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IS THIS THE TRUTH about how bikes are made? kinda surprising(55 posts)

IS THIS THE TRUTH about how bikes are made? kinda surprisingeddie-new-2road
Aug 3, 2003 5:48 AM
I have been shopping hard for a quality road bike with Ultegra on my limited budget. Visiting stores and online sites. One seller sent me the following -- I am wondering how true is it?

"There is a simple truth about how most road bikes are built. However, dealers and brands try to hind this from customers.

Most Road Bikes sold in the USA are made in Taiwan by 'factories' which you have probably never heard of. Such as IDEAL who builds for Fuji, Trek, Motobecane, Terry,
and many others. Another common 'factory' is Merida who builds for the likes of Specialized, Jamis, Mercier, Felt, Bianchi, and many others.

What is interesting is that these 'factories' in most cases only do assembly. They buy everything on the bike from subcontractors who make assorted parts of the bike. Then the 'factory' just applies decals, assembles, and boxes the bike.

In the case of the frame, several frame shops in Taiwan build road frames for many high end brands. Frame builders like Kinesis, A-Pro, and Astro build frames for brands like Fuji, Trek, Motobecane, Specialized, Felt, Bianchi, LiteSpeed and dozens of others. In fact, several 'Italian' brands buy frames in Taiwan and ship them unpainted to Italy; then paint and decal them - mark them 'Made in Italy' and sell them for rather high prices.

The other important components on the bike are the same from brand to brand. That is Shimano pieces and so forth. And many times the 'branded' parts such as stems, bars, and even wheels are all made in the same factories in Taiwan. For example, Ritchey, VeloMax, Bontrager, American Classic, and many others have wheels built in Taiwan (including the rims and hubs and final assembly).

Rebranding is common in the bicycle industry (just like in most other consumer products - think of DVD players, TVs, and even shoes). So a smart consumer can get the best value by not paying much attention to the decal on the downtube - and focus on the bike, the fit, and the price."
re: IS THIS THE TRUTH about how bikes are made? kinda surprisingCalmedDownRonPruitt
Aug 3, 2003 6:07 AM
Most of your lesser frames are made amongst two or three different factories in China and Taiwan, and then they are slapped with the label of the kind of bike they are.
NOT surprising! some of best Frames and Bikes are from Taiwanwhit-such
Aug 3, 2003 6:19 AM
There are hundreds of examples of great frames (and bikes) built in Taiwan, from Felt, Specialized, Motobecane, Litespeed, and many others. PLUS this small Taiwan frame shops building for many (if not most) the top Italian brands

I think that most everything in the e-mail you got was correct. Certainly, most road bikes sold in the USA are made in Taiwan. And clearly most use the same components

focusing on the best deal is not bad advise
Try buying an AEGIS they're made in a small town in Mainemazobob
Aug 3, 2003 2:37 PM
They're have laid up carbon fiber that is laid up in molds, not tubing that is glued.

I own one and the quality is outstanding! I live in Wisconsin and they are better than the Trek for quality and service and best of all the dropouts(rear derailer ) can be replaced ! They bolt on ! Look at www.aegisbikes.com read the engineering section!
Bobster
Yeah but Aegis is muchoo bucks and reallyMrDan
Aug 4, 2003 7:30 AM
.... not what the post was about? My 2c.
-Dan
I was just as suprised to hear that, but it seems to be true...longhorn
Aug 3, 2003 6:39 AM
Apparently, the frame manufs are finding cheaper and higher quality tig welders to do the frame building in Taiwan.

Does anyone know if there is any truth to the rumor that Giant used to be one of these companies that built frames for other people?
I was just as suprised to hear that, but it seems to be true...CalmedDownRonPruitt
Aug 3, 2003 6:43 AM
Yes, from what I understand, Giant used to be just a manufactuer of frames before they started labeling them as their own. There was a story in Forbes about Giant not to long ago that mentioned that.
It's not a rumor,TJeanloz
Aug 3, 2003 6:45 AM
Giant is one of the "big three" of Asian bike manufacturers (the other two being Merida and Hodaka). Giant also owns a significant stake in Hodaka - they are uncontestably the biggest mid-range bicycle manufacturer in the world.
It's not a rumor,CalmedDownRonPruitt
Aug 3, 2003 6:49 AM
There should be no adjective describing how big they are, because they are the biggest in the world. Giant produces a crazy amount of bikes each year. I hear it is way over 2,000,000 bikes a year, but I can't verify that right now.
They are not the biggest in the world,TJeanloz
Aug 3, 2003 7:05 AM
Giant produces 2.8 million bicycles per year. Which is a lot. But it is still significantly smaller than Hero, an India based company that produces nearly 6 million bicycles per year. The difference is that Hero's best bikes might not be good enough for Wal-Mart. Giant is by far the biggest at the mid-level in quality, but Hero is much bigger on raw scale.
largest maker of high end bikes?DougSloan
Aug 3, 2003 10:48 AM
Of bikes over $2000, who would be the largest? Any idea?

