Made in USA/Canada Frames?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Made in USA/Canada Frames?

    It bugs me seeing all these bike frames being built in Taiwan nowadays. Does anyone have a good amount of knowledge about which bikes are truly made in North America? Not assembled or painted in North America, but actually welded and all that jazz.

  2. #2
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    Turner, Intense, some Santa Cruz, Knolly, B-M-W, Sinister, etc.

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    Turner, Ventana, Foes, Knolly, and a few others. These are the ones I know of with the entire line made in the US.

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    Merlin, Litespeed, Moots, Seven, Dean.
    Ellsworth, Ti - Titus and Aluminum Cannondales I believe are still made here.

  5. #5
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    does an american really weld better than someone from taiwan? or an american robot, for that matter?
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    and for now, still a few Rocky Mountains (ETSX, Slayer SXC, Element).

    Devinci bikes are welded in Quebec.

    And of course several boutique bikes like DeKerf, Lynskey etc. etc.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine
    does an american really weld better than someone from taiwan? or an american robot, for that matter?
    FTW from Sinister.

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    Yay, so there is hope. I imagine there would be a price premium for some of these bikes because i doubt it's as cheap to make them here. One day when I can afford a decent bike I'll have to keep those in mind, hah.

  9. #9
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    I don't see why Taiwan's quality control should be any worse than US, it's the same argument as with some 50mm lenses from Nikon which used to be made in Japan and are now made in China - endless arguments about the 'inferior' quality of Chinese made lenses. But ask for some evidence of that difference and you get muffled answers with no substance or proof...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nnn
    I don't see why Taiwan's quality control should be any worse than US, it's the same argument as with some 50mm lenses from Nikon which used to be made in Japan and are now made in China - endless arguments about the 'inferior' quality of Chinese made lenses. But ask for some evidence of that difference and you get muffled answers with no substance or proof...
    I didn't see where anyone has brought up quality control issues in the original question. The OP just asked what frames are still made in North America. That doesn't mean he feels that products made elsewhere are inferior, and he has not indicated that. Maybe he just wants to support skilled workers that are in, and closer to, his home country.

    The OP asked a straight forward question. Lets not read into his underlying motives.
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  11. #11
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    Lets not read into his underlying motives.

    Exactly!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holyhandgrenade
    It bugs me seeing all these bike frames being built in Taiwan nowadays. Does anyone have a good amount of knowledge about which bikes are truly made in North America? Not assembled or painted in North America, but actually welded and all that jazz.
    I don't have a problem with frames being made overseas. I do take issue with companies that distinguish themselves with a legacy of domestic production to the point of flag waving, then quietly move some production oversees while still riding on that legacy. I feel cheated with the Taiwan built frame that I thought was made in Canada. That is why I will be going back to a custom, handbuilt bike. I can say that Chromag makes some nice production steel hardtails and as far as I know, all production is in Canada. Devinci engineers some superb aluminum bikes. I believe the tubes are drawn in the US but the frames are welded in Quebec, Canada.

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    Nobody mentioned Trek/Gary Fisher. Have to be careful though, 'cause only some are made in Wisconsin. Best to e-mail them about the specific model you're interested.

    Agree with the comment about "quietly offshoring production"....very irritating, especially when there's not a significant cost reduction to the customer (usually the case). Makes you feel ripped off.

    Nobody's dissin' Asia quality...I'm sure they're fine. But hi-end bikes are an emotional purchase and it has to make the customer "feel good"....some of us like to buy "local" as much as possible. If I lived in China, I'd want my frame to have been made there.

  14. #14
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    [QUOTE=steadite]
    Agree with the comment about "quietly offshoring production"....very irritating, especially when there's not a significant cost reduction to the customer (usually the case). Makes you feel ripped off.


    That's exactly it on the head. Ship production to asia and reduce their cost by 10-30% if not more and pass no savings on to their customer and still tout their made in NA to get the customers who buy based on the "built in the U.S.A.". greedy fahqers.

