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American manufacturing

Old 07-29-20, 01:00 AM
  #1  
jlmonte
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American manufacturing

For the economists out there, when will “Made in the USA“ be profitable for bike manufacturing? I surmise currently, lack of supply is more than just Asia manufacturing halting. Pandemic or not, seems like there is an opportunity to manufacture in country? Reminds me of “I, Pencil”, by Leonard Read. This is where my mind goes, as I look for a 25.4mm / 22.1mm stem from China.
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Old 07-29-20, 03:26 AM
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My road bike: Frame, seat post, stem, hubs, bottle cages and headset manufactured in ‘Murica. Not sure about the Cerakote.
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Old 07-29-20, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jlmonte View Post
For the economists out there, when will “Made in the USA“ be profitable for bike manufacturing? I surmise currently, lack of supply is more than just Asia manufacturing halting. Pandemic or not, seems like there is an opportunity to manufacture in country? Reminds me of “I, Pencil”, by Leonard Read. This is where my mind goes, as I look for a 25.4mm / 22.1mm stem from China.
The lack of supply is due to a short-term rise in lower-end bicycle purchases and a short-term decrease in production capacity.
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Old 07-29-20, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
My road bike: Frame, seat post, stem, hubs, bottle cages and headset manufactured in ‘Murica. Not sure about the Cerakote.
Not what the OP was talking about.
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Old 07-29-20, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Not what the OP was talking about.
I think the OP is wondering when huge numbers of bicycles will again be made in the USA. I think the answer is probably never.
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Old 07-29-20, 05:15 AM
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When the masses (you know, regular people) can, and will, spend $2000 instead of $200 on a bicycle.
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Old 07-29-20, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
Not what the OP was talking about.
Don't think any of the American people and companies involved with producing my bike and components are on public assistance because they are not profitable. I mean, Chris King may often dress like a "common man," but I am sure he's got a fat wallet.
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Old 07-29-20, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Don't think any of the American people and companies involved with producing my bike and components are on public assistance because they are not profitable. I mean, Chris King may often dress like a "common man," but I am sure he's got a fat wallet.
???

No one was saying there were no US manufacturers.

They existed before the pandemic.

They also target the high end of the market.

They might not be profitable if they tried to compete in the low end of the market.

The fact that they are profitable at their current size doesn’t mean they would be profitable after expanding.

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-29-20 at 06:04 AM.
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Old 07-29-20, 06:24 AM
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I'm almost completely confused by this post:
Originally Posted by jlmonte View Post
For the economists out there, when will “Made in the USA“ be profitable for bike manufacturing?
Are you implying that current companies making bike stuff in the US are not profitable? What in the OP's mind is happening in the world that could drive increased profit margins from US manufacturer of bike stuff? Let's read on.
I surmise currently, lack of supply is more than just Asia manufacturing halting.
...OK. So what are these other factors? OP, what are you saying?
Pandemic or not, seems like there is an opportunity to manufacture in country?
OK, I think OP is saying that there is the opportunity to manufacture bike stuff in the US because less bike stuff is being manufactured in China. Is that true? If so, how does that change market dynamics and open up opportunities for US manufacturers? Perhaps he's saying supply is going to fall while demand increases, causing prices to rise. Perhaps OP is further saying that if prices do indeed rise, they may hit a point when higher cost American manufacturing is (more?) profitable. But none of this is spelled out here.
Reminds me of “I, Pencil”, by Leonard Read.
OP drops this reference as if we all know it, have read it, understand why it's relevant here and can appreciate how it contributes to his argument.
This is where my mind goes, as I look for a 25.4mm / 22.1mm stem from China.
I've personally never heard of stem referred to by these dimensions. What length of stem? Also, why is the OP looking to buy "from China"?
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Old 07-29-20, 06:33 AM
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First it should be tackled as why we go overseas to buy USA made stuff because it's cheaper than buying from US dealers.
eg



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Old 07-29-20, 06:45 AM
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I'm not sure how long ago it was that you could buy a mass-produced bicycle made in the U.S.A. 50 years ago wasn't quite long enough for a good bike, since the ones I got in the 70's either were made in Japan or had French or Japanese components.

You'd need two things to happen to see it in the future. First, "Buy American" would have to become popular again, and backed up with sustained tariffs to make Chinese imports uneconomical. (Note that Walmart and their ilk, along with their customers, would not support raising prices to $300-$500 low end bikes! And anybody remember Walter Mondale being elected president after he took a bit longer to look for the union label on his new dress shirt?) Second, you'd either have to have new manufacturers start up to provide the components, and new manufacturers to build and assemble the bicycles, or you'd have to have established manufacturers who've built their business on high-end parts take the risk to build lots of lower-end parts, cheapening their brand in the process.