Doug
I think Giant would still be the answer.Dutchy
Aug 3, 2003 5:13 PM
They do make millions of bikes and a small percentage of that would be their road bikes. I can only guess how many that would be.
A bike made in Italy, America or New Zealand isn't necessarily any better than a bike made in Taiwan. After all they are made by humans working in a factory, and I wouldn't believe that a factory in the Western world would be any more enjoyable to work in than one in Taiwan. They are only bikes, there's not that much to them.

CHEERS.

Mark
It's not completely false,TJeanloz
Aug 3, 2003 7:00 AM
The only points I would make to critique the above statement is that I'm not sure Taiwan produces MOST (i.e. >51%) road bikes sold in America. Certainly a significant percentage, but I'm not sure that it is that high.

The statement about the "factories" only doing assembly is sort of misleading. They don't start with the bauxite ore, alloy the aluminum, make the tubes, and on and on. They buy tubes from a tubing supplier (just like most manufacturers) and weld them together in-house. They really are welding and painting shops, which then assemble the components from Shimano (et.al.).

Also Merida not only builds for Specialized, but owns a controlling stake in Specialized. Ideal, I don't believe builds any road frames in Asia - the last I checked they specialized in higher-end mountain bikes in Taiwan, and build road bikes in Poland.

The conclusion is also a key fallicy in the statement. It is not true that because bike X and bike Y both came out of the same factory that they are equally as good. You can buy a $200 aluminum frame from Hodaka, and a $250 frame, with the same core tubeset, but with different quality specifications. Anybody who has done any work, regardless of industry, can tell you that they can do their job with differing degrees of quality - for different prices. It's the same in bicycles, tighter specs cost more. Also, Specialized may offer a lifetime warranty on a frame that Bianchi only offers a 3 year warranty on - even though the frames are identical. So the name on the downtube does have some importance, after all.

Lastly, as somebody who's seen a lot of both, I would say that quality and consistency of worksmanship on the best Taiwanese bikes exceeds that on the best Italian bikes, and this is especially true of re-branded "European" bikes.
True, but not surprising - TIG welding's no classified secretgeeker
Aug 3, 2003 7:02 AM
From ForbesCalmedDownRonPruitt
Aug 3, 2003 7:15 AM
"Keep it simple."
Russell Flannery, 10.29.01

King Liu has pursued a bigger share of bicycle market, without sacrificing profits.
In early September a thief walked up to the front of Zhou Zhiwu's apartment building in Shanghai and stole his wife's Giant-brand bicycle. The 36-year-old graphic designer says that he will "definitely" splurge on a replacement. "It worked great for eight years," he says, intently looking over a row of new bicycles in a Giant shop.

Such sentiments are music to the ears of King Liu, 67, Giant's founderand CEO, whose family owns about 40% of the shares in the company. Based in Taiwan and with a market capitalization of $227 million, Giant was set up in 1972 and did not begin to push into China until 20 years later. Now Giant claims to have the biggest share--though a mere 3%--of the world's largest bicycle market, with annual sales of 30 million. Liu is aiming for 10% by the end of 2008.

In a highly fragmented industry, Giant is among the biggest makers of bikes in the rest of the world, too. Its $425 million in total sales puts it ahead of the 12-month sales pace of Huffy, in Ohio, which sells its clunky bikes through mass-market discounters. Giant, battling instead the better brands, relies on cycle shops to get U.S. customers to fork over the $200 to $4,000 its wares cost.

