Videos of bikes being built + Ethical bike manufacturers

by Noddy   October 14, 2009  

Hello,

A few weeks ago I stubbled on a "How do they do that" type of programme on Channel 5 in the UK, showing how the constructed and assembled a leading brand (can't naturally remember which) of mountain bike in a factory in Taiwan. I found this amazing, watching the frame builders bend and shape the aluminum tubes, weld the frame and assemble the bike.

My post to the forum is two fold.

1) Does anyone know of any videos online showing the complete bike building process (Aluminum comes in here as raw material, shiny bikes go out here. I've found some from specialist frame builders, but none from a major production line. It would be great to see them creating Apollo, Boardman, Trek, Merida, Giant or Cannondale bikes for example.

2) This got me thinking how little we know about the journey the machines we all love before the end up at the LBS, high street retailer or are delivered to our door. Are there any (major) brands which have ethical policies, i.e. fairtrade for bikes, or show videos of this journey?

Many thanks

4 user comments

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This post by Greg from Sabbath might be of interest.

ctznsmith's picture

posted by ctznsmith [102 posts]
14th October 2009 - 8:52

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not sure about Alu bikes, haven't found one yet. here's a vid from Time about making stuff out of Carbon, in quite some detail...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUlzcgyB8g0

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7437 posts]
14th October 2009 - 16:34

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Thank you. Both of those are great. I'm surprised that more mainstream brands don't publish their ethical credentials. It's somewhat disappointing.

posted by Noddy [12 posts]
17th October 2009 - 8:30

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It's an interesting point.. We haven't ever thought that we may be perceived as unethical by not doing this but it's not a bad idea.

Most bike companies of the size of us (Genesis) or Boardman, Orange, Marin etc don't own frame factories and BRAIN (bike retailer and industry news) do a yearly round-up of who makes what where.

I'd say it's safe to assume that if it's made in Taiwan then it's made ethically - the rise in bike costs over the last year os so is partly down to labour rates going up in the factories. We've worked with the same assembler for over 25 years (via Ridgeback) and some of the staff have been there for 20 years. the standard of living and labour value there is rapidly catching up with Europe.

I can't speak for other places as i only have experience of Taiwanese manufacture. there are cheaper places to get bikes made ie Thailand or Cambodia, but from others in this line of work i know that the lower costs are based on the value of the currency in general - sweatshop labour is unlikely to be something you'll find in frame manufacture simply due to the skills involved.

environmental impact of manufacture / emmissions may be another matter, but that goes for anything that is made in the far east - we all must share responsibility for that as tighter emmission control (as the US is demanding from China) means higher costs for us all... personally i think we should pay it, but commercially it's tricky.

James @ Genesis

posted by james-o [204 posts]
21st October 2009 - 12:34

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