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Universal Cycles will close Portland retail location and move to Beaverton

Posted by on January 6th, 2020 at 8:30 am

Universal’s Portland warehouse and retail showroom.
(Photos: Universal Cycles)

Another major Portland retail bike shop is leaving town.

“We are sad about leaving the Buckman neighborhood.”

The owners of Universal Cycles have decided to end an 18-year run in Portland and move their store from the Buckman Neighborhood on East Burnside (at 22nd) to Beaverton.

Universal began as an e-commerce site based in San Francisco in 1997 and opened their first Portland storefront in a tiny space near the airport in 2001. In 2006 they moved to a larger store at Northwest 18th and Thurman. They expanded again in 2011 with a move to East Burnside to a 20,000 square foot space that included an expansive retail showroom adjacent to their shipping warehouse.

In addition to a retail store and warehouse in Portland, Universal has a retail shop and distribution center in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and warehouses in Nevada and Minnesota.

Universal is known for their vast selection and hard to find parts. I’ve found bits and bolts for various projects over the years and loved being able to pick up online purchases at the Portland store (and browse the awesome showroom while there).

General Manager Mike D. tells us the decision to leave Portland was based on their lease coming to an end. “We wanted to find a space of similar size, centrally located in the Portland metro area, that we know we can remain in for the next 20 years. Luckily, we found a wonderful locally-owned Cedar Hills mid-century former grocery store the same size as our current building.”

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The new location will have twice as much retail space (10,000 square feet) and a carfree test-riding area.

“We are sad about leaving the Buckman neighborhood,” Mike added. “With us moving and some other shops closing, if someone out there is thinking of opening a shop, the Buckman area would be a terrific area for a shop with a focus on service.”

The new Universal Cycles will be located at 12330 SW Walker Road in Beaverton and is expected to open March 1st.

Following the closure of Crank Bicycles, Western Bikeworks, Rivelo, and Norther Cycles, this is the fifth retail bike shop Portland has lost in the past five months.

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

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davep
Guest
davep

This looks like the site of the former Joanne Fabrics just past the 5 Guys Burgers and Fries location on Walker and Cedar Hills. There is quite a network of neighborhood paths off Walker that will be good for bike test rides. Gentle hills and short steep ones if you know where to find them. I hadn’t heard about this place, but i look forward to seeing them out in Beaverton.

J_R
Guest
J_R

This is disappointing. I’ve been going there with increasing frequency in the last couple years.

Ep
Guest
Ep

Sad to see them go. That was a great spot, right off the Ankeny bike highway. I could buy weird old parts at Citybikes, then get new chains, cables, etc at Universal. Also the showroom was always a great place to wander around. I know there’s tons of $ out in Beaverton, but I rarely head that way.

D2
Guest
D2

I would have to imagine its mostly about rent or a lease ending. Someone probably wants to build a multi use building there.

Ironically this kind of works for me, being closer to my office I don’t have to ride as hard as possible to get back to the east side to pick up parts.

gtrain
Subscriber
gtrain

Darn, the current location is extremely convenient. A great way to buy stuff online and stop by the store for pickup for free shipping. This will give me more reason to support the smaller bike shops though, so maybe not such a bad thing.

axoplasm
Subscriber

you wrote my exact train of thought

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

Pretty much echoing the comments above, sad to see them leave the current location, which was super convenient for me. I really loved having them in my arsenal of bike shops for the variety of products they stocked. Especially for very particular items, like gloves or helmets, I would always go to them to see the breadth of products available.

dan
Guest
dan

Just reiterating all the comments above — this is a real disappointment, they were my go-to for lots of stuff. I loved their online price match. I really really don’t want to bike to Beaverton to buy bike tires.

jeremiah M jenkins
Guest
jeremiah M jenkins

That is such a bummer. I never go to the West side, and I will not go out there for bike parts I can get closer to town. Right off the Ankeny bike path, why would you move away from that? How many cyclists are riding by in a Beaverton strip mall? Maybe it will be a good thing for cycling on the West side, but it feels like a loss for Portland overall.

rick
Guest
rick

The Beaverton transit center is a busy one and there are some multi-story mixed use buildings being built in downtown Beaverton. The city is going to make a street buffet on most of Western Ave which is rare for any industrial district.

