Who makes what

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Vittoria Factory

Like any industry, the bicycle sector is a broad one and international, with sophisticated supply chains going around the world. There are so many companies from garage artisan frame builders to corporate giants quoted on several stock exchanges at once.

I’ve put together a list of some of the main companies involved and the brands they operate. You might find some surprises, for example that Lapierre is Dutch-owned and part of the same corporate empire as Tunturi gym bikes. Or that helmets from Giro and Bell are from the same company.

Also if you read the list you might see Mavic is from Finland, not France. That’s not quite true of course, the wheel manufacturer is based in the French Alps but it was sold to a Finnish company, Amer Sports, in 2005. Simarly Cervélo is a Canadian business but the parent company is actually registered in Switzerland. Nationality doesn’t matter that much but I’ve included it just so you know.

Note the first column is a famous brand. I thought it would be more interesting to list it by recognisable brands as opposed to starting with the corporate entity, which can sometimes be faceless.
Vittoria Factory

Name Country Other brands Corporate Name Owner / shareholders
Continental Germany - Continental AG Deutsche Börse, Schäffler AG / family
Finish Line USA White Lightening Finish Line Technologies Inc. Hank Krause
Michelin France - Michelin SA Euronext Stock Exchange
Hutchinson France Barry Controls, Marine/Aerospace etc Total SA Euronext Stock Exchange
Schwalbe Germany Ballon Bike Ralf Bohle GmbH Bohle family
Orbea Spain Fagor, Brandt electrical goods Corporación Mondragón Workers’ co-operative
Fuji USA Kestrel, Oval Concepts, Terry Advanced Sports International Private
Cinelli Italy Columbus tubing, Bootleg Gruppo SpA Antonio Colombo
Reynolds USA Reynolds Composites Maclean-Fogg Inc. Private
Focus Germany Raleigh, Univega Derby Cycle AG Deutsche Börse
Canyon Germany Coast Canyon Bicycles GmbH Roman Arnold
Cervélo Switzerland - Cervélo SA Gerard Vroomen, Phil White
Vittoria Italy Geax, Lion Vittoria SpA Private
Ridley Belgium - N.V. Race Productions Jochim Aerts
Shimano Japan Pearl Izumi, Pro Shimano Inc. Tokyo Stock Exchange
Campagnolo Italy Fulcrum Campagnolo SpA Campagnolo family
SRAM USA Avid, Quarq, Truvativ, Zipp SRAM LLC Trilantic Capital Partners
Cannondale Canada Schwinn, GT, Mongoose, SUGOI Dorel Group Toronto Stock Exchange
Bianchi Sweden Cycles Peugeot, Gitane, Puch Cycle Europe AB Grimaldi family
Mavic Finland Suunto, Atomic, Wilson, Salomon Amer Sports Helsinki Stock Exchange
Trek USA Bontrager, Gary Fisher, Klein, Viliger Trek Bicycle Corp. Private
Specialized USA - Specialized Bicycle Components Merida, Mike Sinyard
Merida Taiwan Specialized, Chris Boardman Merida Industry Co Ltd Taiwan Stock Exchange
Scott Austria Yoko Scott Sports AG Beat Zaugg
Koga Miyata Netherlands Batavus, Lapierre, Tunturi Accel Group Euronext Stock Exchange
Giro USA Bell, Easton, Blackburn Easton Bell Sports NASDAQ Stock Exchange
Nalini Italy MOA, Agu, Adidas cycling MOA Sport SpA Mantovani family
Castelli Italy Sportful Manifattura Valcismon SpA Cremonese family
Giant Taiwan certain Colnago frames under licence Giant Manufacturing Co Ltd Taiwan Stock Exchange
Oakley Italy Ray Ban, Persol Luxxotica Group Italian Stock Exchange
Kuota Italy Xentis, Kross, Kaya, K-Factor Sintema Sport Private
FSA Taiwan TH Products, RPM, VisionTech Tien Hsin Industries Private
fi’zi:k Italy Selle Royal, Lookin, Royal Gel Selle Royal SpA Private
Zéfal France Stronglight Zéfal SA Private

Overall this is a pretty diverse sample but we’re talking about niche products here that form a fraction of the global bicycle sector, although Giant is the world’s largest bike manufacturer. We can see the industry is consolidating, once famous brand names are now being brought together. For example see how Raleigh is now part of the German company that’s these days more famous for Focus bikes or how Bianchi has ended up with a Swedish parent.

