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Traction Works Suspension opens in Portland

Published April 7, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. (BRAIN) — When Park Chambers, owner of three shops in Portland and Hood River, Oregon, was considering opening a fourth brick-and-mortar location, he wanted to mix it up. The shop would be service oriented, focusing on suspension overhaul and tuning with fast turnaround times. He also wanted to offer wholesale pricing for other retailers.

It was an idea Chambers had toyed with for a while, not only to expedite service at his own shop but to provide a service for other retailers.

"We've always had challenges with turnaround times when we had to send forks, shocks and dropper posts back the manufacturers for service we couldn't handle," said Chambers, who also owns 21st Avenue Bicycles, a road and urban-focused store in Portland. "All the bikes we sell at the Farm have suspension, and we knew if we could do all the work ourselves, we could turn it around quicker."

So when longtime mechanic and former UBI instructor Jeff Menown left his job as an outside tech rep at Fox Racing Shox and a building became available a few blocks from the Fat Tire Farm, the time was ripe for Chambers to act on the idea.

"It was really good timing for me," said Menown, who spent three years on the road in the Northwest training retailers how to service Fox suspension. "My job at Fox translated really well into doing this with Park."

Menown and Chambers opened Traction Works Suspension in March. The 1,400-square-foot shop provides suspension services for both consumers and retailers, and Menown said that so far the majority of its customers are area retailers.

"There are a lot of shops that can't or don't want to do this stuff in-house, and sending it off to Fox or SRAM isn't always that convenient," Menown said. "We wanted to make sure there was no question as to whether dealers would use us. It can be a big investment in equipment and training for them to do it themselves. We can take care of it faster and get their customer riding again quickly."

Traction Works offers wholesale pricing for retailers who will soon be able to request an RA number online to make sending product easier. Traction Works currently specializes in RockShox and Fox suspension products and hydraulic dropper posts, but it's working on partnerships with other suspension brands.

Menown has hired Amy Campbell, who worked as a tech at River City Bicycles for several years, and plans to add more staff as business grows. Traction Works also offers custom tuning and will eventually offer setup and maintenance clinics for consumers who want to learn to dial in their own suspension.

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