  15. #15
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    That's the thing...Asian manufacturing is way cheaper than US or many European nations. A couple manufacturers came on the boards to say that it's not cheaper and they're doing it for other reasons, implying that the manufacturing is better and the same price as America, just capacity is unavailable. Last I checked, we have the need to employ our skilled welders. If the Asian manufacturing isn't cheaper, then why not add more welders to the staff of the companies here? This will save in the logistics of sending people back and forth and making sure the serial management chain is working correctly and the products are being made right. The fact of the matter is there's way more headaches involved in making products overseas and more office manpower devoted to it. So the incentive for the nightmare of doing this has to be somewhere and it's the 50% lower overall cost, which includes the freight, to make them and bring them here.

  16. #16
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    I have a hunch that a lot of the manufacturers that are finally outsourcing frames to Taiwan are not doing it to make record profits, but instead it's a last ditch effort to keep from having to bump the retail prices up by 30% or begin losing money. With the production costs rising like they have been in North America in the past 5-10 years, I suspect that the profit margins have been slowly headed toward being negligible. The actual resale of price of bikes have been almost static for the past 7-10 years for the various levels of bike quality, and consumers don't react well to price increases.

    The sudden jump of the Canuck buck to par with the US dollar has effectively added about 30-40% to the cost of exported bikes from Canada, so it's really no surprise that companies like Rocky Mountain are moving their higher volume frames to offshore manufacturing. The frames have been the big labour component in their bikes.

    The other thing I suspect is happening is that the cost of managing full time employees involved in manufacturing is where the expense is. Wages, benefits, WCB, tax installments and all that admin stuff is expensive. In white collar industries they'd turn all their employees into contract employees and get rid of all that administration cost.

    When you make things, the only way to contract that work out (and get rid of the work place environmental management headaches at the same time) is to contract that entire manufacturing component out to a jobber (like the auto manufacturers do).

    The other thing that seems to be happening is that the experienced frame builders for North American companies that have been around for a long time (like Rocky Mountain) are getting to retirement age and there's no new frame builders in the pipeline. A handful of experienced guys aren't going to be able to keep up with growing market share or sales. So you're stuck with either having your available production sell out before filling all the orders, or having to scale up your production somewhere. If you try to scale up in house, you have all that headache of getting people who can work to your standards and not generate lots of warranty problems as they try to push the volume up. QC becomes a big nightmare with lots of new faces on a production line.

    At this point in the global market, what you really want is some evidence that the bike manufacturer isn't turning into a catalog order company, where they just pick a frame design out of an Asian manufacturer's variety of products. If the manufacturer is still doing their own R&D, and at least prototyping their bikes in house before farming out the manufacturing, then you get some sense that someone is testing and fine tuning a design before putting it into production, instead of having to wait until year 3 of a product before they sort out the quirks.

    When you think about it, a bike frame is about 15-20% of a finished bike by weight, and maybe 40-50% of the retail value, and virtually every other part comes from some other part of the world, especially with RS and Marzocchi building forks in Taiwan.

    In the global business frame of mind, Taiwan is just becoming the industrial park for the rest of the world. And it's being driven by the North American consumer demand for cheaper better stuff. If consumers had always been prepared to pay the rising costs for craftsmen built products, the industry wouldn't have gone this direction, but the cost of bikes would have followed other market segments and a mid level hardtail mountain bike would be $2500 and not $1000. My 1992 Subrau Wagon cost me $17,500 off the showroom floor in 1992, now an equivalent model Sube Wagon is maybe $35,000. Bikes haven't had that same cost increase. When I bought a 1988 Mongoose IBOC pro model (second from top of the line in 1988) it was about $1000, an equivalent quality of hardtail now is maybe $1200 with better components.

  17. #17
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    Taiwan, China, India, Slovakia is the likely flow of manufacturing contract jobs.

    As far as the cost comparisons, most of the price increases are due to inflation, and there is a standardization by time that can be reached to find out how much we're really paying now in comparison to a past era.

  18. #18
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    So are Cove frames made in the States or have they always been outsourced ?

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    I hate the complaining, (although I understand the sentiment) because if we don't like what companies do we don't have to buy their product. Personally I dont have a problem with companies moving manufacturing overseas. But if you do have a problem with it, don't buy the product. There are still many brands that are "Made in USA" so buy them and try to talk as many people as you can into doing the same so they companies will keep their stuff state side.

