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Where Are Bikes Made?

Jeff Balton

Where Are Bicycles Made

Today, a big majority of bikes are made in China. Are there any bicycles made in the USA, or has everything moved over to Asia?

The bicycle market continues to grow every year. Around 100 million bikes are made each year, and it is one of the most popular forms of transport. 

The question of where bicycles are made has been up for years, and many of the older generations find it to be a bad sign.

 In this article, we’re going to be discussing where bikes come from and why.

Manufacturing in China

The majority of bikes are made in China for multiple reasons. The first thing to mention is the cost.

The price to produce a bike in China is much cheaper, and this doesn’t reflect in the quality.

They have much better equipment when it comes to manufacturing and can produce a bike much faster, with better materials, and to a higher standard than companies elsewhere would be able to at the price they offer. 

Another big aspect is quality control. While it might sound like the quality might suffer, bikes are made with quality. We’ve all seen the “Made in China” script, but with bikes, you get what you’re paying for.

So, if the price is $200 or $300, there’s a good chance the materials are cheaper. Of course, that’s not the case with every brand, for example, Schwinn and Sixthreezero make quality bikes. But even their bikes are prone to have faulty components from time to time.

Bike companies like Trek or Giant, who outsource to China, have strict quality control, and frames and equipment must undergo rigorous testing before a batch is released to be sent to them for the bike’s final construction.

It’s important to understand that many of the bigger brands who use Chinese factories actually only order the frames from there, but the actual bikes are assembled in different locations.

This can get confusing when companies advertise that bikes are built in the USA when actually the frames and parts are made in China. 

Possible Problems

Bicycle manufacturing process

Image From trekbikes.com

Bicycles made in the USA do avoid a lot of issues for US clients. Manufacturing being outsourced does come with issues, and in recent years we have seen some huge supply chain issues on bikes. Bikes just haven’t been available, and this is why.

Transport

We all remember when the Evergreen blocked the Suez Canal, one of the largest shipping container boats, causing long delays on bikes and parts. This made American bike manufacturers face yet another setback in the span of just two years.

The pandemic stopped production pretty much everywhere. While the pandemic itself seems to be over pretty much everywhere, the impacts still linger. That applies to the bicycle market as well. 

Components Shortage

It’s not always the frame manufacturers who struggle to get the product out. It’s sometimes the components.

With two major component companies supplying the majority of gearing, Shimano and SRAM, if they cannot make certain components quick enough, the whole supply of bikes goes on hold.

Even if the bike made in America is ready you could be waiting on something as simple as a set of brake pads. 

Customs and Airport duty

Another issue many companies that outsource face is that customs and import duties can hold up companies with pricing and payment issues.

Goods can be held for checking, and companies sometimes have to wait for goods to be released after payment before they can have them transported to them. If a bicycle made in the USA needed to be shipped with the USA the process would be much quicker.

Europe

Then we come to Europe, and with Europe, it’s a bit more of an interesting story.

The majority of mid-range brands have outsourced to China and elsewhere but high-end brands such as Colnago are going to Taiwan for their carbon fiber goods. 

man and woman riding gazelle ebikes

Dutch-made Gazelle electric bikes.

Many brands, such as Focus and Gazelle, carry on producing frames in Europe, and they are not the only ones keeping them in-house.

The majority of brands have chosen to outsource, and we feel in the future that, more brands will go down this route. We believe the companies that continue making bikes in-house will be making unique or custom bikes at a premium price. 

FAQ

Bikes generally do come from East Asia, but they are not typically all made in China. Many of the components, such as frames and forks, are made there and then exported to be built elsewhere in the world.

It is possible to hear brands say their bikes are built in the U.S., but the majority of the parts that make them would have been sourced from other countries, a lot coming in from China.

Typically 60% of the world's bikes are made in China, but if you consider bike parts bought in China and built elsewhere, it's around 87%. China is a very big supplier of the world's bicycles.

Some brands don’t use China to make bikes, such as Marin is made in Indonesia, and brands like Lynskey, have their bicycle made in the USA. Many brands make all their bikes in-house, but they either work on fine margins or at a premium.

Specialized bikes are designed in California. A few low-end bikes are made in China, and the mid-level and high-end bikes are made in the Merida factory based in Taiwan. Giant helps with making Specialized bikes.

Schwinn is one of the great American bike manufacturers. Schwinn bikes before the 1980s were actually made in Chicago, but then we were later outsourced to Taiwan. Recently, they have become more of a budget brand, but they still make excellent bikes.

You may think these are bicycles made in the USA when it comes to Trek bikes, but they are made mainly in Holland, Germany, Taiwan, and China. Although they outsource, they have very strict quality control at each manufacturing and building facilities. Trek is known for making very high-quality bikes, even though they are not a bike made in America.

Like many other companies, Cannondale uses many places to manufacture their bikes. Mid-range Cannondale bikes come from China, High-end bikes from Taiwan, and low end from many places, including Vietnam.

Orbea is one of the oldest bicycle companies, which used to actually produce guns before bikes. Their bikes are made in two places, Taiwan being their overseas outsourced manufacturing and Portugal their own manufacturing. Unlike other brands, after manufacturing, the bikes go to Spain for painting and assembly.

Rad Power is one of the American bike manufacturers. Their bikes are produced in China, but in the future, they have plans to move into North America and Europe. Distribution can be challenging with electric bikes because of the batteries.

Giant Bikes typically uses its native production facilities in Taiwan and China and has factories in Hungary and the Netherlands. Giant manufactures bikes for many other brands and their own and also makes components.

Aventon is based in the US but outsources its bikes to China. They have rapidly grown in recent years and have a plan to start manufacturing the bikes in the USA by 2025. It would be great to see such a great brand manufactured locally.

Canyon is one of the world's leading brands when it comes to performance bikes. They are manufactured in Taiwan, then they are sent to Canyon's headquarters in Germany, where they are built and tested before being sold.

Huffy bikes are huge in the US and hold roughly around 25% to 30% of the market share. When people think of Huffy they think of bicycles made in the USA. The bikes are made mainly in China, Taiwan, and Mexico. They are one of the oldest bike brands, which eventually, in the 1980s, chose to outsource to be competitive in price.

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