Factory Tour: How DeFeet makes their cycling socks

Ever wonder how those beautifully colorful DeFeet socks go from concept to cushioned cover for your footsies? We visited their Hildebran, NC, factory to see how everything’s made. Founder Shane Cooper showed us around, providing background on their materials sourcing and unique construction along with a sneak peek at new styles coming early 2017. If you’re not already following @thebuildcycle yet, hop on it as our Podcast series is about to launch, and Shane’s story of starting and growing this “micro-sockery” is Episode Four!



Ever wonder how those beautifully colorful DeFeet socks go from concept to cushioned cover for your footsies? We visited their Hildebran, NC, factory to see how everything’s made. Founder Shane Cooper showed us around, providing background on their materials sourcing and unique construction along with a sneak peek at new styles coming early 2017. If […]

Posted in Factory Tour, Video14 Comments

Road to NAHBS 2017 Long Interview: James Bleakley of Black Sheep Bikes

Out on the front range of Colorado, there is a thriving pocket of builders who specialize in curvy, Klunker-derived mountain bikes. There is Chris Sulfrain at REEB, Cjell Money, Burnsey of Oddity, and Todd Heath of Moonmen. The bikes coming out of this crew are marked by their complex, three-dimensional forms and enthusiastic experimentation using new standards and technologies.

The Godfather to this talented and creative crew is the one and only James Bleakley, owner of Black Sheep Bikes and all-around nice guy. All of the aforementioned builders have apprenticed at his shop at one time or another (along with that talented up-and-comer, Corbin Brady). When I stopped by his shop, we talked about how he came into his distinctive, windy style as well as his building philosophy.

Also, for all those Black Sheep fans out there, James has treated us to a sneak peek of the Deathsplosion he’ll be showing in Salt Lake City.

Continue reading “Road to NAHBS 2017 Long Interview: James Bleakley of Black Sheep Bikes”



Out on the front range of Colorado, there is a thriving pocket of builders who specialize in curvy, Klunker-derived mountain bikes. There is Chris Sulfrain at REEB, Cjell Money, Burnsey of Oddity, and Todd Heath of Moonmen. The bikes coming out of this crew are marked by their complex, three-dimensional forms and enthusiastic experimentation using new standards […]

Posted in Factory Tour, Fatbike, Feature, Mountain Bike, NAHBS7 Comments

Cannondale Headquarters Tour, Part 1 – Offices, and a killer coffee machine

cannondale headquarters tour

Just an hour or so away from the 2017 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut, is a little town called Wilton. A few years ago, Cannondale moved their headquarters there (which is just a few minutes south of their original location), and we’ve been looking for an excuse to visit ever since. CX Nats was that excuse.

Inside, the primary office building is broken into global and regional departments. The global teams define the new product road maps, then the regional teams help define the spec and other details to ft a particular country’s market. About 100 people work here. GT and Cannondale are based here, Charge and Fabric have their U.K. HQ, Schwinn and Mongoose are in Wisconsin, and Sugoi and Sombrio are in Vancouver. That means lots of conference calls, and now that all of the brands have been in the CSG stable for at least a couple years, they’re starting to work more cohesively together to complement one another’s lines without losing their identity or overlapping too much. But enough talk, come on in…

Continue reading “Cannondale Headquarters Tour, Part 1 – Offices, and a killer coffee machine”



Just an hour or so away from the 2017 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Hartford, Connecticut, is a little town called Wilton. A few years ago, Cannondale moved their headquarters there (which is just a few minutes south of their original location), and we’ve been looking for an excuse to visit ever since. CX […]

Posted in Factory Tour, Feature31 Comments

Review / Tour: American made Saris Freedom SuperClamp is a quality rack option for almost any bike

Saris Freedom SuperClamp 4 bike rack review fat bike fatbike compatible (26)

Today, America celebrates its independence. Along with the constant fireworks and everything red, white, and blue, it also reminded me of the little American flag on the back of the Saris Freedom SuperClamp rack. There’s often quite a bit of talk around products that are made in the USA. It doesn’t always equate to a better product, but it certainly still means something. Just ask one of the roughly 200 employees at Saris’ Madison, WI factory. It’s not hard to see that domestic manufacturing is something that Chris and Sarah Fortune find as a source of pride. After purchasing Graber in 1989, the pair rebranded it as Saris – a combination of Sarah and Chris.

