by Andrew Crisp
Plenty of Boise shops put together bicycles for their customers, from cruisers with tassled handlebars to top-of-the-line road bikes fit for the peloton. But Alan Klarc, owner of the Velomech bike shop at 3883 N. Garden Center Way, is pretty sure he’s the only person in Boise actually fabricating custom frames.
Unlike Portland, Ore., and other nearby cities, Boise lacks a strong community of frame-builders, according to Klarc. He knew other locals building bikes, but they've since relocated. He said after running Velomech for five years, he realized that his small specialty shop needed a change.
"I realized I'd have to change the shop to be more traditional, or I'd have to do something entirely new, try a new direction," he said.
That new direction is Oxide Cycles, a series of bikes designed in-house and fabricated using a suite of expensive equipment he imported from outside Boise. The lineup of bikes include the Warhammer and Valkyrie, while the Drekar—a hard-tail mountain bike named after ancient Vikings' swift longships—was described as the quintessential "Boise bike."
Now, the Drekar has entered its first production run, Klarc said.
A cyclist might choose to buy his bikes, he said, for their unique design, technical interest in stainless steel downhill-specific bikes or because they want to buy locally made goods.
"There's maybe some old lizard brain hard wiring which makes people want to be involved in their community," he said.
Klarc plans to release the first line of bikes by February 2013, which will be up for display in a showroom at Velomech.