Living the Dream

September 7, 2013

Vibe Cycles creates custom solutions for Boise cyclists


By Kirk Walton
Photography by Copper Chadwick

Did you know that your bike could be made out of bamboo? Or that a cycle could be custom-built to handle snowy roads? In 2011, husband and wife team Dave and Christi Kelley started Vibe Cycles in Boise. An avid mountain biker, Dave decided that he could use his skills in construction and carpentry to solve issues that other manufacturers weren’t able or willing to address in their bikes. His pet project, the innovative bamboo bicycle, was introduced to the public at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento, California in 2012. After the positive reinforcement he received there, he continued on with his passion. The Vibe Cycle business quickly grew, and he enlisted his wife Christi to help him run it.

Dave and Christi Kelley have both been involved in the various aspects of cycling for years. Before starting the bike shop, Dave worked in construction and carpentry for 25 years. In his spare time, he learned to build bicycles. Specifically, Dave began experimenting with bamboo bicycle construction. Bamboo was just another wood product, and he thought, “I can build me one.” While the original was not perfect, it was functional. Dave continued constructing cycles from this unusual, lightweight, renewable material, with each new iteration improving upon the last.

Like Dave, Christi has been involved in cycling for many years as well. She has competed in competitive road and mountain biking events for over 10 years. While Dave does most of the actual construction of the frames, Christi helps run the office, and with her cycling experience provides valuable input toward new designs. After the success of their bamboo bike in 2012, Christi and Dave decided that it was time to branch out into new specialties. Dave attended a specialized Titanium course to learn to work with new alloys, and Christi became certified as a bike mechanic.

By working together, the entire business is kept within the family. Dave builds the frames, while Christi builds the wheels and assembles the bikes, in addition to her management duties. Since they began making frames out of alloys like titanium, aluminum, and steel, the original bamboo bikes have been mostly phased out. Now they build a variety of cycles, including road, mountain, cross, and even specialized snow bicycles called Fatbikes. Every bicycle is constructed from start to finish at Vibe Cycles, and every finished product is unique. “The bicycle shop is almost a tailoring service – every bike is constructed for a specific customer in order to provide the best experience,” Dave says.

Currently, Vibe Cycles is looking to expand their business even further; they are searching for a larger facility for the manufacturing and production of frames, and a separate retail outlet as well. There is no other place in Boise where you will find a shop so dedicated to, or involved with, their customers. Each finished bicycle proudly leaves the shop with the company motto, “Life is but a dream,” engraved on it. A specialized frame from Vibe Cycles costs around $1100, and entire bikes begin at $3000, well worth the cost for the serious cycling enthusiast. Dave and Christi Kelley are happy that by living their own dream, they can help to make other cyclists’ dreams a reality.

For more information on Vibe Cycles, visit their website at http://www.vibecycles.com.