    Note: this is not directed at the OP as the OP did not complain
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by nnn
    So are Cove frames made in the States or have they always been outsourced ?
    I don't think Cove were ever made in the USA.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockyuphill
    and for now, still a few Rocky Mountains (ETSX, Slayer SXC, Element).

    Devinci bikes are welded in Quebec.

    And of course several boutique bikes like DeKerf, Lynskey etc. etc.
    My understanding is that for a lot of Devincis low-to mid end stuff (which has arguably always been higher quality than the industry definition of low/mid end) they went overseas for welding about 4 or five years ago. The bikes are still painted and assembled in Canada, tho. I am not sure about the FS and higher end stuff. Their carbon bikes are Asian made.
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    Quote Originally Posted by explodingtaco
    I hate the complaining, (although I understand the sentiment) because if we don't like what companies do we don't have to buy their product. Personally I dont have a problem with companies moving manufacturing overseas. But if you do have a problem with it, don't buy the product. There are still many brands that are "Made in USA" so buy them and try to talk as many people as you can into doing the same so they companies will keep their stuff state side.

    Note: this is not directed at the OP as the OP did not complain
    If you read my complaint you would realize that I was in a sense cheated. I wouldn't have purchased my bike had I known it was made overseas. I was lead to believe that my bike was welded in Canada when it was not. To my mind, this is cheating. And as I said, this will determine my next bike purchase.

    To add further, remember that many manufacturers started out small because mountain biking was a niche market. Like many bike shops, their inception was driven by passion, not profit. When profits were made, small companies were bought out by parent companies with only a token regard for the spirit of mtb'ing and I accept that this is the normal trajectory of many industries. There is however, a thriving high end market that in most cases is loyal to a low scale, customer driven focus and domestic production . It seems wrong when manufacturers move on from this model but continue to frame their marketing with that core philosophy. I do notice however that this kind of marketing has been toned down, but I purchased my bike during the "quiet" transition to oversees production when "Made in Canada" was still the beacon of one manufacturer's marketing campaign.

  23. #23
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    Excellent post! Based on all of the above trends so well described above, I suspect that the only American made steel frames are gonna be from the custom builder guys, pretty soon, if not already. I love my 725 chromomoly '01 RM with its "built in Canada" decal proudly emblazoned on the seatstay. Until I can afford a semi custom like a Gunnar or the like, I'm gonna keep it.

  24. #24
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    On a slightly different note, how can the price tags I see on frames be justified with how high they are? I would find it hard to believe that companies like Iron Horse aren't making tons of money off of frames like the sunday that MSRP at $2500. Factoring in the cost of R&D, freight and materials and employee costs, how does a number like $2500 get reached? Or lets go hardtail without the cost of a shock. I just looked up the MSRP on a Giant XTC C. $1500 average retail for frameset. I'm definitely not an economics kinda guy but can companies like this really be making "negligible" profits on frames? School me if I'm wrong which is quite possible hah.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Holyhandgrenade
    On a slightly different note, how can the price tags I see on frames be justified with how high they are? I would find it hard to believe that companies like Iron Horse aren't making tons of money off of frames like the sunday that MSRP at $2500. Factoring in the cost of R&D, freight and materials and employee costs, how does a number like $2500 get reached? Or lets go hardtail without the cost of a shock. I just looked up the MSRP on a Giant XTC C. $1500 average retail for frameset. I'm definitely not an economics kinda guy but can companies like this really be making "negligible" profits on frames? School me if I'm wrong which is quite possible hah.
    The larger brands can get their most basic frames made for very cheap - like $50 or less. Smaller companies, because they work with much smaller volumes, pay more. But a mass produced rigid frame should usually not cost more to import (landed price - including shipping, taxes/tarrifs etc) than $200 or $300 - and usually it is cheaper.

    But for a limited production run or complex high quality design the cost will be much much much higher. Plus a complicated bike like the IH you mentioned will have many hours of R&D put into it that are not caculated in the purchase price for a frame from a TW builder.

    I am sure the company still makes some money, tho. Why else would they do it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by nnn
    So are Cove frames made in the States or have they always been outsourced ?
    The Hummer Ti frame was originally built by RekTek in the USA and the current Hummer frame is made by Litespeed. That's where domestic production ends.

