Clevercycles Blog

  • Very Clever, Douze!

    This week we received 4 new specimens of what we see as a landmark product: Douze cargo bikes. They're from France (say DOOZE!). Dean's been riding our first Douze as his own near daily since Winter. He's in love.

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    Ever since we brought the Bakfiets.nl Cargobike to Portland in 2007, our best and biggest car-replacement family bike offerings have fallen in the category one reviewer called "land yachts." Upright. Plush. Plain-clothes friendly. Overbuilt, like rolling playground structures, often heavy. We still love these kinds of bikes, in part for how they challenge local sensibilities of what makes a bike good. It's not always about low weight and zip and sporty handling, especially when your family is aboard.

    But sometimes those things are important. Say you live in a hilly area, or are accustomed already to top-end sport bikes. Douze cargo bikes look, feel, and ride like modern high-performance recreational bikes, not Dutch utility bikes. Their novel quad-cable steering mechanism DOUZE_Cycles-CABLE_STEERING provides remarkably stable, consistent, precise handling at both low and high speeds: long an elusive goal for designers of bikes in this format. The cable steering also provides a much tighter turning radius than any other bike in its class, exceptionally easy to manage even walking alongside in tight spaces.

    Douze bikes split into 2 parts, front and rear, very easily in under 5 minutes. DOUZE_Cycles_MESSENGER-STANDARD-SPLIT This makes transporting them in other vehicles not so challenging. It also means they ship more economically. But most of all, it means that we can mix and match front and rear ends freely to assemble just the bike you want. Prefer a step-through to a step-over frame? Both are available. There are long, standard, and short front ends, with a growing assortment of child seating and cargo carriage options for all.

    Electric assist? As you wish. Chain or belt drive? Either. Derailleur or internal hub gearing: uh-huh. Hydraulic disk brakes. Dynamo lighting. All these things are standard options available at modest prices, not special projects to be worked out over months in a flurry of quotations for custom work, or orphaning original parts.

    Test rides are convincing, more than thousands of words. Ride on over with the kids or your sweetie or your dog or all three. Prices for fully-equipped Douzes start around $4,000, with premium electric assist models starting around $6,000.

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  • Ride with Ross (Founder & CEO of Xtracycle)

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    Help Ross haul party accoutrements from New Seasons back to Clever Cycles and then celebrate the release of the new Electric Edgerunner.

    Watch Ross shop, ask Ross questions, help Ross pick out beer, wine, food and other refreshments and then load-up the bikes and haul everything back to Clever Cycles on a fleet of demo Electric Edgerunners. We'll be celebrating the release of Xtracycles's latest offering and our partnership over the years that has helped get so many cargo bikes rolling around Portland, Oregon and beyond.

    When: Sunday June 28th 2015 12-5pm

    Where: Clever Cycles SE 9th & Hawthorne

    We'll have a fleet of the new Bosch Edgerunners to test ride

    Free swag from Clever Cycles & Xtracycle

    Bring the kids and decorate your bike with goodies from the Xtracycle Sprinter van

    Snacks & refreshments between 4-5

    Let us know you're coming on the Facebook Event page

  • New Brompton Bicycle configuration tool

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    Your feedback could land you a $500 gift card!

    Our new configuration tool lets you customize a Brompton more powerfully than ever before: electric assist, Rohloff gearing, disc brakes, upgraded lighting, bags, grips and saddles. We need people to test the tool, and make comments on how we can improve it. Submit your configuration along with a helpful comment/feedback and you could win a $500 Clever Cycles gift card! (You don’t have to use it to buy a Brompton). We’ll notify you by email if you are selected as the winner. Click here to check it out!

  • Brompton Bocce & Libations folding bike ride to Filmed by Bike 2015

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    Brompton logo

    Join us! We'll slowly zigzag our way through quiet SE Portland streets with an eventual pit stop for a game of Bocce and Pimm's. Final destination is the 2015 Filmed by Bike event, hosted by the Hollywood Theater. Brompton folding bikes are encouraged, but we won't hold it against you if your bike doesn't fold.