I'm not holding my breath.
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Old 07-29-20, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by MattTheHat View Post
I think the OP is wondering when huge numbers of bicycles will again be made in the USA. I think the answer is probably never.
American labor costs and living standards would have to return to pre WWII levels, I'd think. If this pandemic and jobs shutdown were to last for a decade . . .
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Old 07-29-20, 07:08 AM
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https://www.startribune.com/detroit-...u-s/571809632/
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Old 07-29-20, 07:21 AM
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At 10,000 bikes a year...If 99 more companies like that came along to the US, it would capture one percent of the world market! “So you’re saying there’s a chance.”
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Old 07-29-20, 07:51 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
First it should be tackled as why we go overseas to buy USA made stuff because it's cheaper than buying from US dealers.
It's simple. In a US the manufacturer is allowed to set a minimum retail sale price for a product in the sales agreement that the retailer is required to sign in order to sell the product. In other markets the manufacturer is not allowed to set a minimum retail price, only the minimum advertised price (MAP), in the retail agreement. They allow the market to determine the actual minimum pricing.
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Old 07-29-20, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Hiro11 View Post
I'm almost completely confused by this post:
Are you implying that current companies making bike stuff in the US are not profitable? What in the OP's mind is happening in the world that could drive increased profit margins from US manufacturer of bike stuff? Let's read on.
...OK. So what are these other factors? OP, what are you saying?
OK, I think OP is saying that there is the opportunity to manufacture bike stuff in the US because less bike stuff is being manufactured in China. Is that true? If so, how does that change market dynamics and open up opportunities for US manufacturers? Perhaps he's saying supply is going to fall while demand increases, causing prices to rise. Perhaps OP is further saying that if prices do indeed rise, they may hit a point when higher cost American manufacturing is (more?) profitable. But none of this is spelled out here.
OP drops this reference as if we all know it, have read it, understand why it's relevant here and can appreciate how it contributes to his argument. I've personally never heard of stem referred to by these dimensions. What length of stem? Also, why is the OP looking to buy "from China"?
Yup, I’m looking for a quill stem for my beach cruiser, for a internal diameter 22.2mm steering tube, and a 25.4mm handle bar. I am having difficulty finding one. There is a wholesaler, Top Lowrider that is out of many things including stems. I’m wondering what’s going on in the supply chain. I do know people are selling used bike at higher prices. I have sold 4 old bikes. 3 LBS I visited, have little new bike inventory, but a shop full of repairs. Which I assume is causing a run on parts, availability and higher prices, maybe? I’d make my own stem if I had a Haas CNC machine and maybe a couple extra and sell them. Anyways, interesting just thinking about it, I’m sure all will return to normal.

I, Pencil reference: https://fee.org/media/33856/i-pencil...ebsite-pdf.pdf
Sorry for the scavenger hunt.
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Old 07-29-20, 09:54 AM
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If you are willing to pay the additional costs of the overhead, (& that includes wages and employee benefits like health care ),

Of manufacturing in the USA then there will be companies willing to make it..
But to increase the profitability and lower costs a US company jobs out the work to Asian companies, that offer a lower overhead cost..

As to your stem, to buy American, consider contacting a custom frame builder..
and have them fabricate something just for you..Welded together in aluminum steel or Ti.






..

Last edited by fietsbob; 07-29-20 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 07-29-20, 10:33 AM
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Medium-high end bikes were made I the USA up to the mid 90s, maybe a little later. Specifically, Trek and Cannondale were doing a lot of manufacturing in the Midwest. There were some smaller builders who built the high-end stuff for GT and Kon and probably others.

I believe Huffy was still building cheap bikes in the USA up to the 80s. In Canada, Raleigh Canada and Procycle (Peugeot, CCM, Mikado, others) were making low to mid cost bikes up to the early 2000s.

Schwinn started getting their bikes made in Taiwan in the 70s, I believe, when they helped a company called Giant set up as a major contract manufacturer for their bikes.

Now, your options are low-to high priced bikes are made in Asia, with some high priced bikes made in Asia and finished in Europe or the US, or a handful of small niche builders doing most of their manufacturing of low volume high cost bikes in America.
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Old 07-29-20, 10:49 AM
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To the OP, you're looking for something like this?
An Origin8 22.2 quill / 25.4 bar clamp stem on Amazon for like $20
There's plenty of others there. Or if you needed a traditional-looking road stem in those measurements, look at Jenson USA for example. Sometimes people run out of specific things, and there are certainly less bikes these days using an internal 7/8" quill stem and a 1" handlebar.

