Posts in the category Factory Tour

Fox Factory Tour Part 2: The Assembly Line

Fox US Factory Production (9)

After components are produced at Fox’s California based machine shop, the parts are sent out for anodization (either locally or to Japan), then shipped to the Fox assembly facility in a small town just South of Santa Cruz, CA. 

As these components arrive from all corners of the world, random samples are pulled for inspection and walked directly from the receiving area and into the Quality Lab.

In addition to testing individual components, they also pull sub-assemblies to ensure parts are fitting together properly and double check for wear on tooling.

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Fox Factory Tour Part 1: Headquarters & Machine Shop

Fox Factory Tour HQ

Glancing at the modern carbon wonder bike, there are few if any parts that are still made here in the United States. Among those items are usually things like pedals or chain rings, but surprisingly enough, Fox produces its golden coated bits in the golden state.

The company is headquartered in Scotts Valley, California, a small town just outside of Santa Cruz proper, that can claim its fair share of epic road rides, mountain bike trails, and old growth redwoods. We recently visited their facility to check out their production setup…  READ MORE ->

Factory Tour: Pivot Turns out Prototypes and Assembled Bikes in Tempe, AZ

Pivot factory tour bikerumor (24)

Looking back, it’s almost hard to believe that Pivot has been around for less than 10 years. After a surprise launch at Interbike in 2007, in the words of founder Chris Cocalis, the brand has seen hugely exponential growth in a very short period of time. Compared to two other brands launched that very same year (Tomac and Corsair Bikes), Pivot has manufactured their own success through extremely tight tolerances.

Of course, that’s no accident. Pivot is far from Chris’ first venture into the bike business. While many may know Cocalis from Titus, his roots go even deeper back to the days of the Sun Eagle Bicycle Works Talon. Cofounded with Allen Vaughn in 1988, Sun Eagle was the result of Chris’s BMX background and desire to build bikes at the end of his freshman year of college. After Vaugn taught Cocalis to braze, the first Sun Eagle Talon was born. The company would only make around 20 of the frames, but it was enough to be named one of the “Bikes of the future” in 1988 by Mountain Bike Action.

Little did everyone know that Cocalis really would go on to create the bikes of the future…

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Interview: Todd Ingermanson of Black Cat Bicycles

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Compelled by his desire for a custom 29er singlespeed, Todd Ingermanson took up the torch 13 years ago to attempt to build his own. After several years apprenticing with Rick Hunter, he broke out on his own with Black Cat Bicycles and is now building and hand-painting custom to order frames out of his home workshop.

There are two very striking things about Todd’s shop, one being its scale and efficiency. There is no redundancy in machinery; there is a single very nice manual mill, a lathe, and a welding cart. It’s very clean. Everything that isn’t a machine is on wheels. It’s evident that this level of refinement is driven by the second very striking aspect of his operation: its location perched on the side of an extremely steep incline in Aptos, California (my rental car struggled to get up to it). During my visit, Todd and I spoke about his operation, his approach to frame-building, and his Manifesto.

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Interview / Factory Tour: Zen Fabrications with David Woronets

Zen fab factory

David Woronets joined the industry in a way a lot of ex-elite racers have: he needed a winter job. But unlike a lot of those ex-racers, David found himself compelled by manufacturing and development of the physical product. After moving around the industry and after working for Elsworth for several years, David saw an opportunity for a job shop model of domestic manufacturing and jumped at it.

Five years after purchasing equipment from Elsworth, David and his team have established Zen as a viable alternative to overseas manufacturing. At NAHBS this year, Zen released their full line of house product, realizing a long desire of David’s to produce his own product… READ MORE ->

Hayes Factory Tour Part 1: HB Performance Systems’ Mequon Wisconsin Headquarters

Hayes Factory Tour Wisconsin Sun Ringle Wheelsmith Spokes bicycle harley polaris arctic cat (59)

Hayes Factory Tour Wisconsin Sun Ringle Wheelsmith Spokes bicycle harley polaris arctic cat (58)