Manville
Guest
Manville

All the best rides are out west. You should keep an open mind and check it out.

NS
Guest
NS

The new location is actually on the corner of my neighborhood. I’m kinda surprised that Universal is coming there, but obviously excited to have a shop so close by. Beaverton transit center is right through the neighborhood, but other than that, this is NOT a good location for cyclists.

The bike lane on Walker eastbound literally disappears at the end of the parking lot for this new location, before making a brief reappearance before going away completely on the other side of 217. Want to approach the store heading west on Walker? Enjoy 35-40mph traffic with no shoulder and no bike lane.

There is no continuous bike lane southbound on Cedar Hills Blvd. Bike infrastructure (and even pedestrian infrastructure) isn’t very good on Cedar Hills Blvd in general, actually.

It’s pretty easy to get around safely if you know the area, true, but if you don’t…this is not the friendliest location to bike to. The adjacent neighborhood street, 123rd, is quickly becoming the high-speed, high-stress cut through for drivers trying to avoid Cedar Hills Blvd.

Maybe the owners know something about street improvements in the area that I don’t, though.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

Sad for Portland, but as a Washington County resident, it’s nice to see a new bike shop opening up closer than downtown Portland. Our other offerings are pretty slim…

BrianC
Guest
BrianC

Well, it’s a better location for me, being down in Wilsonville and all. 🙂

I used to take MAX to the Zoo, ride through Forest Park and then hit Coco Donuts on my rides to the Burnside location. So for me that was a *long* lunch hour, or half a day if I elected to ride home past Oregon City.

From the Beaverton MAX station you pop North on Lombard, jog left on SW Center and then North again on 124th/123rd. Which isn’t too bad. Half of that is the route I use to get to Winco.

There is a Jim and Patty’s coffee just East of the Beaverton TC, guess I’ll have to get my donuts at Winco, the parts at the new store, and a coffee at Jim and Patty’s. Looks like it’s still a really long lunch. 🙂

Eric
Guest
Eric

Thornton Family across the street from Bike Gallery is another great spot for a coffee stop. Or if you’re looking for a sit down option Lionheart recently opened their not location on the corner of Watson and 1st.

BrianC
Guest
BrianC

Dang – forgot about Thornton. And I ride by their shop almost every work day. 🙁

I’ve made a coffee stop there a couple of times and picked up 1lb of beans there once. Usually I ride out to Forest Grove to get my bulk coffee at BJ’s Coffee, located next to the Safeway.

Didn’t know about Lionheart. Will have to check it out. Brickhouse (Used to be Bogza?) is located in the Beaverton Round, and I’ve been there once.

Huey Lewis
Guest
Huey Lewis

No. Wait. Why, *why*, would you get a Winco donut over any baked thing at Jim and Patty’s? I’m having a really hard time with this and can’t imagine what you’re thinking. In fact you aren’t thinking. Does this location not have loads of pastries and all that like the Fremont location?

BrianC
Guest
BrianC

Because I buy in volume to distribute liberally on *Donut Thursdays* while onsite with my current client. Hoping to indirectly influence their future choice of vendors when they are spooling up their next SW development project. 🙂

a.l.
Guest
a.l.

Bummer. This was my neighborhood bike shop. Will miss walking here to get a part or tool while working on my bike. Is there another central portland shop that has a comparable inventory?

BradWagon
Subscriber

As someone who orders often through universal but pretty much never makes the trip in to town I look forward to having them so close to me our in Beaverton now. A bit of role reversal for some of us, don’t lose all hope folks, the local shipping is fast and over the phone service still great even if you don’t make it into the store.

middle of the road guy
Guest
middle of the road guy

On the plus side, the suburbs will now have a really good shop and the ability to pick up online orders.

Still, with the loss of this shop and Western’s retail store, it does make it a little more challenging to order online from a local shop.