As far a return to American manufacturing of mainstream bicycles, others have opined on why it's unlikely for a new company to spring up... I'll just add re: the idea of a formerly-made-in-USA bike co. bringing production back to the US that it's just as unlikely as it would be for WalMart to start selling US-made stuff instead of the cheaper, readily-available Chinese-made equivalents.
US companies started outsourcing production etc because it was cheaper to do so, and that enabled them to do 2 things:
1.make more profit (and pocket that) from producing the same stuff as before / start producing lower quality stuff and
2. pay their workers less in total compensation (stagnated pay, and/or reduced benefits like pensions, healthcare plans with good choices, or coverage for retirees, etc)

It's a difficult thing to reverse!
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Old 07-29-20, 11:11 AM
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some companies are on-shoring their products. It's unlikely to happen in the U.S. bike industry. When cannondale sold out to people that didn't want to manufacture bikes, that was the end of U.S. bike manufacturing outside of small companies. Excluding a very few models, Schwinn only mass-produced enthusiast level bikes for a few years before they went under. And they imported a lot of parts for their bikes. So the U.S. doesn't really have a long history of a robust bike industry immune to the dangers of imports.
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Old 07-29-20, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jlmonte View Post
For the economists out there, when will “Made in the USA“ be profitable for bike manufacturing? I surmise currently, lack of supply is more than just Asia manufacturing halting. Pandemic or not, seems like there is an opportunity to manufacture in country? Reminds me of “I, Pencil”, by Leonard Read. This is where my mind goes, as I look for a 25.4mm / 22.1mm stem from China.
When the combined costs of raw materials and labor in the USA cost less than the combined costs of raw materials, labor, and shipping from overseas to the USA, then and only then will manufacturers move production back to the USA. You can debate ad nauseum about the best way to get to that place, but until it is economically favorable to do so, manufacturers will not make their products in the USA.
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Old 07-29-20, 11:54 AM
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One chance might lie in future ability of 3D printing to work.. taking a good portion of the manual labor portion out of the equation:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/superstrata-bike#/
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Old 07-29-20, 12:16 PM
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Don't Get Me Started

I am Canadian, but I too feel the loss of domestic manufacturing.

In the post that follows, please don't think that I am anti Chinese, I have nothing against the Chinese worker, I have a lot against the Chinese government and the Chinese employer, also my views are similar and could be applied to other low cost countries in various degrees.

When will things change, and domestic production improve? These are my thoughts:


1) The current system is dependent on low or moderate energy costs, We have to be able to ship raw material overseas, manufacture the product and ship it back for less cost than the product can be made domestically. If we ever had a period of prolonged very high energy costs the whole dynamic could change.


2) Trade barriers put against products with dubious production histories. If someone wants to work harder than me, for less money than me, by their own free will; all the power to them. If you manufacture something and dump your toxic waste in the river, if you can build a factory more economically by putting in less fire escapes, if you can call the police in and have an employee arrested for fighting for worker rights, I do have a problem with that. Buying from developing countries can be a good thing, but the playing field has to be somewhat level.


3) "We have seen the enemy, and it is us" I have a 1950's lathe and wrist watch, a 1960's table saw, and a 1980's bike ( all bought used and heavily invested in to refurbish) we need to get in a mindset of buying good stuff and taking care of it as opposed to buying crap every year or two.


4) Similar to point #3 , disposal costs have to be worked into the price of crap products ( may not apply much to bikes).


5) Politics, the USA still has very restrictive trade policies regarding Cuba ( correct me if I am wrong, I believe there has been some loosening recently) I have no problem with this, but there should be tariffs against the products from a lot of other countries too.


Just my unsolicited input.
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Old 07-29-20, 12:25 PM
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It's a more complex topic than what it's being reduced to.

Could we instead focus on updating the educational opportunities for our workforce so that we prepare them for more skilled work than the tasks that are so cheap and rudimentary that we outsource them?

I'd rather give those people jobs making more expensive and complex things than working at jobs where they pay so bad that they still need government aid.

Which, IMO, the manufacture of many bikes and parts would be. Low paying jobs even if in the US.
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Old 07-29-20, 12:39 PM
  #25  
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If the product is bought for the military those get money thrown at them from the treasury .

Bicycles just are not one of them..
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