Last summer we featured an article on a new carbon fiber production facility that was getting underway in Little Rock, Arkansas called HIA Velo (aka Handmade in America).
As previously mentioned, HIA Velo’s goal is to produce bikes not only under their own name, but for other brands as well.
HIA Velo’s owners are Tony Karklins (the founder of Orbea USA), Douglas Zell (a longtime cyclist and founder of Intelligentsia Coffee) and Sam Pickman (an 11-year veteran of Specialized’s senior engineering team). The company also has hired Chris Meertens, a former composite parts developer at Specialized, who joins as HIA Velo’s senior composites engineer. Olivier Lavigueur, who worked in the Guru composite department for nearly 11 years, joins HIA Velo as its composites production manager. David Woronets, the founder of Zen Fabrication in Portland, Oregon, joins as HIA Velo’s metal product and production manager. Zen shut down its OEM production earlier this year.
HIA Velo purchased most of its tooling and equipment from the now defunct Montreal based Guru bike brand back in February.
“For the last two, I have seen bicycle after bicycle factory close down and shift their production to Asia,” Karklins said. “Now, few bicycle brands actually manufacture the products they sell. Even stranger, most of the composite bikes from nearly every known brand are made in only a handful of factories in Asia. We founded HIA Velo because we feel there is a real competitive advantage in having full control of the entire product development and manufacturing process under one roof, here in the USA. Our goal is to re-shore best-in-class, high-volume composite bicycle production and to create great American-manufactured cycling brands.”
Additionally, HIA Velo also purchased the Cycleart bike painting business, which has since been moved to their new facility as well.
“Paint was the last piece of the puzzle. We purchased Cyclart from Vista, California, in July and will be relocating them to Little Rock early this fall. Cyclart will handle all production paint for HIA Velo products and continue to offer premium refinishing, restoration and repair services to the industry, including composites repair,” Karklins said.
HIA Velo will launch its first brand, Allied Cycle Works, next spring. In addition, Karklins said the company is in discussion with other brands and is pursuing joint venture opportunities in the industry.
The company will also release several limited-edition products this fall, prior to the launch of Allied Cycle Works.
To show-off its new digs, HIA Velo launched this new video a few days ago.
Hmm, could carbon fiber bike production see a homogeneous return to the USA?
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