Hotrodder
Guest
Hotrodder

BikeTiresDirect is a local shop and you can save shipping costs by cycling over and picking up you stuff direct. Plus, this year, they’ll be open Saturdays.

maxD
Guest
maxD

What a shame, I LOVE Universal! One of the things I rely them for is having a range of jerseys/bibs/shorts available to try on. Does anyone have a recommendation for a shop in town with a good selection of jerseys/bibs/shorts to try on?

Forester
Guest
Forester

Welcome to Beaverton! The Burnside location has been one of my favorite bike shops for years now, and I look forward to continue giving you my business in Cedar Hills. Friendly service, great selection of parts and tools.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

I am surprised they did not capitalize on the tax advantages of moving to an unincorporated part of Washington County like Nike or Columbia Sportswear while they were at it instead of moving to Beaverton Proper. This new location is not as bad as some would think as it is a 5 minute bike ride from the Beaverton Transit through some very quiet neighborhood streets if you choose your route wisely.

rick
Guest
rick

A map of Beaverton (123rd Ave at Walker Road) shows that building is in unincorporated Washington County, in the Cedar Hills neighborhood. It isn’t annexed into Beaverton.

Jason H
Guest
Jason H

Much more convenient for me on the Westside, they will probably be my main shop now instead of just occasional online order pickup, but I can appreciate the net loss for Portland, and the convenience it provided to commuters and car-free persons in the city.

Brian C suggested one transit route to the new location, but I think another easy route would be to take the MAX blue line to Milikan Way station and from there just take the quiet paths through the Tektronix/Nike campus north to Jenkins Rd and head east. Either jog north a couple blocks to Walker Rd and continue east to the shop location just past Cedar Hills Blvd for the quietest route, or stay on Jenkins and left at Cedar Hills and just go around the north end of the shopping center and the Five Guys burgers. No more than a 15-20 minute walk and probably a 5-10 minute ride from MAX to the shop.

The big Beaverton Powell’s and a big New Seasons are also in-between the MAX and the shop and both have bike parking right in front of the store.

According to Metro long range plans, there is supposed be a segment of the “Beaverton – Milwaukie Trail” connecting the Sunset Freeway trail to Walker Rd and downtown Beaverton, maybe the shop can help lobby for that to improve infrastructure in their new neighborhood and help get an off-street path built almost to their front door.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Walker Rd right there is not very bike friendly. I’d avoid Cedar Hills and Jenkins and wind your way through the neighborhood and get the the store by SW 123rd.

Jason H
Guest
Jason H

Coming from the west, Walker has at least typical suburban on-street marked bike lanes all the way to the shop. Continuing east from the shop the lanes end and there is no paved shoulder and it gets curvier. So I would not recommend using Walker if coming from the east.

But you are right, if you have bike GPS or online maps handy, you can ride through the Nike employee store parking lot and then a car-free path to Hocken St. cut through past the New Seasons to Hall Blvd and then north through quiet residential streets to the shop right as you get to Walker. There is even a back way on Dawson to an unsignalized crossing of Cedar Hills Blvd, but if you swing that far south, you might as well use the Beaverton Central MAX stop instead of Milikan and just go north on Rose Biggi/Westgate/Central.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

“Centrally located”? Gak. Might as well be on the moon. I will not be going out to Beaverton. Hope someone can fill the void on the east side. Performance is gone. A Better Cycle is gone. Universal is gone. Won’t use Amazon. This town is mutating.

Cyclekrieg
Subscriber
Cyclekrieg

You do know Universal Cycles has an online store, right?

mh
Subscriber

Universal has never been my favorite shop, but it’s been close, convenient, easy to do business with and where I’ve bought every pair of Bar Mitts I’ve ever owned. I’ve spent a ton of money there, getting parts to restore and modify used bikes I’ve bought. I’m neither riding or driving out to Beaverton to follow them. I’d love it if they leased a small storefront on Ankeny, if only to pick up orders.

I hope Joe Bike – my LBS – and Clever Cycles and River City can step in. I will definitely miss their on-line inventory listing. You always know whether they have what you’re looking for, which I cannot say for my smaller shops.

