I try to buy made in the USA as much as possible and it’s getting harder and harder. If it’s down to 2 comparable parts and one is and the other isn’t, I’ll go for the US made on more often than not.
It’s important to me, personally, to try to buy nothing, but then to buy locally, and expand from there. If not locally, then w/in the state, if not w/in the state, then regionally, etc.
Some people also prefer Performance Bikes as opposed to an LBS. I don’t. I figure if you’re out riding your bike, you can’t be all bad.
When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells
“American-made” can often be misleading. Something can be “assembled” in the US, but the components are from China. I’m looking at Dutch-style bikes, but my concern about having something built in the Netherlands is only about how durable the brand is. Schwinn proved to us that American-made doesn’t necessarily mean durable.
Hey Bike Shop Girl…..I thought you did great for your first podcast. I ride a Trek road bike and a Rocky Mountain mountain bike, so you can see that I’m a supporter of North American made bikes. To be honest, I didn’t make my choice because of where it was manufactured and made my decision based on numerous other factors.
What I would like to know is what characteristics go into bikes made elsewhere that should make me want to consider buying one of them. That would be interesting to me.
Another good topic for the future might be the difference between buying a big name brand vs the little guy. You mentioned being a fan of the small indy companies so maybe that would be a good topic for you.
I think made in the USA matters, but it is also not always possible. I have a Pfeiffer True Temper OX Platinum frame made in 2001 and I try to put as many American made components as possible on it, but there are some sticky issues. For instance, I am unaware of any USA made road handlebars. My solution is to go with Ritchey because even though the parts are made in Taiwan, the company is American (I think) By the same logic (pun intended) it has Cane Creek brakes because USA made stuff is way out of my price range. Fortunately I also like these products because first and foremost I want to be happy with my ride.
Another interesting point is that if you get a custom Timbuk2 bag it will be sewn in San Francisco. If you order a stock bag it will come from somewhere else. I recently ordered one of their custom computer bags and received it within one week without paying extra for shipping. The bag only cost a little more than stock and I got exactly what I wanted.
So, I say yes, made in the USA matters but price, design, and performance sometimes matter more.
I’d love to see more local/US manufacturing come back here. I’m very very concerned that we have lost and are loosing our manufacturing capability, tools and expertise to overseas. When the dollar gets weaker (it will) and oil gets more expensive (guaranteed), importing from overseas will also get much more expensive, but by then will we have lost too much of our capability to bring it back? There are entrepreneurs out there trying to get things going, but it’s a struggle in more ways than one.
One other thing I thought of reading Elise’s post is the way that the large companies respond to innovation by entrepreneurs. In the early 90′s there was an explosion of creativity in American(and Canadian)mountain bike parts. Grafton, Kooka, Paul, White Industries, Synchros, etc. This was the era of purple anodizing! By mixing in these boutique parts with necessary Sh*&@%o parts, you could chop huge amounts of weight off your rig. Sometimes this came at the cost of durability. The big S wiped this out with linear pull brakes and the vastly improved XTR groupo. Very few of those companies are still around. The economies of scale will always be against innovators unless their ideas are totally revolutionary.