In a state that consists largely of farmlands and agriculture, Milwaukee remains a stronghold of US-based manufacturing stalwarts. Unlike many manufacturing cities in the US, much of the Milwaukee-based manufacturing firms have managed to weather the storm of an uncertain economy. Few exemplify that better then HB performance systems – or what we all know as the Hayes Bicycle Group. As a company that was started in the 40s by Harold Hollnagel making parts for outboard motors as H-H Products, today Hayes makes a lot of parts for what many would consider pleasure vehicles like bicycles, four wheelers, snowmobiles, and motorcycles. As you can imagine when the economy takes a hit those types of recreational vehicles are among the first to take a hit as well.

Fortunately, HB performance systems is alive and well – illustrated by the sprawling 160,000 square-foot facility in Mequon, Wisconsin and their sister operation, Sun Components, just down the road. Currently a multi million dollar conglomerate, the bicycle side of HB Performance Systems accounts for almost 40% of their total business. In the year 2000, the bicycle group became Hayes Bicycle which is part of 4 independent business units reporting to the same leadership among HB Performance Systems. Today the company is relying on their business practices and thorough quality control system to be a product based company that offers both quality and value across the line…

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Sneak Peek: The Marin Museum of Bicycling and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame Opens June 6th

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The answer to the question of where mountain biking was actually invented is probably one of those that depends on who you ask. Even if you refuse to call Marin, CA the birthplace of mountain biking, the area’s history with the sport is undeniable. Some of the very first mountain bikes, or more appropriately klunkers, were raced up and down the legendary Repack road giving rise to the Repack downhill. Taking pre-war beach cruisers and modifying them with knobby-er tires, different forks, and more robust brakes, the cast of the Marin mountain bike scene included some of today’s biggest names in mountain biking – Joe Breeze, Gary Fisher, Otis Guy the list goes on and on.

It’s fitting then that the newest addition to the streets of Fairfax includes the new Marin Museum of Bicycling and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Occupying the space of an old grocery store, the quaint setting is just a short ride from Repack and the heart of Marin.

Thanks to the work of Joe Breeze, Otis Guy, four other board members, and countless volunteers, their idea of a museum dedicated to the area’s rich mountain biking history is finally becoming a reality. Inside, the display includes three main components, one of which being the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Originally located in Crested Butte, CO and run by Don and Kay Cook, Joe approached them with the idea of relocating the HOF to Fairfax due to the increased traffic and proximity to the Bay area, and eventually they gave Joe and the team involved their blessing.

After months of hard work and donations, the new museum is just about to open its doors to the public. Until then, we have a little taste of the awesome machines you’ll find inside…

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Factory Tour: SRAM Taiwan Part 3 – SRAM’s Carbon Fiber Production, Truvativ, Chainrings and More

SRAM Taiwan Factory Tours Suspension Shifters Derialleurs Carbon production314

From the sparkly new to the well established,  SRAM’s roots in Taiwan run deep. Well, SRAM does have a long history of manufacturing on the island, but in this case a lot of that history belongs to Truvativ. After SRAM purchased the company in 2004, the facility remained and is now the hub of much of SRAM’s carbon fiber production. Of course many of the Truvativ products that are still being produced or have morphed into similar parts under the SRAM name are made here as well.

Jump inside for a quick spin through the facility…

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Factory Tour: SRAM Taiwan Part 2 – All New Asia Development Center

SRAM Taiwan Factory Tours Suspension Shifters Derialleurs Carbon production170

If factories are where bicycle components are born, then for SRAM, their Development Centers would be where products are finally conceived. Given SRAM’s global nature, new products could be developed in the U.S., Europe, or Asia, but most of them are now sent from the design centers to the new Asia Development center to undergo final testing and analysis. As it was explained to us, the ADC is specifically there as a bridge from the engineering side of the process to the manufacturing side.

After testing is complete, the products can then be transferred to the factories for full scale production. Having opened just before the Chinese New Year in 2014, the ADC illustrates SRAM’s commitment to Taiwanese manufacturing with a state of the art building that is just as impressive on the inside…

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