Archives of stories on Portland Framebuilders

Former Portland bike builder Mitch Pryor loses home and shop in Camp Fire

Posted on November 13th, 2018 at 12:32 pm.

Screen shot from GoFundMe page.

The Camp Fire that ravaged through the small town of Paradise, California burned through the shop of a former Portland bicycle builder.

Mitch Pryor and his MAP Bicycles burst onto the Oregon building scene in 2008. Less than a year later he took home Best City Bike honors at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

Mitch left Portland for Chico, California in 2012 to be closer to family. He had recently opened a shop nestled in the woods in Paradise. I haven’t heard directly from Mitch yet, but friends say his new home and shop were completely destroyed in the fire. He lost everything — parts, supplies, machines, tools — and escaped with only the clothes on his back.

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Builders and fans converge at Chris King factory for ‘Open House’ show

Posted on October 15th, 2018 at 5:26 pm.

Chris King welcomed visitors to his factory on Saturday.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

As Portland’s largest bicycle company, Chris King Precision Components is in a unique position to be an industry leader. With the success of their mini-summit of bike builders and industry movers and shakers that wrapped up with a big open house event Saturday, the 42-year-old company seems to be embracing that role.

The halls of the Chris King factory were jam-packed for the “Open House” show on Saturday. Among massive industrial machines and assembly rooms that put together some of the most respected and sought after bicycle components in the world, hundreds of bicycle lovers got an close-up look at a very special selection of bicycles and the builders who create them.

For the man behind the brand, Chris King, the gathering must have felt bittersweet. A framebuilder himself, King decided to cease production of his Cielo brand just over one year ago so his company could focus more closely on its core business: designing, making, and selling bottom brackets, headsets, and hubs. King, who still spends about three days a week in the shop, is obsessive about quality and his company makes nearly every piece of their products themselves (yes, even the bearings). Manufacturing products in the United States is hard enough without having to constantly react to the whims of product managers and marketers who seem to push a new wheel size, head-tube size or axle configuration every season.
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Out of cash and employees, Renovo calls it quits

Posted on October 4th, 2018 at 5:11 pm.

Renovo founder Ken Wheeler in his booth at the 2012 North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The ride for Renovo Hardwood Bicycles is over.

The website is gone. No one responds to emails. The building at SE 8th and Ash that has housed its factory since 2008 is for lease. And there’s a lien notice posted to the front door.

According to the notice, Kenneth Wheeler of Renovo Designs LLC owes $34,864.53 in rent that hasn’t been paid since May.

This is a sad ending to a company that was once one of the bike industry’s shining stars.

Wheeler launched Renovo at the 2008 North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) in Portland. With experience and success making hardwood lighting fixtures and airplanes, Wheeler figured out how to make bicycle frames with a CNC machine. When I first visited his shop in February 2008 he proudly watched his CNC machine at work and said it would be done with the frame in five minutes. Not only were the frames beautiful and relatively easy to produce (or so it seemed), Wheeler said they tested stronger than high-grade aluminum.

He was clearly on to something.
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Component maker Chris King will open its doors for builders and fans next week

Posted on October 2nd, 2018 at 11:02 am.

King employees 75 people at their factory and headquarters in northwest industrial.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s largest bike industry company plans to throw open its factory doors next week.
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Velo Cult to host big used bike sale and a final goodbye from local framebuilders

Posted on August 7th, 2018 at 3:21 pm.

(Image: Velo Cult on Instagram)

You didn’t think Velo Cult would go quietly, did you?

The legendary shop, tavern, and community event space sadly announced the closure of its brick-and-mortar retail operations last month.

If you missed the farewell party and still need one last fix of the bike-loving vibes this place was famous for, there are two events you should put on your calendar right now: A used bike sale this Friday through Sunday and a big bike show on August 18th.
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“Low levels of interest” leads to cancellation of Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show

Posted on August 6th, 2018 at 1:50 pm.

Fans of great bikes stroll the aisles in the 2012 Oregon Handmade Bike Show held at the Vigor Industries shipyard on Swan Island.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

“Our hope is to remake the show with an eye toward the future.”
— Dave Levy, Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association president

Organizers of the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show have called off their marquee event — for the first time since it began 11 years ago.

