Does anyone bother trying to buy USA-made mountain bikes anymore?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Does anyone bother trying to buy USA-made mountain bikes anymore?

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 26 voices, and was last updated by  coot271 2 weeks, 3 days ago.

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  • #217458

    I remember several years ago there used to be regular forum discussions about which brands were still making their bikes in the USA, and a lot of people seemed willing to go out of their way to buy American-made bikes. My question is, does anyone even bother anymore?

    I guess if you’re really serious about supporting domestic bike production, a custom/indie bike is the way to go these days. Heck, there are even a couple companies attempting to make carbon fiber bikes in the USA.

    I love how my Giant road bike has this huge USA flag sticker with tiny words saying “Designed in the USA. Made in Taiwan.” Sadly I suspect some are fooled by this type of marketing.

  • #217475

    I’m a Manufacturing engineer, specifically doing project management and cost analysis in tubular welded products (in a different industry). Since getting into mountain biking I’ve often thought whether or not the United States could be competitive building frames. Part of the obstacle is the tariff schedule. Raw materials for example coil steel (from which tubes are made) get high tariffs while fabricated steel products get very low tariffs. So US steel suppliers can boost their coil prices more than the market could support. I am not as familiar with aluminum markets but it probably is similarly stupid. From a strict labor price difference point of view, I think it could be viable if the right level of automation were applied. You have the advantage of lower shipping costs and less currency fluctuation exposure. I’d love to see it revived to something more than a few niche low volume fabricators. I don’t know if the US would be competitive in carbon. I’m not as familiar with those processes.

  • #217477

    Im canadian and the last 3 bikes i have bought have all been made in the USA. All were carbon and all from the same manufacturer. Although personally i dont care where it is made i have found the “boutique” bikes made in the states are beyond anything else i have tried. I fell in love with my tracer after 1 ride and couldn’t imagine riding anything but. So now i own 3 different intense models and love them all for different reasons. Pretty much the only other bike i get on now is my early 90’s merlin.

    • #217478

      While Intense liked to play up Made in USA, the fact is their carbon frames were indeed fabbed overseas.  Been that way since 2012.  In 2016, they subsequently moved all their aluminum fab OS as well.

  • #217479

    My last purchase (Jan 2016) was made in the USA and I was glad about that.  I bought the bike because I loved the bike–were it made OS, I still would have bought it.  Made in USA is great, but my primary concern is product performance.

  • #217490

    My first mountain bike (if you can even call it that) was a GT Aggressor. The following message was printed on the stem cap:

    “GT Bicycles-‘Hand Crafted’ in Southern California.”    However, on the underside of the down tube was a Made in China sticker.

    I’ve seen this trick with Trek too. An American company that tries to make their product look 100% American made. Guitar manufacturers do the same thing. One of the first things I did when I bought a Trek bike was rip the Made in China sticker off. Personally, I don’t buy things specifically because they’re made in America. I want the best product for my money, as I think John was getting at. I won’t buy a sub-par product just because it’s American made, but I suspect this type of marketing suggests that many people would do so. If American made bikes, cars, etc are better than others, I would certainly buy one. I can say for sure that I’m not a fan of this deceitful marketing.

  • #217491

    The funny thing is, unlike Trek and Specialized, Giant isn’t even a US-based company. Their HQ is in Taiwan! But I guess (at one time, anyway) their designers were based in the US… Or maybe it was just a guy who worked from home. 🙂

  • #217500

    I don’t care about where it’s made anymore. Most important is how it’s made and how long it’s gonna last. And how much does it cost.

    I trust my life to China-made climbing carabiners and harness, so why should I pay twice as much for a sticker “Made in any country”.

    It is sad though to realize that US companies moved production overseas just to keep prices down.

  • #217501

    I don’t pay attention at all.   Too many variables too worry about.  Even if it were made in the U.S. over, say, China, the higher labor costs would probably result in more automation.  So on balance, I’m not sure it would be saving American jobs.   And the situation is constantly changing and fluid.  I know it sounds good politically, but I wouldn’t be able to keep up in real time.