    I'm pretty sure that all the other Cove frames are made in the same Asian plant as Kona's bikes, as the Cove Bikes retail store has been a Kona dealer forever and a day, and they're pretty tight with the Kona guys.

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    http://allanti.com/page.cfm?PageID=328

    Where was my bike made? Or, who actually made my bike?

    Revised January 31, 2008
    Kerry Roberts is the past president and chairperson of the National Bicycle Dealers Association and provides consulting services to the bicycle industry. He is also the owner of The Bicycle Company, the parent company of Allanti Bicycle Company, the Bike Pedlar, and The Jolly Cyclist in Nashville, Tennessee.

    The information contained in this report comes primarily from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News' Factory and Suppliers Guide, published annually in October. Bicycle Retailer and Industry News is the definitive trade publication in the bicycle industry. Other sources of information include trade show and factory visits, technical writers in the cycling media, and bicycle company employees who wish to remain anonymous.

    Some bike companies have a few secrets. And one of those secrets is where your bike is made or who actually made it. The bike companies like it that way because many of them rely upon the same factories to build their bikes!

    The big picture is pretty clear: around 95% of the bikes sold in the U.S. are made in China or Taiwan by a handful of manufacturers of which Giant is the largest.

    Generally speaking, low to mid level bikes are made in China and mid to high level bikes are made in Taiwan. The exception is carbon; many manufacturers use Chinese manufacturers to make their carbon frames – even their high-end racing frames.

    When it comes to knowing where your bike is made, shouldn’t it be as easy as looking at the sticker on your bike or what is printed on the box in which your bike came? After all, how confusing can a label that says “Made in the USA” or “Made in France” or “Made in Italy” be?

    Well – in a word – very. It is very confusing because your definition of “made in” is different from the bike industry’s definition.

    Generally speaking, the country claiming origin has to add 60% or more of the value of the final product.

    For example, you and I can import an unpainted carbon fiber racing frame from China to Spain which will ultimately retail for $4,000 with Shimano components in the United States.

    The frame and fork may only cost $200 from the Chinese manufacturer. In Spain, we will paint, decal, assemble, and box the bike for shipping to the U.S.

    Our cost to paint, decal, assemble, and box might be $300 and the cost of the components might be another $800.

    So is this bike “Made in China” or “Made in Spain?” According to the bike industry's definition, the bike is made in Spain. The sticker will say “Made in Spain” as will the shipping box to the United States because over 60% of the value will be added in Spain.

    Let’s say we take the same frame and have the Chinese manufacturer paint it, decal it, assemble it into a bicycle, and ship it to Spain. When we ship it to the United States, the label will have to say “Made in China.”

    Perhaps the best way to eliminate the confusion is for the bicycle industry to follow the lead of the automobile industry and tell the end consumer the countries of origin of all aspects of the bicycle.

    After all, if you are led to believe by a bunch of marketing people that your bike was handmade in Spain when it was actually mass-produced in a Chinese factory, would you buy that bike? Maybe – but you wouldn’t pay a premium for it.

    With these things in mind, here is an alphabetical brand by brand run down of some key bike brands sold in the U.S. along with a few bits of trivia.

    Bianchi - As I was writing this, it occurred to me that Bianchi and Schwinn have remarkably similar histories. Both were turn-of-the-century family-owned companies, manufactured their own bicycles, were popular brands in their respective countries, fell upon hard times, were eventually sold, moved substantially all of their production to Asia, and have seen a resurgence in the past few years under new owners!

    In 1996, Bianchi was sold to a Swedish conglomerate (now known as Cycleurope1) whereas Schwinn went through several owners before winding up with Pacific in 2001.2

    Under Cycleurope, which owns 11 bicycle brands,3 much of the bicycle production shifted from Italy to Asia, with the exception of some final bicycle assembly (i.e., Asian frames assembled into complete bicycles) and limited high-end production.

    Let me take a minute and address Reparto Corse bicycles, because their "Made in Italy" sticker is a source of confusion.

    The historic Treviglio factory - a monstrosity of a thing which used to house much of Bianchi's manufacturing before it shifted to Asia - has a section dedicated to Reparto Corse. It used to be that Reparto Corse (RC) meant the race department where high-end bikes were made. Now it is used as sort of a branding logo to identify the upper-end bikes that get the RC design and marketing treatment.

