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Tdiddy
03-26-2009, 09:38 AM
There seems to be a lot of talk about supporting local companies and hand-made frames being worth the extra money. Can someone show me an example of a non-hand-made frame? Are there companies putting up expenses to build and program robots to build bikes? And will these said robots turn evil and start killing puppies with laser beams?

Or is it that these people praising hand-made north american frames don't consider taiwanese people to have hands?




zahgurim
03-26-2009, 10:49 AM
You've obviously never been to Taiwan/China.

Everyone welds with their feet there.

FullMonty
03-26-2009, 04:13 PM
Or is it that these people praising hand-made north american frames don't consider taiwanese people to have hands?

asian people don't have hands... they're born with a calculator at the end of one arm and chop sticks on the other. duh.

I always laughed at that line of reasoning myself. "Buy an Intense, it's hand made!" Yeah, because the Giant that is consistently welded straight is welded by magic.

clarklewis
03-26-2009, 05:22 PM
actually, most taiwanese have laser beams built into their retinas. they just have to think about the frame they want to build, then they go into a trance (looks like a lot of seizing and drooling), someone locks them in a room for an hour or so, and voila - a nice new giant glory is born!

i think "hand made" is being mistakenly used to mean "made by someone who makes enough money doing what they do to support a north american lifestyle". i have no idea if all taiwanese welders make a decent living at it. most local welders don't make as much as they should.

to me, the argument is more about supporting a north american job instead of exploiting asian labor. this is important to some people.

nick
03-26-2009, 05:55 PM
Well all I have to say about this is look at a Dekerf, Independent fab, Dean, Strong etc... next to ANY Taiwanese frame and tell me you cant see the difference.

Mic
03-26-2009, 06:16 PM
^ There is one?

L. Ron Hubbard
03-26-2009, 06:24 PM
asian people don't have hands... they're born with a calculator at the end of one arm and chop sticks on the other. duh.

I always laughed at that line of reasoning myself. "Buy an Intense, it's hand made!" Yeah, because the Giant that is consistently welded straight is welded by magic.

Wow, welding with chopsticks is impressive!

L. Ron Hubbard
03-26-2009, 06:27 PM
Well all I have to say about this is look at a Dekerf, Independent fab, Dean, Strong etc... next to ANY Taiwanese frame and tell me you cant see the difference.

Yeah, they're a lot more likely to have defects and they cost significantly more. Also they'll be a few years behind the design curve (in general).

The big difference is that people somehow think their American made frames will a) make them better riders, and b) somehow make up for their totally un-American parts specs.

shirk
03-26-2009, 06:32 PM
Well all I have to say about this is look at a Dekerf, Independent fab, Dean, Strong etc... next to ANY Taiwanese frame and tell me you cant see the difference.

That isn't a fair comparison. Kinda like comparing a Ferrari to a Yugo. Yes they are different, but they were intended to be different.

There is high quality artisan product coming from around the world, just as there is low quality product being hacked together around the world.

I am sure there are a number of small builders in Asia that are producing product to the same level as Dekerf, IF, Dean and others, you might just not know it.

A better judgement is to learn if a good living wage for that region is being paid before slagging a company based on the geographic location of it's manufacturing. There are other reasons to locate production in certain regions other than wage, such as access to raw materials and other overhead costs.

nick
03-26-2009, 06:36 PM
Yeah, they're a lot more likely to have defects and they cost significantly more. Also they'll be a few years behind the design curve (in general).

The big difference is that people somehow think their American made frames will a) make them better riders, and b) somehow make up for their totally un-American parts specs.

I have Yet to see a defect on a independent fab frame. You obviously do not know what you are talking about.

shirk
03-26-2009, 06:38 PM
I have Yet to see a defect on a independent fab frame. You obviously do not know what you are talking about.

Do you do ALL of their warranty and QC work?

Every product has some issued, nothing is perfect.

nick
03-26-2009, 06:39 PM
I'm not debating that, I'm just saying there is a big difference with true hand built bikes and production ones.
That isn't a fair comparison. Kinda like comparing a Ferrari to a Yugo. Yes they are different, but they were intended to be different.

There is high quality artisan product coming from around the world, just as there is low quality product being hacked together around the world.

I am sure there are a number of small builders in Asia that are producing product to the same level as Dekerf, IF, Dean and others, you might just not know it.

A better judgement is to learn if a good living wage for that region is being paid before slagging a company based on the geographic location of it's manufacturing. There are other reasons to locate production in certain regions other than wage, such as access to raw materials and other overhead costs.

