Friday, 24 February 2012


In my last post I touched on the fact that a recent common thread on a lot of cycling forums and blogs has been around the subject of 'Do you really know where your bike was made?' 
It would seem that a lot of people have expressed surprise that the bike or frame that they have  purchased might not have been manufactured in the country that they thought it had....
Surprised that they had purchased a name. 
Surprised that the bike frame they thought had been made in say Italy or USA was in fact made somewhere in Asia. 

Did they really not have an idea that was the case? 
I mean why should the bike industry be any different to any other industry. 
In the book 'It's all about the Bike' by Robert Penn he went to the Cinelli Factory in Italy to choose the handlebars for the bike he was building....He picked his bars, but acknowledged the fact that although they were designed and then tested at Cinelli's Italian factory, they were actually made in Asia 
Does this make them any less Cinelli....I don't believe so..

Take cameras....where are so many of those made these days? 
There was a time that every Leica was made in Germany....nowadays a lot of cameras and lenses carry the Leica name but were certainly not manufactured there. 

Then there are cars.
The last time I bought a car I purchased a Peugeot....a French manufacturer with a long history....Citroen and Toyota both make very similar models and the reality is that all three are made in the same factory and that factory is in Romania...real badge engineering I call it. 

But my point here is that if you read enough photographic and motoring magazines you would have been aware of this.... 
So are people really surprised that their bike frame was not made in the USA, Italy or the UK but in say China and not only that, but in the same factory that a number of other makes are made as well?....

My last post was about the fix I get from reading cycling magazines and how my choice of bikes has been based to some extent on the reviews I read prior to my purchase......You only have to read these reviews to get a pretty good idea where your frame and components originated from..... 

But...and here is my main point...Does it really matter? 
If you have a bike that rides like a dream...does everything that you expected it to and looks pretty darn good to boot, does it really matter if the frame comes out of a factory in Asia where a number of other makes of bike frame are produced as well. 

Now I am not talking here about the political and business ramifications of production. What I am talking about here is riding a bike. 
I am a cyclist....I have a passion for riding bikes.....Yes I love the history of cycling and bike production, but we are where we are and it is 2012. 
I think that it is far to easy to get caught up in 'hardware' discussions such as Shimano, Sram or Campagnolo and the coffee and cake stop wouldn't be complete without these rider discussions, but when all is said and done the real point to cycling is riding your bike.... Wherever it comes from...

There is an awful lot of brand snobbery around cycling and a lot of that can be fun, but in my opinion in the great scheme of things it really doesn't matter. What does matter is getting on whatever bike you have wherever it comes from and riding it.......I mean, if you don't ride your bike you can't call yourself a cyclist and riding your bike is what really matters......

Dan O over at Yo Eddy!! wrote a good post on this subject recently with some good links. If you didn't see it pop over and have a look now...........


Steve A said...

Every Jaguar I own was built in the now closed factory at Browns Lane, Coventry. One had its engine built at the old Daimler factory, but IT caught on fire. Perhaps it was perturbed at having been converted into a convertible in Cleveland.

My Cannondale was "Proudly Made in USA." Well, except for the Shimano and Mavic stuff. And actually, those Wellgo pedals are from Korea. I have no idea where my Tricross was built other than the builders spoke Chinese of one form or another.

rlove2bike said...

As you stated is your main point..."Does it really matter?" I will add my 2 cents...NO

Jez Andrews said...

It's a good point you make. Sometimes we just make things over complicated for what really is at the end of the day just riding our bikes. I don't care where mine is from its just good fun to be on and does the job I ask it to do.
What does bother is that some manufacturers bump up price on stuff when they put their sticker on it, when in fact its the same item. Perfect example is Halfords bike hut stuff which was identical to stuff from tioga, shaman etc but half the price. You can find frame without decals for a fraction of the price, but they are still the same.

limom said...

I think it depends on the situation.
Almost all mass market carbon and aluminium is from Asia, it's very difficult to get around it.
While outsourcing is the trend, I would gladly pay more for authenticity.
Would I want an Asian Cinelli bar? No.
If I wanted a bar made in Asia, I'd just get a Nitto.

Trevor said...

*Steve A*
Very little left in the way of British Motor manufacturers around now...Mind you a lot of the vehicles they produced were not all they were cracked up to be- handling like dogs and falling apart as soon as you looked at them.

Thanks for the input...

*Jez Andrews*
The perceived added value because something has a famous name sticker on it, is certainly something I don't like...As I said - 'paying for a name'.

Authenticity is difficult to achieve with the latest designs...

You can go to the Cinelli factory and pick out a graphite bar for instance...designed and tested in that factory but made in Asia.
Does it perform any less well because of that?...I don't think it does.
These days authenticity seems to mean going back in time....but does it mean it is better to ride?
I have ridden a number of 'authentic' classic bikes and although very nice, in my opinion they have not performed as well as the latest tecno frames and components etc.

mark shaw said...

Trevor I totally agree I have A Whyte which is a British bike I know this cos it has a union jack on it and I looked on there website, as to where it was made I have no idea, and as for all this bike snobbery on parts I do not even know what gears it has ? I have not got a clue all I know is they change when I press the lever when I want them to.

Trevor said...

*mark shaw*
Thanks for your comment Mark
As I say....If you are happy riding your bike and it does all that you want, does it really matter where it was actually made....?