We (City Cycles) have turned down a new path, and quite frankly, we're friggin' stoked! We have been talking with the folks over at Allied for a few weeks now about how they do this or why they do that and the conversation has always lead to "why don't you just come over and we will walk through the plant?" We gotta be honest the first time we heard this we were like, REALLY?!?!? That's like looking behind the curtain in the Wizard of OZ!!!! So when they told us this for a second time we thought two things 1) We just got told, TWICE 2) This has to happen. And did it ever.
When starting ALLIED CYCLE WORKS, we knew that just being made in America wasn’t going to be enough. People have shown over and over again that they are not willing to pay a premium for made in America goods, and let’s be honest, the market doesn’t need another $5,000 carbon bicycle frame.
We knew, in order to be successful, we had to produce equal or better product at market competitive pricing. The only way to accomplish this is to bring everything under one roof. This understanding lead to a six month process of assembling the team and equipment that would allow us to develop, manufacture, paint, assemble, market, sell ,and support our customers all under one roof in Little Rock, Arkansas.
By bringing everything under this one roof is by no means the easy path, but we feel like it is the better path, mainly for two reasons: speed to market and avoiding paying the “other guy.”
Speed to market
As we all know, time is money, especially in the product development process. The typical development time for a new carbon bicycle platform is 24-30 months. Why so long? Well, it’s hard as hell to do when your manufacturing is 8000 miles away.
At ALLIED CYCLE WORKS, we have been able to reduce this development time by more than 50% by bringing everything under one roof. Designers, and engineers working side by side developing bikes and the tools to produce them all at once. Linking the design and manufacturing in this way makes for designs that don’t overcomplicate things resulting in a more efficient process and a higher quality product out in the market.
When design is finished, part development begins.. This is often the lengthiest part of the product development process. Make one, break one, refine the layup and do that again and again until perfection.
A typical rev cycle in the bike industry is 4-6 weeks. Send your layup to Asia for prototype, send it back to USA for testing, transmit results to engineers who try to explain necessary modification back to Asian production and then develop the second prototype for testing. This rev process can occur as many as 5-10 times before a product is ready for production and often times requires travel to Asia for the USA developers. This is a very long process taking as long as a year and is very expensive.
At ALLIED CYCLE WORKS, our process is entirely different and a rev cycle can be completed in 3 days. How? Well, firstly, engineering, layup, manufacturing and testing are all in the same building. The engineering and layup teams work together to manufacture the sample, testing occurs that very afternoon, analysis and layup revision happen the next day and on day three, we are making the next sample and breaking it again. That is efficiency.
Not paying subcontractor’s markup
Let’s be honest about the bike industry. Most everything is outsourced. Largely, design and engineering of carbon bicycle frames has been sent to Asia along with manufacturing. Then sent to another company to paint and yet another company to assemble. Then sent to a transport company, customs clearance broker and often times ends up in 3rd party warehousing. That is an enormous amount of hands that bicycle goes through and each link in that chain makes their markup and guess who pays that? Yep, the consumer.
I am often asked how we have made ALLIED CYCLE WORKS competitive with Asian produced product, well, this is how. We do it ourselves, right here in the USA, under one roof and outsource nothing. We pay no other company’s markup and we pass this pricing efficiency onto the consumer.
I want to be clear, we never question the quality of outsourced production or expertise. Sometimes it is required. At ALLIED CYCLE WORKS, we chose to bring it all under one roof and in a highly efficient manner that allows for best in class, USA produced product at competitive market pricing. MADE HERE.