Under licence
In addition there’s a lot of co-operation and shared factories. For example top of the range frames from Scott, Cannondale and Cervélo are all made by a Taiwanese company called Topkey Corporation that has a factory in China too. It’s common to find other products made under the same roof for rival companies. This doesn’t mean you get the same frame, because designs, processes and even materials can vary.

Brand management
A lot of names out there are merely brands. This can include varying designs but many companies try to run various names side by side. Others have gone by the wayside, for example Trek might own the Klein name but the once famous oversized aluminium frames have vanished.

The future?
It seems inevitable that more companies will link up. Some of this will be for defensive reasons, to shore up a business in the face of new competition but there will be other reasons and perhaps some old brands will get a new lease of life. But if you revisted the table in just a couple of years’ time there would be some change.

New companies will appear and some of the oldest ones might go. There are rumours that bicycle tyres are no longer “core” for Michelin and it’s possible

This list isn’t exhaustive. I’ve not included every brand owned by each company, nor indeed every company. If I’ve missed some companies out, feel free to make suggestions via the comments below or by email.

Edit: since publishing this it’s become very popular with a lot of new readers. I’ll now try to keep an up-to-date version of this list and it’ll be on a dedicated page, see the Who Makes What link at the top of your screen

Alex Murray - Chasing Wheels blog May 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Very interesting. Easy to forget how much the market has contracted in terms of diversity of ownership since the 1980s.

An interesting partner piece would be “who makes what and who do they make it for?” – for example, the old adidas kit was made under licence by Mavic, the current adidas replica kit is actually SMS Santini. Loads of frames are actually made by Giant in their factories and tyres by Vittoria in Thailand.

I’m sure there’s loads more like that before you even get into pro teams stickering over stuff like Ambrosio nemesis rims at the classics and other people’s disc wheels.

Fred Astaire May 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Can’t forget how many manufacturer’s use the Challenge factory, or the companies like FSA or Reynolds or DT that produce OE parts for other brands.

Owen May 10, 2011 at 3:21 pm

I am the king of European style. Italian Oakleys on my Scandinavian Bianchi.

Martin W May 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Fascinating stuff — I find your financial/business pieces (like those on Wiggle and SRAM) really interesting, with insights and understanding you don’t find elsewhere. What jumped out from this piece for me was learning about Corporación Mondgragón — a worker’s cooperative mixing it up with giant public companies? That’s it, my next new bike is an Orbea.

Andy Storey May 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm

The current adidas replica kit is NOT made by Santini!!!!!!! MOA Sport make it.

David N. Welton May 10, 2011 at 3:29 pm

What’d be interesting is to see a map of some of these things. For instance, in Italy you get really tight clusters of companies. The seat guys are all in the Veneto, for example, not far from Bassano del Grappa. Same with many of the shoe companies that are in the province of Treviso (not Vittoria, though, apparently). Campagnolo is also from the Veneto, near Vicenza. The eyewear companies are all from around Belluno, up in the mountains. Columbus, on the other hand, is from Lombardy, if I’m not mistaken.

I would guess that other European countries have similar clusters, and it’d be interesting to learn something about them.

Nick May 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Forgot Fuji. They own a few brands right? Kestrel I think.

Larry T. May 10, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Vittoria (an official supplier to CycleItalia) is in Biella (Piedmont), the region of company founder Celestino Vercelli. They claim 100% Made-in-Italy production. Like Alex, I’m always interested in WHERE the stuff is made, much more than whose name is on it. But we’ve been through this earlier so I’ll stop now before a serious and sometimes cranky exchange gets started!

Eddi May 10, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I guess you already know this, but maybe some readers not:

Where was my bike made?

