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Portland’s Hand Made Bike Builders: #1 in the US

Monday, November 10, 2014

 

golocal-biketownusa

Fact: Oregon has the highest number of handmade and custom bike builders per capita in the nation. Photoillustration by Uma Kleppinger.

Portland may have lost her crown to New York as America’s best bike town (according to Bicycle magazine) but there’s one title no other US city can even come close to claiming, and that’s highest number of handmade bike builders.

That’s right. Not only does Portland (still) lead the country in terms of access and infrastructure, it’s also the best place place to consummate your serious relationship with cycling by investing in a custom, one-of-a-kind bike, designed to fit you and your riding needs, handbuilt with love by a local bike builder.

Within the Portland metropolitan area, we have an exceptional array of bike building talent. Dozens of bike-loving craftsmen—and women—are devoted to their art. Most stick to classic designs, materials, features and construction, while others are more rogue in their approach—such as Renovo's unique frames made of hardwoods—but all are passionate about what they do.

A custom designed, hand made bike is not for the cyclist looking for instant gratification; it takes time to manufacture bikes by hand, and do it well. Custom bikes tend to cost more than even a top-shelf, off-the-rack bike from a major brand, as well. But as anyone who’s ever invested in a custom bike will tell you: Nothing beats having a bike that is made to fit your body and your riding style.

You’ll feel better, ride more powerfully, and—let’s not forget—be the envy of all your bike riding friends, with a one-of-a-kind rig made to your specification. Not all of the local bike builders offer 100% custom designs; some focus on semi-custom or small run specialty designs, such as cargo bikes.

At GoLocalPDX, we know Portlanders love locally built, sustainably manufactured goods, and if you’re a serious cyclist nothing says that better than riding a hand built bike made by a local craftsman (or woman).

Over the next few months, we’ll be spotlighting the movers and shakers among these handmade bike makers. For now, here’s an overview of the region’s bike builders to get you started and whet your appetite. Go ahead…click the links, pour over the gorgeous photos of custom bikes of all types. Just have a towel ready for all the drool you’re going to have to wipe off your iPad.

Oh, and for anyone keeping score in the Most Number of Local Builders Making Awesome Bikes category, the running tally is Portland 31, New York 5.

 

Sage Cycles was originally included in this list of builders, but has been removed after discovering that while the frames are designed locally, the manufacturing process takes place overseas.

Üma Kleppinger is a Portland-based copy writer, author and bike addict. A recovering sesquipedalian who writes about life in the saddle and outdoor adventure, she is also the author of BikeYoga, a flexibility and recovery program for cyclists. When not writing, she can be found riding and racing her mountain bike throughout the Pacific Northwest.

 

Related Slideshow: 15 Biggest Public Transit Systems in the U.S.

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15. Minneapolis- St. Paul

95 million average public transit trips in 2013 

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14. Denver-Aurora, CO

102 million average public transit trips in 2013

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13. San Diego, CA

104 million average public transit trips in 2013

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12. Baltimore, MD

106 million average public transit trips in 2013

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11. Portland, OR

112 million average public transit trips in 2013

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10. Atlanta, GA

140 million average public transit trips in 2013

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9. Miami, FL

171 million average public transit trips in 2013

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8. Seattle, WA

202 million average public transit trips in 2013

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7. Philadelphia, PA

371 million average public transit trips in 2013

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6. Boston, MA

402 million average public transit trips in 2013

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5. San Francisco-Oakland,

443 million average public transit trips in 2013

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4. Washington DC

476 million average public transit trips in 2013

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3. Chicago, IL

648 million average public transit trips in 2013

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2. Los Angeles-Long Beach

679 million average public transit trips

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1. New York-Newark, NY

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