Do you care where your bike is made? And do you care who makes it?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by tommasini

I prefer that my cycling products are made where the enthusiasts come from/want to carbon Tommasini's are still made by hand in Italy by a small family operation in Italy - super great quality/product and reasonably competitive prices (custom no extra charge with the VLC tube-to-tube carbon). Campagnolo - still led by a family member with obvious deep roots in Italy....although some concession to manufacturing costs with some high end items initially fab'd in eastern Europe and finished in italy (and yeah bottle cages fab'd in the far east....).

What race would I first want to attend......the Giro...and then the Tour.....what country would I prefer to ride myself.....Italy and the mountains near Grenoble. As there is great riding, a huge history, and passion for the sport there..........So I like to support those countries/areas that are all about cycling.

Is my bike 100% Italian, well not quite. My 3T stems/bars/seatposts are designed in Italy but made in the far east.....but were chosen as I'd used 3TTT for years and now days there are few true Italian choices. But from what I know, Selle Italia and veloflex are still made in Italy.

Shimano is a large industrial company in a country with very little competitive cycling history (yes there is Kerin....) and not a place I care to travel to for riding ( I get it that others will suggest there are some great locations to visit - but to me riding the mountain routes of the Giro in Italy or the Tour in France holds much more value to me). Sram, while US based (Chicago I believe) is soley manufactured in the industrial far east.....

I appreciate where the "heart" of the sport lies.....and desire to support that if I can.

by Weenie

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by Hellgate

One from Seattle, one from Montreal, one from US, owned by a Canadian parent, manufactured in China...or some place. All are decked out with Italian bits made on Romania, and Italy and Indonesia and other places.

And my German car is made in Chattanooga. Go figure.

But my Italian motorcycles are made on Italy!

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by alcatraz

After living in China for a while it struck me that they don't have 1-2y guarantee on anything really. Buying a new car you get like 3y.

What you basically get is a functional guarantee which means the stuff has to work and that sort of stuff is taken care of pretty soon after the sale. Maybe you can get away with 3 months at the most depending on the item.

It doesn't mean everything is designed to fail after 3 months. Just means domestic sales are not really focused that much on longevity as western sales. As long as it works well at the point of sale it's fine. (Customer cares already at point of sale how to better care for an item to increase longevity).

This is how it's always been in China, not because they are evil or trying to get you. A customer complaining to a chinese company after 1y about a speck somewhere is probably seemed as a nuisanse.

Obviously when dealing with western customers a higher level of quality is desired. Companies pop up all the time and it might take a while until their products have passed the test of time.

My point is. If you buy from a chinese company that has been selling for some time to western customers they probably have a higher level of quality that might even surprise you. I'd say some bestsellers of a chinese company could quite easily surpass some of the lesser sold or cutting edge models of famous brands.

As a customer it's wise to dive into quality inspection a bit, not blindly trust whatever brand is stamped on the item. Reviews are good, while keeping statistics in mind. Some customers cry louder than others. Some don't cry which I'm sure happens a lot when dealing with LBS.

I've bought some stuff that many westener friends would call a gamble with life. I've never had it explode in my face. The bigger the risk the more I inquire about it and try to make a risk assessment. When I get something risky I try it out and give it a gentle ride first. I ask the seller technical questions and if I am satisfied with the technical expertise and issue awareness I choose to proceed or not.

I've gotten carbon clincher rims, ultralight skewers, full ceramic bearings. I've bought hongfu frames second hand, carbon handlebars, cheap titanium bolts, home made DIY integrated seat+seatpost. Only the bearings proved to have been a bad purchase so far. I was aware of the risk at the time of purchase and I still decided to try it. No surprises.


When I hear my chinese riding buddies talking about what bike to buy (most of the time nothing mentioned is of a chinese brand), I tell them while chuckling that in the west many people are just as excited about getting that new chinese frame and wheels. :D Ironic isn't it...
Last edited by alcatraz on Thu Aug 10, 2017 3:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by Boshk

I believe bikes are like most things in life, its not just about the necessity.
Maybe to some people, brand and place of manufacture doesn't matter but I think to most people it does.

Brand names whether its Giant, Specialized, Pinarello etc etc all produce bikes that usually exceeds the buyer's capability.
For an exotic bike like Pinarello F10, people buy for the name, how many people can truly use its full potential......and if you can, surely you should be competing against Froome.....

