End of an Era: Serotta Closes Its Doors.

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Is it possible for a company to produce American-made bikes anymore?    Serotta has been making bikes in America since 1972, specializing in custom Ti and carbon frames, but found themselves unable to stay in the black without outsourcing production overseas.  Serotta has announced that they are closing their Saratoga Springs, NY factory once they finish their current orders.  They’ve already closed their California facility.  Serotta stuck to their roots, making everything in the U.S. as long as they could, but found themselves unable to pay their employees.  Serotta combined with Blue and Mad Fiber in June to create Divine Cycling Group and hopes the closing with be a temporary restructuring.

Comments

Sam - 08/03/13 - 8:04am

Very sad. Other companies seem to making it such as Moots. I bought an Ottrott in 2010 and love the bike. Smooth and fast.

Mike - 08/03/13 - 8:06am

The day of reckoning is coming fast in China. Keep the faith …

edge - 08/03/13 - 8:08am

Sad. I remember back in the early nineties when Serotta was a thing to lust after. Hope they make it back though I doubt they’ll be made in the US again.

bongwater - 08/03/13 - 8:09am

I’m not religious, but I’ll be praying for them.

Charlie Best - 08/03/13 - 8:47am

Damn!

Yetiman - 08/03/13 - 8:55am

@ Mike,

We need the money and investment from China. By the way, USA is still the largest economy in the world.

Max - 08/03/13 - 9:11am

It’s bad that such a company is used to shut down the business, but +8000$ for one Carbon frame+ fork ? Gosh, even fully custom carbon framesets made in europe are cheaper.

CXisfun - 08/03/13 - 10:00am

Why buy a MeiVici at $8300 when you can get an IF Corvid for $5500?

Matt - 08/03/13 - 10:11am

Make no mistake, this is an issue of mismanagement, not market pressures. The market won’t accept poor marketing and a lack of innovation. We’re experiencing the greatest boom in handmade American bicycles since the turn of the last century and the reality is that consumers looking for this type of bike are making other choices.

DDD - 08/03/13 - 10:19am

This One Can’t Be Blamed on China. Demand For High End Made In The USA Bikes Is Pretty Good Right Now. Brand Doesn’t Seem To Attract Interest As Much As Others.

JonDangerFTW - 08/03/13 - 11:23am

Ohh noooo!!! What are all the dentists and lawyers going to ride now?!?!

1Pro - 08/03/13 - 1:22pm

hey trucker, you are making assumptions. this has nothing to do with outsourcing or china. better you just stick to the press release.

this is totally an issue of bad management, bad decisions and HUGE egos.

Dan - 08/03/13 - 1:26pm

@Matt – You are 100% correct.

GG - 08/03/13 - 2:06pm

No dentist/doctor jokes yet? I’m shocked!

Jeff - 08/03/13 - 2:43pm

@Matt +2

eric - 08/03/13 - 3:11pm

first, will the price of ben’s custom bikes be more affordable now??? doubt it. everyone saw this coming! serotta’s pricepoint were much higher than the competition as well as using much outdated technology! Did I mention super poor customer service!

eric - 08/03/13 - 3:15pm

will the price come down as well? I highly doubt it! ben will most likely pocket it all!
we did see this coming, didn’t we? serrota’s price point was well more than the competition, while using very outdate tech. did I mention super poor customer service!!

Tim C - 08/03/13 - 3:45pm

What a shame ,built in America by Americans .As a bystander in 1972 living in Saratoga & contributed to Bens first frame jig , with another party ,we saw Ben go from strength to strength .All I can say is Ben don’t give up ,there is a huge re surgenge in steel lightweight frames .Check out Mercian / Brian Rourke etc , in the UK ,making some first class frames &,in lightweight stainless steel .Personally I ride a De Rosa , & have been cycling for 60 years .Will do my usual 50 miles tomorrow with “the over the hill gang ” ,[ all over 68 years ] . Keep the faith Ben ,nils corborundum illegitemi . Tim C .

Sevo - 08/03/13 - 5:07pm

Serrotta….a great name in American cycling, but also one I haven’t heard of in 9-10 years. That’s the problem here. Not quality. Not fit (they pioneered it). But they’ve been off the radar in the public eye. Don’t recall seeing them in any NAHBS coverage. Haven’t seen mention of “innovation” or unique features in 10 years.

Is this sad? Yes. But Serrotta has had an impecable run. Meantime however there are a dozen amazing builders every bit as good here in Colorado…..and pretty much every state. They all have their unique features. All can do same thing as Serrotta but at a lower price point in some cases.

I’d be truly sad if it weren’t for all the amazing builders coming up each year at NAHBS and various regional shows. Serrotta’s era there were truly only maybe 10 places in the country at his level. Hell, all the old 7-11 “huffy’s” were Serrottas…and beautiful machines. But it’s only the end of the era for one brand who’s had a glorious time building the ground work that now 100s of small framebuilders can be thankful for.

Luke - 08/03/13 - 6:40pm

Bummer!

I have a Serotta Couer D’acier that is my pride and joy. I never could have afforded one on my own, but it was a wonderful gift from friends and family after my first Serotta – an early eighties nova special – and also a gift from a stranger, was stolen from my bike shop.

