NAHBS 2013: Breadwinner Cycles

Rapha Continental partnership grows into a business

The accomplished frame builders Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan are already used to working together, having collaborated on a few batches of bikes for Rapha's Continental project. Already good friends from Portland, Oregon, Pereira and Ryan began to realize the benefits of a business relationship, too, and Breadwinner Cycles was born.

"Breadwinner started as Tony and I working on a collaborative project with Rapha to build the Continental bike," Ryan told BikeRadar. "We didn't know what to expect from it. We did a couple of batches of bikes, we worked really well together, we have complementary personalities, and complementary skills as builders so we kind of just kept going with it."

Breadwinner's badge

Unlike the completely bespoke Tony Pereira and Ira Ryan signature builds, Breadwinner's range will be more of a stock nature with six models to start: the Lola road racer, the Continental 'all-conditions' road bike, the Aufderheide tourer, the Hole Shot 'cross racer, the Arbor Lodge city bike and the JB Racer 29er mountain bike hardtail. All of the bikes will be TIG-welded, mostly from Columbus and True Temper tubing.

Breadwinner bikes won't be as ornate or detailed as the builders' eponymous lines, and they won't be completely fabricated by each builder, either. Similar to what fellow Portland builder Sacha White has done with Vanilla Cycles and Speedvagen, Pereira and Ryan plan to bring in some outside help.

"We can only build so many bikes a year personally, so we just decided to come together and scale up a little more effectively and get more bikes to more people," Ryan said.  Probably in the first year we're going to hire a couple of people and then eventually, in five years we'd like to be able to make a thousand frames [per year], all made in Portland, Oregon and be able to hire ten or eleven people."

The Arbor Lodge city bike

As for the name, Ryan suggested it almost started out as a sort of inside joke. While he and Pereira were both very successful all things considered, there's a limit to what you can bring in financially as a one-man shop building bespoke machines – even when there's a waiting list and regular four-figure price tags.

"Breadwinner just started out as a name – sort of a placeholder," he said. "But the more we built with it, the more we fell in love with it. Now it's almost sort of a positive affirmation. We want to win some bread! We don't want it to be all about the money, and these six bikes that we're showing, we're deeply passionate about them. The whole range represents what we do with our own individual companies."

The 29in JB Racer

Pereira and Ryan still maintain separate shops but plan to merge into a shared space soon.

"That's the next big thing. Both of us individually have enough tools and machines for a fully functioning factory," he said. "We just need a place to put it. It's a work in progress."

Breadwinner Cycles' website is now live and the pair are accepting orders. Framesets range from $1,795 for the JB Racer (frame only) up to $2,395 for the Hole Shot with an Enve Composites fork.

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