This week, we're boarding a jetliner and heading across the Atlantic from Europe to the good 'ol US of A, the birthplace of baseball, competitive eating, NASCAR and, of course, mountain biking. Depending on where you look, you'll find nearly anything you might need to build a bike, produced here, with a high level of pride. Scattered all across the country are smaller and lesser-known manufacturers making some really cool parts.
While some of these brands are surely well known amongst certain circles of people, for others, they may not be as much at the forefront. We're willing to bet that not everyone knows that all of these brands are both based in America and do all of their production in America. Let's take a look at several of them and see what's going on.
PAUL COMPONENT ENGINEERING
Paul Component Engineering is what those who know would no doubt consider the OG in American made components. It started in 1989, with Paul Price in his California garage. After the first big order of his now famed quick-release skewers, the company quickly took over the rest of his home. That little house was the base for everything from prototyping, machining, finishing, and shipping...even employee housing. Things evolved to where the house was no longer fit to live in, as it morphed into more of a manufacturing center than a home.
Fast forward several years and Paul Component Engineering is in an old Texaco shop in Chico, CA, amidst a region that could be considered the epicenter of American crafted components with Paul and multiple frame manufacturers all in close proximity to each other creating a rad subculture of incredible craftsmanship. The shop still produces, start to finish Paul's legendary skewers, stems, seatposts, hubs, brakes, chain rings, and chain tensioners amongst plenty of other products.
There are well over a dozen more employees now and Paul is still there day in and day out. He has a prototype shop on site that has some manually operated machines that allow freedom and precision in trying out new designs and ideas.Paul's website
Spurcycle may not be a name that is all that common, but their story is an interesting one. Spurcycle began in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2013 via a Kickstarter campaign. Nick and Clint Slone decided that they were going to make a bike bell that had a unique design, was made completely out of American parts, assembled in the US, and had one hell of a ring to it.
Now, a bell isn't all that exciting to some, but anyone who marvels at well-made products can appreciate quality craftsmanship. The bells are handcrafted and the design was so loved by people looking for bells that their Kickstarter went 16 times bigger than planned as riders seemed to buy the idea that they could get a quality made product that doesn't fall apart and was made in the US.
“Our sheet metal parts are formed in New Mexico, the wire form is made in Ohio, we have a turned part that comes from Reno, there’s another turned part from Alabama, a plating vendor that’s all the way on the east coast in Pennsylvania, and then we have some parts that are made in Pleasanton, California,” said Spurcycle co-founder Clint Slone. “We do some assembly of the bells here in Sausalito, just north of San Francisco, and we also have a subcontractor that does assembly in Pleasanton.” All of this gets riders a bell that costs $50 and comes with a lifetime warranty.
The bells have even been subject to counterfeiting
, as reported by James Huang for Cyclingtips.
It doesn't stop at the bell. Spurcycle have also designed a beautiful and functional titanium multi-tool that's stayed in my riding gear bag for a couple of years now, a hip pack, and a few other accessories.Spurcycle's website
WOLF TOOTH COMPONENTS
Wolf Tooth Components, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have recently made a big mark in developing a range of components in the USA. Their name is no doubt becoming more familiar to many as they have engineered some nifty solutions to problems that have plagued riders for decades, those solutions being the premise of what the company is founded on.
Their range of componentry covers everything from chainrings and derailleur hanger extensions that allow riders to run bigger gearing to tools, headset parts, chainguides, dropper levers, axles, and tools.
The background of mechanics, racers, and engineers have led Wolf Tooth to come up with some of the more unique products that people may be looking for.
Wolf Tooth's "EnCase" system fits in a handlebar end and keeps emergency and quick-access items such as tire plugs, a multi-tool, and chain tool at the ready.Wolf Tooth's website
White Industries, based in Petaluma, California, makes a variety of components ranging from hubs to cranks, headset adapters, axle adapters, chainrings, and more.
According to Sean Walling, who wrote a fascinating in-depth history
of White, Owner Doug White started working as a machinist for United Airlines in the late 60's. In 1970 he moved to Marin County, the unassuming birthplace of mountain biking. Doug wound up working at Sunshine Bicycle Center in Fairfax where he teamed up with one of their customers, Phil Brown, and started making bike frames in 1972.
Frame making didn't last all that long and, according to White, they sold 30-35 frames in total before selling off his frame fixtures under the pretense that he could "borrow" them when needed. In the mid 70's Craig borrowed those fixtures and built a 26" wheeled, diamond-style MTB frame for Charlie Kelly. This was one of the very first mountain bikes ever produced. Various other projects kept White working for years, including a multi-colored elastic band called "Peggers" - the band was used by commuters to keep their pants out of the chain and grease-free.
In the late 80's White Industries really cranked things up making products ranging from a sealed-bearing titanium spindle BB to ultra-lightweight titanium cassette rear hubs and front hubs, the lightest at the time and built with an oversized axle that helped stabilize flexy suspension forks. White also made some of the first forged cranks, 2x9, and 2x10 drivetrains.
In the 90's White's ENO freewheel and ENO eccentric singlespeed hubs were highly sought after by serious singlespeed riders disappointed by the lack of durability of Shimano's offerings. Those hubs, along with a variety of other products are still in White's line today. Produced in the US by a company that has stood the test of time.White Industries' website
HED was founded in the 1980's by Steve and Anne Hed. Until his passing, Steve dedicated himself to making the best cycling equipment available and the fastest wheels possible. On the road side of things, HED is known for building some of the world's most aerodynamic wheels. HED got their start building disc wheels that were, at the time, some of the only wheels affordable to the average person.