I never use my bike (Diverge DSW) for work, its purely for enjoyment and fitness and I think for most, its the same.
Why spend 1-6hrs on something that you dislike.

I'm already looking at a F8, purely for looks, enjoyment and a nice weather bike. I know I can pay a lot less by buying a Giant TCR Advanced and it would be more bike than I'll ever need, but I know I'll get itchy fingers down the road and wonder....whats a Pinarello really like.
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by sp3000

I care, partially has to do with I just can't differentiate between most of the main stream carbon bikes all made in the far east. Now I will qualify that by saying lots of them are great bikes, no question, as a tool you can't really fault them. But for something as simple as the object of a beautify bicycle I need some emotional response for the high end purchase. I am enjoying my ax-lightness, of course because it is a great bike, but I also love knowing exactly where it came from and the ability to speak to people at the factory who made it, seeing pictures along the way etc.

I think for top of the line bikes of course emotion plays a huge part! My cousin could happily kill me on his Giant while he raced, left me for dead on my Look 585, but... I still smiled at the Look when I saw it parked in my house! If the team hadn't given the Giant as race tool, he too had little emotional interest in it and wouldn't have bought it for himself to ride non-competitively.

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by Seedster

I care where my bike is made. My XR4 is the first high end bike not made in Italy or France. In prior builds I focused a great deal on using components made by artisans at WR Composition and Time.

I would never buy a bike for $10k that may be subcontracting several times over. It limits the number of manufacturers I would consider, but I am happy to support the firms still building in Italy.

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by dmp

It certainly involves a lot of emotion and perception, much more than "real" differences- but I think that is ok. We make our choices based on performance, design, fit, "quality" (however one measures that), but most of those criteria can be satisfied by lots of different bikes. What it really boils down to is the intangibles of desire, and certainly the image and esthetics of the brand are a major part of that decision.
I have two Pinarellos- a 1984 steel one built by Nani Pinarello in Treviso that I bought new, and a 5 year old carbon Paris that was molded in the Far East and finished in Italy. They are both great bikes that have different performance characteristics but evoke similar emotions, even though they're really different. For me, they were both great choices.

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by Boshk

Seedster wrote:I care where my bike is made. My XR4 is the first high end bike not made in Italy or France. In prior builds I focused a great deal on using components made by artisans at WR Composition and Time.

I would never buy a bike for $10k that may be subcontracting several times over. It limits the number of manufacturers I would consider, but I am happy to support the firms still building in Italy.

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I thought the XR4 was their only bike they make in country....
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by PinaF8

I don't really care where my bike is made as long as the quality of the production is intact. There are Made in Italy items that are not superior in any aspect to those manufactured in China, or India, or elsewhere in the far east. The "Made In" label is no longer sufficient to guarantee the quality of products. We need to speak of materials, manufacturing process and craftsmanship.
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by DavidMLee

Do I care?

No, I don't care if manufacuturers are transparent about their supply chain. (Taiwanese-made Spesh)

Yes, I do care if manufacturers are fishy as to how their products are manufactured.(Pinarello claims Dogma frames are made in Italy but it is manufactured in China and painted in Italy)

To me, it is all about transparency and consumers' willingness to pay premium for brand equity with actually knowing what they are paying for.
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by kgt

I do care where and how my bike, components and clothes are made. There are many issues related to manufacturing quality, environmental awareness, labor ethics, legal matters, profit margins etc. etc. that matter to me. I know that we, as riders-consumers, cannot change the way the cycling industry works but we can certainly influence it.

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by Antoine

Made in Taiwan or Japan is comparable to made in a western country (or better because they are just good, organized and not as polluted by greedy people).
Chinese can make anything from the worst (shoes or furniture burning your skin) to a good product.
What I really dislike is the copies or counterfeit products they have been making for years, without any concern for anything.

And I don't like the idea of having products designed and engineered in a western country then made where the labour cost is as low as possible.
It's not going to work on the long term, only for some businessmen.
The next step (already begun) is replacing local designers ans engineers by cheaper ones originally coming from non western country. Then replacing them by overseas designers and engineers.
That's what I see happening at my work, now we produce crap and the clients are not even complaining because they get used to it and the cost is what matters most.
So we'll have a Pinarello designed and engineered in India and made in some african country (because chinese workers are going to be too expensive). Hopefully owners and shareolders will still be italians.
We'll have plenty of time to ride bikes but unable to afford one because unemployed.