  • #258385

    I prefer to by a frame that is US made. I started riding mtb’s back in 1989; a time when the boutique manufacturers in the U.S. made the best frames. Back then and still to this day, I love the idea that a person who is passionate about cycling is the one fabricating my bike. I’m not completely opposed to a frame from overseas, and I know that there are actually some high quality ti welders in Taiwan and other places too. However, I’d prefer to give my hard earned dollars to companies like: Ventana (I’ve owned two of there bikes), Lynskey ( I have a Ridgeline), Spot, Breadwinner, Retrotec, 44, and many others who still build hand crafted frames. I love custom bikes and all the options that come with them.

  • #258418

    I pay some attention, but I buy the bike I think is best. That being said, I don’t know of any fully made in the US bike. My current bike is an Evil, they are out of Washington. But like most US bike companies, their frame manufacturing is  outsourced.

  • #258429

    I shop for good quality at a reasonable price. I have experienced good and bad parts made in both the US and China. Well know brand names are still my most trusted for safety concerns. However, I will buy knockoffs if they look and feel solid.

  • #258431

    What does “Made in the USA” even mean? Even if the frame was made in the USA, is the rest of the bike made here? Probably not! Components come from all over the world. The world economy rules! I don’t like it, but that’s the facts. I given up worrying about where bikes are made because even if some small part of it is made in the USA, most of it is probably made some where else.

    • #258444

      Good question.  Too often, when we see made in America, it really means assembled in America.  I think it’s impossible to have a mountain bike that is 100% made in America.  Is it possible to find a U.S. manufacturer for every component on a bike?  Even if you break down a component, say an American made rear hub.  Are it’s bearings,  seals, lube, etc., made in America?

      I think the best we can hope for, is a frame that is designed and crafted in the United States.

  • #258457

    Yes. I love supporting local brands when I can. I have the benefit of having Guerrilla Gravity in my back yard. My bike (Trail Pistol) and my fork (MRP) are both built right here in Colorado. 

  • #258458

    Gorilla Gravity is now making carbon frames in-house and their bikes are affordable as well.  Don’t own one personally, but they will be in the mix for sure next time I’m in the market.

  • #258460

    Other then Guerilla Gravity what else is made is U.S.A or Canada? Just curious.

  • #258465

    Does it even matter? Humans are just a bunch of self-absorbed ennui-filled talking monkeys. Wherever you are on this anthill  is not any better than anywhere else. The world is a tiny place and as you do not matter neither does where your toy came from. Specifically, if you go to the lengths to purchase a “US made” custom frame it is still likely that it’s materials (Reynolds Steel and all Titanium for example) came from outside the US. Then your components are all from abroad. I applaud Guerrilla Gravity efforts to do something unique and while it’s nice that they are in the US, I believe the process and product are more important. I will be visiting them at the end of the month so we’ll see.

  • #258479

    We are all the same species living on the same small planet. Why do the jobs of somebody who lives on the other side of the planet have to be our loss. Wouldn’t it be great if everybody on the whole earth could have the same high standard of living as the USA. Maybe it’s not a zero sum game. I win—you lose or you win—I lose! Maybe we all rise together. Oh, this IS a bike website. Sorry, I got a little lost in the philosophy zone!

  • #258815

    Sure love my new Turner Flux. California company. While the frames are now made overseas this bike rocks! I can descend so much better with the new slack geometry. And climb so much more with 27.5 wheels, at age 65 riding most trails faster than ever. My previous bike a Turner Burner ’04 was made in the USA.

  • #258870

    I prefer to buy USA made when the product is comparable in price and function as well as being relatively convenient. This idea is doubly important when it’s “local” to me. I don’t think anyone would argue that putting your money into your community is beneficial to yourself. At the end of the day though I just avoid China when I can. I don’t want my dollars supporting their government or their working conditions and about a million other little things.

