When you’re shopping for a high-end carbon bike with a monocoque frame, you pay a huge premium for traditional European ‘prestige’ brands, but to varying extents, almost all of them make use of outsourced Asian manufacturing.
That doesn’t mean the bikes aren’t designed by the brands themselves of course, but it does make the value proposition more complicated.
If an Italian superbike that costs as much as a small family car is manufactured in the same factory as more mainstream, affordable machines — using similar techniques — then can it justify costing so much more?
Bike frames are relatively simple objects and unlike say cars, the differences between high-end competing models often come down to minor design decisions rather than radically different construction methods or materials.
It's also worth noting that brands don't look to Taiwan simply because the cost of labour there is lower than in Europe. It's also where much of the expertise resides — if you want cutting-edge moulded carbon, it's the place to be.
I’d argue that bikes are just objects onto which we project our feelings, and any notion of baked-in qualities like passion and flare — the top two Italian bike review clichés — is a reflection of our own prejudices rather than anything meaningful.
Having said that, it’s entirely reasonable to debate the value of branding. At what point does a brand give up too much of its identity and will the companies who outsource their manufacturing ultimately lose out?
http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/w ... made-50553