31 January 2014
Story by Julia Benton
Edited by Zach Dundas
San Francisco has no shortage of bike shops, but Mission Bicycle stands apart from the peloton: it's the only shop in the city that works with clients to custom-build bikes part by part.
Matt Cheney and Zack Rosen started Mission Bicycles in 2007 with the aim "to build beautiful city bicycles for boys and girls around the world." Six years later, working out of a tiny space on Valencia Street, they stay true to that goal, continuing to make solid, quality products that make daily commutes a little bit easier.
Their first frame, called the Valencia, was specifically designed for short city rides. "We exploded the bike, got rid of the kickstand and water bottle cages, and put back on only what was absolutely necessary for urban commuting," says Katie Winkler, who does marketing and design for the company. "It's simple, practical, beautiful and lightweight."
When we stopped by the shop for a visit, the team had just finished building a Valencia with a pretty sky blue frame, bright pink handlebars and chain and one yellow and one lime green wheel. Mission customers have complete control over design, picking every component and color on the bike, from handlebar style to frame color. Next, bike technicians Ryan, James or Carlos will build your bike by hand, from lacing the wheels to wrapping the bars.
Meanwhile, given that San Francisco remains the single-speed capital of the world despite its hills, Mission has created a range of one-hub wonders specially geared to the city's tough terrain. And for those who live at the top of Russian Hill, Mission also developed the versatile Sutro frame with internally geared hubs.
Mission Bicycle sources parts from all around the globe - Velocity rims from Australia, Thompson seatposts from Georgia, Brooks leather saddles from England. "Our store is not a place where we want people to just give us their money," says Katie, "and it's not our job to sell people cheap stuff. We deliver bikes that last a lifetime. We have a vision of what amazing experiences can be like. We're just trying to improve people's quality of life in cities through biking."
766 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110