    Many of the RC bikes have a "Made in Italy" sticker, which usually means assembled in Italy using a frame made in Asia. For example, the carbon RC frames are made by Advanced International Multitech (a Taiwanese carbon manufacturer of bike parts, baseball bats, golf shafts, arrows, fishing poles, etc.) and the aluminum frames are made by Taiwan Hodaka.

    There are some frames still welded at Treviglio. My understanding is that the aluminum frames with carbon rears are either welded there or, at least, bonded there. I also understand that the frames with foam injection have the injection process completed there, even if the frames come from Asia.

    Although Taiwan Hodaka manufacturers many of Bianchi's U.S. models, Fairly and Giant have manufactured for Bianchi in the past.

    Cannondale - Aluminum Cannondales are made in the U.S. Cannondale, which was owned by founder Joe Montgomery and his son Scott. Cannondale is now owned by its key investment fund after experiencing financial problems. Cannondale's market share appears to have diminished but stabilized. Because it is owned by an investment fund, it is rumored for sale from time to time.

    According to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News in June 2007, low-end Cannondales are made in Taiwan - probably by Fritz-jou. Others are welded and painted in Taiwan then sent to the US for assembly. The Synapse is made by Top Key.

    Colnago - In 1944, when Ernesto Colnago served as a 12-year old apprentice in the shop of Dante Fumagalli, did he have any idea he would become the most famous of all Italian frame builders?

    Colnago is, perhaps, the most coveted of all professional-quality bicycle brands - just look at the pages of VeloNews or Pro Cycling and see how many professional riders race on Colnagos!

    Frames are still hand-made in Italy, except for three entry level aluminum models made in Taiwan (probably by Giant) and the carbon CLX, which is also made in Taiwan.4

    De Rosa - De Rosa is an Italian company that is one of the Italian "big three" that includes Colnago and Pinarello. Ugo De Rosa, along with his sons, have been building bikes for over 50 years. As far as I know, all bikes are made in Italy.

    Ducati - Bianchi has announced a licensing agreement with Ducati to produce a line of bikes with the Ducati name. It is my understanding that the frames will be sourced from Asia with the final assembly at Treviglio.

    Felt - Felt is a fairly new bicycle company, started by motocross guru Jim Felt. All production comes from Asia.

    Fisher - Gary Fisher is the "godfather" of mountain bikes. After struggling with his own bicycle company, he sold his brand to Trek Bicycle Company. Still involved in designing and marketing his brand, Gary is a popular figure at bicycle industry events. He's sort of a cult figure with an unmatched sense of fashion! Fisher bikes are made in Asia, except for the full-suspension rigs (which are made in Wisconsin).

    Fuji - Fuji is now owned by Ideal, who manufacturers most of their bikes. Ideal is one of the key Taiwanese manufacturers along with Giant and Merida. Ideal also manufactures for other brands. Topkey of China manufacturers Fuji's carbon frames.

    Giant - You may have ridden a bicycle made by Giant without knowing it! Giant is the world's largest bicycle manufacturer with factories in Taiwan, China, and Europe. Giant, a Taiwanese company started in 1972, manufacturers their own bikes - including the carbon bikes, which is unique in the industry (i.e., most other brands utilize other manufacturers such as Advanced or Martec).

    In addition to making their own bikes, Giant also makes, or has made, bikes for many other prominent brands, including Trek, Specialized, Schwinn, and Bianchi. Giant's claim to fame is that they have the most sophisticated and efficient manufacturing facilities in the bicycle industry.

    A bit of trivia is that Giant owns 30% of Hodaka, a key Taiwanese supplier for many brands such as Bianchi.5

    Giant also sponsors the T-Mobile professional cycling team.

    Haro - a California BMX company started in 1977 by Bob Haro. All production comes from Asia. Haro owns the Masi brand. Kenstone, with factories in Tawan and China, is a key supplier.

    Kestrel - Kestrel, an early pioneer in carbon frames, introduced the first production non-lugged carbon frame in 1986. Originally, frames were manufactured in California. In recent years, production shifted to Asia. The frames appear to be made by Martec.

