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How Are Bicycles Manufactured


Hey guys. Dustin here, CEO of sixthreezero. Back to talk to you again about some more bike stuff and let's get into it.

So, today I want to talk to you about bicycle manufacturing and specifically how are bikes made, where are bikes made, and what goes on when bikes are made? Before I jump into it though guys, after you watch this video and during the video, any questions or anything, please comment below. Also, if you like what I have to say, please subscribe to our channel. We'll be releasing tons of new videos all the time. Ride-a-longs, different bike rides, information, whatever you need, let us know, we're going to do it.

All right. Let's jump in. So, I think in general consumer products, consumer product manufacturing, it's sort of a mystery to a lot of people. We go to the store and we see a phone and we see a tent or a basketball, and it's just there, right? It magically appears. There's a lot of behind the scenes obviously, and manufacturing that goes on to get that product there. So today I just wanted to kind of talk a little bit about how our bikes made, and specifically what goes on in the process. So, I'll try to break it down into simple, just, you know, transparent terms as possible.

So, bicycles are actually all made by human hands. Now, with that said, there are some components that are machined, but all of the assembly in the factory is actually done by humans. Now, one caveat. Some of the frame weldings, so the frames are welded. So the frames are actually if you're talking about a steel or aluminum frame, are generally multiple pieces of metal, and that metal has to be welded together. Now, in that case, there is the option to have robot machine-welded frames or human-welded frames. Both two options. But the final assembly of bicycles is all done by hand.

So, you have, and the way it works is you generally have a final assembly factory. This factory typically is going to take all of the components and assemble it into a bicycle, package it into a box, which is 85% assembled, meaning everything is on it, usually except handlebars, front wheel, peddles, and that's how it comes to us, and a lot of times that's how it comes to you guys.

Now, if you buy it at a bike store, they're going to do that final assembly there so the bike is sitting there fully built. But they don't come fully assembled from the factory generally, however some you can have them done that way. The problem is when you ship them over, if they're coming from overseas, you're going to fit fewer bikes inside of your truck or on the container, whatever it is. So you're going to end up spending a lot more money on the freight, which could potentially drive the cost of the product up.

So the way it works is we order a bike, which by the way takes four to five months for us to get our bikes here. So from the day we order, it takes four to five months for that order to come to our location. There's a lot of reasons for that. One is because that's the backup on the orders in terms of the parts suppliers. As an example, one of our main component suppliers is Shimano. They provide our hubs and our gear systems and their lead time generally can be about two, three, four months for some of their components, if not longer. That's just because the demand is bigger than the capacity that they have. And obviously, they're one of the most well-known bike component companies in the world, if not the most well-known. I would say, actually, they are the most well-known bike component company in the world.

So, how it works is we place the order, then our factory places an order to all of the other factories in which they need components. This is the handlebars, the peddles, the seats, the tires, the rims, the spokes, everything. So they may have 10 to 15 different suppliers. So they order all those parts, then all of those parts get shipped back to their factory, and then they do the final assembly. Now, some factories do manufacture their own parts. It depends on what their capacity is like, what their expertise is. Some don't make any components, some make nearly all of their own components, some source them out. It's really a mix, but generally, final assembly factories won't do every component. They'll do some, maybe a few, but not every component.

So, components come in, then at the factory, there's an actual conveyor belt. The bike frame will go upside down on a little stem, we'll call it, and as it runs down the assembly line, there are about 20 to 40 people on the assembly line as the bike comes down. And as the bike comes down, each person, by hand, installs the next piece of that bike. So the wheels would go first maybe, then the seat cuff, the chain, chainring, obviously off the top of my head I don't have the production memorized, but it goes in the order which is obviously been deemed the most efficient by whoever's running the factory. And by the end of that production line, it's ready to go in the box and that's it.

But I think the one myth may be a lot of people think is that everything's made by robots or assembled by robots, and it's not the case. So when you have quality issues or things go wrong, you know, particularly on a bicycle, I can't speak to every product, because I'll bet there's a lot more automation going on in cell phones, things of that nature, but bicycles, because it's not as lucrative of an industry, and the volume isn't as big, automation hasn't really been a part of the production process. So when something goes bad or a screw is loose, or maybe something's not tuned, there was actually a human on the other side of that installation. And that's why nothing's perfect. Now, through processes and procedure, you try to minimize those things that go wrong, but it's impossible to minimize it down to nothing, especially when you're trying to keep costs low. Obviously, for an airplane, there's a lot more QC, people can take their time, they can really tighten every nut with a tension screwdriver or wrench where they can see the torque, and those are costing hundreds of millions of dollars. So the more time you have, the abler to make fewer errors and check and double-check your work. With a bicycle, when the consumer and the market doesn't want to pay more than a few hundred dollars, you have to find the balance between quality, efficiency, and speed.

And so that's it. So it runs on the assembly line. Everything gets put on. Goes in the box. Ships to us in a container. Comes here. We ship it to you like that. We obviously will check the product, make sure it's good, or we'll assemble it just like the ones behind me and sell it to customers that come into the store.

So, I hope that gives you some transparency into bicycle manufacturing, explains it a little bit. If you like this video, please like it. Comment below if you have any questions or ideas or thoughts. And don't forget, subscribe to our channel. We're going to be coming out with some cool content, talking more about bikes, the bike industry, and also taking you guys on some ride-a-longs with us.

You can also reach us on our direct, the team at, or call us, 310.982.2877. And if you're in the market for a bike, take our BodyFit360 quiz on the top of our website. It's going to help fit you and find a perfect bike for your body. And don't forget, we have a 365 test ride policy. If you own your bike 364 days, and you just don't love it, it doesn't fit, whatever, send it back, no fees, nothing, 'cause at sixthreezero we want to guarantee you love your bike.

Thanks for watching guys.


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