Since then Saris has acquired CycleOps, and PowerTap, bringing even more production in house. It was here in Madison that I got my first look at their impressive manufacturing facility as well as the beginnings of the Freedom SuperClamp. Before I knew it, there was a brand new rack bolted to my car and I was trying to figure out how to stuff a different 4 bike hitch rack inside my car for the long drive home. After seeing exactly how the rack was made, I had a chance to put some serious miles on the Freedom SuperClamp to see how it held up. Fortunately, being American made isn’t the only thing it has going for it…

Continue reading “Review / Tour: American made Saris Freedom SuperClamp is a quality rack option for almost any bike”



Today, America celebrates its independence. Along with the constant fireworks and everything red, white, and blue, it also reminded me of the little American flag on the back of the Saris Freedom SuperClamp rack. There’s often quite a bit of talk around products that are made in the USA. It doesn’t always equate to a better product, but […]

Posted in Clothes-Gear, Factory Tour, Fatbike, Feature, Mountain Bike, Reviews7 Comments

Vittoria’s Graphene+ Tech: Detailed look at a revolutionary material

Directa-Plus_Graphene-Plus_production-tour_Graphene-process-densities

Back as winter was setting in we had the chance to travel to northern Italy to visit the headquarters of Vittoria-partner Directa Plus, who have developed some of the most advanced graphene manufacturing and applications to hit the cycling industry. We have seen a lot of hype on this new material that promises to revolutionize everything from helmets, to wheels, to tires, and even clothing textiles. But to be honest we had been (and to some degree continue to be) a bit skeptical. A lot of the talk about graphene is filled with hyperbole and such thick marketing-speak, that it is hard to accept claims of bigger, faster, stronger, and at the same time lighter.

So we were definitely more interested in not just claims of improvements, but the actual behind-the-scenes science that should back up the claims. So we sat down with both the Vittoria product development team and the Directa Plus scientists who developed their own proprietary graphene solutions for cycling, dubbed Graphene+. Then in the meantime, for the couple of months it took to get Directa Plus and Vittoria to agree to let us publish some unique details of their protected patented processes, we’ve been riding tires with the new tech to see how they perform in the real world. Join us after the jump as I try to both explain and illustrate how Graphene+ might really have the potential to revolutionize the tire market, both on and off the road…

Continue reading “Vittoria’s Graphene+ Tech: Detailed look at a revolutionary material”



Back as winter was setting in we had the chance to travel to northern Italy to visit the headquarters of Vittoria-partner Directa Plus, who have developed some of the most advanced graphene manufacturing and applications to hit the cycling industry. We have seen a lot of hype on this new material that promises to revolutionize […]

Posted in Factory Tour, Feature, Industry News, Mountain Bike, Road Bike17 Comments

Factory Tour: Wolf Tooth Components’ New HQ, plus Machine Shop tours

Wolf Tooth Components Factory tour bikerumor made in usa minneapolis mn (79)

After just a short period of time, it’s easy to forget that Wolf Tooth Components has been on the scene for less than three years. After starting with essentially one chainring that was slipped into NAHBS on board a Black Sheep Highlight ST fat bike, WTC quickly followed up with the official launch of just 3 chainring models. Fast forward to 2016 and WTC is turning out new fitments before many of us even know they exist. Add in their range of accessories, bags, and soft goods, and their catalog has grown substantially.

We initially checked in with WTC to get a tour of their production process which is split between two different machine shops. Now, with business apparently booming, Wolf Tooth is moving into a new, larger facility with plans to bring some of the production in house. Just because all of the production isn’t currently in house though, doesn’t mean it’s not local. WTC will continue splitting their machining time between two local machine shops, 401 Manufacturing and Integrity Tool and Engineering. While both shops do a lot of work other than Wolf Tooth Components, each of them attribute a large part of their total production to WTC’s growing business…

Continue reading “Factory Tour: Wolf Tooth Components’ New HQ, plus Machine Shop tours”



After just a short period of time, it’s easy to forget that Wolf Tooth Components has been on the scene for less than three years. After starting with essentially one chainring that was slipped into NAHBS on board a Black Sheep Highlight ST fat bike, WTC quickly followed up with the official launch of just […]

Posted in Factory Tour, Feature, Mountain Bike14 Comments

TPE16: e*thirteen by the hive Taiwan HQ tour plus prototype tires and wider carbon wheels!

e13 headquarters tour dh cassette hub 7 speed prototype tires-8

Somewhere in the heart of Taichung there is a well appointed office that also happens to have a pool table. Not exactly standard fare for Taiwanese offices, it all makes sense once you see the e*thirteen logo on the window. Yes, this is the Taichung HQ for the hive and subsequently e*thirteen. Actually, it’s really more of the global headquarters for the brand with more people here than in their locations in California or Germany.

