City bikes

  • Introducing Vanmoof

    We remember the first time we saw a Vanmoof, in 2009. But then, everybody remembers seeing one the first time: they are strikingly different, with a massive top tube that extends beyond head and seat tubes, the ends then plugged with head and taillight. They must be on to something 5 years early, because 3 of the 5 entrants in 2014's Oregon Manifest design competition for the "Ultimate Urban Utility Bike" also play with this visual and functional design element. We believe that a distinctive look in bikes is as naturally desirable as in shoes, but the early Vanmoofs were a little too spare in function to hold our interest. This has changed completely now with the current, third-generation product line.

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    The Vanmoofs we stock now feature:

    • 8-speed Alfine gearhubs: all the range a Portlander needs in town, super smooth and sealed away from weather
    • Disk brakes: keep your rims pretty, stop consistently wet or not
    • Powerful LED lighting, hub dynamo powered: no need ever to turn them off
    • Full chaincases: who needs a belt, really, when your chain stays clean and off your clothes?
    • Anodized aluminum frames: no paint to scratch, no rust, just honest passivated metal
    • Clever, attractive front and rear carriers
    • Full metal fenders, kickstand, brass bell, OF COURSE.

    We could go on. All of the above come in right over the $1K mark, which is pretty great value. A little less gets you a 3-speed. A little more, a nifty ABUS chain lock integrated into that top tube. A lot more gets you the Vanmoof Electrified, which is the freshest, cleanest, almost even pure electric assist bike we've yet seen:

    The battery is in the top tube. (See, it's not so massive just for looks!) It's a 2-speed automatic, 2 speeds proving surprisingly adequate when a motor is added. It has no throttle. What these things mean together is an unprecedented ergonomic simplicity. While other electric bikes add complexity in operation, Vanmoof takes away: you can even ride no-hands uphill with no restriction of function except braking. While it's extra clean in operation, it packs a lot of technology inside, including bottom-bracket torque sensing, remote keyfob power switch and GPS anti-theft tracking! Super lightweight for an electric bike, too.

    What we can't convey in words is the ride, very distinctively Dutch in relaxed, smooth, even stately uprightness. One key is the exceptionally low bottom bracket, meaning that it's easy to get a foot down at stops without needing to lean the bike.

  • Faraday Bicycles

    Faraday Porteur Electric Bike

    Come on in and test ride the Faraday Porteur so we'll have an excuse to stop riding it ourselves!

    You can now reserve a bicycle from Faraday's second production run (shipping late 2014). Simply contact Clever Cycles to save your place in line and guarantee the earliest delivery possible.

    We know that they are onto something, because all our our staff keep wanting to ride it everywhere. This is the electric bike that you'll want to ride too.

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  • Pimp your Surly

    We think Russ of Path Less Pedaled's video skills are pretty great, so we asked him to help us tell the story of turning Amanda's feral factory-built Surly Long Haul Trucker into the far foofier sort of city bike we ride ourselves:

    What did we do, exactly? What didn't we?

    • Replaced the front hub with a Shimano dynamo powering the super-bright LED lights wired fore and aft. These are Busch & Müller models Cyo and Toplight Line Plus. Modern hub dynamos and LED lighting are efficient and durable enough to leave on 24-7 without noticeable drag, and bright enough to add even daytime conspicuity.
    • Replaced the drop handlebars with North Road-ish town bars, this time from Linus, swept back and wide for a more upright ride, easier access to brakes and shifters, and great control.
    • Converted the bar-end shifters to thumb type, a Velo Orange widget.
    • Substituted classic slim four-finger brake levers from Tektro.
    • Added Ergon grips in fake cork, for comfort.
    • Swapped in a Brooks B17 Special saddle, antique brown, with copper-plate undercarriage and large hand-hammered rivets. Don't hate it because it's pretty: there's nothing more comfortable, most of the time.
    • Swapped in supple, efficient Schwalbe Big Apple tires, 2" width. These are among the lightest tires that won't fall into streetcar rail tracks.
    • Mounted Velo Orange polished aluminum fenders, full coverage.
    • Added a double-leg kickstand, Pletscher.
    • Mounted a brass bell on one of the headset spacers, Crane.
    • Added front and rear racks from Soma and Racktime, respectively, for her existing Ortlieb panniers, together with top-mount baskets, including a Wald 139.
    • Switched to MKS Sylvan touring pedals with Power Grips for plain-shoe foot retention.

    We didn't remove the Surly decals. These bikes are worth this much intervention because they have great bones; it's not their fault that most bikes in this country are still sold as "sport and leisure" goods rather than transportation, so they come stripped down. The total cost brings the bike into the range of one of our premium WorkCycles town bikes, which have similar functionality but are a) much heavier and heavier duty and b) near-zero maintenance. Given the magnitude of the changes undertaken, we had to remove relatively few original high-value parts, all of which will find good homes at one of Portland's nonprofit bike rehabilitation and skill-building centers.

    Amanda has returned wanting less front rack. We thought that might happen, given that the steering geometry isn't ideal for large front loads borne high, but some things require trial. We'll keep at it.

    Amanda bought her Long Haul Trucker elsewhere, before we stocked many Surly bikes. She hadn't ridden it much at all in the year she'd owned it, because she felt too stretched out on it, the saddle was torture, and it wasn't equipped practically for her dark-rainy-trip-to-the-market needs. We did cut her a deal in exchange for appearing in this video, but normally we don't charge anything for labor on component and accessory installation at time of purchase on bikes we sell.

