In the last feature we showed you how a bike gets designed and the testing it undergoes in order to become the best it can be for you and I when it's time to purchase it. In this article, we'll show you exactly what goes on from taking the aluminum tubes and chunks of billet, to machining them into hand built Canadian bikes. And we'll even show you a nice history lesson with the owner of Devinci bikes - Felix Gauthier.
Check out the whole process with videos and pictures inside:Felix Gauthier is a man that is passionate about bikes, both making and riding them and he is the owner of Devinci Bikes. Here is his story in regards to joining the company back in the late 1980's and getting it to where it is today.
Felix Gauthier - President of Devinci Bikes
Back in the late 1980's Felix Gauthier was looking for a new road bike and he was told about Devinci out of Chicoutimi. He went there to look at the bikes and the crew that was building them. He ended up buying 50% of the company and a new bike. Like all new companies, Devinci has had some growing pains, between 1988 and 1990, they replaced 800 frames due to poor heat treatment (one of the key steps to adding strength to a complete frame). They then had to make their own Heat Treatment oven as industrial ones cost $80,000 at that time and with all the costs of a start up company, buying a new one simply wasn't in the cards. So as Felix puts it "more bikes were coming back than there were new ones leaving for the first few years." They learned a lot about heat treatments really fast and made sure that everyone was taken care of who'd bought an earlier model that was suffering from poor heat treatment. Customer service has always been the top priority for Felix.
Around this time Felix's accountant informed him that he should get rid of the bike company as it was going to make him poor. He chose to get rid of the accountant and stay focused. He told us that he's always said "the worst is behind me" and that is what kept him so positive in the early years. The welding was outsourced initially, but the very first employee to be hired was a welder as Devinci wanted to bring everything in house or should I say in the garage. In 1993, Devinci began to grow and distribute their bikes to wider markets. Lots of money gets invested into R & D to create the best bikes they can for all users. Today R & D and customer support are major parts of who and what Devinci is as a brand and Felix had this to say about the direction of Devinci, "we have a more precise direction now, than ever in the past. Customer and dealer satisfaction are number one as we want to do the best for the end user."
Devinci will continue to grow and pursue the perfect balance of light weight, strength and cost effective bikes for years to come and having a clear vision of how to do so will aid in that pursuit. Even growth in all company aspects is a focus and you can see how they build their Canadian bikes in the rest of the article below. Enjoy.
Felix Gautier tells us about the history of Devinci and where it is heading:
Alexandre Boutin is the Devinci Factory Foreman and he (along with David Bourque) would be taking us on our indepth tour of the factory. Along the tour Ambrose and I were able to try our hands at welding samples of aluminum, painting our samples in the spray booth and using the milling machine to see how to create a proper fit between two tubes. Now let me take you on a tour of how a Devinci bike is made, step by step:
Pierre Paquette tells us how a Devinci bike is made:
Step 1-Receiving all the aluminum stock for the CNC machine and machining it for the various parts of a frame (drop outs, linkages, ISCG tabs, etc.)
Lots of aluminum for all the CNC
From block to drop out
CNC Machine about to go into action
Step 2-Machine the tubes to create a perfect fit for the welding process.
Tyler using the drill press and doing a little sanding:
Specific shaped tube clamps for all the various frames Devinci makes
Prepping the milling machine/drill press for me to try
Sanding any rough edges off
Recycling the shavings
Step 3-Using jigs, they piece together the bikes and do some quality control testing so that they know if they can proceed with the next steps. Then it's time to do some welding and here is where Ambrose and I got to try a sample weld out. Needless to say Devinci won't be calling us in to replace any current welders any time soon.
Jig to test tube fits and tolerances
Tyler gives his hand at welding:
Step 4-First heat treatment stage and then all frames are tested for straightness.
Step 5-Time to machine the head tube and steerer tube to ensure the lightest possible frame while keeping the strength up. Machine the Bottom Bracket threads so they are ready for assembly.
Step 6-Run the frames through a second heat treatment and put the frames on the alignment tables again.
Busting out the calipers and instruments
Step 7-At this point the frames are really clean so it's time to apply the paint to them. Ambrose and I now would get the chance to paint our welding samples from earlier. Painting goes a little better than our welding did.
Tyler doing some painting of his welding samples:
Step 8-After the frames are painted and cooked one last time it's off to the decal room to get all prettied up.
Step 9-Another detail that is going on in another area next to the decal room is the wheel builders' area. Yep Devinci builds the wheels in house with their state of the art machine and a few diligent workers.
Threading nipples on the spokes
Step 10-The assembly line is where it all comes together and the frames are built up into complete bikes.
Frederick Larouche-Tremblay assembling a Devinci bike.
Step 11-Once the bikes are fully assembled, they are then boxed up and put into the warehouse where they'll be shipped to Devinci dealers around the world. You can then get your brand new Devinci bike at your local dealer.
That concludes our factory tour of Devinci Bikes. Tune in tomorrow as I go over the Hectik, Frantik and Wilson models from the Devinci line up.