What’s hot in Portland right now? Eddy Merckx, high-end Time road bikes and cyclocross bikes with disc brakes.
Three for Thursday is a new weekly column that highlights bike culture, bikes and gear as celebrated by local bike shops. The format is simple. We call a shop and ask three questions: 1. What’s the coolest thing in your shop? 2. What are you personally lusting after or loving right now? 3. What is your current best seller?
For our first Three for Thursday, we checked in with Brian Zeck at River City Bicycles in Portland, Oregon.
1. The coolest thing in the shop is: our shrine to Eddy Merckx
“We have always been know for the shrine,” said Zeck, bike buyer at River City. “It’s been up in the store for at least 13 or 14 years, right above our coffee bar.”
Eddy Merckx of course is cycling’s most-winning rider ever, having notched 525 victories over his career, including 5 Tours de France, 5 Giros d’Italia, 3 World Championships and much, much more.
“A couple of years ago we won the Retailer of the Year Award from Bicycle Retailer,” Zeck said. “They asked [River City founder] Dave Guettler who he wanted to present the award. Dave asked for Eddy Merckx, and sure enough, Eddy Merckx presented him the award.”
2. Personally I am lusting after: sunshine — and the new Time RXRS
As the bike buyer for one of Oregon’s biggest shops, Zeck sees a huge variety of bikes and gear. So what would he pick if he could have anything in the world? “I want sunshine and clear roads,” he said with a laugh. “But the thing that I lust after more than anything right now would be either the Time RXRS with the new Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 or the new Time NXS that we kinda helped design.”
While the RXRS is the full-on road race bike, the NXS combines the carbon lay-up of a more comfortable upright bike with the geometry of a pure race bike. “The end result is a race bike that you could ride all day,” Zeck said.
3. Right now our best seller is: rain gear and disc cyclocross bikes
Turns out, it rains in Portland, especially around this time of year. So at River City now, anything to do with riding in the rain is going fast: fenders, rain booties, rain jackets, etc. “Anything like that is selling like crazy,” Zeck said.
For bikes, it’s anything with disc brakes, be it city hybrids or cyclocross bikes, that is hot right now.
“We are selling most of these to the rider that’s looking for a bike to use for multiple purposes,” Zeck said. “We’re not seeing a lot of elite level racers jump on the discs. Most of those guys already have [cantilever] bikes they like and multiple wheels. It’s the all-rounders who are really excited about the disc brakes.”
While the Specialized Crux and the Jamis Nova disc cyclocross bikes have proven hot, the Ridley X-Fire Disc Ultegra has been perhaps the most popular bike at River City. How popular? “We have sold out,” Zeck said.