market for child communting bikes got saturated quickly – perhaps not because of their quailty bikes lasting but because more kids are not biking to school and etc…especially as affordable housing supply moves outward to larger schools on superblocks surrounded by multilane high speed arterials…and conversely their parents are not adopting bike commuting like those that did 10 and 15 years ago…

Ava Chang
Guest
Ava Chang

My son is special needs, we tried to teach him to ride on a Specialized coaster bike since he was 5 but he couldn’t get a hang of it. Last Sept we purchased a 24″ for his 10th bday and he learned to ride on the Beinn over a few weekends. It was a huge accomplishment and we are so proud of him. Also thanks to Isla bike for its lightweight and ease of handling that give him the confidence. I was planing to buy the next size up when he outgrows the 24″, so sad to see them close in US.