Mic
03-26-2009, 06:43 PM
What I find really interesting is that this issue/topic is coming up every odd month or so. Just sayin'

If Taiwan bikes were as bad as their reputation (at least that is what a few people think), heck, why would companies even go through the hassle and the shipping and all that?

Just take a look at Curtis Bikes from England. For years they were producing frames in their small shop in England, but now they are offering both - hand-made in England and Taiwan-made frames. According to Curtis specs.

I do not really see the issue at hand - and have to agree with Ron L. ....which is kinda odd.

nick
03-26-2009, 06:43 PM
Do you do ALL of their warranty and QC work?

Every product has some issued, nothing is perfect.

sure but not many leave the shop

nick
03-26-2009, 06:50 PM
bottom line is REAL hand made bikes are not for every one (intense and others are production bikes). Usually they are very expensive and you do not get as much technology. What you get is quality, made to measure and service.

Dean W
03-26-2009, 07:40 PM
....................Also they'll be a few years behind the design curve (in general).

The big difference is that people somehow think their American made frames will a) make them better riders, and b) somehow make up for their totally un-American parts specs.

Gotta agree with you on this one.

[EDIT] Edited for clarity

Tonestar
03-26-2009, 07:50 PM
i have no idea if all taiwanese welders make a decent living at it.

Apparently, welding frames in Taiwan is a very good job to have, lots of the welders have been working at the same factory for 20 plus years, so they are also very good at their job. The experienced welders tend to be working on the higher end, more complicated product(makes sense), with newer welders building the cheaper products until they gain lots of experience and move up the ladder.

China is a different story, they are newer to building bike frames, so they don't have the experienced welders that Taiwan does.

nick
03-26-2009, 07:55 PM
Gotta agree with you on this one.

Really? Have you ever owned a custom built frame?

pedalhound
03-26-2009, 07:59 PM
To me a real handmade bike (Naked, IF and so many others) are more about the bicycle as art...there is a level of detail that the big production bikes just can't match. does not make them better or worse, it's just your taste in bikes IMO. I ride production bikes because I can afford them, if I had the dough I would get a sexy steel custom bike as a XC bike and a nice Taiwanese bike for my full susser. But for me it's not so much that it's a better product it's that it is a custom fit bike that one guy put his time into building, all the extra little details (lugs, special paint...etc) is what costs the extra to me.

The argument that all Taiwanese bikes are made in sweatshops by underage children is crap, from everything I have read they are clean factories, their pay is not what we would get over here, but it's good for where they are located and most are amazing welders....this argument is stupid IMO, different strokes for different folks.

smyrly
03-26-2009, 08:05 PM
maybe the phrase "hand made" should be replaced with "custom"? The phrase "real handmade" vs "fake handmade" doesn't make sense.

nick
03-26-2009, 08:09 PM
maybe the phrase "hand made" should be replaced with "custom"? The phrase "real handmade" vs "fake handmade" doesn't make sense.

Good point but I think it's understood that when someone says hand made they mean custom. certainly not a production frame. No one ever said look at this hand made norco.

Tonestar
03-26-2009, 08:13 PM
maybe the phrase "hand made" should be replaced with "custom"?

Agreed!

I think there is a personal pride in owning a custom made frame. If you haven't owned one, then you don't understand the sense of pride the frame owner has, me included, but that doesn't mean it is wrong to feel that pride.

On the other hand, just because you own a custom made frame, it doesn't give you the right to be preachy about it.

smyrly
03-26-2009, 08:14 PM
Good point but I think it's understood that when someone says hand made they mean custom. certainly not a production frame. No one ever said look at this hand made norco.

from this thread so far, not everyone has made the same jump in logic. They way the thread started, it asked the question about the actual welding, essentially are there any frames welded by machine and not hands.

nick
03-26-2009, 08:20 PM
Agreed!

I think there is a personal pride in owning a custom made frame. If you haven't owned one, then you don't understand the sense of pride the frame owner has, me included, but that doesn't mean it is wrong to feel that pride.

On the other hand, just because you own a custom made frame, it doesn't give you the right to be preachy about it.

Actually yes you do. It's not for you but for the builder. Specially when people try to compare them to production bikes.

Tdiddy
03-26-2009, 08:41 PM
I guess basically why I started this thread was to find out what people mean by "hand-made". And it appears to refer to "custom-made" rather than someone actually welded it with their hands. I just wasn't sure because it comes up all the time as reasons to buy certain frames over others, and I didn't know if people actually believed that there weren't real people making Taiwanese frames.

