SRAM World Headquarters Tour

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

This unassuming building houses the world headquarters of SRAM and their World Bicycle Relief charity. From the outside, you’d never know it, and that’s intentional, as it’s really not set up to be a tourism destination for cyclists. That said, we still got the full tour of the offices, service area, testing and R&D and all the rest.

The Chicago, IL, location houses the operational side of the SRAM empire. Sales, marketing, some design and development, customer and retailer support, and World Bicycle Relief management are all housed on several floors of the building (other tenants occupy the space, too).

Come on in and have a look around, won’t you?

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

As with many cycling companies we’ve visited, SRAM occupies a renovated older factory building. It’s been thoroughly modernized with plenty of big windows, open ceilings and skylights and large rooms. And, as with any big company, you have lots of desks and cubicles. The nice thing about bicycle companies is those desks (and corridors, nooks, crannies and closets are often crammed full of bike parts. Above, at left is the WBR section. At right, the sales and marketing area. Behind me from the photo on the right is a small corner with various bits and pieces from past product development, like a staging of how their original Red Powerdome cassette is made:

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

Along another side of the building is the engineers’ desks. This is where product development for SRAM and Truvativ happens, mostly. Depending on the project, their European counterparts may lead the development (as was the case with XX1) if the US group is busy on another project. To the left is the work bench for actually putting things on bikes for testing:

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

And what better way to test things than to have an indoor test track! This runs around the central section of the office, which means visitors and anyone leaving the restroom should look both ways before exiting a room. It goes right by the conference rooms, too, which surely makes for some entertainment during meetings. Most of the conference rooms open up onto a balcony on the opposite side of the building from what’s shown here, and there’s a grill or two on the deck.

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

At the back of the engineer’s section are pin boards (you know, those things people used before Pinterest) with drawings, sketches and prototype renderings of projects past. And future. Oh, if you could see the other side of these boards…

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

Scattered around the office walls and halls are collections of products spanning SRAM’s history.

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

They have more derailleurs than you can imagine, including ones from other brands (click to enlarge) that go quite a ways back in time.

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

SRAM’s first three patents are on display, too. Now, they have hundreds.

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

There’s also a wall of jerseys from sponsored teams, many signed by famous (or infamous) cyclists.

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

And just for good measure, a collection of advertisements from across the years also adorn the walls.

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

Meanwhile, downstairs are the service reps. Each person rotates through working phone support and…

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

…working in a small service room in the back fixing parts. This ER room is where warranty work is done, and each dealer service rep does two-week stints between shifts answering phones. Only the more technical stuff like damper repairs are done onsite. Seal replacements and such are either done at the shop or through QBP. There’s a small warehouse onsite for parts, but their main warranty warehouse is in Indiana.

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

In addition to pretty much all of the latest gear, they have their own little museum of parts. SID shock, anyone? How ’bout a U-Turn shock? Or maybe some three-bolt brake rotors?

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

Employee perks include ample bike parking and a 75¢ beer vending machine. I know you’re wondering, so from the top: Heinekin, Fat Tire, Corona, Sam Adams Summer Ale, unknown, something with a goose on the logo Goose Island (thanks Robo!), and Stella Artois.

SRAM World Headquarters tour in Chicago IL

Throughout the office are some of the pART Project artist creations.

All in all, it’s a pretty cool work environment. They do have a machining room for creating prototype parts, but the person with access was out, so it was locked. If you’re interested in RockShox and Avid development, check out our factory tour of their Colorado Springs facility here.


Robo - 08/10/12 - 2:23pm

“something with a goose on the logo”

Goose Island! Local brew. good stuff. Nice write up.

Grafton - 08/10/12 - 4:11pm

What does alkoholic bewerages has to do with cycling?

Sram promotes drunk cycling?!

tae - 08/10/12 - 4:30pm

“Something with a good on the logo”

That’s the last straw.

silverlining - 08/10/12 - 4:47pm

You should update this great inside look at SRAM with a visit to the new Colorado Springs CO location. It’s nice too!

Topmounter - 08/10/12 - 5:03pm

That is one very confused Coke-Pepsi-Beer machine.

Topmounter - 08/10/12 - 5:06pm

Oh and adding a beer reference makes you one of the cool kids. As big a fan of beer as I am, the “OMG BEER” novelty does wear thin (probably has something to do with age).

Devin - 08/10/12 - 7:33pm

Jeeeeeeeeeezus, what a bunch of killjoys. Hmm, no “OMG BEER!!!” that I can see, just a mention of employee perks that adds a little flavor to the mix.

PS- their offering cheap beer to the employees is not the same as encouraging drunk cycling. Many people enjoy a cold beer at the end of the workday, it can be a nice bonding experience for a large group of employees who might not have much contact with each other otherwise.

Bike Rumor- you guys (and gals) are great, keep up the good work.

pfs - 08/11/12 - 12:01am

At my office we have a multi tap kegarator that is always stocked and free. I’m not sure that makes anyone an alcoholic, its just common place in the bike industry. Bikes and beer mix well.

Tyler (Editor) - 08/11/12 - 3:57pm

silverlining – we’d love to, next time we’re out that way we’ll definitely swing by!

spokejunky - 08/13/12 - 9:13am

$.75/beer? I sweep floors really good, SRAM.

Hungry4Shht - 08/13/12 - 3:18pm

Hawley’s Service Center also does a boat load of SRAM and RockShox warranty and service work, usually with a better turn around and customer service. We use them exclusively at our shop.

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