Despite cutthroat competition in the industry, Giant manages respectable earnings. Net profit last year increased 57%, to a record $25 million. (Its Taiwan-traded shares go for about ten times projected 2001 earnings, roughly half that market's average.) Giant paid a cash dividend (yield: about 2%) each of the past two years and hasn't hit investors with a cash call since 1995.

This year looked tougher even before Sept. 11, but Giant should still be profitable. By contrast, Schwinn/GT sold its cycle business out of bankruptcy to Pacific Cycle, based in Wisconsin, for $86 million in September. Also in bankruptcy is Derby Cycle of Kent, Washington (its brands are Raleigh and Diamondback). In September Huffy said that it expected to post a loss for the third quarter of 2001 but may break even for the 12-month period. "Giant is hitting a bump this year, but it's still a standout in its industry," says Vincent Lai, a fund manager in Taiwan. Liu has no plans to buy ailing rivals or add new marques. "We want to keep things simple and just build up our own brand," he says.

Giant got its start two decades ago as a supplier to Schwinn. Today, however, two thirds of Giant's sales come from its own brands (the other third is from contract manufacturing). Giant is No. 1 in Taiwan and claims to be No. 3 in Europe and the U.S. And at a time when global investors are clamoring for access to China's growing economy, consider this: As much as half of Giant's profit last year came from its operations in the mainland.

The driving force at Giant is Liu, who was born when the island was a Japanese colony--a 50-year period that ended in 1945. Lanky and white-haired, he speaks Japanese fluently. Liu's interest is metal bending, rather than finance or electronics, the passion of many younger Taiwan entrepreneurs these days.

Working closely with the likes of Shimano, the Japanese gearmaker, Giant and other Taiwan makers turned the island into the world's top exporter of bicycles in the 1980s. But rising costs and the appeal of China's big market have pushed manufacturers to invest on the mainland, Giant included. "A lot of the competition there has actually been companies backed by Taiwan. It's just that they're over in China now," says Liu, seated in a corporate meeting room in front of photos of racing bicycles.

Giant set up a wholly owned subsidiary, Giant (China), there in 1992 and cemented its position by forming a joint venture with Phoenix, one of the mainland's largest bicycle makers. Giant completed a factory in the Netherlands in 1996 and has a design team in Los Angeles. But i
A lot of carbon components are also made in AsiaDave Hickey
Aug 3, 2003 7:51 AM
Advanced Composites and Martec are two large manufacturers of carbon frames and components. They've been making carbon parts for years and they're quality is quite good.
Companies such as LOOK sourced their lower end frames from Asia. I have both Asian and French made LOOK's and there is no difference in quality, finish, etc....

When you think about it, would you rather have a carbon fork from an Asian company that has years of experience working in carbon or a American/European company trying to cash in on carbons popularity?
Not to be arguementative but so what?Sprint-Nick
Aug 3, 2003 8:00 AM
Most people in the world buy electronics, running shoes, clothes, and almost anything else you can imagine that is built overseas. And for the most part, my humble opinion is, it works just as well as stuff made in North America. The only difference is 1) it promotes trade; why hoard all the wealth in one country? and 2) it tends to be cheaper.

When it comes to bikes I don't think its any different. If you want Campy you pay more for it whereas Shimano is cheaper while still being high quality. So when we talk about bike frames that all for the most part have lifetime warranties where is the problem in them being made in Asia? As another person said... tig welding isn't a secret.

Cheers,
Nick
AlsoSpoke Wrench
Aug 3, 2003 9:18 AM
Just because two sdimilar products are manufactured in the same plant doesn't mean they are identical.
I don't really care either way, just curious...longhorn
Aug 3, 2003 10:39 AM
I just found it interesting that these Italian companies sell the idea that you're getting a classic Ital. bike, when really it could be coming from several different parts. I say, if you like the ride and the price, who cares? I'm a little more particular about some things...so I can understand that there are some people that HAVE to know where exactly their ride came from.
Its an interesting pointSprint-Nick
Aug 3, 2003 11:40 AM
Sorry I wasn't trying to take a jab at you. My point was more just say that it really doesn't make a difference where the bike is made. But your right its interesting to know how companies label their product... in the end though it matters more about how you like the ride and the price.

