View Full Version : Does the US Make Bikes

08-08-2007, 02:31 PM
I'm new to cycling. I was looking at buying a bike. I commented to the vendor they all say made in China. The vendor commented, they are all made in China. Does anyone see this as an issue? Does the US make a good bike? :(

08-08-2007, 03:08 PM
cannondale, felt, comotion, burley, vanilla, to name a few.

when will people recognise that everything they buy is likely to be manufactured outside of the US. why is that a surprise?

pick up "The World is Flat" by Tom Friedman and quit yer bitchin!

08-08-2007, 03:12 PM
I'm new to cycling. I was looking at buying a bike. I commented to the vendor they all say made in China. The vendor commented, they are all made in China. Does anyone see this as an issue? Does the US make a good bike? :(

Yes, there are a number of bikes made in the US.
The are generally on the higher end of the quality and price range. If you want inexpensive it's not likely to be made in the USA. Mostly high-end, hand-built frames with Japanese or Euro components.

rubbish heap
08-08-2007, 05:56 PM
felt = taiwan.

there are a few small custom framebuilders that are very famous making frames in the US. don walker, richard sachs, vanilla, etc. your best bet, if it's important that you have a "made in the us" bike, is to get it custom built ($$$). than put some phil wood / chris king / thomson components on it... but it'd be hard to make an entirely "made in the u.s.a." bike.

08-09-2007, 06:13 AM
Check out Ti Cycles. They're a Seattle-based, custom bike-building company that's been around since 1990. Very experienced.


08-09-2007, 07:57 AM
Waterfords are built in America. Also a few high-end Treks (like the Madone series, I believe) are still made domestically.

It's pretty difficult for a mass-produced bike manufacturer in America to compete with cheap foreign labor, given American's preference for low prices vs. a sustainable economy.

08-09-2007, 10:32 AM

Felt is made in Taiwan and Burley no longer makes bikes.


Trek does over half its business on U.S. built bikes. You only need to go up to a decent entry level bike to get a US built Trek. Also the savings to the industry on overseas builds are not gleaned from reduced hourly labor. The biggest savings are in the lax environmental regulations, non-existent labor laws, reduced insurance, and taxation. The shipping costs easily negate the labor savings.

Bikes made in the states are very easy to come by.

Cannondale, Lemond, Klein, Gary Fisher, Trek, Vanilla, Co-Motion, Santa Cruz, Waterford, Independent Fabrications, Seven, Serotta and plenty more.

Now if you are looking at the cheapest bike in the shop, then yep it will be made overseas.

08-09-2007, 01:20 PM
Don't neglect the value of a used bike as well. If you're trying to avoid a "made in China" label - what's your reason? There are a number of good reasons that I don't want to argue here. The point is that there are some great values out there in used bikes - including the great early U.S. made Treks and some of the old higher quality Schwinns - and by buying used you make a responsible choice to recycle and you usually know the money is going back into the local economy (if purchased locally like on Craigslist, consignment, or a garage sale).

I remember seeing Ivon Chouinard, the climbing pioneer and founder of Patagonia clothing, speak at the opening of the Portland store and he said that, while he was proud of Patagonia's quality, environmental record, and employee wages and benefits, he still thought the most responsible clothing purchase decision was to shop at Salvation Army.

I realize I digress, but I'd encourage bike shopping outside the box, so to speak.

For a good overview of the quality and craft that goes into some of the handbuilt custom frames out there, check the 20 framebuilder interviews (FBQ - for Framebuilder questioner) on the following site.

08-09-2007, 04:50 PM
It's pretty easy to find a bike that isn't made in China; it's more challenging (i.e., expensive!) to find one that's made in the US. Many bike frames ranging from low- to high-end are made in Taiwan; typically only low-end aluminum and some carbon frames are made in mainland China, at least so far. Most Shimano componentry is made in Taiwan; I think all the Campy stuff is actually made in Italy. Mavic wheels read "made in France," although it seems likely to me that the components are made in Taiwan and assembled in France.

My Klein frame says "made in USA," but the tubeset is made in Taiwan, cut to size, and then welded here in the US. I think you need to define exactly what your motivations are, then research accordingly. If it's about fair labor practices, a lot of Taiwanese shops are actually reasonably progressive to their employees. If it's about trade deficits, and you really need something made in the US, you're going to be spending a lot of money! But then maybe you can get a used bike, and you won't be contributing to trade deficits, since it's already been "paid for," and your money stays here....

Spoked N Stoked
08-09-2007, 08:07 PM
Shhh....it's the dirty little secret of the "green" bicycle industry. Most American consumers don't balk at paying $150 for a pair of Nike's but wonder why a bike costs more than $300. Unfortunately, the industry is guilty of chasing the lowest price point possible...whether that be fluctuating currency markets (wonder why all those Peugots came over in the early 80's?) or emerging labor markets (Japan...in the mid/late 80's) and now China and Taiwan. My only concern with the China trend is they have poor worker protections and a horrific environmental record.

Bikes are great, don't get me wrong. But sometimes I wonder if all of the potential for good in each 'Made in China' bicycle is actualized by the health, civic and environmental benefits of riding a bike. Portland, is obviously, an exception to the rule. Most bikes bought by Americans are gathering dust in a garage while the SUV gets driven every single day.