Intense is often claimed as one of the nice "hand-made" frame companies. With a lot of reports of misaligned frames, I would put more faith in a company that produces much higher quantities with the technology/experience to sort these things out. I'm not saying small company welders are inexperienced, I just think that the volume they operate with would lend itself to more unique frames coming out than someone producing many times more frames.

nick
03-26-2009, 08:56 PM
Intense is not a "hand made" custom frame. As nice as they are it's a production frame. I think the hand made thing is used when it should not.

Dean W
03-26-2009, 09:10 PM
Intense is not a "hand made" custom frame. As nice as they are it's a production frame. I think the hand made thing is used when it should not.

Nick,

I don't feel there is any need to fight about this subject. You obviously hold this topic close to your heart and will fight and defend your ideas and rightly so. They are your thoughts and ideas on the subject.

If you want to make some headway in changing peoples thoughts, don't just disagree with them and say they are wrong, tell them why your views on a subject differ from theirs. Back up you ideas with reasons.

I respect your views on this topic because they are just that, your views. If you explain your views in more detail and give reasons, you may be able to influence my and others views on this subject but without something more to back up your ideas, you will just argue and disagree with others until you are blue in the face.

Six
03-26-2009, 09:15 PM
When ever I see "Hand Made" on something it's usually followed by "..in the USA". I'm sure that's partially a statement of quality but I also think it's mark of pride for the company because so much stuff is made overseas these days. I also believe frames made Taiwan are high quality hand made frames.

Bryce
03-26-2009, 09:18 PM
custom geometry is a cool aspect of a custom hand-built frame. Other than that, very few people would be able to feel the difference between a Taiwanese frame and a North American frame. Visuals mean squat IMO.

I was under the impression that some Specialized frames were actually welded robotically. Not like C3PO with a torch, but a jig and an automated welding arm

I liked the Session 88 article in Dirt where they interviewed the guys actually welding the frames in Asia

J-Kwon
03-26-2009, 09:40 PM
i'd so buy a frame that says machine welded by c3po.

nick
03-26-2009, 10:01 PM
Nick,

I don't feel there is any need to fight about this subject. You obviously hold this topic close to your heart and will fight and defend your ideas and rightly so. They are your thoughts and ideas on the subject.

If you want to make some headway in changing peoples thoughts, don't just disagree with them and say they are wrong, tell them why your views on a subject differ from theirs. Back up you ideas with reasons.

I respect your views on this topic because they are just that, your views. If you explain your views in more detail and give reasons, you may be able to influence my and others views on this subject but without something more to back up your ideas, you will just argue and disagree with others until you are blue in the face.

All I can say without writing an article about it is go see a frame builders shop, see what he does, talk to him. He will change your mind, not me, it's not something you can talk about, you must see it. I'm not trying to fight over anything, I'm just saying that you cant compare a taiwanese (or any other country)production frame and a hand made custom one. That's it, nothing more.

J-Kwon
03-26-2009, 10:05 PM
All I can say without writing an article about it is go see a frame builders shop, see what he does, talk to him. He will change your mind, not me, it's not something you can talk about, you must see it. I'm not trying to fight over anything, I'm just saying that you cant compare a taiwanese (or any other country)production frame and a hand made custom one. That's it, nothing more.

what exactly are you comparing with the taiwanese bikes?
-strength?
-look?
-function?
-design?

nick
03-26-2009, 10:19 PM
What you get is quality, made to measure and service.
this

edit: if you really want to know go see and talk to a buider. I'm telling you he will change your mind, it's so much more.

DaveM
03-26-2009, 10:20 PM
will it make my ride any better?

Tdiddy
03-26-2009, 10:22 PM
I would offer the same argument to go and visit a taiwanese production shop and talk with the welders there (possibly through a translator?) before making an opinion. I agree the ability for custom geometry/paint is quite appealing, but there are a lot of different manufacturers out there, making the task of finding an ideal geometry fairly easy in my opinion. Especially when it comes to downhill bikes, the range of acceptable geometries is quite small, so finding a specific bike within those requirements isn't too much of a trouble.

And then I guess you have to factor in the build quality vs. cost comparison between custom hand made versus production model. Is the quality difference really that apparent that it's worth the exaggerated cost differences? I'm not arguing it's not, I don't know. I think these are just things that a consumer needs to consider before making the decision to snap up a frame.

L. Ron Hubbard
03-26-2009, 10:25 PM
what exactly are you comparing with the taiwanese bikes?
-strength?
-look?
-function?
-design?