Cheers,
Nick
distinguish between low end frames and high end framesFORT-Cyclist
Aug 3, 2003 9:07 AM
bianchi's low end frames are not made in their factory but their more expensive frames are.
I think it's the same with many other renowned brands.
how would you explain the very long (up to 6 months)waiting times for high end frames especially of italian brands (pinarello, deRosa, colnago)?

at least I know where my frame comes from.
distinguish between low end frames and high end framesHeron Todd
Aug 3, 2003 9:47 AM
>at least I know where my frame comes from.

Which frame is that?

Todd Kuzma
Heron Bicycles
Tullio's Big Dog Cyclery
LaSalle, IL 815-223-1776
http://www.heronbicycles.com
http://www.tullios.com
FORT Ro.ZonaFORT-Cyclist
Aug 3, 2003 10:20 AM
constructed by FORT.
tube set selected by FORT.
welded at FORT's.

it even got a FORT - Label on it.
good, eh?

http://www.fortframes.com/html/about.htm
distinguish between low end frames and high end framesRoadi
Aug 3, 2003 9:49 AM
True, there was no secret where my Peloton came from when it had a huge "Made in Taiwan" sticker on it...
re: IS THIS THE TRUTH about how bikes are made? kinda surprisingHeron Todd
Aug 3, 2003 9:46 AM
This all implies that the frames are identical in specification and quality. That is simply not true. There is no "generic" frame that gets slapped with different decals for different brands. Generally, the brand company designs the frame, and the factory builds to that brand's specs.

Todd Kuzma
Heron Bicycles
LaSalle, IL 815-223-1776
http://www.heronbicycles.com
Clear rebranding example: Ritchey & BBB stems...The The
Aug 3, 2003 10:05 AM
Ritchey and BBB sell stems that are incredibly similar, except for the name stamped on the side. I have heard that the same factory makes both.

Truth or fiction? I'd say truth...
True for many companies, but not all.slide13
Aug 3, 2003 1:28 PM
I know that is true for many companies, but not all. All but Trek's lowest end bike frames are made in Wisconsin as well as most of the Kleins, Lemonds and Fishers. The do outsource some of the low end ones to keep costs competitive, but the majority of the bikes are welded in Treks own factory here in the US.

It really doesn't matter that much as far as quality goes. I work at a LBS that deals in Trek and Giant, both produce excellent quality frames regardless of where they are made. Just because a bike is made overseas doesn't make it any less of a quality product.

That being said, I do prefer to buy American made when I can and am happy to ride my Lemond that was welded up in Wi. Not because I beleive it is better that way, just because I like to support companies that continue to provide jobs for people in my country. Though I will admit...every now and then I'm very tempted by those Italian ones!
re: IS THIS THE TRUTH about how bikes are made? kinda surprisingaliensporebomb
Aug 3, 2003 1:46 PM
There was an interesting discussion in Mountain Bike magazine
about the Specialized Epic mountain bike (the one with the
unusual Fox Brain shock that has an inertia valve). The mag
had a sidebar that showed a Merida bike with a similar design
and Specialized supposedly swore up and down there was no
technology sharing but the magazine did point out that Merida
has a controlling interest in Specialized so they may have
been bound not to talk about it. I frankly thought the
Specialized design was more attractive but it was interesting
that this bike was for non-US countries only.
Different versions for different marketsorange_julius
Aug 3, 2003 2:57 PM
This sounds like the strategy of offering diffferent
versions of the "same" product to different markets
at different price points. Many companies make a cheaper
version of their products, of lower quality and/or lesser
features, for sale in less affluent markets.

Japanese companies made this famous, and they still do that
today. The Sony's that you buy in Japan will be more
expensive -- but has more features -- than the counterparts
offered for the US and other countries' markets.

If you want to be able to enter less affluent markets,
you have to be able to be competitive in that market.
The problem is that many of these "downgraded" products
end up back to the original market, via ebay or what have
you, and undercut the local sellers by significant
amounts.

Now with companies and manufacturers owning each other,
the picture is much more complicated. It seems logical
to me that if Specialized/Merida wants to make their
bikes competitive in the East Asian or East European
or whatever market, they may have to make sacrifices
in terms of quality and/or features. In my mind, companies
like Specialized and maybe also Trek and Giant are
really just licensing operations, kind of like McDonalds.
You can get McDonalds anywhere, with prices adapted to the
current market (otherwise, who would buy them?), where you
will get some basic features, but with different qualities
of service. In many third-world countries, McDonalds
can be considered quite fancy food, so if they don't adapt
their pricing, who would want to buy them?

