99% of bikes sold in the US are imported from China or Taiwan – just as my previous bikes have been.
However I wanted to build this bike in my hometown. It seems it should be possible; some of us think it is (and you can help prove us right.)
Below are a few of the Portland companies that helped develop or build Kinn bikes. Thank you, one and all.
Bike Portland’s recent story on the design and development of the Kinn Cascade Flyer is also a good read.
Zen Bike Fab – Portland’s Small-batch Frame Factory
In 2011 Zen Bike Fab came to town and just like that a “Made in Portland” Kinn became possible. It was an added bonus to discover how helpful the owners, David & Jen Woronets, were on all the other aspects of getting a finished bike to market. Thanks guys.
Sugar Wheel Works – Handbuilt Wheels
Jude likes to call wheel the Silent Hero’s. She’s been building high end custom wheels for four years and this short video on how she got started says it better than I can.
Jude also cajoled her industry connections into getting Kinn parts that were in short supply. A start-up competing with established companies needs all the help they can get.
Plus your Kinn gets strong, true hand-built wheels. Wheels designed for their purpose, not just picked from a catalog.
While it’s possible to despair over the outsourcing of manufacturing overseas, it is also possible to enjoy the creativity and determination and those who make a likelihood making stuff right here. I can see three of them from where I’m typing. This is Portland made.
Getting Started – the Godparents
Joseph Ahearne, Tom LaBonty, Clever Cycles, ADX and the Bike Commuter
Before there was Kinn there were two prototype bikes. They came into being through the helping hands of many, but I’d like to mention three in particular.
The crew at Clever Cycles has gifted Portland with not only a great bike shop, but a small portal into the future. If we are smart, we’ll see many more bikes like the one they sell. They have let me wander round their showroom undisturbed examining bikes for many, many hours over the years.
Tom, a tireless and generous builder of many types of cargo bikes, welded together the frame for my first prototype. Showing up at his garage it was like entering possibility itself. All kinds of regular bikes entered his backyard as donors and all kinds of cargo bikes came out, off to lead a new and purposeful life.
Starting something new is exhilarating and hard. Having Eric and the Bike Commuter as my neighborhood shop made all the difference. Eric threw open his doors, and let me use the shop basement and tools to tinker and experiment. Just as importantly it was a place I could wander into to share the ups and downs of the journey. You should check out the shop, there are some very cool bikes there.
Joseph built the second version of what was to be the Kinn. He is a well established bike builder, he won best city bike two years in a row at the North American hand-built bike show (NAHBS). He likes the practical and the unusual and the results turn out to be beautiful too.
ADX is where I set up to build racks and assemble the first bikes. It is a fabulous place with 10,000 sq feet of wonder. There is a wood shop & metal shop & fabrication space to use. There are resident artists, carpenters, welders, photographers, designers and more. It is a community of thinkers and makers. There is good coffee and long hours.
It makes me smile.
And the other good news is that we are not alone, checkout these other Portland built bikes. Most are custom frame builders with a scattering of production bike builders too.