Souuuul broooo, looooove! :rolleyes:

L. Ron Hubbard
03-26-2009, 10:30 PM
I have Yet to see a defect on a independent fab frame. You obviously do not know what you are talking about.

I am willing to bet everything I have that the rate of defects of IF, Canfield, Strong, Dekerf, Tonic Fab, and the other major custom US builders are on average higher than Giant's (just as an example).

Come on. The custom little guys are BOUND to make more mistakes vs. enormous, high tech companies overseas that put a TON of money into R&D and then put together a fully automated process to bring defects to an absolute minimum.

shorelocal
03-26-2009, 10:39 PM
I would think a better distinction can be made when the production of the frame is actually completed by the company selling the frame, and not farmed out to an overseas factory. For example, Trek makes their carbon road bikes (and mtn I believe) in their factory in Wisconsin. They actually know what production is, unlike Cervelo for example, who just farm production out to China. Smaller, independent builders (custom and stock) tend to also produce their own frames (Moots, IF, Naked, Dekerf, Vanilla, etc.).

As for quality coming from Asia, it covers all levels of the spectrum. Just look at the pics floating around of the IH Sunday with bondo to see how crap some production can be.

nick
03-26-2009, 10:55 PM
I am willing to bet everything I have that the rate of defects of IF, Canfield, Strong, Dekerf, Tonic Fab, and the other major custom US builders are on average higher than Giant's (just as an example).

Come on. The custom little guys are BOUND to make more mistakes vs. enormous, high tech companies overseas that put a TON of money into R&D and then put together a fully automated process to bring defects to an absolute minimum.

If it was, they would be out of business in a flash. I know this for a fact(I'm in the business but not biking), a small production company cant scrap much before they go under.

ESHER SHORE
03-26-2009, 11:16 PM
Canfield

not made in USA, made in TW by Pacific Cycles (who also make Banshee / Mythic, Astrix, Niner, etc.)

Dean W
03-26-2009, 11:32 PM
This post is going south really fast. I offered my help on avoiding this.

Oh well.

Ed von Schleck
03-26-2009, 11:53 PM
Quality of craftsmanship is one thing. A bike that is welded in Taiwan is certainly not of a worse quality than a US-made, Canadian-made or German-made bike.

The thing with a custom, local-made frame is that you actually get an insight into what goes on behind the scenes. You get to meet the people who put a ton of effort into your product and you can tell that they truly care about you being happy with your purchase.

Some Taiwanese welders propably don't care if the customer appreciates the craftsmanship of the new Glory. The dudes who do the entire fabrication in house and by hand propably will. That's the difference.

Whether paying extra for that is worth it or not is a different topic.

Tdiddy
03-26-2009, 11:57 PM
I'm almost sorry I started this mess. Can we get back to robots and laser beams?

Serious question though, and one poster alluded to it, are there actually programmable robot welded bike frames? Maybe high production lower quality frames like you would see in an automotive plant, or are the costs too prohibitive?

I'm guessing that once the initial investment was covered, that it wouldn't be too difficult to reprogram for different frames.

L. Ron Hubbard
03-27-2009, 12:59 AM
I guess I'd like to sum up my problem with the boutique frame angle: they're more about an aura, or some misguided idea of status. It's not like boutique frames ride better, or last longer, or really anything... I could understand if the boutique stuff was ahead of the curve technology wise, or at least in terms of what riders want (Tonic Fab is a good example of this), but loving a frame essentially because you get to be part of a club if you buy it is silly.

old_school_n00b
03-27-2009, 01:00 AM
Country of origin aside, handbuilt frames are only as good as the design process is. Your local fabricator may not be a knowledgeable fitter. The same goes for the shop employee filling out the build sheet to send off to Independent Fabrications, Waterford, etc. Custom bikes should fit like a well-tailored suit, but it seems like there are an awful lot of them running around out there with seatpost/stem/spacer combinations that just ruin them.

J-Kwon
03-27-2009, 01:47 AM
I guess I'd like to sum up my problem with the boutique frame angle: they're more about an aura, or some misguided idea of status. It's not like boutique frames ride better, or last longer, or really anything... I could understand if the boutique stuff was ahead of the curve technology wise, or at least in terms of what riders want (Tonic Fab is a good example of this), but loving a frame essentially because you get to be part of a club if you buy it is silly.

x2

big companies are able to spend millions on r&d, simply because they have more money than local. the hydro-form tubing by giant, is likely lighter, and superior to hand-built tubing from a sheet of metal. Giant owns the welding company and the tubing company, and have engineers that get paid to test and design. Same can not be said about many bike companies but Giant's quality is probably consistent.

if one of these Taiwanese bikes fail at weld due to quality they will be considered defect, and usually warrenteed.
So durability of bike, aside from defect is truly up to the design, and the material.