In the 80s some economists proposed the "BigMac index",
i.e. the price of a BigMac in a country as an indicator
of the fair value of its currency. Maybe in a few years
we'll have a "Record index" or "Dura Ace index" ;-).
THANKS - I think this clearly answers my question -- seems easyeddie-new-2road
Aug 3, 2003 3:34 PM
I am looking for the best deal on an Ultegra Road bike -- and it seems clear that a quality bike with a 2.7 to 2.8 lb frame, carbon fork, full Ultegra, and brand name wheels, bar, stem, etc at $1000 brand new with warranty beats the same spec bike with different name for $1800.

of course, it makes you wonder. Who buys these $1800 or $2000 Ultegra bikes when there are so many deals on brand new Ultegra bikes at $1000 or so?

And maybe I have over shopped this purchase but after riding 5 different brands with this basic spec - I found they all rode the same to me and only one of the 5 was much lighter (and it was the least expensive one - go figure)

Seems clear to me however; that bicycles are not produced much different than other consumer product when you break it down.

thanks again for the help
USAHENRY K
Aug 3, 2003 4:47 PM
I for one would like to think that I help support American workers whenever I can. My Klein and my Litespeed both are stamped "Made in America" and I am proud of that! I also haul them in my American made Ford and I am proud of that also. Why not but American? Just think how many more jobs we would have in this country if more of us bought American manufactured products!!!
USA. I am with your, but...c722061
Aug 3, 2003 6:44 PM
Your Ford is not 100% made in USA as it used to years ago. "Made in USA" sometimes means assembled in USA.
Thats why you have to buy classic...SenorPedro
Aug 4, 2003 12:55 AM
My '65 Dodge Dart is 100% motown iron and is still running strong, my 3 handlugged treks are straight out of WI, and my 2000 Klein comes from the skilled laborers of my own state of WA.

You just need to look in the right places, can't get an all American car? Buy a Harley. Can't find an American bike? Try Soulcraft, Moots, LiteSpeed, IF, Aegis, Sycip, Seven, Landshark, and many many more independent frame manufacturers.

God Bless America.
Interesting article from Chris King.......it's up to youDaveLobster
Aug 3, 2003 5:55 PM
The Chris King web site has an interesting article on this topic at: http://www.chrisking.com/asiamfg/index.html.

What is basically boils down to is that it is your choice.

If you want the best price, you will probably end up with Asian parts. On the other hand, King Headsets, White Industries Hubs, Thomson Seatposts, etc, are all made in the US and regarded as best in their class. I have purchased all of these items, and being American made did sway the decision.

There are plenty of American made frames and components if you know where to look.

If you don't know where the item is made, and you care, just ask. There are a lot of American companies that manufacture in Asia, or some products here and others overseas. For instance, I was considering a Kestrel carbon bar, so I e-mailed to find out where it was made. I got my answer back the same day (China). No big deal, but now I know.
The "MADE IN USA" Group is so misguided and ill-informedwhit-such
Aug 4, 2003 3:53 AM
The reason we enjoy such a high standard of living is free trade. And free trade and our economy depend on each consumer buying the best item for the money that they can get (see Adam Smith)

And we enjoy better jobs and more of them by trading with other countries and by improving those countries as we improve ourselves. Taiwan is a Great example - we have built them into a great nation by buying their products. And in turn they spend those dollars we send them on Airplanes, Travel, Software, Entertainment, and a host of other products/services that we provide (and which provide us with ever improving jobs)

The best thing for our country and for each family is for everyone to buy the best deal they can find. And of course - to vote against any backward politician who wants to drag us back to the sick economy we suffered under when trade was restricted. THE CONCEPT THAT PURCHASING ONLY PRODUCTS FROM YOUR OWN COUNTRY HAS BEEN DEBUNKED and all economists understand that.

there are no closed ecomomies today that are productive and provide a high standard of living for their citizens

this may not be exactly on the topic of best deal on an Ultegra bike -- but certainly the buyer of the best deal does more to support the USA than someone who buys blindly
You are completely correct!geeker
Aug 4, 2003 6:21 AM
but people rarely listen to this argument. You might even get flamed. Good luck!
One anomaly I can think of: CannondaleMatno
Aug 4, 2003 3:42 AM
Made in the USA, top quality, and relatively cheap compared to other high-end bikes. Also come with lifetime frame warranty. Go figure...