    Kona - a California company with all production from Asia. Kona, founded in 1988, is a very small company similar in size to Marin. Fairly and Hodaka in Taiwan are key suppliers.

    Kuota - Kuota frames are made in Taiwan by Martec, the same manufacturer that makes Kestrel frames. Kuota is a creation of Sintema, an Italian manufacturer of components. Basically, they designed the frames, had the frames manufactured in Taiwan, and marketed the brand heavily in the U.S., Western Europe, and Australia. Kuota has been a successful brand launch in a very short period of time.

    LeMond - Greg LeMond is the first American to win the Tour de France, winning in 1986, 1989, and 1990. LeMond also won three World Championships and the Tour DuPont. His career was cut short by lead poisoning from a hunting accident. LeMond's early bikes were made by Roberto Bilatto in Italy and distributed by a now-defunct company named Ten Speed Drive Imports. The Bilatto-made frames are somewhat collectible.

    After an attempt to have an independent bike company, LeMond licensed his brand to Trek Bicycle Company.6 Trek now designs and markets his bikes, which are made in Asia except for the spine bikes featuring OCLV carbon (which are made in Wisconsin).

    A bit of LeMond trivia is that he helped develop the first aerobar with Scott and used it in his amazing come-from-behind victory in the 1989 Tour de France.7

    Litespeed - Starting in the 1980's, Litespeed was a pioneer in titanium frame building. As their reputation grew, a steady stream of cycling legends came to Litespeed for their titanium expertise. For many years, Litespeed built frames for famous brands such as DeRosa, Merckx, Basso, LeMond, Tommassini, and others.8

    Litespeed was, for a period of time, the largest manufacturer of high-end bicycles in the world. All bikes, including the Merlin brand that they own, are made in Tennessee except for the carbon Pavia (which has been discontinued). The Quintana Roo brand is also owned by Litespeed but is made in Asia.

    Look - Look is a French company with frames made in France and Asia. Look is also a leading pedal brand.

    Marin - a California company with production from Asia, except for a handful of high-end models. Marin is a very small company similar in size to Kona. Key Asian suppliers are A-Pro, Fairly, and Sunrise.

    Masi - Faliero Masi was, in my opinion, the "grandfather" of all Italian frame builders, serving as inspiration to famous frame builders like Ernesto Colnago. Faliero sold his company to Americans in the early 70's. Since then, the brand has had several owners including Schwinn! At present, the Masi brand is owned by Haro (the California BMX company)9 and the bikes are made in Asia.

    One of my favorite frames was a made-in-Italy Nuovo Strada that I bought from Cumberland Transit in the 80's. Unfortunately, it was stolen in the 90's!

    Alberto Masi, Faliero's son, still hand-makes the traditional Masi frames in the shadow of the Vigorelli Velodrome in Milan. Unfortunately, these frames - due the licensing of the Masi name to Haro - are not sold in the U.S. under the Masi name. Instead, these frames are sold in the U.S. under the "Milano" name.10

    Merlin - see Litespeed.

    Olmo - Olmo is a prominent brand in Italy. Traditionally, Olmo has been made in Italy. I don't have any information on whether any models are made in Asia.

    Orbea - Orbea is one of the two large Spanish bicycle manufacturers. It is sort of like Spain's version of Trek or Schwinn. Bikes are produced in Spain and Asia. High-end carbon frames are made in Asia and "finished" (i.e., painted) in Spain.

    From Bicycle Retailer and Industry News:

    Orbea builds aluminum frames in-house. Carbon fiber frame production, which accounts for half of its road bikes, up from 20 percent just three years ago, is outsourced to such Chinese specialists as Martec.

    But unlike many bike makers who are content to tweak stock factory frames, Orbea does all of its carbon fiber frame design, engineering and prototyping in-house. It builds its own molds for new frames and assembles several dozen prototypes before handing off manufacturing instructions to China.

    "We need to keep and develop our own knowledge of composites and carbon fiber, and then to find someone who can work with us to build what we want them to build," Joseba Arizaga (Orbea's marketing manager) said. "We make the molds, the first frames, everything here in Orbea. Then, when we are ready to do mass production, we send the instructions to Asia." 11

    Pinarello - This Italian company has been producing world-class frames since the 1950's. Pinarello - along with Colnago and DeRosa - is one of the Italian "big three." You can visit their website, pinarello.com, for a nice history of the company.

