Posts in the category Factory Tour

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.

Alchemy Bicycles Factory Tour – Gorgeous Carbon Frames, 100% Made in Colorado

Alchemy Bicycles factory tour

Along Denver, Colorado’s Cherry Creek Path about halfway between the massive flagship REI store and the Cherry Creek Reservoir recreation area sits Alchemy Bicycles’ headquarters. It’s a convenient location in that the reservoir is where weekly crits and TT events are, plus a bit of jumpy singletrack, and they’re a perfect warm up distance away.

The location houses the Nie Brothers Bike Shop, with siblings coming from University Bicycles and Colorado Multisport. You can see them in action building the bike for C-Bear’s Interbike build off in this video. Around the back is a branch office for the Pro’s Closet, and up front may eventually house a small coffee shop within the showroom.

Right smack in the middle of it all is where Alchemy cuts their own molds, manufacturers their own carbon tubes and lays together some of the best looking carbon bikes out there. Come on in and see how it’s done…

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Factory Tour: Oakley’s Dystopian Inspired SoCal Headquarters and Production Facility

Oakley Factory HQ

Rising like a shining city on the hill, Oakley’s sprawling dystopian-esque headquarters in Southern California is guarded silently by a fully functioning tank, several strategically placed canons (again, fully functional), and an incredibly unique design ethos that is visible in both the building’s architecture and the company’s products.

Everyday between 1,500 and 1,700 employees converge on this location to produce 70% of the sunglasses and goggles that Oakley sells globally. So take a jump past the break to tour the extraordinary complex and our special sneak peak at a new product launch…

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