Posts in the category Factory Tour

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.


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…


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…