Now I'm a big fan of Cannodale, but the fact that I'm American only sweetened the deal. I would never base a purchasing decision simply on where a product was manufactured. All I really care about is price and quality. (Not necessarily in that order). The only thing I have a problem with is stuff that's made in China. Of course, just about everything you buy these days has some connection to China, (You should have seen the look on my dad's face after he bought a genuine Touareg turban from a street trader in Timbuktu, then saw later that night that it had a "made in China" stamp on it!) but it still bugs me that we gave "most favored nation" trade status to a hardline communist country.
NOT REALLY - NOT MADE IN USA: Cannondalewhit-such
Aug 4, 2003 4:01 AM
the standard of "MADE IN USA" labeling is 98% USA content.
I think there is a site that explains this
www.madeinusa.com or org or something

No Cannondale is even close to that! In fact, they are under 50% USA content -- most are frame only as produced here.

And look what happened to them! Went Chapter 11; skipped out on debt; paid no taxes; and reorganized a company which will probably not make it in the long run.

And there is no level of Cannondale that equals the value you see in road bikes by Felt, Fuji, Motobecane, Trek, Specialized, Mercier, Bianchi, or a host of other brands

Buying a Cannondale does not support America - if anything it undermines it
You're talking out of your posteriorotiebob
Aug 4, 2003 7:02 AM
Yours is the most specious, illogical post I've ever read on this forum, and believe me, that is some feat.

Cannondale frames ARE US designed and made. Of course the drivetrain and components aren't US-made. That is reality for ALL manufacturers.

Cannondale went chapter 11 because of their motorcycle division. Their bicycle sales have always been good and were not the cause of the Chapter 11. They sold the motorcycle division and are back focusing solely on bikes.

As for your claim about level of value, the Cannondale CAAD7 is a superior product to generic 7005 aluminum mail order bikes (Motobecane and Mercier) due to better grade aluminum, lighter weight, more heavily maniupulated tubing, etc., and is certainly comparable to the best products from Bianchi, Trek, Specialized, etc.

Mercier and motobecane? Are you kidding me? Sure, Mercier was once a good product but what is "mercier" now is just generic Taiwanese frames of very average quality with staid and heavy tube design - nothing special. Motobecane uses Kinesis frames that are fine but not remarkable in any sense (no shaping/extensive butting, etc.). Neither of these products has anything to do with the original "Mercier" and "Motobecane" name and are not in the same class as the best from Cannondale, Specialized, Trek, Bianchi, etc.

Finally, your assertion that buying Cannondale undermines the US is unfounded. Bicycles are a ridiculously small precentage of GDP. Whether you choose to buy or not buy a Cannondale will not greatly support or undermine the US economy.

Please look at manufacturer's sites, magazine reviews, and reviews on this site to confirm that you're misled at best...
You should become more well informed -- before commentingwhit-such
Aug 4, 2003 8:01 AM
Mercier steel frames are made by A-Pro -- who also builds frames for Fuji, Litespeed, and Bianchi. If you think they 'contract' to build high grade for some brands and low for others - you just do not understand Taiwan Frame shops.

Motobecane Kinesis frames with Kinesium are some of the best frames made -- Felt has the same frames with different decals. Specialized, Santa Cruz, Kona, and others all use these frames - some customers prefer it I guess if they say
"Exclusive Tubing X" on it.

My point on Cannondale; which I mat have worded poorly; is that no Cannondale would come close to passing the NAFTA test of 50% north Amercian content - mush less the US standard on claiming "Made In USA" which 98% USA content.
So no Cannondale is "Made in USA" -- under any legal definition - just aseembled here. (as far as "designed" in USA goes that is a somewhat hollow term - as it applies to most everything sold here)

As far helping the economy, I am just saying that currently accepted ecomonic theory is that consumers help the economy best by buying the best deal they can get. If you think a 21 pound Cannondale with Tiagra is a better deal at the same money as a 17 lb Fuji with Ultegra - by all means - buy it.
taiwan factories, or any factory for that matter..rufus
Aug 4, 2003 8:26 AM
will contract out to build whatever the vendor wishes to have built. if one company wants his frames made out of a cheaper grade aluminum, or straight guage instead of butted tubes, they will build it.