Steve Hed had wind tunnel and manufacturing experience that helped him develop products with advantages in ride quality and aerodynamics. Battling poor ride qualities that a solid disc wheel had on the front of the bike in any sort of wind, Hed invented the deep section carbon wheel that is common on many high-performance road bikes today.
The company is now based in Minnesota and is run by Anne Hed. Anne has won numerous awards and grants with the business in its new facility and has gained notoriety outside the world of bikes with fascinating articles from Forbes
and other publications telling her story.
The brand has branched out beyond road wheels and now produces carbon MTB wheels, along with other products and is a highly acclaimed contract manufacturer for other companies. The carbon is all USA sourced and hand-laid in HED's Roseville, Minnesota, facility.HED's website
EFFICIENT VELO TOOLS
Efficient Velo Tools was founded in 1999 by Brett Fleming, a master mechanic and service manager. Based in Portland, OR, Brett designed EVT's Offset Velo Clamp that did a better and safer job of holding expensive bikes in repair stands than other clamps he had used.
EVT now offers a complete line of bike repair tools that Brett dreamed up while managing the service department at The Bike Gallery in Portland.
Tools range from their Right Arm Repair Clamp that utilizes only 2" of seatpost to hold a bike and their EZ Lift repair stand that can help lift heavy bikes off the floor with a counterweight. Their catalog also includes tools for wheel dishing, alignment, headset and bearing presses and removers, picks, left-hand drill bits, and a smorgasbord of inflation heads and accessories.
Everything is made in EVT's Portland shop and painted a noticeable red color that we've been seeing used by more high-end shops and mechanics as time goes on.Efficient Velo's website
Onyx Racing Products is yet another Minnesota based company in the circle of bicycle parts manufacturing.
The company was started out of a demand for a fast-engaging BMX hub, as instantaneous engagement is critical for a fast start. Onyx’s patented sprag clutch design removes the ratcheting noise of traditional hubs and provides an instant engagement with no ratcheting noise at all.
The hubs are designed and manufactured in the US and have a heat treat hardened stainless steel driver that can stand up to insane amounts of power. The hubs are completely serviceable and bearing preload can be easily adjusted for minimal drag. The hubs also feature a contact-free labyrinth seal that keeps out elements without causing added friction, in an effort to make the hubs even more efficient. Axles are interchangeable and each hub comes with ceramic hybrid bearings.
Onyx have different colors and configurations for their hubs and there's a model for nearly any style or type bike made. Hubs have a five-year warranty and two-lifetime upgrade programs.Onyx's website
ODI may not exactly count as a 'lesser known' brand, but the fact that their grips are made in the USA earns them a spot on this list. ODI came into existence over 25 years ago, and the Southern California brand pioneered the Lock-On grip system which is widely used today and has spawned numerous similar ideas for mountain bike grips.
The ODI system is still tried and true and the brand still, after over two decades, produces all of their grips in the USA, in their own facility, rather than outsourcing overseas in search of a better margin.
ODI now makes grips not only for mountain biking but for BMX, motocross, snowmobiling, jet-skiing, quad riding, and more. The brand offers custom programs for those wanting to design their own grips and works with a number of top-level athletes such as Aaron Gwin to design their own grips that are then available to the public to purchase.
In addition to grips, ODI produces handlebars, bar extenders, and a myriad of accessories.ODI's website
ABBEY BIKE TOOLS
Abbey Bike Tools is the product of necessity and ingenuity. The brand was started by Jason Quade in Bend, Oregon. A hobby of building a number of frames turned into a more serious endeavor after Jason connected with Jeff Crombie. Both had a background in aviation and a shared involvement in bikes.
According to their story, Jeff was working as a mechanic on the Canadian Pro-Continental team Spyder Tech and was in search for a tool that he could use to check lock rings on riders bikes as part of the standard "bolt check" any race mechanic goes through. The pieces fell together and Abbey's signature cassette lockring tool, the Crombie, was born.
The tool quickly gained a following from the first batch that went to friends and people Jason knew. Jason ended up selling more to race mechanics all over the pro race circuit in 2012 and then started getting calls from random people he didn't even know who wanted to buy the tool.
A couple of tools went to magazine reviews and after that, things picked up steam and requests for other tools started coming in. It was a simple case of demand for a high-quality product and someone who was willing to supply it.
Today, Abbey Bike Tools still makes the Crombie, but they also produce a smorgasbord of other high-end bike tools ranging from specialty suspension wrenches and sockets to bearing presses and four-way multi-tools.Abbey's website
Anyone in the BMX world likely knows of Profile racing, but the brand also has a full mountain bike line of products as well that come out of it's St. Petersburg, Florida, machine shop.
Started in 1968, the brand was first a racecar chassis shop in New Jersey. In 1971, the brand moved to Florida where owner Jim Alley's children got into BMX racing. Coming from a fabrication background and knowing how to work with chromoly and alloy components, Jim started creating parts for bicycle racing.
In the mid-80's, a lot of American manufacturing moved overseas but Profile held out and continued to manufacture all of its products in the USA. Profile grew, adding more CNC machines, employees, and area to their shop and branched out from BMX racing to street, freestyle, and mountain biking. Today they also make products for road, cyclocross, and even unicycles.
Profile has only continued to grow in the last couple decades and is one of the longest-standing American manufacturers. Their designs have gone through small evolutions and continue to be a benchmark for many riders looking for something quality and durable. All of their products are backed with a lifetime warranty and the team at Profile is proud of their made in America componentry.Profile's website
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