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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Made In Taiwan: A Giant in Seattle's Bike Scene Makes His Bike Taiwanese

Mark V. over at Bike Hugger writes an interesting post about his new ride, which he bought partially in response to all the purists who buy Colnago because it is not an Asian brand.

“Dunno why stuff from the mainstream guys like Giant & Specialized puts me off…..I’d go for Colnago CX-1”

I found this post yesterday, proclaiming a popular sentiment that European bicycle companies have more character and/or quality than “the mainstream guys”. The fact that two companies strongly associated with Taiwanese manufacture were singled out (and not say Trek*) is notable. What kills me is that the message board poster spews on lovingly for the Colnago CX-1…because I’ve been to the Giant factory in Taichung, Taiwan, and that vaunted CX-1 comes down the SAME production line as the Giant TCR. That’s right, Taiwan makes that Colnago.

It is funny how most people associate the brand of origin with the place of origin. In most cases this is not true. There are very few mass produced bicycles made outside of Asia. Colnago still makes their steel bikes in Italy and the new Limited Edition C-59 Italia carbon fiber bike was made in Italy, but they only made 59 of them using Toray carbon fiber from Japan (T-Mosaic has one on display). With many of the European brands, they simply need to do some minor labeling or finishing to qualify as domestic, when in fact, they were produced in Taiwan or China. In more cases than we'd like to admit, the frames were designed by a Taiwanese ODM and then branded by the buyer of the mold. It is possible that those sleek Italian curves or French lines had their origin in the mind of a Taiwanese engineer.