It's not that the (probably) older french or italian worker or the tatooed american working for Time, Colnago or Parlee is more skilled than the young chinese worker (rather the opposite) , it's just that a local product must still be made by local people with their culture and knowledge.
And the world doesn't have to work like a single global country with the good, the bad and the ugly.

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by Juanmoretime

I have a few chinese based frames and they work great. My favorite bike is made here in the US. My 2008 Lynskey R320 is still very near and dear to my heart. But I also ride a Harley. :wink:

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by colster

Do you care where your bike is made?

What seems apparrent from reading threads like this is that Anglo-American cyclists take great pride in riding Italian bikes, and can start acting really funny when the "authenticity" or "Italin-ness" of that bike is ever brought into question.

Cycling as we know it (by which I mean road racing, not MTB or BMX etc) is a European sport, specifically a continental European sport, more specifically a Western European continental sport, and in any areas outside of that it is a niche sport. For those of us who take the sport seriously, which is probably most if not all who frequent this forum, we are usually painfully aware that we are members of a minority subculture, and so as passionate and committed members of that subculture we feel it important to fly our flag and flash our credentials to bemused neighbours and co-workers who may regard our passion with a mix of humour and bemusement. We basically become like the kid in Breaking Away, dreaming of the Dolomites, dropping faux Italian phrases into our sentences like calling a groupset a "gruppo" or a water bottle a "bidon", or we know exactly what "tete de la course" means but would struggle to speak enough French to order a croissant. The allure of this is very strong when one considers what I call the "Frasier effect", basically a belief amongst intellectual-types that if something originates in Europe rather than America it is certified as culturally superior, and is then pounced on by those wishing to appear superior in taste.

The obsession with buying Made In Italy, or Made In Europe products seems, in my experience, strongest amongst US and UK cyclists who are very self conscious of being cyclists, are conscious that being a cyclist constitutes a large part of their identity, and are often conscious of appearing as connoisseurs of cycling who are somehow more knowing or savvy than other consumers, from whom they differentiate themselves by their choice of purchases. It does not seem, in my experience, to be so strong amongst Italian cyclists as they are, obviously, Italian, and so they have no hangups about their identity as Italian cyclists i.e. they don' t feel they need a full SR gruppo to let evereybody else know "hey I'm into Italian cycling stuff". They may choose to buy it if they like it, but I suspect that choice is not based on country of origin.
I once read an interview with Tommassini in Rouleur magazine in which he said "I don't work in the bike industry, i work in the fashion industry" and then went onto talk about how all his steel frames all get bought by British and American enthusiasts and none by Italians. I have heard Dario Pegoretti say similar things in interviews too.

So, do you care where your bike is made? Not do you care how your bike is made, but do you care where your bike is made? And do you care who makes your bike, was the OP's original question. My answer - if you care what others think of you a a cyclist then yes you probably do a great deal. So that's most of us, right?

And I want to add I say all of this as a British cyclist who PROUDLY rides a De Rosa with full Super Record, Bora's, Vittoria tubs, 3T cockpit, SMP saddle, basically everything Italian branded but (I suspect) mostly made in Taiwan. Familiarity breeds contempt I guess...

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by AJS914

I'm not into Italian for Italian's sake. I ride a Colnago because I had always wanted to try one and then once I got my C59, I found that it had the best ride quality of all the other bikes I've ever ridden. And I bought it used for $1400 because I still think $5,000 for a frameset is utterly ridiculous.

The hard thing with carbon bicycle frames is that you can make one in your garage if you were so inclined. You cannot make a Porsche in your garage. So we have this wide range of products between a $350 direct from China frame to $6,000+ made in Italy super bike that come with decades of brand heritage. It makes it hard to figure out where the value is. Mamils with lots of money will go straight for the super bike just as they go for the Porsche. The rest of us land somewhere in the middle. Also, because the ride qualities of a carbon frame are so subjective we are still left wondering until we've ridden 15 different frames.

by Weenie

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