these companies will design a bike frame, from type of tubing used, to geometry, and then find someone to build it. specialized, or litespeed may demand a higher quality of material, thinner walled and butted aluminum, than some other company. but the same factory can build both frames. it's just that some may be built to more exacting, higher quality, standards than others. and there's where your difference between frames lies. it's not the construction, but in the design and the materials used.
very good point - tubing and design are the question not qualitywhit-such
Aug 4, 2003 8:54 AM
when you have A-Pro build 4 brands of frames with Reynolds 853 tubing - if they all use the same geometry - they will all be the same - ride and quality

my point is; there is no "A" line and "B" line
where shops do good work on Motobecanes and Crap on Specialized and medium on Felt. Quality of consyruction is the same

and if you look at 6 Aluminum frames - that all weigh 2.7 lbs and came from the same shop - good bet they used the same tubing
You should become more well informed -- before commentingotiebob
Aug 5, 2003 6:41 AM
What is "value" for you is not universally valid. I buy frames and build bikes myself, so to me a Cannondale CAAD5-7 is a better value frame than some of the frames you mention above because it has been raced, and raced, and raced, and has proven to be a winning design. Whether or not Motobecane makes a great racing frame, I can't know because NO ONE rides them.

Moreover, you sound suspiciously like someone who works for www.bikesdirect.com - you keep mentioning Mercier, Motobecane, and Fuji. See the following link:

http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/road_bikes.htm

Perhaps your concern for the US economy comes from your concern for your own PERSONAL economy. By the way, the specs. on the Merciers are chintzy and nice seats too (ha).

Glad you feel the need to shout "motobecaneMercierFuji" from the hilltop. I don't mind paying a little more for a frameset welded in the US, from a company that has a history of sponsoring cycling teams all over from amateur to pro. What does Motobecane give to cycling? How are they sponsoring racing or grassroots cycling programs?

Don't even consider resell value - A Motobecane will not retain resale as much as other high-end brand frames and maybe that may have "value" to someone. Suppose your new Mercier is defective, who actually is "Mercier," and how does one return a bike - certainly not at a local shop. No shop in my town sells these "great" products. Surely you're aghast, but its true.

Ultimately, one man's sense of "value" means nothing to another. Happy sales on Mercbefucanes, or whatever...
You should become more well informed -- before commentingHENRY K
Aug 5, 2003 10:09 AM
EXCELLENT!
You should become more well informed --AGAIN!whit-such
Aug 5, 2003 2:10 PM
you seem commently ill informed ~ and you must fear something that has to do with on-line sellers - Maybe you are a bike dealer - maybe a Cannondale dealer.

I am not pushing any brand - I am just stating that I feel the best deals are gotten by those who know what they are buying. In my area (where there are Motobecane, Specialized, Fuji, Mercier, Trek, Cannondale dealers) - the best deal right now is a Felt that a local LBS is selling for $1000 with Ultegra.

And I do not care if the Felt has ever been raced - all I know is - If I needed a good Ultegra bike (which I do not) I would buy the Felt (without consideration of where it was made - since it is a steal

And my other point is on the effect of trade on the ecomony - but some people do not get that - luckily most do
You should learn to defend your point, if you actually have oneotiebob
Aug 6, 2003 6:41 AM
That you can neither explain yourself adequately or accurately is not my responsibility. That you fail to address a single question posited (ie. resale, warranty, racing/grassroots sponsorship, et al.) makes me think you have an opinion and not much substance to back it.

That your perception of "value" is highly subjective and not shared by all is something you seem unable to accept.

Your overgeneralizations on the principles of Adam Smith aside, you made the assertion that it is hurtful to the economy to purchase Cannondales because in your opinion they are not the most competitively priced bicycle. So I shouldn't buy a Mercedes when I can buy a Lexus for less and this will save capitalism and the US economy? Rudimentary and miasmic economic generalizations do not a sound theory make.

So we can end this post with the understanding that what you value is highly different from what I, or others value, in a bicycle.

