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ok, i was just wondering why do so many bike companies take pride in that their frames are "made in the usa" (intense, cannondale, trek, and especialy ellsworth). its not like if two frames are made in different parts of the world one is better. WTF? :confused:
 

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From having worked in a bike shop I've seen both. And in general the welds on "Made in the USA" bikes look much better. Look at a Klein, fantastic looking welds. I know Trek's lower end bikes are made overseas. But they are still good bikes with the great Trek warranty.

And in an age where so many jobs are being sent overseas, companies want us to know they support American jobs. And most of the "Made in the USA" bikes tend to be upper end bikes. My Fisher was "Made in the USA". My next bike will be too.
 

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It's not that made in the US is inherently of better quality. It's good to support US products as long as they're worthy. I do try and buy US goods when I can, but quality is always my primary concern and a US made product, or any other, won't get bought unless it's worthy...
 

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s.c. rox! said:
ok, i was just wondering why do so many bike companies take pride in that their frames are "made in the usa" (intense, cannondale, trek, and especialy ellsworth). its not like if two frames are made in different parts of the world one is better. WTF? :confused:
HAHAHAHA!

You're new, eh? Welcome! ;)

It's something you have to work for to understand. That pride, when it's really honestly meant (like Ellsworth) is the same thing you feel as an owner.
 

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Bike companies have to make decisions that will bring their product to market at the price they believe the market will bear. If the public demands complete bikes for under a grand and framesets for less than $750, the manufacturer will usually have to go to overseas production in order to make enough profit to remain liquid. I wouldn't pull my support of a bike company simply because of this reality. And I won't let country of origin be the determining factor in a purchasing decision unless all other criteria, including value, are equal. They usually aren't. I try to buy American when I can. But I feel no guilt when I buy a Taiwanese frame; Taiwanese workers need to feed their families, too. Borders, after all, are simply lines on a map.
 

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Quality wise it doesn't mean anything. A good product can be made everywhere. But supporting the economy of the area/country you live in will help to secure your job. It always cracks me up seeing a "Proud to be American" sticker on a car made overseas.
 

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carl1266 said:
t supporting the economy of the area/country you live in will help to secure your job.
In most cases, even though your bike is made overseas, you're still supporting an American bike company that employs Americans. It's rare these days that a company has no branches overseas, whether it's materials, manufacturing, or distribution. And don't forget all those Shimano bits and Mavic rims and DT spokes and On-One handlebars! A portion of your bike dollar is going to go to another country, even if indirectly.
 

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If people want to "buy USA" then why are they buying Ford and GM vehicles from Mexico?

Such a sentiment has no place in a free market economy, to bury one's head in the sand and believe you're aiding the economy by paying more for something made is the USA simply reinforces the reason our economy is set to go downhill.
 

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face it

The companies who want to manufacture frames in the US have to build up the equipment from scratch and find a bunch of people who know how to build a frame properly. It costs money. Why not have the frames made in Taiwan, where they have the equipment and expertise to build a quality frame? When you buy American you are paying more, not because the quality is better, but because we just don't have the large scale, single purpose manufacturing that Taiwan does. I just don't understand the resentiment that a lot of people here feel for frames made in Taiwan. Are they so blindly patriotic that they believe we have better frame builders in larger quantities? Sure, you can buy an Ellsworth frame for a couple of grand. It will be a damn good frame. But the reason you are paying so much is not simply because of the quality. It's because your frame was one of only a couple hundred produced that month. You can't expect to make a profit on those frames by selling them for $500 a piece.

In short: Thank you Taiwan for producing the most affordable and best built frames out there!
 

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nationalism and prejudice. if it's made in the us, it's supposed to be of better quality. if it's made in taiwan, it's cheap junk. like cars from japan when they were first imported into the us.

if it's made in england, it's a 20 year old design cobbled together, nudged into the 21st century and it'll still cost alot because they cover it with english leather and burl walnut. if its made in italy, it's the fastest thing around, but extremely tempermental and astronomical in price. if it's made in germany, it's a bulletproof tank. and probably a diesel. if it's made in sweden, they dont care if you buy it or not.
 