Serotta may not have been THE industry tech leader, but they have made serious moves in the last few years to remain relevant and keep on top of tech.

- Partnering with Ford and rolling out the fully automated and computerized fit bike built into the ford flex van

-weaving their own carbon fiber in the US at their facilities.

- Conducting the Serotta International Cycling Science Symposium, bringing together heavyweights to teach and discuss the latest trends and developments.

I sincerely hope that we haven’t seen the last of the team at Serotta. The attention to detail, experience, and passion for their work is incredible. I hope to own a third some day.

MMyers - 08/03/13 - 7:29pm

@Sevo

That nit needs a pickin’

Andy Hampsten’s “Huffy” was a Landshark

Ajax - 08/03/13 - 8:05pm

Serotta was one bigger than Trek and Specialized. Their true downfall was not embracing Made in China as a legitimate and quality way of manufacturing. They were arrogant thinking their way was better than everyone else. Look at Trek and Specialized now.

harro - 08/04/13 - 3:52am

RIP overpriced 90s bikes

Afton - 08/04/13 - 8:59am

All you have to do is ride one to fully understand the legacy. There is magic in the tubes that comes from precision in everything they do. Ask anyone who’s ever had one custom made and they will tell you it’s by far their favorite bike of all times. Technology is a good thing, but it’s not the determining factor in making the perfect bike. Serotta equals perfection when it comes to craftsmanship.

MarkV - 08/04/13 - 2:41pm

A sad reality of great hand made product and no business or marketing skill or experience to promote and push the brand. Hey, Ben, let some passionate industry veterans in and you just might find your way out of this decades old Serotta pattern. As the old saying goes ” doing the same thing wrong, over and over, will never make it right or get you what you want!”.
BTW- I cherish my Yo Eddy and Ti Legend from you guys, I wish you luck!

jeronimo - 08/04/13 - 9:09pm

@MMeyers – Sevo is right. All of the Team 7-Eleven bikes were Serottas. Hampsten broke his and bought himself a Land Shark to replace it.

RickS - 08/04/13 - 9:58pm

It’s Obama’s fault. This should’ve been on Fox News by now.

Psi Squared - 08/04/13 - 11:26pm

Whatever the reasons for Serotta’s demise so far, I hope they can find a way to recover and re-emerge in a better position. Since I can’t do remote readings, I’m not going to pretend I know all the reasons for this happening.

il Bruce - 08/05/13 - 9:48am

Luke, you obviously doing something right to engender such kindnesses. Keep up the good work.

I still regret selling my early 80s Serotta Club Special.

Artie Fufkin - 08/05/13 - 11:24am

They shut down cause you can only make carbon bikes that look like they belong in the early 90s for so long, the whole custom aspect was just a tube to tube length selection process

Brandon - 08/05/13 - 11:39am

Matt is right. This company was poorly run and had a horrible time keeping up with demand. I sold (tried to sell) Serotta and we had constant problems with availability. We had more than one customer withdraw their order after months of waiting. Wonderful bikes. Just needed a competent COO.

misplaced - 08/05/13 - 12:41pm

Ben Serotta and Bill Watkins were both fired yesterday from the company Ben founded. Whats next??

misplaced - 08/05/13 - 12:47pm

Ben Serotta and Bill Watkins were fired yesterday from the company that Ben founded. Whats next

DaleC - 08/05/13 - 4:59pm

Serotta blaming China is like Ferrari blaming poor sales on Mustangs and Camaros.

The two buyers could not be more different.

I think a more likely cause is greatly increased competition made more widely known by the internet (and coverage of events like hand built bike shows) and some self-inflicted wounds by Serotta management.

Rain - 08/08/13 - 1:29pm

Bens early retirement notification:

Early last Sunday evening while stopped at the side of the road looking at a paper map with Marcie, thinking about where we should head to enjoy the remaining hours of a beautiful sunny, mid-summer evening, my cell phone rang and I instinctively answered it. One of the current company owners was on the other end and he coldly started, “I am terminating you. Your email password has been changed and your building access code has been deleted. You can arrange to get your personal things on Tuesday.” And with that (no cause was given, aka terminated without cause) my life at Serotta the company, came to an abrupt end.

By the next morning, Bill Watkins, the company’s CEO, whom I’ve viewed as the company’s long missing link- someone who had the skills to lead the business end of the business, while I focused on brand and product, had been given the same treatment. It was an absolute honor working with Bill and the loss of his leadership is a loss for the company.

wunnspeed - 08/13/13 - 2:40am

I was just thinking about Serotta they other day and wondering if they were still around. I remember when they were the hot bike to have in the late 90′s. Sad to see them go away… hopefully, they’ll find some funding to stay alive.

Susan - 09/02/13 - 11:18am

I absolutely love my Ti Serrotta Fierte! I am sad that they are closing their doors

Paulo - 09/08/13 - 8:53am

I have several handbuild bikes,. Seven, Parlee and a Serotta. I can guarantee that the Serotta is the best bike I ever had, but agree that the company had a great product but didn’t had a good managment and as the competition is fierce they lost their hand.

paul brennan - 12/09/13 - 1:07pm

Rumour has it 1 million a year salary was a drainon the company but new buyer/owner and rebranding now in place. Launch on the way under another famous brand

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