  • Up to 50% off Breezer clearance

    Breezer city bikes have always stood out among our offerings as great valuesbreezer, bringing premium European city bike feature sets to the lighter, sportier feeling frames Americans are accustomed to. They've been selected as Bicycling Magazine's Editor's Choice among commuter bikes several years in a row. They've always been popular, but this year we just ordered way too many of the diamond ("men's") frames, and we need to make room for 2012's arrivals.

    All Breezer diamond-frame bikes in stock are now 33% off. This includes the super-nice Infinity model, equipped with the seductive Nuvinci N360 continuously variable transmission, as well as the classic Uptown 8 and fast Finesse. All but the Finesse make great Xtracycle conversions, too.

    What's more, we're downsizing our rental fleet for the Winter by selling most of the Breezers in it at 50% off the new price! This includes some step-through models. Breezers make up the majority of our rental fleet for the same reasons they make great commuters, particularly in the wet months (hint!): overall toughness, enclosed drivetrains mean virtually no maintenance, great dynamo-powered LED lighting front and rear, full fenders and rack, even a built-in lock.

    • Breezer Uptown 8, ex-rental: was $1039, now $520.

    Act fast for widest selection of sizes and models. Not to be combined with other offers.

  • Another year, another expansion; the return of WorkCycles, and some tight Swedish bike

    It feels like the calm before a storm, or the eye of a storm: a moment of stillness before a few big happenings we expect will keep us too busy to tell you about as they happen. Spoiler alert!

    We’re growing again

    For the third time in four mostly recessionary years, we’re tearing down walls in the historic Red Men Hall in our hasty ambition to Slow Portland Down with more bikes. D is for Demolition: D-Day is 6 June. We expect to stay open through remodeling, with the loud dusty work occurring off hours.

    We are acquiring the adjacent 2200′sq corner unit at 900 SE Hawthorne, currently Kush Carpets. Our street-facing windows will increase four-fold. No longer will we feel compelled to greet visitors to our narrow front showroom with “there’s more in back up the steps to the right!” No longer will we have to ponder the opportunity cost of the frequent observation “wow, you guys are much bigger on the inside than the outside!” We hope that you will appreciate a far less cluttered, more complete and coherent, bright and airy presentation of our stuff, with far fewer trips to the basement required to try other models, sizes, and colors.

    WorkCycles: coming back with a bang

    Our Amsterdam supplier WorkCycles never went anywhere, but our selection of their bikes has been rather thin for nearly a year, and that’s been a shame. When we opened four years ago, WorkCycles bikes were our most distinctive and exclusive offerings, our flagships, kicking off in Portland a trend (dare we say) still in infancy: family and cargo bikes, and heavy-duty, upright, full-function city bikes unlike any previously sold in North America. To this day, Portlanders look to us as ground zero of Dutchness, and shortly we’ll be able again to oblige, better than ever.

    Zuzana & Her Oma On their way to us now are over 100 of arguably the best-speced urban transport bikes ever. They’re coming back not because they are fashionable, or retro, or even because they are Dutch, but because they are the most evolved examples of the most timeless utilitarian forms in the 120 or so years of modern bicycle time. Don’t hate on the pretty: these “euro-lifestyle accoutrements” are the hardest working dogs on the street, any weather, any hour, with every amenity built in, and all the greasy grimy parts sealed away. My WorkCycles Omafiets has been parked in the rain for nearly 4 years, used near daily hauling people and goods all over and beyond Portland, and there’s still original factory grease on the chain.

    Since October we’ve been setting the pieces in place, adding to WorkCycles’ already best-in-class city and bakfiets cargo bikes the new NuVinci continuously variable hub, geared extra low and 360% wide, Busch & Müller LED lighting, and higher-spec brakes. The buttery NuVinci hub is something we’ve been testing quietly on our own bikes over 2 product generations for years, and selling for months on custom builds and the popular Breezer Infinity model now in stock. We think it’s a game changer, or nearly so, particularly for utility bikes where reliability, ease of use, and wide range are paramount.

    Together these improvements quash the very few beefs we’ve heard or held ourselves about these bikes in years of hard use. While the selection is broad, quantities of each particular size and model are limited. These builds are exclusive to us, at least for now. If you want one, get in touch to pre-order. We ship! Meanwhile, we still have a small selection of WorkCycles bikes with still-nice specifications, at lower prices than the new, super-premium ones coming.

    Pilen Lyx Portlandia: soon

    A customer recommended Swedish Pilen bikes to our attention nearly a year ago. Reminiscent of charming Kronan bikes aesthetically, but of higher quality and specification, they remained near the back of our minds until the US distributor of Pilen Lyx Portlandia, loaded for bearChristiania family trikes solicited our interest in his firm importing them. One obstacle was that they came standard, like many if not most European utility bikes, with backpedal or coaster brakes. Maybe it’s an American thing, or perhaps just West coast, but we’ve found it difficult to sell bikes without front and rear hand brakes above a certain very cheap and basic overall quality level. To our pleasant surprise, Pilen very quickly prepared special sample bikes addressing our short list of concerns, and sent them to us for evaluation.

    They were awesome! Lighter and lighter duty than WorkCycles, but still very respectable as transport bikes, with cleanly finished chromoly frames and unexpectedly fast, fun, supple ride qualities, we were sold. Rolling up all our special specifications into the “Portlandia” designation, we ordered 16. Red bird reflective safety art stickers sold separately. They’re on the way. 2 frames styles, 4 colors. One’s now in our rental fleet; come check it out!

    There are more surprises in the pipe, just back a little further.

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