Champs May 10, 2011 at 4:29 pm

@Nick: Fuji, Kestrel, and a few others are under Advanced Sports Inc.

Champs May 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm

@Eddi: the article could use some updating. Cannondale shuttered all US manufacturing.

If every manufacturer repeats the statement that Asian frames are the best quality when they move a production line overseas, then it must be true; and apparently they were just selling American-made junk before that.

Anonymous May 10, 2011 at 5:19 pm

merida is a minority shareholder of specialized; specialized is not a merida brand

regsf May 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Hutchinson — The only other existing French “legacy” brand is owned by Total. They’re the oldest tire manufacturer (1890) still producing tires of any quantity on the continent in the original factory (Montargis). Hutchinson produces rubber products for Airbus, TGV etc. Developed UST tubeless and Road Tubeless. Some Texan used Hutchinson tubulars for all of his TDF wins.

Flashing Pedals May 10, 2011 at 6:46 pm

as of 2007, Merida is a majority not minority shareholder of Specialized at 51%.

MarcL May 10, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Some suggestion to add to the table: (components) Easton, Ritchey, 3T; (frames/components) Scott, Lokk, Time, BH, BMC, Pinarello/MOST.

Larry T. May 10, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Champs — that’s a good one! Reminds me of the pro race teams at the start of each new season. The riders always say (most likely because they’re told to) the bike they’ve got this year is the best thing ever and often make some veiled implications (if they’ve changed brand/sponsorship) about the previous one — the same one they gushed over just the year before! In just one season the bike can go from the best to a piece of crap – despite the fact that some other team’s just switched to the “crap” brand where their riders are going on about how great they are. The bike (and component, etc. ) makers spend a ton of time and money creating the mythology that it makes a difference, when in the end (assuming the stuff doesn’t simply fall apart during the race) it’s the legs and desire of the racer making the difference between winning and losing — the bikes ALL just sit there looking pretty, none any faster than others…until you put athletes on them. At the bike shops I managed we always told the client, “we sell everything here you need to be competitive at racing — except the legs. Those money can NOT buy!”

Oliver May 10, 2011 at 10:43 pm

@Champs: great link. That guy Robert Baird, president of Dorel (a consortium of companies) firing hundreds of local workers in the name of “duty to the shareholders” (i.e., profit) makes me sick. I hate the hypocrisy of it all. They don’t give a sh#t about their employees — just about making more money, always at any human cost…. And same for us customers: let’s not talk about the quality of their made in Taiwan bikes, in their minds that can be solved with a healthy advertising budget and a bunch of pr…
So, I’ll never again buy a Cannondale product as long as I live; I’ve covered up with magic marker the Cannondale logos on my caad9 — small gestures, I know but you do what you can!

David N. Welton May 10, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Not to get too sidetracked, but, Oliver, when you say “always at a human cost”, you neglect to mention the human benefits for the workers elsewhere, who now have jobs.

I guess living abroad gives one a slightly different perspective on “supporting the local workers”. What if Campagnolo, which is very local to where I live, cut their workforce here and moved it to Oregon, where I’m from, on the other side of the world, because the dollar is weak and people are hungry for jobs? Should I feel bad about that? Good?

I support my local bike shop because they treat me well and are always there for me, not because they happen to have the same passport as I do.

The Inner Ring May 11, 2011 at 12:01 am

David Welton: true, the “cluster phenomenon” is common in Italian industry.

Nick/Champs: I’ve updated the list with Fuji / Kestrel.

MarcL: I’ll take a look, note I’ve got Easton already, it sits alongside Giro and Bell.

Larry T: “made in Italy” is complicated, sometimes if a bit of stitching is completed in Italy then it counts. By Vittoria, I presume you mean the shoes?

regsf: thanks, Hutchinson should have been on the list. A bit like Michelin the bicycle division is not really loved by the corporate HQ. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day Michelin and Hutchinson are merged and sold off to another investor.