Joe D
Guest
Joe D

MH, Joe Bike does have an online store showing what’s in-store and what’s available to order.

mh
Subscriber

I wonder if that’s new, or if I just never spent enough time with their web site. Thank you for providing me a resource I never knew I had.

Al
Guest
Al

It gets worse east of 82nd. There’s Bike Tires Direct, Gresham Cycle, The Outer Rim & NW Pro Gear. Bike Gallery is right on 82nd and Johnson Creek. Am I missing any?

Whyat
Guest
Whyat

This sounds like a great excuse to get a ride in over the West Hills. Looking forward to continuing to be a customer. As a tinkier this store is an awesome place to shop.

Tom Peterson
Guest
Tom Peterson

Are wildly priced apartments coming here? That would be cool.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Of Course Not, It will be replaced by a small village-like square of artisan workshops, bike building studios and old time hardware stores that will feature pedestrian friendly design and low rents to help the small businesses that locate there to succeed. In my dreams I guess.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

I don’t see that happening. Not in one of the most popular neighborhoods in the city. My hunch is that it will be Dignity Village 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Lynne
Guest
Lynne

FAB! I can WALK there if I want to! (But as for cycling, I could shoot west on SW Walker from the other side of Hwy 217 (not recommended, although I’d bike commute that way if I was short on time), OR cross SW Walker->SW 106th->the alley to SW 108th->the alley/right of way to SW 110th->Cabot->Center->cut up through Center Street Park or turn left on SW 123rd (I think that’s it).

I am super excited!

Alain
Guest
Alain

For Rick, Ryan, BrianC and other west side and WaCo residents, Universal’s move is a huge gain. Great, friendly service. Enormous inventory, and the convenience and cost savings of in-store pick-up.

Huge loss for east side Portland. As others noted, there’s the internet, but… for many things… shoes, shorts, gloves and other clothes… or handling a new/unfamiliar part/item, etc., you need/want to be able to go into a store and avoid the hassle of shipping returns. And I’ll say it again, the folks at Universal are very friendly.

Spent a sizable amount at Universal over the years, and while I can order some items online, the amount I spend will be far less. Nothing against the west side, it’s just not in my orbit. I also visit my LBS (though those closest to me – Cascade, Norther – keep closing), however, it’s reasonable to want a robust retail/service mix. Cities are capable of offering convenience close to where one lives (call it less time spent looking for stuff). Forgive me for wanting more of it.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Other than the often now discussed “bike boom” purchasing power levelling off …

…the other central factor to consider is that most if not all of these “recent” arrivals missed out on the era of cheap real estate and the opportunity to own their storefronts (and the ability to have other businesses offset their rent costs – aka ‘tenants’.)

As an example, for downtown Vancouver we were looking at $0.50 cents per foot2 for ground floor retail (often includes free basement storage of a similar area) back in ~2004 when scouting retail space for the Community Cycling Center on Main Street …with older businesses paying ~$0.30 FT2…(and the recession when the 1/4 city block with the Kiggins theatre sold for ~$650k in ~2009)…now things are >$1.20 FT and may include triple net NNN too…

Only BikeGallery, RiverCity#1 and CityBikes #1 etc. may be their own landlord and perhaps even mortgage free…just a wild guess not based on any research.

miss_me_with_that
Guest
miss_me_with_that

It is a bummer that another bike shop is closing in a bike friendly area. However, I feel ambivalent about them moving out.

Universal is a parts website with a storefront. I confess I have ordered some parts through them but always felt guilty about it. Being a customer there never felt like I was supporting a local bike shop like it does at the other LBSs in town. I did not find the most friendly customer service there. I also never saw them with a presence at any community bike events, races/team sponsors, trail building involvement, etc.

Dave
Guest
Dave

In an area (SE Portland) that still has among others Sellwood Cycle, Citybikes, and River City, it’s not exactly a bike shop desert and Beaverton has been thin for that for several decades–to me it’s great news.