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kgardnez said:
If people want to "buy USA" then why are they buying Ford and GM vehicles from Mexico?

Such a sentiment has no place in a free market economy, to bury one's head in the sand and believe you're aiding the economy by paying more for something made is the USA simply reinforces the reason our economy is set to go downhill.
Whooooo! This is about my favorite debate! It boils down to a few root questions:
1) Why is something made in the USA so much more expensive?
2) Is it actually better if it's made by good ol' American workers?
3) What is QUALITY? (lifted right out of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance!)

Here's my take - and remember, it's merely one man's OPINION:
Americans are universally the most overpaid workers in the world. We are also subject to the lowest commodity prices of any developed nation. The "free market economy" model provides us with the widest variety of choice for an incredibly variety of just about anything. Places like Wal-Mart reinforce the ideal that Americans should not have to pay market price for ANYTHING.

Historically, America has been the land of the innovation, the invention. Henry Ford didn't invent the automobile, but he invented a way to make thousands of them quickly. Americans were the first to fly. We figured out most of the alloying processes used in modern metallurgy. We invented nuclear power, for crying out loud, and nuclear weapons. Woven carbon fiber - 3Al/2V titanium - 6061-T6 aluminum. All invented by American braintrusts. We didn't invent the bicycle, but we came up with the OCLV process.

We're thinkers, but we're arrogant. We pay less for goods than anybody, but we demand more wages to support our incredibly decadent lifestyle- more cars per capita than any other developed nation, more brands of toothpaste to choose from, more outrageously large new homes with fourteen bathrooms. It's our birthright. This is why US-made products cost so much more.

Adding to the dilemma, we're pretty damn lazy as a nation. American workers have lost their attention to detail on the whole. In the post-WWII halcyon days of American industry, we took pride in the products we made. A car cost what a car cost, and the quality was unparalleled. Chrome was thick and highly shiny. Interiors were upholstered! There was very little cost-efficiency conciousness, because the quality of the finished product was what mattered, something we could take pride in - the cost was simply what it cost. Our workplaces were well-appointed, and none of our jobs were at stake.

In the ensuing decades, the global market has opened, which is not necessarily a bad thing, only the playing field isn't level. China and Tiawan and Mexico don't have environmental policies to raise the cost of manufacturing. They don't have liability insurance or health insurance. Their raw materials cost a fraction of what American materials cost, because the level of quality control is much lower - the materials are much less consistent and rarely inspected at the molecular level for purity, quality, etc.. Their worker base competes at a fraction of the cost of American labor. They are socialist countries, so much of the revenue generated goes to the state, not the stockholders. Workers may or may not have pride in their products - I imagine they do, and probably moreso than the average American, just from their philosophical basis of existence - but they put in a week's work for less than an American makes in a single hour.

Now we have to compete on this grossly skewed market playing field, and the only way to do that is by cutting costs, because Americans want all our **** cheaper in spite of ourselves. We shoot ourselves in the foot over and over. We buy the cheap crap, because it's cheaper (or we demand that similar American product be offered at a competitive price). We rationalize that "in the free market, American companies cannot afford to put their heads in the sand..." So then in response to OUR OWN demands, American companies move production to China or Mexico to cut costs, laying off thousands of American workers who then go on the dole, raising costs to other American companies in the form of unemployment taxes and the like. These folks are now making less, so they MUST buy the cheap crap in order to continue putting gasoline in the family truckster.

The companies that try to stay onshore see the writing on the wall, and reduce costs by cutting benefits to workers, such as healthcare and retirement funds. Morale suffers because amenities such as coffee pots, daycare, and hour-long lunches are cut, overtime is refused. The workplace has become someplace we want to leave, where it's not about doing a good job, but rather how to make the weekly 40 hours pass as quickly as possible. When morale drops, so does quality of work. People are daydreaming, or worrying about how the car payment and the mortgage payment are going to get paid this week - when they used to be taking pride in the finished product.