    Some frames are now made in Taiwan, including the aluminum Galileo. I haven't been able to confirm this, but apparently the carbon frames are made in Asia then shipped to Italy for painting and assembly.

    Raleigh - A few years ago, the U.S. management team, headed by former Murray exec Bill Austin, bought Raleigh from its U.K. owners. Headquartered in Kent, Washington, production comes from Asia, with key suppliers being Kinesis and A-Pro.

    Schwinn - Schwinn was for many years the largest American brand. All bicycles were made domestically until the late 80's.

    In 1985, Schwinn management called mountain bikes a "fad" - oops.12 After two bankruptcies, Schwinn is now owned by Pacific, who also owns GT, Mongoose, and the Pacific (and some other brands). Pacific is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin.

    Under Pacific's ownership, the Schwinn brand is returning to prominence. Pacific sells more bicycles than any other brand in North America. However, that includes Pacific brands sold at WalMart, Target, etc.13

    The bikes sold in the U.S. are made in Asia, many by Giant.

    Scott USA - Scott got its start in Sun Valley, Idaho, when Ed Scott developed the first aluminum ski pole in 1958. In the 80's, Scott developed a bike line.

    Eventually, Scott pulled out of the U.S. market and focused on Europe, where Scott is headquartered.14

    After an absence of several years, Scott has returned to the U.S. market under the direction of Scott Montgomery of Cannondale fame. Although the company is headquartered in Switzerland, production comes from Asia, with key suppliers being Hodaka and Giant.

    Serotta - Serotta is a U.S. manufacturer of high-end bicycles. It competes with Seven and Waterford and is of similar size to Waterford.

    Seven - Seven is America's number one custom bicycle brand. Seven Cycles was founded by Rob Vandermark in early 1997.

    Rob, previously head of R&D at Merlin Metalworks, decided to branch out on his own and develop a company to build high-end titanium and steel frames. He also wanted to offer the rider custom geometry, without extra charges and long lead times. So Rob assembled a team of experienced craftspeople who all shared a common goal: To build the highest quality, most innovative frames, and therefore provide the cyclist with the best riding experience possible.

    All bikes are hand-made in Watertown, Massachusetts.

    Specialized - Started in 1974 by Mike Sinyard, Specialized has enjoyed a long-standing reputation for being a leading bicycle design and marketing company.

    Several years ago, Merida (a Taiwanese manufacturer) bought a substantial interest in Specialized. Although Specialized is still headquartered in California under the leadership of founder Mike Sinyard, all bikes are made in Asia. Key Asian suppliers are Merida, Ideal, and Giant.

    Time - Time produces what is arguably the most advanced carbon frame in the world and all frames are hand-made in France, even the entry level frames.

    Trek - It's hard to believe that America's largest bicycle brand had humble beginnings in a barn! Yet in 1976, Dick Burke - with an investment of $25,000 - started making bicycle frames in a little red barn near Madison, Wisconsin. By 1980, Trek built their first manufacturing plant in Wisconsin and the rest, as they say, is history!15

    After many years of making its own bicycles in the U.S., Trek moved entry and mid level bicycle manufacturing to Asia.

    In 1992, Trek introduced its proprietary OCLV carbon process (Optimum Compaction Low Void) which is still used in its handmade carbon frames. All OCLV carbon frames - road and mountain - are still made in Waterloo, Wisconsin. The all-carbon 5000 (which does not feature OCLV) is made in Asia.

    Worldwide, Trek is the second largest bicycle company after Giant (of the brands sold only in bicycle stores). They are one of the most sought-after brands by U.S. dealers because of their strong commitment to brick and mortar bicycle stores (i.e., the brand cannot be sold mail order or over the Internet) and because of their dealer-friendly policies.

    Trek owns (or licenses) Fisher, LeMond, Klein, and Bontrager.

    Tommasini - Tommasini is a small Italian frame builder in Grosseto, Italy, of similar size to Seven, Waterford, and Serotta. Much of Tommasini's production is exported out of Italy, with their largest markets being the U.S., Germany, and Japan. In September 2006, Irio Tommasini's nieces took over U.S. distribution and are relaunching the brand in the U.S.16

    Waterford - Waterford is America's number one steel custom bicycle brand. All bikes are hand-made in Waterford, Wisconsin.

