Posts in the category Factory Tour

Factory Tour: Chrome’s Impressive US Bag Production

Chrome’s iconic messenger bags helped put a face on the messenger inner city cycling subculture. The sharp, understated design has sparked many imitators, and been the source of envy for countless broke cyclists. These days, Chrome Bags aren’t just for riders. They’ve become the de rigueur city bag for anyone looking for a tough bag capable of withstanding everyday abuse.

What most consumers are unaware of is that seventy percent of their bags are handmade in Northern California, just a few hours outside of San Francisco.

Buckle in and zip past the break to see how it’s done…


Trek Factory Tour Part 3: US Based OCLV Carbon Bike Production

Trek Factory Tour Part 3: US Based OCLV Carbon Bike Production

Imagine working on something so top secret, that even the person building it didn’t have the clearance to know what it was. That was the reality of Jim Colegrove’s military and aviation composites engineering before he was brought on as part of the team that developed the OCLV (optimum compaction low void) process in 1990. Colegrove is now the head Manufacturing Engineer and has been instrumental in the development and improvement of Trek’s carbon fiber production.

We were lucky enough to get a personal tour of Trek’s Waterloo carbon bicycle production from the man himself, from start to finish. See how an OCLV Carbon trek is made, in Wisconsin, step by step, after the break!


Trek Factory Tour Part 2: Prototyping, Testing, and Product Development

Trek Factory Tour Part 2: Prototyping, Testing, and Product Development

Chances are, if you’ve been to Trek and taken the tour, you’ve probably seen this door – and it’s probably been locked. Like any bike company, due to product cycles being well ahead of current model years, keeping what’s coming secret is key. While the door clearly says no photos, we were allowed to ignore that this particular visit. The past few times that I’ve visited Trek, I haven’t even seen what’s inside though, this time was different. Want to see what’s behind the dark curtain?

Check out the secretive Product Development room, Race Team Shop, and less secretive Testing rooms after the break!


Factory Tour: Trek Bicycle Company’s Waterloo Headquarters, Part 1

Factory Tour: Trek Bicycle Company's Waterloo Headquarters, Part 1

Our visit to FrostBike this year meant braving the Northern snow covered roads from here to Minneapolis, but it also meant that we had time for brief pit stop in Waterloo to check out what was going on at Trek’s headquarters. It dawned on us that we have never done a true “factory visit” with Trek and it just so happened that the timing worked out perfectly, and we were treated to one of the most comprehensive tours I’ve ever been a part of. As the central nervous system of Trek’s operations, the Waterloo, WI HQ was bustling with activity throughout.

Take a walk through Trek’s halls with us after the break.


Road To NAHBS 2013 – Engin Cycles

All studio images c. Charles Uniatowski

After starting Wissahickon Cyclery in 1995 and creating a bike shop beloved by the community with the help of his staff, owner Drew Guldalian turned his sights to the bike building business 11 years later. Today, Engin Cycles operates hand in hand with Wissahickon turning out beautiful and show winning bikes primarily from steel. However, new for 2013, Drew will be offering an option for titanium as a build material and is currently working out the details. We asked Drew about his Ti bikes and plans for the future after the break.


Shop Tour: Co-Motion Part 3 – Paint and Polish

Co-Motion Shop Tour Paint Mixing Station 2

So far we have explored frame construction and parts creation at Co-Motion.  This go around we take a look at how Co-Motion pretties up their product.  The paint work that comes out of this shop is some of the best I have ever seen.  The painters lay down quality paint from PPG Global and House of Kolor in one of two down draft paint booths.  Maskings and decals are printed on an in house on a Roland vinyl printer.  Stainless steel parts are polished in their new polishing machine using a three step process.  All of this adds up to a high quality, eye catching finish.

Make the jump for a look at the machines that make this possible.


Shop Tour: Co-Motion Cycles Part 2 – CNC Machining

Co-Motion Shop Tour CNC Lathe

In Part One of our Co-Motion Cycles shop tour we showed you the brazing and welding of their frames.  We also made mention of the fact that Co-Motion strives to make as many parts in-house as possible.  In the second installment of our shop tour we will highlight some of the machines used and the parts created.

Pictured here is one of three CNC machines that reside at the Co-Motion facility.  Zach at Co-Motion says:

“This is the Mori Seki CNC lathe with live tooling.  This is where we make all our turned parts including fork steerers (single piece uni-crown design), head tubes, BB shells, seat collars, and eccentric BB shells.  We also do some full tube mitering for our most popular stock tandem sizes.”

Click through for more hot CNC action, including video of this machine doing its thing…


Shop Tour: Co-Motion Cycles Part 1 – Welding and Brazing

Co-Motion Shop Tour Front Enterance

I recently had the pleasure of reviewing the Co-Motion Nor’Wester steel road bike.  With Co-Motion’s production facility located close by in Eugene, OR, I decided to drive the bike back down rather than ship it.  This was a great opportunity to tour their facility as well.

Co-Motion has really grown over the years.  They started off in a small one room workshop, and have moved twice since then.  The most recent move was into the building pictured above, which they had built specifically to meet their needs.  This building houses every tool and machine needed to fulfill the Co-Motion philosophy.  That philosophy is that if they can make it, they will make it.  They don’t just weld frames here.  Three CNC machines are used to create parts such as dropouts, seat collars and eccentric BB shells, injection molding is used to make cable guides, paint is laid in two different down draft paint booths, vinyl decals are created and printed, parts are machine polished, and they even weld stems out of stainless steel.

Co-Motion differs from many custom builders due to their size.  This shop is a full on manufacturing facility, and designed for efficiency and quality.  They take pride in making as many parts in house as possible, and this isn’t just limited to finished parts that make it onto the bikes.  They produce fixtures, jigs, and templates that allow for a very refined workflow.  All of this equates to a quality product and shorter turn around time.

Hit the jump for a visual tour of the Co-Motion facility and a look at welding and brazing of the frame.  Stay tuned for part 2, CNC machining, and part 3, paint and polish.


Factory Tour: Inside Ciamillo’s Carbon Fiber/Alloy Brake Workshop – Plus Gravitas Cranks Closeup!

Ciamillo ZeroG brakes updated and lighter

Ted Ciamillo is an interesting guy. He’s built a business around incredibly lightweight road bike brakes, has been teasing a radical (and radically light) carbon-fiber-and-alloy crankset and dreams of pedaling a one-man submersible across the Atlantic Ocean solo.

Fortunately, on our way home from visiting LH Thomson, he opened his doors to us and showed us how he makes the feathery parts. And his sub. We also took the opportunity to talk about the new Gravitas crankset in great detail, as well as see parts for them being machined and assembled.

Before we show you around, Ted let us know he’s updated the Zero G and Gravitas brakes to -wait for it- make them lighter!

As of mid January, the brakes get a new Delrin cable housing insert to replace the barrel adjuster (both versions shown above). Ciamillo’s brakes are designed to use various pad carrier heights with spherical spacer washers to accommodate different rim widths. Before, you could take up the slack using the barrel, but that would pull through as much as 40% of the brakes’ movement, which means you wouldn’t have the intended power at the end of the stroke, nor use the cam’s leverage as designed.