When there are no US based cycling companies because they've been undersold by the Motobecanes of the world, and subsequently, there are no cycling events, camps, etc. sponsored by Trek or Cannondale, for example, I'm sure you can enjoy your non-participation in non-existent cycling events on your cheap labor, economy-saving (ha) motomercfubefelcane.

PS - "Commently" is a new word for me - as well as for The Oxford English Dictionary - how novel of you, will you be saving the language in addition to the economy with your rapier-sharp and reasoned decisionmaking?
and even in the old days, italian bikes.....rufus
Aug 4, 2003 7:09 AM
made by the bigger companies like colnago or bianchi, weren't necessarily made in their factories. they would make as many as they could themselves, and if they couldn't meet demand, would contract out to the hundreds of smaller italian frame builders in milan and elsewhere to build the rest.
EXACTLY CORRECT _ and even in the old days, italian bikes.....whit-such
Aug 4, 2003 8:09 AM
and today they contract those frames out to shops in Taiwan and just ship them back to Italy

And no one should care - since the frame tubes do not know who put them together -- and since there are good frame builders living all over
USA!HENRY K
Aug 4, 2003 2:36 PM
You (or we) should care if the company that used to employ your neighbor or your son or daughter, shuts down their US operation and starts importing from Taiwan. Tell me how that helps our country! I still say that the more that is manufactured in the US the more jobs we will have.

By the way our current President has netted the fewest jobs of any President since Truman.

I will continue to buy only US made bicycles. Not just US companies but, it must be stamped on the frame "Made in USA"

Does that make me a better person? I don't think so but, it is my choice and I for one like to keep as many jobs here as possible. This policy is not possible with all products but, the items that are still made here I will continue to support.
USA!Duc9
Aug 5, 2003 12:56 PM
I own a Cannondale. I bought it because I liked it more than other bikes and because it was made in the USA. To suggest that because a bike uses foreign parts makes it unAmerican doesn't make any sense. I can swap out all of the attached parts to the frame, and everyone will still recognize it as a Cannondale. Just like whatever you ride will still be whatever it is, until you replace the frame.

Economic theories that support buying overseas products only do so when the American equivalent is inferior. Cannondales (and higher end Treks made here) are as good as or better than their competitors. How many other American products can you say that about?
Lots and lotswhit-such
Aug 5, 2003 2:25 PM
Better is measure as a absolute
whereas better value is relative to price
on the value scale - and all the measures on which frame
is better are subjective

BUT there are lots of Amercian products that are better period - in an absolute sense and in value

software, higher education, entertainment, medical practice and equipment, many food products, airplanes, military equipment, and more to the point - modern economic thought!
USA leads is all these 'products'
if we do not lead in shoes, DVD players, and bike components
who cares
USA! - here's the problemwhit-such
Aug 5, 2003 2:18 PM
buying based on counrty of origin REDUCES jobs in this country - very ecomonist knows that - it just hasnt filtered down to the masses (due to misinformation by unions)

anyway, the country is clearly moving away from protectionism and towards a global market place - which will be good for everyone
USA! - here's the problemHENRY K
Aug 5, 2003 7:12 PM
Shoes? Have you ever had a pair of Wisconsin made Allen Edman's. I would match them up to any foreign shoes. I would also match up my "Union Made" in the United States Red Wing shoes up against any made overseas.

Let's see...Red Wings made in America by Union workers receiving a living wage with health benefits and retirement $125-$150 for their best shoes....$125-$150 Basketball shoes made in Taiwan sweatsops by 8 year olds...Tough choice:-(

PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!!!
USA! - yes proud and sanewhit-such
Aug 6, 2003 2:14 AM
of course we are proud to be Americans -- that does not mean we have to buy everything that is made here

Red Wing shoes? are you kidding? who wears whose and to do what in? (also note Basketball shoes are NOT made in Taiwan - Taiwan workers are too well paid to make shoes)

you are living in the past; which is fine ~~ but those of us that are going forward and shaping the economy want Americas to earn more than they can making shoes (or bike frames for that manner) We want an america full of high paid educated workers in safe & clean workplaces
(may sound like a crazy dream - but just watch as free trade increases our standard of living and level of employemnt - just as it has since right after WWII)
USA! -PROUDHENRY K
Aug 6, 2003 2:18 PM
Dream on!

Oh, by the way...I wear Red Wings.