Cyclocross is Spoken Here: Cyclepath, Portland

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Cyclepath speaks 'cross © Josh Liberles

Cyclepath speaks 'cross © Josh Liberles

Here’s another in our series of articles that dig a little deeper to find the unique and great cyclocross shops out there. With the USGP coming to Portland this weekend, we decided to highlight one of the local shops. Look for more of these coming up on a regular basis. For a quick list of excellent resources, visit our Top Shops page. Missed our earlier feature on another unique and fabulous Portland shop, Sellwood Cycle Repair? Check it out here.

by Josh Liberles

Step inside of Cyclepath, located in northeast Portland, and it’s hard to avoid drooling over bike eye-candy. The focus is on “Custom Bike Love,” which translates to super-sweet frames built up with choice bits.

Bill Larson and Joshua Hutchens founded Cyclepath in 2000. They stick to the stuff that they really like – that they want to ride themselves. Predominantly, that means nice road bikes, lightweight mountain bikes and, of course, purpose-built cyclocross rigs.

“We never really got into tri-gear, other than TT bikes because of the crossover with roadies,” says Hutchens. “You won’t find any hybrids here either. We all commute by bike, but we never understood selling a bike that was just for commuting.”

A sweet array of 'cross bikes © Josh Liberles

A sweet array of 'cross bikes © Josh Liberles

Cyclocross is definitely spoken here. There’s a lineup of a dozen ready-to-roll rides ranging from Campy builds to 1×9′s to singlespeeds. You’ll find stuff you haven’t seen before, like the custom Moots YBB ‘cross bike with S&S couplers, disc brakes, a triple Campagonolo build and a rearview mirror in place of a barend(!) built for a 70+ year-old customer looking for a bike to do it all.

Cyclepath has developed a well-earned reputation for tubeless cyclocross wheel builds, which have become a serious alternative to tubulars (see CXM‘s series on going tubeless, including a mention of Cyclepath). They start with the Stan’s 355 rims, which are nice and wide and provide the most stable platform for a tubeless ‘cross wheelset. Next they add tires and sealant and send ‘em out complete for about $1000. As word of their tubeless expertise has grown, they’ve fielded hundreds of orders from around the country. “The Hutchinson Bulldogs and Pirhannas, Michelin Muds, Vittorias and Geax all work really well,” says Hutchens. “What’s nice about them vs. tubulars is you can swap tires in five minutes, get a set out the door in 15 minutes and, if you have a problem, you’ll never risk missing next week’s race.”

Custom Moots singlespeed © Josh Liberles

Custom Moots singlespeed © Josh Liberles

A look around reveals the shop’s soft spot for American made rides. They’re one of the biggest Moots dealers in the world and also carry Titus, Turner, Rick Hunter, Steve Rex, Retrotec and Rock Lobster. Less exclusive – but great performance – brands include Salsa, Scott and Niner. And there are cases of bike-jewelry from Paul’s, Chris King, White Industries, Edge composites, etc.

Delve a little deeper and you’ll find out what “custom” can really mean. There’s a gorgeous titanium singlespeed. “We had a guy from Hawaii call up and order that,” explains Hutchens. “He’s coming to town for Singlespeed World’s and didn’t want to bring a bike, so he just asked us to have it waiting for him and absolutely perfectly dialed in and ready to roll.”

Or look a little closer at those Edge wheels hanging up. The logos look like the Edge design, but the name on the custom sticker has been changed to the customer’s, “Rees.” Cyclepath is even getting un-colored brakes from Paul Components and custom anodizing them locally for those in search of that unique look.

It’s not all hard-core performance or exclusive custom stuff though – there’s plenty in the “for fun” category. Ahearne’s flask and custom bike-mounted flask holder is here, as is Pow’s Shocker gloves with skater/anarchist styled graphics and a liberal use of pink and brown on the fingers (don’t ask).

If you’re in the Portland area, stop in for a browse or thumb through the latest issue of Cyclocross Magazine. More info on the Cyclepath website.

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