Posts in the category Factory Tour

Factory Tour: Hunter Cycles’ Santa Cruz Mountain Workshop

Hunter Cycles Factory Tour (17)Nestled deep in the coastal redwood forests of Northern California, acclaimed custom builder Rick Hunter quietly builds hand made bicycles for clients from around the world.

Starting with steel tubing, and dabbling in carbon, over the past twenty years he has created a reputation for clean lines and a unique aesthetic.

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Factory Tour: From Raw Metal to Finished Pedal, VP does it All

VP Components Modus Taiwan Factory Pedal Production Tour409

There are a number of things that come to mind when thinking about Taiwanese manufacturing in the bicycle industry. On the small island you’ll find every level of producer making complete bikes right down to the individual bolt. Much of the production is similar to what you would find in the US with companies getting a number of different parts from their suppliers and then assembling the final product on their own factory floor.

Then there are companies like VP Components. Where raw materials are swallowed up by the gargantuan facility only to be spit out as finished goods. VP may be a relatively new name to the US market on the consumer side, but if you’ve ridden bikes for any amount of time you have probably used their products without even knowing it. Situated as one of the largest suppliers of OEM headsets in the world, VP is also one of the last producers of high quality, inexpensive square taper bottom brackets. Oh, they played a big roll in the development of reliable methods to mass produce the ISIS BB standard in Taiwan as well.

All of the buildings on VP’s campus work together in harmony to fulfill VP’s specialty of one stop production. Their customers receive completely finished and packaged products that are ready for the store shelves, or to be assembled into bikes. Capable of producing up to a half million items in a single month, bottom brackets, headsets, and pedals all roll out of the facility on a regular basis. And yes, they have their own BMX track….

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SSC Tour: Inside the Mavic “La Maison Jaune”

Mavic Yellow House la maison juane california service center course (2)

You’ve seen them. The yellow chase vehicles and motorcycles carrying neutral support in the form of Mavic wheels have become a regular fixture in professional cycling. Since 1973 Mavic has been supporting professional cycling through their SSC (Special Service Course) after Mavic Chairman Bruno Gormand simply let someone borrow his car. That someone was a team manager during the 1972 Criterium du Dauphine Libere whose car had broken down. The loaner from Bruno meant he could finish the race, and the concept of neutral support was born. The following year the first yellow car was seen just ahead of the peloton during Paris-Nice, offering support to members of the breakaway.

Now, the Mavic SSC is expanding yet again with the introduction of the La Maison Jaune in Newbury Park, California. Serving as a home base for the American neutral support and as an event space for Mavic and their dealers, the Yellow House is the latest installment in a long history of cycling support.

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Factory Tour: Kali Protectives California Headquarters

Kali Warehouse (4)Located just a short drive outside of the Silicon Valley, Kali’s global HQ is housed in a nondescript warehouse in Morgan Hill, only a few blocks away from the Big S. Here in the shadow of thousands of boxed helmets is where products are conceived, designed, sold, and shipped.

In stark contrast to many facilities we have visited in the past, the Kali offices are a very simple affair, because their focus isn’t on impressing distributors, it’s on creating new safety products that are on the leading edge of innovation.

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Shop Tour: Chrome’s Portland Hub and #ChromeCustoms In-Store Bag Production

Chrome Customs Lara Kessler

Last year around this time we showed you the inner workings of Chrome’s US bag production in California. Now, 70% of their bags are sewn in the US. Chrome has taken it one step further with in store production.  You can customize one of their Mini-Metro, Citizen, or Barrage bags and have it sewn in store in just a matter of days. We recently had the chance to hang out at Chrome’s Portland hub and work up a custom bag sewn by Lara Kessler.

Thread the needle for details and images.

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Factory Tour: Inside Lezyne’s Impressive Taiwan Facility

Lezyne Taiwan Factory Tour Cedric Gracia Pumps New Product647

Since their beginnings in 2007, Lezyne has always been about design. Even the name Lezyne is supposed to bring the word design to mind (which is why they rhyme, it’s not pronounced le-zeen). Lezyne is the brain child of Micki Kozuschek, a former professional triathlete, who started on the business side of the bike industry with Maxcycles. From there, Micki moved to the US and founded a company you have have heard of, called Truvativ which as we know, was later sold to SRAM in 2004. Three years later, Micki was back with a new project, Lezyne – Engineered Design.

Based in the US with a headquarters in San Luis Obispo, CA, Lezyne doesn’t really see themselves as a US company necessarily, but an international company with a quickly growing facility in Taichung, Taiwan. On our recent trip to Taiwan for the Taipei show, we had a chance to ride the amazing High Speed Rail down to the manufacturing heart of the bicycle industry and to check out Lezyne’s facility first hand.

If you time your visit right, you may find yourself with a cappuccino made by the one and only, Cedric Gracia…

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Factory Tour: Foes Racing Part 2 – The Toys

Foes Custom Wheelchair with SuspensionDuring the first half of our factory tour of Foes Racing we showed you how the frames were constructed, so now we can a take a look at some of the other interesting projects nestled throughout the factory.

To give you some background, before Brent began building bicycles, he fabricated off road race trucks. So in addition to being a tremendously talented bike builder, he’s incredibly handy with a welder.

This experience is often sought after by members of the local community, and with the Foes Factory located so close to both Hollywood and a prestigious art school, there are always new projects on the horizon. READ MORE ->

Factory Tour: Foes Racing, Part 1 – How They’re Made

Foe's Racing Aluminum SheetsEvery bike begins here, with a water jet cut piece of aluminum

At a time when the cutting edge of mountain bike suspension technology features 2″ of supple elastomer based travel, Foes Racing was pioneering long travel suspension and helping push the limits of the downhill race scene. Leaving other companies to argue over the benefits of suspending the rider or the bike, Brent Foes helped push forward innovations by experimenting with the little understood field of suspension, and creating the distant ancestors of today’s modern “Enduro” bike.

Over twenty years later, Foes Racing continues to push the envelope. With suspension technology having finally caught up to the vision and capabilities of the bikes they’re paired with, the company can now focus on continuing the legacy of building burly aggressive aluminum frames for which they rose to prominence.

During a recent trip to Southern California, we had the privilege of stopping by the Foes Racing Factory in Pasadena to get a closer look at how these legendary frames are created from flat sheets of aluminum.

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Must Watch: Cedric Gracia – Lost In Taiwan

During the Taipei Show we were lucky enough to hang out with Cedric and the Lezyne crew a bit, and this video is a pretty good representation of the trip. At the heart of the Asian bicycle manufacturing scene, Taipei and Taichung serve as home to many factories in the industry. But few are as modern as Lezyne’s. Cedric got the full Taiwan experience – from riding in the lush mountains to trying chicken hearts, pork knuckle and squid on a stick on the streets of Taichung. This video gives you a quick look into Lezyne’s Taichung digs, but check back for our own full factory tour soon.