In a message to vendors, fans, and sponsors, Dave Levy, president of Oregon Bicycle Constructors Association, the nonprofit trade association behind the event, wrote, “It is with a heavy heart we have decided to cancel the show… 2018 has been the year we have seen the lowest level of interest in the OHBS, the number of builders who have chosen to sign up is so low the OBCA board feels we cannot put on a show we can be proud of, and allow the builders to present well.” Levy said the organization will refund vendor fees that have already been paid.

Last year when the event was held in a warehouse just north of the St. Johns Bridge, over two dozen vendors shared their creations with an appreciative crowd. But excitement about the event has tapered in recent years as the local framebuilding scene has cooled considerably since its heyday in the mid-to-late 2000s.
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Two bikes stolen in smash-and-grab theft at Breadwinner Cycles & Cafe

Posted on July 3rd, 2018 at 7:52 am.

(Photos: Breadwinner Cycles)

Be on the lookout: Breadwinner Cycles in north Portland was broken into last night and the thieves stole two bikes.

Co-owner Ira Ryan contacted us with the news this morning. He said someone smashed through their glass front door, waltzed into the shop and took the bikes and a company laptop.

According to Ryan the bike that was taken is a red, Lolo model road bike with the name “J. Daugherty” on the top tube. To make matters worse, the bike belonged to a customer from Washington that was planning to come to Portland this Thursday to pick it up. The other bike that was stolen is a blue, prototype dirt-jumper model. Scroll down to see both bikes…

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Breadwinner, the bike company formerly based out of Ryan’s garage, opened in this new location and expanded into a cafe last winter. Ryan says the cafe and shop will be open for business today once all the broken glass is cleaned up.

“We are bummed, but determined to carry on of course,” Ryan said via text this morning.

If you see either of these bikes, please contact Portland Police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333 and/or drop us a line and we can put you in touch with Breadwinner.

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

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Circling back to Portland bike builder Circa Cycles

Posted on June 14th, 2018 at 11:07 am.

Rich Fox in his Circa Cycles studio in northwest Portland.
(Photo: James Buckroyd)

Contributor James Buckroyd writes about products and the people who make them. He previously visited Misia Pitkin’s Double Darn cycling cap studio.

BikePortland first caught up with Rich Fox and Circa Cycles about four years ago, when the company was new on the Portland scene. Since then, there have been several interesting developments and we thought it’d be fun to circle back.
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Introducing the Bicycle Showcase: A place to promote and learn about great bikes

Posted on May 16th, 2018 at 4:33 pm.

We have so many great local bike shops and builders in Portland, and one of our main goals has always been to support them by spreading the word about their business and products.

Today we’re launching a new tool that will take that one step further. We call it the Bicycle Showcase. It’s a paid listing service ($150 per bike) and it’s a simple way for local bike builders and bike shops to spread the word about bikes they have for sale. Similar to our Job Listings, the idea is to get that triple-win we always strive for around here: Help local businesses thrive, support our work, and provide a helpful resource the community.

I personally love visiting bike shops and checking out the latest-and-greatest bikes. My hope is that this new service gives you the information you need to make a good choice about your next bike and/or just gives you an opportunity to ogle something cool during your lunch hour.

Our friends at Joe Bike (SE Lincoln and Cesar Chavez Blvd) jumped at the chance to create the first listing. Check out their very cool rendition of a Soma Wolverine below…

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Framebuilders expand as Breadwinner Cafe opens for business

Posted on December 19th, 2017 at 5:57 pm.

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Customers sit at the bar of Breadwinner Cafe with the framebuilding workshop visible through a big window.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The story behind the new Breadwinner Cafe is Portland at its best.

The two guys behind it — Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan — started over a decade ago as bicycle builders toiling in their garages on frames bearing their own names (Pereira Cycles and Ira Ryan Cycles respectively). Then in 2013 they joined forces to form Breadwinner Cycles. That brand and business has matured nicely over the years; but the duo was still cramped for space. Last spring they leased a building on North Williams Avenue and Page Street and have been working all year to renovate the space.

Today they took a huge step forward with the opening of Breadwinner Cafe, which is directly adjacent to the workshop where they build the 10 different models they currently offer. Tony and Ira have gone from framebuilders to community builders.

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