    Don't own a Brompton? You can now book your rental Brompton online. The first six customers who book online using the code "cheers" get a free Brompton rental for the event. Rental bikes must be returned by noon the next day.

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    Details:
    Ride departs Clever Cycles at 2:30 PM Saturday May 23
    Arrive at Filmed by Bike around 4:00 PM
    Ride is free, but you will need to purchase tickets to Filmed by Bike
    Distance: Approximately 5 miles
    Ride ends at Hollywood Theater, you will be on your own once we arrive at Filmed by Bike
    Don't forget lights for the ride home (our rental Bromptons include dynamo lighting)

  • WorkCycles at Clever, year eight

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    We unpacked another shipping container from WorkCycles one sleety morning recently. Most US bike shops order all their stuff from US distributors, who themselves import shipping containers full of stuff, mainly from Asian factories. But for nearly 8 years now we've been importing containers directly from WorkCycles in Amsterdam.

    WorkCycles are very tolerant of the vagaries and punctiliousness of our ordering process, but it's still a pain in the butt, frankly. Beginning to end, it can take 6 months or more for a container load to be specced for Portland conditions, any special orders developed and quoted with deposits taken, manufactured in a few different facilities, consolidated, packed, paid in full (no terms), shipped to the east coast (longer if through the Panama Canal), to pass customs, be transferred to rail, and finally to arrive in Portland on a flotilla of paperwork and obscure charges from customs brokers, shippers and their agents.

    And then we have a large volume of expensive merchandise that can take quite a while to sell through. Because 90% of Americans who see them immediately try to pick them up, look at the price tags, cluck and scratch their heads, and say something polite, or not.

    We do it because our specialist focus in family transportation by bike is way ahead of the national curve, so no national distributor could sustain the volume necessary to make it worthwhile, yet. We're not the only US WorkCycles importer, but we're the longest standing after the recession and "Dutch bike invasion" (fad) blew over. Meanwhile, we're proud to see how design features typical of WorkCycles have begun to be less unusual on the few utility bikes designed expressly for the US market: things like steering stabilizers and dynamo lights and center stands and balloon tires and frame-fixed front carriers and internally geared hubs.

    We do it simply because they make the best things of their kind. This has never been clearer than with WorkCycles house-designed lines Fr8, Gr8, and new Kr8, now in stock. (The names are bilingual puns, pronounced freight, great, and crate in English, and vracht (freight), gracht (canal), and kracht (power or fervor) in Dutch.)

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    The Fr8 will carry 2 child passengers plus groceries as well or better than the best longtails (Xtracycle EdgeRunner and Yuba Mundo), and up to 4 in a pinch. But it's only as long as a midtail (Kinn Cascade Flyer or Yuba Boda Boda). Unlike these others, it's a true step-through frame, and like all WorkCycles house designs to date, has an ingenious one-size-fits-most scheme, invaluable on utility bikes commonly shared within households.

    Gr8

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    Fr8 lite? Pretty much. Lighter than a similarly specced WorkCycles Oma, with arguably sweeter handling, striking industrial design. About 4" shorter overall, still plenty stout and roomy for one passenger on the back with space left over for stuff on the large front carrier.

    Kr8

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    Let's have a moment of silence for the beloved Bakfiets.nl Cargobike that has been probably Clever Cycles' most iconic offering, inspired dozens of competitors good and bad, and is now finally entering "Craigslist classic" status, at least in Portland, where numerous specimens are now serving their 2nd or even 4th owner families, rock solid. Indeed, about 15 years ago this bike pretty much invented the concept of using the old long-john cargo bike format specifically as an urban car replacement for families with young children. Superseding it at Clever is the new WorkCycles Kr8.

    The Kr8 is essentially an evolutionary improvement on the Bakfiets.nl Cargobike, an homage. It's a little bit better in dozens of ways. It's a bit lighter. It fits one more child. It handles even better. It fits people of widely divergent heights better. Better stand. Better seatbelts. You can change a rear tire without removing the wheel... We think it's prettier. Read more on the WorkCycles blog, Bakfiets-en-meer.

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