Tucson’s own Fair Wheel Bikes is heading to the Pacific Northwest by opening a one-of-a-kind bike gallery in Portland, Ore.
According to Fair Wheel Bikes owner, Ralph Phillips, the new location in Portland won’t look like a traditional bike shop. Instead it will be a place to highlight frame builders’ custom bikes from around Oregon and the rest of the country.
“It is not so much a full-on bike store,” Phillips said. “It is more of a boutique store where you can go in, view things and order online if you like. We just want to display products and bring our presence into Portland.”
Emiliano Jordan, Fair Wheel Bikes’ webmaster, moved to Portland last year and will have an office in the new Portland location.
He said the idea came about when he and Jason Woznick — Fair Wheel’s project bike builder — were chatting over lunch at Interbike. Jordan said they wanted a way to show off the bikes Woznick was building.
He reiterated that it won’t be a traditional bike shop, it fact, they won’t actually sell parts or bikes in the boutique.
“Think fine art gallery,” Jordan said.
According to Jordan, they will display the bikes with information about the builder and the components used to build it up. They will rotate the project bike every 30-60 days and will occasionally have bike builder openings similar to art openings.
“The whole idea is to show parts components and bikes that people don’t normally get to see,” Jordan said. “Our end goal is to try to raise the bar a little bit. All of this stuff is out there, but it tends to be hidden on weight weenies internet forums deep in the archives. If we can pull it out and give it a display and give it a place where people can actually come in and physically see it and touch it; it’ll be better for the industry in general.”
Phillips said the boutique is more about getting their name into Portland’s bike community and will focus on the race bikes they are known for.
“Portland is a big dynamic cycling community so we wanted to make a statement there also,” Phillips said.
Jordan, who spent 10 years in Tucson and went to high school here, moved to Portland last year and works on the Fair Wheel Bikes website remotely.
According to Jordan, there is a large bike racing community in Portland.
“I think the racing community itself is as big as Tucson’s, it’s just that the commuting community here is so much bigger that it kind of overshadows the racing community,” Jordan said. “If you compared it on local-scene versus local-scene, it is about the same.”
Phillips said the boutique is a way to highlight some of the products available on the website, which has grown a lot in the last few years.
Jordan said the markets online and in Tucson’s location are very different.
“What we sell online, doesn’t really sell well in the store, and what sells well in the store doesn’t sell online,” Jordan said,
According to Jordan the new bike gallery is something truly unique.
“I don’t know if there is anything like it in the world,” Jordan said. “I don’t think there is anything so far that has been just a gallery to show off modern cutting edge new bikes.”
The boutique, which is located on Naito Parkway in Portland, will have its soft opening on Jan. 1 and will host an invitation-only grand opening on March 4-5. Several of Fair Wheel Bikes’ recent project bikes that have been featured on various cycling sites will be displayed at the opening.
Check out the features on the bikes:
- 16lb Titus 29er with Custom Single Shifter Di2 Electronics From Fairwheel Bikes
- The World’s Lightest Bike
- McFetridge 3 Speed Fixie