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Thread: Back from China. . .

  1. #1
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    Default Back from China. . .

    4 days in China, 1 in Hong Kong. 5 factories. Karaoke. Whiskey. Dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner.
    95% of what I saw in China is hand made. Pretty awesome to see how competing brands are made in the same factory.
    Not sure why the videos don't display properly - sorry about that. Just click on the links.


    Brazing Chainstays.

    IMG_0086.jpg
    Wine - Fortified for "man problems."



    stems, Stems, STEMS!

    IMG_0101.jpg
    IMG_0102.jpg


    Robotic welding was only seen in the largest factory (1,200,000 bicycles per year).

    IMG_0123.jpg
    Found a bunch of big-box fat-tire frames under this sign. Not exactly sure what this all means.

    IMG_0092.jpg
    Word.


    They just don't stop coming.

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    Attached Images Attached Images
    elysian
    Tom Tolhurst

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by false_aesthetic View Post
    Wow, isn't that the stone figure they used as a logo for the Vancouver Olympics?

    vancouver-olympics.jpg

    Also, seeing a solid block of metal carved into something like a stem is pretty cool.

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    It's pretty cool seeing the size of some of these places.
    I'm about to make the trip again on Saturday. 7 days in Taiwan, 3 days in China. I'll have a show with appointments, and then visiting with each supplier in their factory.

    The good thing is there's rides every morning. The riding in Taiwan is actually some of the best I've ever done.
    www.boydcycling.com - The Handcrafted Revolution

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    I don't like that... Not my piece of cake... But these factories are necessary i suppose

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    I think it's great. Skilled folks working to turn out quality product. Neat stuff.

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by false_aesthetic View Post
    4 days in China, 1 in Hong Kong. 5 factories. Karaoke. Whiskey. Dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner.
    95% of what I saw in China is hand made. Pretty awesome to see how competing brands are made in the same factory.
    I personally find things like this fascinating.

    I had many a tour similar to this early on in my education observing "how" products are made and it was incredibly informative as well as eye opening. I enjoy seeing how problems are solved in manufacturing and that can inform you how you fine tune your own process on a much smaller scale.

    Out of curiosity: What were your impressions before you went and how did this change them?
    Kristofer Henry : 44 BIKES : Made to Shred™
    www.44bikes.com · Flickr · Facebook · Instagram

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by sebaudet View Post
    I don't like that... Not my piece of cake... But these factories are necessary i suppose
    Yeah . . . not sure how you get everyday people to ride a bikes if you don't produce in Asia. I have a hard time seeing people spending 3x more for "toys".
    elysian
    Tom Tolhurst

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by fortyfour View Post
    Out of curiosity: What were your impressions before you went and how did this change them?
    I thought there'd be more robots but pretty much everything was done was done by hand. The largest factory extrudes their own stock and shapes it in house. It was really, really awesome to see 1000kg of alloy turned into hundreds of feet of stock for fat tire wheels.

    I was also surprised by how clean/safe the factories were -- they're not hell holes (though they wouldn't pass US inspections).

    The major surprises were in the business meetings. Things just aren't as transparent as one would hope -- can't really discuss specifics though.
    elysian
    Tom Tolhurst

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    Thanks for sharing. Is the chainstay brazing process shown in the video what is meant by "furnace brazing"?

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by false_aesthetic View Post
    The major surprises were in the business meetings. Things just aren't as transparent as one would hope -- can't really discuss specifics though.
    Business meetings are very rarely transparent there.

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    And in a few years we'll find out who the Chinese, carbon-builder equivalents of C.N.C., Hurlow, and Faliero Masi were that were really making Boonen's "Tarmac," Porte's "Pinarello," and Fabian's "Trek." Can't wait to hear who he/she was or is.

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    You have seen the future.
    And the future is here.

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    The brazing of the stays video: are the guys welding behind as a carousel?


    Great post.

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    Odds are they are loading parts- drop outs, brass, stays, flux. The fire is automated, as is the duration via the speed of the rotation. The last guy pulls the assembly for the next station.

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Estlund View Post
    Odds are they are loading parts- drop outs, brass, stays, flux. The fire is automated, as is the duration via the speed of the rotation. The last guy pulls the assembly for the next station.
    Eric's got it. I've seen vids of Italian factories doing this with forks back in the day. It's pretty rad imho.
    elysian
    Tom Tolhurst

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    Nothing to add other than thank you for sharing. Very interesting to see a glimpse inside the big factories.
    Tom Lowry—Milton, ON
    www.negativespace.ca

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    Default Re: Back from China. . .

    The "small" factory we visited produces 44,000 bicycles/month at peak. I gotta wonder how many bicycles are sold in LA, NYC, Chicago and Houston combined at peak season.

    FWIW, if I were interested in producing a batch of cheap crit frames, I'd have no issues going to any of these factories for production. It makes me wonder what's delivered by the more expensive factories in Taiwan. I guess I'll find out in March.
    elysian
    Tom Tolhurst

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