The solution isn't easy - it's been a three decade walk into these woods, and it won't turn around in an instant. The government could help by imposing high tariffs on all imported goods coming from these countries with low human rights and worker rights standards, and lower environmental standards. It would help for the cost of imported goods to be raised to a level that represents an American wage-earner's comparable goods. It would then cost more to buy the imported goods, and more of America's companies would benefit by keeping jobs here. We could also benefit from a gross adjustment of subsidized consumer goods (such as gasoline), which in the short term would tank the economy, but in the long term could raise the standard of living by insisting that things cost what they ought to cost. Why do I want a cheap car - do you have any idea how much potential energy exists in a car doing 70? Why do I want cheap plane tickets? For that matter, why do we want cheap bicycle frames? When I'm screaming down a twisty mountain descent on my road bike at 50 mph, I do NOT want to be stoked on how cheaply I got it. We have stopped making quality goods because we can get new stuff so cheap when the cheap stuff breaks.

What is QUALITY, anyway?

-Sorry for the disjointed ramble. This IS the short version.

Peace-
 

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Shopvet: pretty good disjointed ramble.

I don't think American workers have completely lost focus on quality as much as executives now focus on increasing stock value over other more tangible things in business. But it's not what it once was.

I think a big advantage of Japanese and Tawainese compaines is their ability to give people what they want (market research), not what some executive thinks people need (exept for shimano components sometimes). Just look at Toyota vs GM and Ford.

I think the big advantage of buying American is if you buy a custom frame made just for you. Then you are getting quality and supporting a small business.

Strange that something can be classified as "made in the USA" if a certain percentage of the parts are made somewhere else and assembled here.
 

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I don't think there is a huge quality issue here. There are many examples of products made in any number of countries that are top notch.

I bought my Ventana frame because of many factors, among them was that is was made in the U.S. I wanted to support a small company in my home country. The quality and customer service reputation of Ventana is tops and the price is in line with most other high end bikes.

One thing that always surprises me when these discussions come up. It is hardly ever brought up that manufacturing products in the U.S. requires complying with many different laws than are required in some other countries. Manufacturers in the U.S. pay higher wages, more taxes, deal with higher insurance costs, and comply with countless environmental laws and so on. The fact that they can do it and still be somewhat competitive price wise is impressive.

So many bikers are proud of themselves for being environmentally aware, yet they don't see any benefit in spending a little more money for a product that is made under some of the strictest environmental laws in the world. How much could a maker shave off the price if he could dump waste chemicals in the floor drain rather than pay the hazardous waste fees to have them collected? How about blowing paint overspray and welding smoke right outside rather than scrubbing or filtering that air first?

What about employee health and safety? I couldn't venture a guess what it costs an owner to keep a manufacturing plant in OSHA compliance.

I think there are a few things that are worth thinking about beyond the lowest cost.
 

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11 Bravo said:
So many bikers are proud of themselves for being environmentally aware, yet they don't see any benefit in spending a little more money for a product that is made under some of the strictest environmental laws in the world. How much could a maker shave off the price if he could dump waste chemicals in the floor drain rather than pay the hazardous waste fees to have them collected? How about blowing paint overspray and welding smoke right outside rather than scrubbing or filtering that air first?

What about employee health and safety? I couldn't venture a guess what it costs an owner to keep a manufacturing plant in OSHA compliance.

I think there are a few things that are worth thinking about beyond the lowest cost.
These are excellent points. I don't think that it's the environmental or OSHA expenses alone that account for the disparity, but those of us who are buying imported products are, in fact, partially culpable for some of the conditions you describe. Your point is well taken.
 

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i believe import tariffs are the reason for competitive pricing. i believe some countries subsidize their exports by charging their citizens more. seems like a global price fixing scheme.

american executives are supposedly the highest paid in the world? probably not an issue with the small manufacturers, but a factor in general.
 
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