    In the late 1970's, a young rider, designer and builder named Marc Muller was hired by the Schwinn Bicycle Company. He brought the experience and innovation from his own framebuilding enterprise and took charge of building the Paramounts, the dominant brand of American-build racing bicycles.

    In the early 1980's, Marc moved the Paramount factory to Waterford, Wisconsin and continued building elite bicycles and also created a cycling design laboratory.

    Marc and his staff introduced a number of key innovations including oversized tubing (one of the most significant advances in frame design), 26" wheels, cast-in cable guides and a patented full suspension system. These advances allowed them to design and build bikes for National and World champions such as Ned Overand, Marc Allen, Mike Engleman, Tom Prehn and many others.

    In 1993, Marc Muller and Richard Schwinn, great-grandson of Ignaz Schwinn, bought the Paramount factory and renamed it Waterford Precision Cycles.17

    Marc is now one of the most respected bike designers in the entire bicycle industry. And Waterford, with a one hundred year heritage in bicycle manufacturing, continues to make a winning, world class frames one at a time.

    Waterford is 90 minutes north of Chicago. If you visit Chicago, feel free to call for a factory tour.

    What have I missed? Let me know and I'll be happy to reply. Again, you may wish to consult Bicycle Retailer and Industry News' 2007 Factory and Suppliers Guide, published in their October 1, 2006, issue. The guide lists which factories the U.S. brands use for their manufacturing.


    1 http://www.grimaldi.se/org.html

    2 http://www.schwinnbike.com/heritage/

    3 http://www.cycleurope.com/ce_brands.html

    4 http://www.cyclingnews.com/tech.php?...ures/antipasto

    5 http://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/010...10.020.020.asp

    6 http://www.greglemond.com/aboutgreg.html

    7 http://www.scottusa.com/company/

    8 http://www.litespeed.com/2006/history.aspx

    9 http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniont...b15bicycl.html

    10 http://www.albertomasi.it/Inglese/Index.html

    11 Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, September 1, 2006, Basque Bike Makers (by Doug McClellan)

    12 http://www.schwinnbike.com/heritage/timeline.php

    13 http://www.pacificcycle.com/ourstory/

    14 http://www.scottusa.com/company/

    15 http://www.inc.com/magazine/20060701/qa-burke.html

    16 http://www.ridetommasini.com/aboutus.html

  28. #28
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  29. #29
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    For the above, Litespeed manufactured in Taiwan for several years, for those dreaded AN6 frames and miserably failed, with most of those frames failing under riders whom actually used them. It was so bad they canned the Al works for Litespeed brand and launched an ad campaign that all they do is Ti, but the damage to them was done, including their domestic Ti works quality.

  30. #30
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    I live in the province of Quebec, Canada, and Devinci's are welded 2.5hours drive from where I live, I've visited their factory before, very impressive to see.

  31. #31
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    Only the mid to upper level devinci's are welded in quebec, the lower rank models are asian. Its just not cost effective on $500 pricepoint bikes to weld them in canada.
    I don't post to generate business for myself or make like I'm better than sliced bread

  32. #32
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    Well that was a depressing post to read. Thanks SublimeJason hah. Wish I could throw the huge amounts of money i'd ever think about putting into a bike back into American economy but I guess that's not very possible. Sickening to see stuff like "started in a barn" "based in Calfornia" and all that to only later see "...manufacturing moved to Asia." Beh.

  33. #33
    Riiiiiide...
    Reputation: PsyCro's Avatar
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    Why do folks get all up and bothered over this stuff?? America is the home of mass production and capitalism. Guess what, capitalism comes first, it always has. So the whole 'asian bikes' thing isnt even the slightest bit suprising. I could probably go on and on but then this would be a post for F88.

  34. #34
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    Suprising or not it is still dissapointing. I'd rather less money going to CEO's and bigwigs of bike companies and more going to American workers. Now I pay the same price for bikes that aren't built any better than bikes made here. They're made cheaper so the money goes overseas away from our economy and bam the owners of the company make even more money while not helping our economy as much as they could.

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