If you spend most of your day training on bike trainer for an exciting cycling race, then your dream would most probably be to own a bike made by one of the ‘big three manufacturers’ – Giant, Trek, and Specialized. Their high end bikes feature in all major grand tours and you can’t stop yourself from ogling at the sophisticated bikes that winners ride.
From the audience view point, the winning bikes look different, bearing different brands that sponsor the cyclists. However, the reality is different because the manufacturers have a little secret. They don’t want you to know that every bike manufactured in America and Europe has bike components made in Asia. The three winners of 2008 Tour De France used different bikes made in the same factory somewhere in Asia.
The Secret Behind ‘Made In Country X’ Stickers
When a bike says that it is ‘made in country X’, then it doesn’t necessarily mean that every component is made in the country X. In fact, there are a handful of factories in Taiwan and China that manufacture bike components for all the major bike brands in the whole world. This means that all the high end bikes are typically manufactured in the same factories. Taiwan is popular for its skills and technology in making high end bikes, while China tops the market for low end bikes with cheap labor.
Most of the major bicycle brands simply finish the components and assemble the imported components in their own factory. The designers and engineers work on developing a model, while the parts are ordered to be made outside of the country, in mostly Asian factories. This doesn’t mean that the quality of the components is inferior; in fact, superior quality bike components are always made in Asian factories.
This however means that almost all the major bike brands are not transparent about how their bikes are actually made in another country and how they bend the laws to label that a bike is ‘made in country X’.
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