Soren Impey
Guest
Soren Impey

The evaporation of bike shops in the inner SE is indicative of the drop from 15-20% mode share in 2014 to 10-15% in the most recent census data. As the build out of luxury housing continues to increase rents, it’s very likely that mode share will continue to drop.

PS: Sellwood cycles is 5.5 miles from Universal Cycles.

Alain
Guest
Alain

Following on Soren’s post, shops now seem more concentrated in N/NE than inner SE, as used to be the case. Even with the recent closure of Norther, and previous closures of Cascade and the short-time N Williams Bicycle Studio shop location, there remains… Revolver, eBike, Golden Pliers, NPBW, Abraham, Metropolis, Goods, Cyclepath, CCC, Gladys, Upcycles, and further flung places like Keaton. And Stoic and Sugar for wheels and stuff. Lots of options. Still, places like Universal and the old NW location of Western are a useful part of this mix. I support my LBS, but I also like to be able to try on and look at items before I buy. And not every LBS can offer that.

Wayne
Guest
Wayne

Hey–that’s exactly the corner where I last got hit by a car! Yay Beaverton!

Maddy
Subscriber
Maddy

Crap. Crap crap crap. This store has been my go-to since it was in NW. Saddles, component groups, tires, everything. The have great advice, and a large inventory. And a cat. I always pick up in the store. Beaverton might as well be on the moon:(

Bryan
Guest
Bryan

Me to… this news sucks so much.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I’m sensing a business opportunity here. I bike commute past the current Universal location and pass the upcoming location towards the end of my ride. Maybe I could borrow 9Watts’ bike trailer and do weekly deliveries back into town to the old location on Friday. I could charge a 22oz of IPA for each order.

Bryan
Guest
Bryan

Sign me up. gonna find the heaviest thing i can order… make you earn that 22 🙂

Pitchfork
Guest
Pitchfork

My sympathies to all those who found the old location convenient, but for those living in the flats of Beaverton, this is welcome news! It sounds like I have more neighbors (or people who know the neighberhood) than I realized on this list. “Hi!” to davep, NS, BrianC, eric, JasonH, Lynne …
Cheers!
– Don (aka ‘Pitchfork’)

Denny Doyle
Guest
Denny Doyle

Welcome to Beaverton…sorry you have to relocate…we are here to help!!

Tim Parker
Guest
Tim Parker

This is good news for former Performance Bicycles customers, and employees , and those of us on the west side who prefer to shop with Universal. Aren’t there dozens of bike shops in Portland, and City Bikes just three blocks from Universal’s current location? I believe Bike Gallery is the only shop in Beaverton and they have been slammed since Performance closed its doors in March. Universal offers fast, free shipping, so I think this is great!

rick
Guest
rick

Riders and Sliders is about 40 feet from Beaverton. Veloce Bicycle along with Sage Titanium Bicycles are both in Beaverton.

rayabs
Guest
rayabs

Awesome!

lhill
Guest
lhill

Any news on this move? It looks like the new site is still empty.

rick
Guest
rick

a phone call from a month or so ago showed they plan to move around early May

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I picked up some new parts last week from the Burnside location. It didn’t look like anything was packed up for moving yet.

rick
Guest
rick

An employee this week said they plan to move to the unincorporated Washington County site, the Cedar Hills neighborhood, in July on Walker Road.

Derek
Guest
Derek

Guess I better finish up my bike projects before they pack up and move. I have been there at least once a week during the past 3 months of the lockdown picking up orders to get my bikes back into working condition after they have sat in storage for years.

rick
Guest
rick

The new store is walking distance from the Beaverton transit center along with buses 20 and 59.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Well, sort of walking distance. It is still almost a mile.

I go a long way back with Universal, and have shopped at all three of their Portland locations over the years. I will say the new location will actually be more convenient for me personally when I’m in town (whenever TF that happens again), since I work on the westside.

FWIW, I have to echo others that biking in Beaverton isn’t as horrible most of suburbs, though Cedar Hills Death Road certainly does suck nuts. And while Walker at least has bike lanes, crossing it can be a real nightmare. At least this location appears to be on the south side of the road.