Posts in the category Factory Tour

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…


Factory Tour: Intense Cycles’ Impressive American Production Line

Intense Racing

Nestled in the beautiful Southern California desert, at the foot of a mountain range that hosts some of the areas best mountain biking and road rides is Intense Cycles. The company, which was founded nearly twenty five years ago, got its start on Jeff Steber’s kitchen table. A self taught welder and born tinkerer, his first design was a 3“ full suspension cross country bike – at a time when everyone was still riding hardtails.

This was way back in 1990, when even downhill mountain bike races were being won by guys in full spandex. Many things have changed since that era, but one thing still remains, Intense Cycles’ commitment to doing things their own way.

Drop past the break to learn more…


Factory Tour – Moots Titanium Cycles’ Idyllic Steamboat Springs Compound

Moots titanium bicycles factory tour - headquarters building

Moots, headquarted in Steamboat Springs, CO, has been in this building for about 11 years now. Kent Eriksen founded the company in 1981, starting in the back of a bike shop before moving into a warehouse. Current owner Chris Miller came on a few years later. Eventually, as the company started growing faster and production demand ramped up, Eriksen split off to build his eponymous, custom bikes, and Miller took over full time.

From ’81 to ’91 they built only with steel, and only full custom. In ’83, they built their first mountain bike. It won the first NORBA Nationals under Steve Tilford, but it was badged as a Raleigh.

In 1991, it was a virtual overnight switch to titanium. Tubing quality became better and more diameters and sizes became available. That’s when they started developing stock sizing, too.

After about 21 years of renting, they decided to build their own factory and office. It’s 15,000 square feet, and the entire first floor is all production. Second floor has the showroom plus all the sales, marketing, admin and other desk work. On the third floor are three apartments – one for staff, one for guests (like us, thanks guys!) and one for the owners.

They offer tours MWF at 10am, but this tour is open 24/7…


Headquarters Tour: Lapierre Cycles HQ, Assembly Line & Torture Chamber

Lapierre Cycles headquarters tour -  building exterior

Lapierre Cycling’s headquarters in Dijon, France, sits on the original site where Gaston Lapierre started the company in 1946. The newer offices and showroom, visible as the facade above, were added around 2003.

Accel Group bought 33% of the company in 1993, then took over completely in 1996. With the purchase of Raleigh North America in 2012, it opened the door for them to bring their bikes to the US.

The FPS-design X-Flow and X-Control models will not be brought stateside, favoring the all-new platforms introduced under their pro athletes. These include the 2014 model year Zesty and Spicy, with their FSR-based OST+ platform, and the racy XR are headed for North America. We covered the US-bound models (road, also) at DealerCamp last summer along with the usual new bike announcements here and here. In the 2015, the DH downhill model and others may join them.  (Editor’s note: minor changes were made to this paragraph regarding patents and reasons for import selections. Read on for a description of the OST+ design and why it differs from Specialized’s version of the FSR platform. Some speculated that Lapierre held off on entering the U.S. because of Specialized’s patents, which is partly true. But the Accel deal gives them the strength to properly support the market)

Frames are all made in Asia, then sent to either this main office in Dijon or their St. Etienne warehouse, near Lyon. So, what goes on here? Oh, the usual office type activities, complete bike and wheel assembly and some pretty gnarly (and noisy!) torture testing…


Factory Tour: Predator Cycles’ Carbon Repair, Frame and Component Workshop

Predator Cycles factory tour - carbon fiber workshop for bicycle frames repairs and component manufacturing

Predator Cycles first came to our attention at NAHBS last year thanks to their gargantuan The Major one-piece carbon fiber road bike stem and handlebar. So, when some extra time presented itself at LAX, founder Aram Goganian picked me up for a quick tour and legit burrito (thanks man!).

Predator Cycles is a small carbon repair shop that also makes frames and the aforementioned bar/stem combo. A mountain bike version of it debuted recently, too.

Aram got into carbon fiber working on parts for cars around 2003-4 at the end of high school. He continued messing with composites, but only for his work with another company. When his noncompete ran out in 2010, he immediately sold all remaining alloy tubes, parts and tools and switched Predator to 100% carbon fiber. While he says it may not have been the best short term business move, it’s paid off now with a booming carbon repair business…


Factory Tour: Race Face – Carbon Crank Manufacturing & More!


On the way up to Crankworx this summer, we stopped in to see Race Face’s new digs in Burnaby, BC, where their focus is intensely set on carbon fiber product development. That effort has already paid off with the amazingly lightweight new NEXT SL cranksets and OS 35mm SIX C handlebars.

The new facility comes happened in large part thanks to national grants as tax credits for developing labor and technology. Carbon senior design engineer Jonathan Staples says it allows them to experiment with new production techniques, technical innovations and product development, and Canada is keen on keeping that sort of intellectual effort alive and well within their borders.

They moved here in May from the original building, at which point all of their machining went overseas. Well, almost all of it. They kept a couple machines to make prototypes, build fixtures and test equipment. Bummer, sure, but the upside is that now they have more room and time to grow the carbon side of things…


Company Spotlight: Endless Bike Company

Endless Bikes Kickass Cog Company spotlight Asheville591

Ask any single speeder and they’ve probably at least heard of Endless Bike Company. When it came time to outfit our Sun Ringle DJ Single wheelset with a single cog, we weren’t sure if the company’s Kick Ass Cogs were up to the dirt jumping task. After reaching out to Shanna about their use, she did one better and invited us to check out Endless Bike’s little world near West Asheville. The industry is pretty small, but sometimes it’s amazing just how interconnected everything really is.

Gear up on Endless Bike Company after the break!


Factory Tour – Guru Cycles, Part 3: Titanium Frame Building, Painting and Finishing (UPDATED)

Guru Factory Tour - titanium frame alignment check

So far, we’ve taken a pretty close look at how Guru Cycles designs their custom bikes and preps the carbon frames in Part 1 and how those frames come together in Part 2. Now, we get to show you the other side of their business with the steel and titanium frames. Then the finishing and painting process that gets them ready to ship.

Shown above is a titanium frame in their digital alignment table. The spring-loaded “pokers” holding up the seat tube are wired into the system and show how far they’re extended compared to the clamp holding the bottom bracket shell. They can be moved to check any part of the frame, letting the welder confirm alignment after tacking and welding.

But how does it get to this point? Put on those safety goggles and come on in…

UPDATED: Guru’s response regarding ti welds added to bottom of post.


Factory Tour – Guru Cycles, Part 2: Building a Carbon Bicycle Frame

Guru factory tour - carbon fiber bike construction

In Part One of our Guru Cycles Factory Tour, we showed how the design of the bikes goes from customer order through to a pile of tubes ready for assembly. Mostly, anyway.

Here in Part 2 we’ll finish the process and show how everything comes together to form a complete frame. I’ve seen plenty of carbon fiber bicycle manufacturing in our 5+ years of Bikerumor’s existence. Each time I head to a factory, I wonder what could be new? What could the next builder possibly do that’s different from all the rest. What’s amazing is that virtually everyone manages to surprise, and Guru’s no exception.

First, there’s the unique cut of the carbon swatches that make up the frame. It’s the most visible feature of their Photon bikes and gives it a slick sea snake appearance. Under all that carbon, though, is another very cool construction process I’d not seen before…