Bicycle Maker History

Do You Know Where Your Bike is Made?

Giant - You may have ridden a bicycle made by Giant without knowing it! Giant is the world's largest bicycle manufacturer with factories in Taiwan, China, and Europe. Giant, a Taiwanese company started in 1972, manufacturers their own bikes - including the carbon bikes, which is unique in the industry (i.e., most other brands utilize other manufacturers such as Advanced or Martec). In addition to making their own bikes, Giant also makes, or has made, bikes for many other prominent brands, including Trek, Specialized, Schwinn, and Bianchi. Giant's claim to fame is that they have the most sophisticated and efficient manufacturing facilities in the bicycle industry. A bit of trivia is that Giant owns 30% of Hodaka, a key Taiwanese supplier for many brands such as Bianchi.5 Giant also sponsors the T-Mobile professional cycling team.

Cannondale - Aluminum Cannondales are made in the U.S. Cannondale, which was owned by founder Joe Montgomery and his son Scott. Cannondale is now owned by its key investment fund after experiencing financial problems. Cannondale's market share appears to have diminished but stabilized. According to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News in June 2007, low-end Cannondales are made in Taiwan- probably by Fritz-jou. Others are welded and painted in Taiwan then sent to the US for assembly. The Synapse is made by Top Key.In February 2008, Dorel Industries announced the acquisition of Cannondale and Sugoi clothing in an all-cash transaction of $190 million to $200 million. Dorel purchased Pacific Cycle (Schwinn, Mongoose, and GT Bicycle brands) in 2004.
Trek - It's hard to believe that America's largest bicycle brand had humble beginnings in a barn! Yet in 1976, Dick Burke - with an investment of $25,000 - started making bicycle frames in a little red barn near Madison, Wisconsin. By 1980, Trek built their first manufacturing plant in Wisconsin and the rest, as they say, is history!15After many years of making its own bicycles in the U.S., Trek moved entry and mid level bicycle manufacturing to Asia. In 1992, Trek introduced its proprietary OCLV carbon process (Optimum Compaction Low Void) which is still used in its handmade carbon frames. All OCLV carbon frames - road and mountain - are still made in Waterloo, Wisconsin. The all-carbon 5000 (which does not feature OCLV) is made in Asia.Worldwide, Trek is the second largest bicycle company after Giant (of the brands sold only in bicycle stores). They are one of the most sought-after brands by U.S. dealers because of their strong commitment to brick and mortar bicycle stores (i.e., the brand cannot be sold mail order or over the Internet) and because of their dealer-friendly policies.Trek owns (or licenses) Fisher, LeMond, Klein, and Bontrager.
Specialized - Started in 1974 by Mike Sinyard, Specialized has enjoyed a long-standing reputation for being a leading bicycle design and marketing company.Several years ago, Merida (a Taiwanese manufacturer) bought a substantial interest in Specialized. Although Specialized is still headquartered in California under the leadership of founder Mike Sinyard, all bikes are made in Asia. Key Asian suppliers are Merida, Ideal, and Giant.

Jamis - Jamis is the house brand of G. Joannou Cycle, a long-time distributor of bicycles and accessories. The bicycles are designed in the U.S. and sourced from Asia.
Kona - a California company with all production from Asia. Kona, founded in 1988, is a very small company similar in size to Marin. Fairly and Hodaka in Taiwan are key suppliers.