Started by Dave Weagle in 2001, e*thriteen was an early pioneer in the chainguide world. In a parallel world, the hive was making their own waves with Chub hubs and Fifteen.G cranks among other things. At the time the hive was being run by Joel Peters, Chris Costello, and two others. As Joel tells it, in 2009 Weagle came to Joel with an offer to sell the e*thirteen brand to the hive in an effort to concentrate on bikes rather than components. In addition to running the hive, Joel was also setting up carbon production lines at the time so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to grow e*thirteen into a complete mountain bike component company.

Officially announced in early 2010, Fifteen.G cranks were reworked into e*thirteen models and the wheels were set in motion. Now with 12 employees in Taiwan, 6 in the U.S. and 2 in Germany, Joel says the hive’s philosophy has always been to keep things simple. Working with just 4 suppliers they’ve kept their processes tight and have been working with the same hub supplier now for seven years. Now with their own cassettes, wheels, cranks, chainguides, and soon even tires, e*thirteen by the hive is working towards making good on that complete mountain bike component line…

Continue reading “TPE16: e*thirteen by the hive Taiwan HQ tour plus prototype tires and wider carbon wheels!”



Somewhere in the heart of Taichung there is a well appointed office that also happens to have a pool table. Not exactly standard fare for Taiwanese offices, it all makes sense once you see the e*thirteen logo on the window. Yes, this is the Taichung HQ for the hive and subsequently e*thirteen. Actually, it’s really […]

Posted in Factory Tour, Feature, Mountain Bike, Taipei Show5 Comments

Factory Tour: Litespeed Celebrates 30 years of cutting edge titanium bicycle manufacturing

Litespeed titanium bicycle factory tour american bicycle group quintana roo_-110

When you hear that Litespeed is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, you may imagine some sort of stereotypical setting worthy of a scene in Deliverance. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Do some driving (or riding) around the area, and you’ll quickly see why Litespeed is in no hurry to leave. Officially, the American Bicycle Company has been artfully crafting titanium frames in their factory that sits a short drive from a rapidly growing network of excellent trails, great road rides, white water rafting, and more. Everyone seems to know about Asheville, NC, but from my limited time in Chattanooga, it won’t be long until this area is winning similar praise.

Founded in 1986, 2016 marks the 30th anniversary for Litespeed bikes. Now manufactured by the American Bicycle Group which is the parent company for Litespeed and Quintana Roo, ABG and Litespeed have one heck of a history with bikes ridden by names like Greg Lemond, Robbie McEwen, Lance Armstrong, Steve Hed, Tim DeBoom, Cameron Brown, Jeff Kabush, Bob Roll, and the list goes on. The bikes weren’t always labeled as Litespeeds, but they all came out of the same factory right here in Chattanooga.

This tour is also a bit of an end to an era – Litespeed is moving. But not very far. Just far enough to find a bigger facility that will accommodate their production with a more modern facility and one a bit closer to town with even better access to bike trails. Currently operating with about 38 employees, ABG is alive and well, and Litespeed titanium bicycles have never been more advanced…

Continue reading “Factory Tour: Litespeed Celebrates 30 years of cutting edge titanium bicycle manufacturing”



When you hear that Litespeed is based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, you may imagine some sort of stereotypical setting worthy of a scene in Deliverance. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Do some driving (or riding) around the area, and you’ll quickly see why Litespeed is in no hurry to leave. Officially, the American Bicycle Company […]

Posted in Factory Tour, Feature, Mountain Bike, Road Bike17 Comments

World Trials Champion Vincent Hermance bounces around Taiwan & pops in to see how his bike is made

Vincent Hermance

There is no better way to see another culture than by bike, though I am pretty sure UCI World Champion Trials rider Vincent Hermance and I don’t do it quite the same. Check out the  challenging yet beautiful backdrops Vincent gracefully conquers along with a stop at the #hashtagg factory where his trials bikes are made…. to weld his own bike?

Continue reading “World Trials Champion Vincent Hermance bounces around Taiwan & pops in to see how his bike is made”



There is no better way to see another culture than by bike, though I am pretty sure UCI World Champion Trials rider Vincent Hermance and I don’t do it quite the same. Check out the  challenging yet beautiful backdrops Vincent gracefully conquers along with a stop at the #hashtagg factory where his trials bikes are […]

Posted in Factory Tour, Video5 Comments