  • #258952

    Old thread that got bumped but this is still relevant today, given tariffs and what not. I have worked for US manufacturers (different industry) and was always amazed that my plant had to be this and that and located in the US before the contractor would consider my product and then, sell me down the river for a nickel. I lost that strong sense of nationalism a long time ago but if the quality, price, and features were the same but the service was not, I would buy from the better service company. When we’re guilted into buying from someone based on location and then their service blows, location doesn’t matter. When service excels, that wins for me. So, would I like to support local?  Yes. And I do but only when service is good.  I try to buy good product but from good people, not asses.  And when they try a marketing sham as noted above, that’s crap too.

  • #259135

    My 2013 Tracer-275 alu was among the final years of frames Intense Made in the USA and is a fun, reliable, maintainable bike that will live long bring me many more smiles.

    My 2018 Ibis HD4 is a “Designed in USA” bike from a great local company but the frames are made in Asia (China/Taiwan) along side some of the other highest quality bikes made today.

    In terms of quality the Intense isn’t better or worse than the Ibis.  (They’re both awesome, fwiw.)  In terms of service both companies have been supportive and responsive when I needed parts or info to service/repair my bikes.  Where a bike is manufactured and by whom is a judgement call of people who know more than (most of) you or I about the quality, quanity, yield, cost, and other implications of building a bike, and how to make the best trade offs.  I’d say we’re better off to focus on finding a reliable and responsive bike maker whose decisions demonstrate their commitment to us customers and our safety/satisfaction/stoke and reputation of competence/quality/service to deliver on that commitment.   I was stoked to have that American flag on my frame when I was riding the Intense, but I’m sure as hell not less stoked to ride the Ibis.  I know in both cases skillful and dependable people who care about mountain biking built something they’re proud to see their name on and I’m having a blast riding the results of their hard work.

  • #259193

    For a long time, Devinci was manufacturing their aluminium bikes in Canada with locally sourced aluminium; I believe this is still true for some of their lineup, which is pretty cool. While difficult, especially if a rider is on a budget, I fully support buying locally produced/sourced frames and components when possible. For me, it comes down to two things. First, supporting local companies and brands usually has positive effects on that community, and I think most bike companies will fall into the category of being beneficial for local communities. Secondly, the amount of carbon released from transcontinental transportation of people and goods is insanely high. Cycling can have positive effects on our communities, environments, and world, but I’d still like to mitigate the negative environmental impacts of my riding as much as possible.

  • #259580

    Looking good, Dave Lash.

    At least the bike is US-made…

  • #290990

    I’m on the hunt to purchase a bike that I’ll mostly be using at the bike park or shuttled trails. It’s gonna be my race and beat-up bike. I’m eyeing a couple companies specifically because I want to support American made if possible. The two are the new Foes Mixer which was just revealed or a Guerilla Gravity long travel bike. I hope both companies do well!

  • #291101

    I definitely try to support companies that make things in the US. Even if the entire bike isn’t made here, I’ll support a company who does some of the work here over one that does none of the work. I was fortunate enough to buy a bike made right here in Denver recently, and the fact that it was made here is a big part of why I chose this particular brand. It’s not easy to buy bikes made in the US—especially if you’re trying to save money—but it’s definitely possible! And, in my opinion, worth it.

  • #291627

    I found Wyatt Cycles after I already bought a new fat bike.   I cracked my new frame and if they didn’t honor the warranty I was going to pull the trigger on a Wyatt frame.  As it happened, my frame was replaced under warranty.  Maybe for the next n+1…

  • #291696

    I bought a Revved Gorilla Gravity Smash in April (2019).  I decided to buy one based on the fact it was a fully-modern, good looking and well-made USA product from a small company in Colorado.  I am proud of these folks making quality products and I want to continue to support their efforts.  So far the bike has impressed and I know it will continue to serve me well for years to come.  I don’t blame folks for buying bikes made overseas, but I like to support locally and what better way than with an awesome bike.

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