It’s not every day that a local shop builds up a $20,000 bike that was made in collaboration with a legendary auto racing company.
Last week, southeast Portland-based River City Bicycles was one only a few shops in the United States that was lucky enough to be part of the S-Works McLaren project with Specialized Bicycles. The bike weighs just 14 lbs and was co-developed with McLaren, a company known for their $1.2 million P1 supercar (among other innovations). Only 250 of the bikes were made.
When we heard River City built one of these up for a local customer, we had to ask the shop’s General Manager Matt Karre a few questions…
BikePortland: How did your shop get one of these special bikes?
River City Bicycles: We had a long time customer inquire about one early on and we were able to get the order placed before the 250 were spoken for. From what I hear only 60 or 70 were sold in the US. The rest were sold in Europe and South America.
BP: Can you tell us anything about the lucky owner (is he/she local)?
RCB: The McLaren is for a customer who is local. He’s a very dedicated rider who works in the automotive industry and appreciates the reputation, quality and precision of McLaren’s work. He’s also a big fan of Specialized and the geometry of the Tarmac model works very well for him.
BP: Were the mechanics nervous working on such a high-end machine? Did they fight over who got to build it?
RCB: his was definitely a special case for a bike build. Specialized hosted an event at their head quarters in Morgan Hill, CA where they invited all the McLaren customers to come down have the bike hand delivered by Specialized founder Mike Sinyard. After that, the bike was shipped to us almost completely assembled in an enormous bike box. All we really needed to do was install the wheels, seat post, saddle and handlebars. Of course, we inspected the build and re-torqued everything, installed a few accessories the customer wanted.
There were definitely some nervousness during the build, mostly about scratching it accidentally, but our service department has an incredible amount of experience and professionalism. All went very well, of course. It’s hanging in solitary confinement now.
BP: How much is it worth?
RCB: The bike sells for $20,000.
BP: Is it most expensive bike ever at RCB?
RCB: I believe it is the most expensive single bike we’ve sold. We’ve had some multi-person tandem bikes that have been close to that amount in the past.
BP: What can you say about the bike itself?
RCB: The bike comes as a fairly large package that includes a McLaren designed and painted S-Works Tarmac frameset with Shimano Dura Ace 9070 Di2 components, Specialized S-Works carbon crank, McLaren designed carbon handlebar, one set of McLaren designed Roval carbon tubular wheels painted to match the frame, one set of Roval carbon clincher wheels. It also comes with limited edition, color matching S-Works road cycling shoes and an S-Works helmet. Specialized included custom made display pieces to properly store the bike, shoes and helmet.
It’s a great looking bike, rather understated but very intricate in the paint scheme.
BP: How much does it weigh?
RCB: With the tubular wheels the bike weighs just under 14 pounds including pedals.
BP: Specialized says it’s “most technically advanced bike ever”… But what does that translate to a non-techy bike lovers?
RCB: This bike is the most technically advanced bike ever because of the McLaren influence. McLaren is mostly known for its work with Formula One racing cars and has vast experience in carbon lay up, design and aerodynamics. So, while the tube shapes and geometry are fully Specialized engineered, the collaboration with McLaren offered a new level of carbon design and manipulation that will result in reduced weight and drag, improved ride quality and durability. Similarly, the frame was painted at McLaren so the weight and durability of the paint is above and beyond what Specialized normally uses. All of the chrome accents on the frame are made from chrome metal paint rather than chrome colored paint. They were able to use significantly different bearings in the bottom bracket than normal, vastly improving the durability and reducing friction. The rather large price tag is not necessarily the result of the “limited edition” status but from the technological and performance upgrades such a price can allow.
BP What were some of the features that stood out to you/the shop staff?
RCB: While the bike is and should be the main focus of the purchase, what stood out to me was the entire process dealing with Specialized. Not just on our end as the retailer but their constant communication with the customer, the very detail oriented ordering, followup and presentation of it all. This could easily have been the bike with all the fixings, which would have been great, but having the opportunity to be presented the bike at Specialized, tour the facility and ride with Mike Sinyard and some of the engineers was a pretty nice touch. They even had a McLaren Ferarri at the presentation that all the customers could test drive.
BP: Any other comments?
RCB: This bike is a great example of the passion Portland area cyclists have and the commitment to performance and innovation Specialized has. We’re excited to be a part of the whole process. I’ve been told that this was the only McLaren sold north of San Francisco and east of Boulder. Not sure if that’s entirely true but it’s safe to say that there won’t be many riding around this area.
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