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Perhaps we should not expect cycling goods to be any different to other consumer products that rely on OEMs for much of the manufacturing but few are aware of the actual companies and workers who made your bike.Its interesting how bike snobs often deride the Asian brands (incl.Some bargains can involve products rejected by the factory quality control, for example a frame that emerges with a defect should get crushed to dust but “entrepreneurial” workers could sneak these out of the factory gates and sell them online. You can fake fashionable jeans and handbags out of denim and leather with relative ease in a sweatshop but a frame is something else, you still need the composite materials and the sophisticated machinery.My guess is that the fakes are being made in the same factory as the genuine products but on the sly, either by the factory owner for extra income or by employees when the boss isn’t looking; or using old molds no longer in use in the plant. Indeed the price you pay in the shop or online for the finished goods are not the cost of the frame, you are paying several people along the length of the supply chain, you’re repaying the marketing budget used to fund the pro team and there’s a down-payment on future support in case something breaks when you’re “just riding along”.Many companies still make their own frames but the majority of 2012 Pro Tour team bikes are made by OEMs.Make no mistake, the frames used for the 2008 Tour de France were premium products requiring sophisticated design, but still they were all made under the same roof by a company you probably hadn’t heard of.
Taking the quote above we can see how the OEM in Asia works to the specification of a more well-known brand.
One issue specific to the cycle trade is the bulk of the product, unlike, say, Apple with its tiny phones which can be stacked in their thousands into a cardboard box, a bike or a frame takes up a single box and so shipping costs are an important element of the bike trade. For me the auto sector is a good example because the name on the outside isn’t that helpful.
The design can be done in house but often consultancies are hired to provide advice on market trends or aerodynamics.
There wasn’t room to fit the picture on the page but Colnago frames are made there too. First manufacturing started in Taiwan but in recent years this has moved to China because of cheaper operating costs, mainly labour.
But Europe levies import duties on Chinese bicycles so production is now moving to other areas, notably Vietnam and Thailand.