Cannondale Shuttering US Production

It was reported yesterday that Cannondale is closing down much of its US production. Only assembly, a limited amount of machining, some assembly, and some other processes will remain at their Bedford, Pennsylvania plant. Complete bicycle frame set production will cease.

Amazingly, it wasn’t even the lead item in Tech News. A new Scott TT frame (which is already imported from Asia) led the news. Off-shoring in the bicycle industry just isn’t big news anymore. Taiwan is home to most of the high end manufacturing and China is the place to pump out the production. Even Cannondale has been importing its carbon fiber frame sets from Taiwan since 2007. Their operations in Taiwan will likely serve as a base to source the majority of production in China. Still it is sad, in some respects, to see a big name like Cannondale (founded in Connecticut with design and marketing still located here) without a major presence in the US.

Of course, Cannondale really isn’t Cannondale anymore. Joe Montgomery founded the company in 1971 and it was run like a lot of small businesses are run, for many years. Today, it is just a “brand” owned by some anonymous conglomerate. Montgomery lost control of Cannondale after major growth, an ill fated foray into motorsports (ATV’s and motorcycles), and after going public. The company spent time in bankruptcy and was eventually acquired by a private equity firm and is now owned by Dorel Industries. Dorel also owns the Scwhinn, GT, Mongoose, and Sugoi brands, which are all focused on cycling.

I rode my Cannondale CAAD9 to work today. It is my team bike and I like it. It is aluminum with an imported carbon fiber fork. Both seat stays have large decals that say, “Handmade in USA.” I’ve been eyeing the Cannondale Slice frame set as my potential triathlon bike for 2009. I’m close to ordering one. I hemmed and hawed about this purpose built triathlon bike because I’m sentimental about US made bicycle products. Of course, I’m more of a realist nowadays. Plus, the domestic bikes I was researching cost a fortune by comparison.

It will cost a lot less for Cannondale to have new decals printed, than to keep the Bedford plant humming. My hunch is that they won’t be so focused on broadcasting the new message: “Handmade in Taiwan or China.”

2 Responses to “Cannondale Shuttering US Production”

  1. 1 8mihi 23 June 2010 at 12:03 am

    Nice post.

    At the end of 2008, I changed jobs and found myself working much closer to home (7 miles). My first instinct was to hit my local cycle shop and pick up a Cannondale Bad Boy hybrid for commuting. Love this bike! That sale was in Jan. of 2009, and I managed to get one of the (maybe the?) last Bedford ‘runs’ of this model. I also (and proudly) have the ‘Made in the USA’ label and enjoy that me and my bike were ‘made’ in PA (Berks County Boy, by birth).

    I’ve been involved in small Aerospace manufacturing operations most of my working life (late-80’s through 2008) and understand well what’s gone on in Manufacturing in the US since the Asian Mfg juggernaut began to show force in the late 60’s.

    My take is, after W.E. Deming jump started Japan’s manufacturing after WW2 (he’s one of the few Americans with ‘hero’ status in Japan, btw), he returned to the US in the late 70’s and 80’s to help us. He was basically rejected as US manufacturers (see GM, Chrysler, etc.) saw no need for ‘continuous improvement’. In general, we didn’t listen to Deming, and stories like Cannondale have become the norm. So sad.

    I agree, any hand made frame in the US anymore is outrageously priced and seemingly marketed to a class of folk who no longer need to rely on an employer or job for income…imho…

  1. 1 marketing instincts reviews Trackback on 20 May 2014 at 9:40 am

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