Posts in the category Factory Tour

Shinola Bicycles – Headquarters Tour, Store Grand Opening & Brand Overview

Shinola Bicycles concept store and grand opening

When we first discovered Shinola Bicycles, it seemed like a cool idea: Grow US bicycle manufacturing and bring new industry to Detroit. But after getting to see them up close and meet the people behind the brand, we’re more excited for them than ever.

We were invited to their store grand opening, which also doubles as the bicycle assembly and shipping facility, an R&D prototyping room and sales center. Besides seeing the bikes, we chatted up Richard Schwinn, the man behind Waterford Cycles, which builds all of the frames and forks, and Sky Yaeger, the design leader, who’s worked with Bianchi and started Swobo’s bicycle line, and many others involved in bringing new life to the Motor City.

Shinola also makes watches, which we photo’d being hand assembled. Tick through for the full tour and a detailed look at what makes these bikes special…

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Factory Tour: SRAM’s STU Colorado Springs Development Facility

SRAM Red 22 - Colorado Springs Development Center109

Yes, the suspension works.

High on the list of any long time mechanic, a trip to SRAM’s STU or SRAM Technical University is a chance to pick up the latest technical knowledge directly from the experts. In the case of SRAM’s new Colorado Springs Development Facility, it is also a chance to get to check out one of SRAM’s hotspots for product development and testing. At just over a year old, the new building replaces SRAM’s previous location for the center of their Colorado operations.

We were invited out to tour the new facility and while we were there, we were also installing the brand new Red 22 Hydro HRR group – more on that one later.

Take a peek inside SRAM’s unassuming (from the outside) CSDF after the break!

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Reynolds Cycling Headquarters Tour

Reynolds Cycling world headquarters tour

Just prior to PressCamp, Reynolds invited us to tour their US headquarters, where all of their wheels are designed and developed. It’s also where a fair number of complete wheels are hand built and tested, prototypes and production pieces are tortured and all of their top-end RZR wheels are made.

Reynolds Cycling is owned by McLean Fogg, a large manufacturing company that makes automotive parts and industrial power line equipment. They also used to make carbon tubes and materials for frames (including the OCLV frame tubes and Rolf carbon wheels used by the Postal team), windsurfing booms, Halliburton luggage and their own bicycle cockpit parts.

Unfortunately, the non-automotive parts lost money. Between 2005 and 2007, new folks came in with the goal of “fix it, sell it or close it”, including current CFO Mike Dufner. What they figured out was they could have a competitive advantage in wheels. By 2008, bicycle wheels were the sole focus, all using Paul Lew’s designs, patents and processes.

All design and development is done in-house in Sandy, UT, just outside SLC. They have a duplicate development and testing facility in Hangzhou, China, near their own manufacturing plant. They also produce rims for other brands, but generally reserve their best tech for Reynolds products.

They control the process from start to finish. They buy the carbon from a US source, then ship it to China. This ensures better quality control and eliminates middle men in the supply chain that could insert inferior grade products. They develop their own resins, and as of about a year and a half ago, they make their own molds here, too.

Roll on for a full tour…

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Calfee Factory Tour: Part Two – Bikes of Carbon, Bamboo & Other

Calfees first carbon fiber bicycle and parts

While walking around Calfee’s factory, the lessons on how they make their bikes in Part One were interspersed with bikes they’ve built over the years. Everything from original Lemonds to modern day carbon racers to alcohol fueled wooden nightmares were on display.

Craig Calfee’s built his first carbon bike, above, in 1987. He worked at a boat manufacturer in Boston (sound familiar? Bob Parlee had a similar start!). He broke his bike and wanted to fix it himself. He was already rolling carbon tubes and such for sculls, and this was the result. Not only is it his first bike, but it’s decked out with what they think are the first ever carbon stem and fork! And oh boy do you have to see them…

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Calfee Factory Tour: Part One – How They Make Bikes

Calfee Factory Tour workshop overview

Calfee is a very interesting brand. For some, it immediately conjures images of bamboo bikes. Others, high end lugged carbon bikes. And then there’s the ultralight molded carbon fiber tandem bikes always on display at NAHBS.

Superficially, it’d be easy to just say Calfee makes some really nice, really interesting bikes. That would only scratch the surface of what they do at their La Selva Beach, California facility. The building itself is fairly massive, and it was rebuilt to resemble its original function as a tank factory. Which is why they have a 5 ton sliding lift in the middle. It comes in handy for moving around pallets and their flying gyrocopter.

Our tour will be broken up into three parts because, well, there’s just so much to see. We’ll touch on that ‘copter separately, along with all the various bikes we saw while there. Part One will show you how they make their frames, components, tooling and everything else…

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Factory Tour: Caletti Cycles’ Handmade Steel, Titanium Bicycles

Caletti Cycles Factory Tour shows how custom handmade bicycles are crafted

John Caletti’s bikes have always impressed me at NAHBS. Not because they’re super trick showstoppers or full of hidden features. But because they’re always elegant looking while being entirely rideable. You know, the way a bicycle should be.

Following NAHBS this year, I paid him a visit just before Sea Otter to check out his workshop and see how it all comes together. Caletti builds in steel, mostly, and titanium. Every frame is full custom, from the geometry to the sizing to the tube selection. Even basic custom paint is included in the price, though wild jobs can quickly escalate your expenditure.

The photo above shows where the magic happens. Every bit of it. It’s a small workshop, with everything in its place and just one bike under construction at a time. His process is very straightforward and without frills, but he knows his stuff inside and out. Scroll through to see his process…

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Mavic World HQ Tour – Wheel R&D, Shoes, Soft Goods and More!

mavic world headquarters tour

Mavic’s Annecy, France, HQ houses clothing & footwear design and wheels prototyping and testing. It also holds their accounting, administration and other desk jobs, for all their brands. About 150 of the 1,000 people in the building work for Mavic.

Their rim factory has been running since 1962 in Saint Trivier, about 150km away in central France. It (UPDATE) and their Romanian factory still makes most of their rims today, and all of their high end rims that use any sort of proprietary technology or materials. A few of the basic rims are made in Asia to speed up delivery for entry level OEM customers, but they keep the good IP close to home.

They also house all of their shoes and clothing development in house, borrowing from (and giving to) their sister companies for tech, materials and more. Roll past the break to see how they put it all together…

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Fox Racing Shox Museum Grand Opening: Defining Moments,Then & Now

Fox Museum Launch041713_0372

Sea Otter is full of mini product launches within its Laguna Seca confines, but it is also host to many events that happen outside the famous race track. Just a short trip from the venue lies a number of company headquarters to some of the biggest industry players, including Fox in Scotts Valley, CA. Fox took advantage of Monterey’s invasion by the bike industry to open their new museum, chronicling the suspension company’s nearly 40 year history. We were fortunate enough to get an invite, and took advantage to give you a peek into the museum.

Get a Fox history play by play, including the first ever Fox bicycle shocks after the break!

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Inside Look: Giro Design Headquarters

giro bicycle helmet design factory tour

Easton Bell Sports’ Scotts Valley, CA, headquarters houses Giro’s design facility, where all of their helmets for various sports are created.

When developing a new helmet, they have to consider safety and comfort, aerodynamics, weight and aesthetics. The process generally begins with a design, marketing and sales brief that outlines sales and market criteria, then it goes to Greg Marting, Giro’s chief of design.

Click through for the process and an inside look at their design center and offices…

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