Fillet brazed steel bikes, handcrafted in Oklahoma.

Archive for August, 2011

Can’t play current track

I’m checking out this new Spotify music service, and it seems to love telling me that. It’ll play a couple of songs and then stop. It’s not a good new product experience. Anyway, the music, like the spice, must flow. So it’s back to Grooveshark.

Working on a fork today. Nothing exciting, just brazing all the joints and soaking off the flux. I still have to trim the tops of the legs and add the caps. Then the finish work happens, and I add the brake bosses and fender mounts.

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A rare soapbox, and a deal…

As most of you know, I’m not a full time frame builder. It’s a project that’s relatively new to me. What I’ve done professionally for years is not too far removed, I build things from metal. Currently aircraft parts, but I’ve put my stamp on a wide array of things from pipelines, refineries and powerplants to submarines, spacecraft, skateparks, and the occasional race car.

I am American manufacturing.

I’m the part of this country that still creates wealth. I take raw materials and add the skill and labor required to make a finished good, to be sold for a profit. If all that disappears, then we’re stuck with just what we have, to be endlessly shuffled around as the financiers skim more and more off the top and leave the rest of us wilting right along with the American economy. That’s why this quote from a Bicycle Retailer article really pissed me off today.

“Bjorling said earlier this year Trek moved some of its OCLV frame manufacturing to Asia from Waterloo”    That’s referring to Trek spokesperson Eric Bjorling.

I had admired Trek as being the last of the big companies to manufacture their high end stuff in the States, as Cannondale bailed a couple of years ago.  All of their OCLV carbon frames were made in Waterloo, WI. They’ve moved most of not all of their aluminum manufacturing to Asia already, and now they’ve started with the carbon fiber frames.

Trek has long been driving the moral high road when it comes to giving back. Donations and support for Bikes Belong, IMBA and League of American Bicyclists.  Unfortunately, the American worker is not on the “cool kids” list. Neither is our economy.

Don’t get me wrong here, Trek still does more than most. This though, just struck a nerve. Especially since the retail price of the Asian models most likely won’t see a price decrease that reflects the reduced manufacturing cost. Will retail prices go up every model year to reflect rising costs? Probably.

So basically, in a troubled economy with a 9% unemployment rate, Trek decides to add models to it’s lineup and have them made overseas instead of paying more people in Waterloo, who will spend that money here.

To Trek president John Burke I say, you like to give back? Start with Waterloo, WI, USA.

The rest of you? Buy American when you can. It makes a difference. One of these days it might be your job that gets outsourced.

 

Remember that deal I mentioned?

Trek gives IMBA $10 for every mountain bike they sell.

For every Edoz I sell, I’ll give IMBA $50.

Here endeth the rant.