Anonymous: correct about Specialized/Merida. The Taiwanese company owns half of Specialized as Flashging Pedals points out. It manufactures some of the frames for Specialized, just as it does for Chris Boardman and other companies.

regsf May 11, 2011 at 12:18 am

Actually, the higher-ups do like the bicycle tire division at Hutchinson. Most of the division’s rubber and composite products are hidden from consumer’s view while the tire division actually has brand awareness.

Oliver May 11, 2011 at 1:37 am

@Welton: Let’s be clear. At $1 an hour (it’s in the referenced article if you have not read it) that kind a job is another human cost. When corporate america looks abroad to find employees you can bet it’s because that foreign work force has few rights, no unions and have to work in the most dire, dangerous conditions. So no, this is not a step up for anyone. This is in case in virtually every industry from textile to computer assembly.
Sorry it is a step up! For the shareholders of Dorel and their very well-paid executives. Truly a despicable bunch, imho.

thelastbard May 11, 2011 at 6:20 am

I believe 3T is also a part of Cinelli’s group.

The Inner Ring May 11, 2011 at 8:42 am

Oliver / David Welton: interesting debate on labour conditions but it’s very difficult to pronounce without checking individual cases. For example workers in Taiwan certainly aren’t paid $1 an hour, they now take home wages higher than many Europeans… but you’d have to visit different factories to check on these.

@thelastbard: it’s been sold recently to a Dutch investor.

Flashing Pedals May 11, 2011 at 9:33 am

certainly one of the most thought provoking articles on the Inner Ring of late.

Quite amazing to view the ‘list’ when many people fail to realise that a lot of ‘big name brands’ are either owned by the same (brand owning ) company, or sourced from the same manufacturing facility.

GreaseMonster May 11, 2011 at 10:35 am

@Flashing Pedals
Most people fail to realise how prevailent oligopolies are. Whether they bank, wash their clothes or eat today chances are they are dealing with goods or services from one of handful of key players in each market.

The Inner Ring May 11, 2011 at 10:47 am

Flashing Pedals / GreaseMonster: good points but note the bike industry here is pretty small. Take cars, where a Skoda, VW, Audi and SEAT all share a lot of parts, the difference is in the design and above all, branding (although note a human and chimp share 97% of DNA, small differences count). You can sell the same thing several times over to different markets thanks to clever marketing and product positioning. But this is hard in a smaller niche area like cycling components… but it still happens, see the “generic” Asian frame that gets labelled by 10 different companies… with 10 different price tags.

Flashing Pedals May 11, 2011 at 11:00 am

case in point : look at the Dedacciai Scuro RS carbon frameset.

sourced in Taiwan – re branded :
Dedacciai / Bottechia / De Rosa / Guerciotti / Ribble / multiple ‘small’ ibd brands / price varying 900-1750 euros. same frame

Matt Taber May 11, 2011 at 11:38 am

I like the take on this. One of my bugbears is discussions among cyclists about what the ‘best’ this that or the other is. Presumably this is based on some view of quality which might have been true some time ago when there would genuinely be some difference in quality between different manufacturers. These days ‘quality’ is a tricky one, but as we can all see, a lot of what you get is just branding rather than a genuine demarcation.

Of course, you do need to compare apples with apples when doing that!!

Anonymous May 11, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Cervelo – is owned by shareholders now, not simply White/Vroomen.
The majority percentage is not as high as perceived – the demise of the Cervelo Test Team was instigated by the shareholders who declined to distribute profits for the finance of the team.

White & Vroomen were in effect, outvoted by shareholders.

The Inner Ring May 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Anonymous: aha, yes I’m aware of the team side of things and the issues from HQ… but do you have any available sources so I can fact check please?

Alex Murray May 11, 2011 at 6:44 pm

@Andy storey, you’re right, I was having a senior moment. I must have meant Nalini which is the better known cycling brand of Moa Sport. Must have been thinking of Giro d’Italia jersies when I typed that.

Patrick May 12, 2011 at 1:19 am

Another one to possibly add would be Sportful which owns Castelli

Anonymous May 12, 2011 at 10:26 am

anonymous – re Cervelo : easily checked via usual investigative channels. or details i have previously emailed.

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