Having said that, I've seen holes in an oryx frame at the weld, which was welded in Quebec.

xy9ine
03-27-2009, 02:02 AM
I guess I'd like to sum up my problem with the boutique frame angle: they're more about an aura, or some misguided idea of status. It's not like boutique frames ride better, or last longer, or really anything... I could understand if the boutique stuff was ahead of the curve technology wise, or at least in terms of what riders want (Tonic Fab is a good example of this), but loving a frame essentially because you get to be part of a club if you buy it is silly.

generally the appeal of boutique for me, is not necessarily a difference in quality or status, but innovative design not available from the majors. yes, the biggies have huge $$ for r&d, but they're still (generally) stifled from doing really interesting stuff by the bottom line - they've got to move big volume to stay alive. they may build a few interesting protos to generate interest, but none of them are going to be available to the public any day soon. the little guys can do small volume wacky builds & (perhaps) push the state of the art.

walleater
03-27-2009, 02:03 AM
I don't have Gorilla proportions or one leg longer than another so am perfectly happy with my Taiwanese welded 853 steel frame. If someone wants to pay four times the price for something welded in a shed in North America then that's great for them.

L. Ron Hubbard
03-27-2009, 03:47 AM
generally the appeal of boutique for me, is not necessarily a difference in quality or status, but innovative design not available from the majors. yes, the biggies have huge $$ for r&d, but they're still (generally) stifled from doing really interesting stuff by the bottom line - they've got to move big volume to stay alive. they may build a few interesting protos to generate interest, but none of them are going to be available to the public any day soon. the little guys can do small volume wacky builds & (perhaps) push the state of the art.

See, this might have been true 10 years ago, but nowadays the major room for advancements is mostly in tiny refinements and things, not in creating the next horst-link.

BareFootMeshback
03-27-2009, 08:52 AM
Custom is great if you are weird dimensions or you want a bike with weird dimensions. Or you want something not available on a production bike. Like a nice randonnee frame with disc mounts, a EBB, thats blue and has four water bottle mounts. Other than that its hard to argue that 'hand made in the USA' really buys you much difference in my opinion. Custom bikes should be seen as being that much higher quality just more flexible.

xy9ine
03-27-2009, 05:38 PM
See, this might have been true 10 years ago, but nowadays the major room for advancements is mostly in tiny refinements and things, not in creating the next horst-link.

in terms of suspension development, i think we're pretty close, but i think there's still room for advancement in drivetrains & materials usage (extending lifespan). (re: high end dh bikes) i think we should be working towards motorcycle levels of low maintenance & longevity. you should be able to ride the bike for a season without touching the drivetrain, and frames should easily last 5 yrs+. the tech is out there among the micro builders (steel & carbon frames, gearboxes, etc), but that kind of designed durability isn't a great model if you hope to move lots of new bikes (not to mention mountains of drivetrain parts) every year.

J-Kwon
03-27-2009, 05:42 PM
you should be able to ride the bike for a season without touching the drivetrain

sram x9.

L. Ron Hubbard
03-27-2009, 08:34 PM
in terms of suspension development, i think we're pretty close, but i think there's still room for advancement in drivetrains & materials usage (extending lifespan). (re: high end dh bikes) i think we should be working towards motorcycle levels of low maintenance & longevity. you should be able to ride the bike for a season without touching the drivetrain, and frames should easily last 5 yrs+. the tech is out there among the micro builders (steel & carbon frames, gearboxes, etc), but that kind of designed durability isn't a great model if you hope to move lots of new bikes (not to mention mountains of drivetrain parts) every year.

I somehow don't think it's gonna be Dekerf or Indy Fab that comes out with those advancements. Also, the tech to create longevity without a weight penalty is NOT there at any level. Period.

L. Ron Hubbard
03-27-2009, 08:36 PM
ps. the type of stuff you're talking about requires a lot of consumer testing, which I don't appreciate.

xy9ine
03-27-2009, 11:39 PM
I somehow don't think it's gonna be Dekerf or Indy Fab that comes out with those advancements. Also, the tech to create longevity without a weight penalty is NOT there at any level. Period.

no, those guys are a completely different facet of custom building - more or less classicists (focusing on traditional craftsmanship / artistry, etc), however there are other similarly small companies / individuals who ARE designing innovative drivetrains & building in alternative materials. the tech is out there now.

regarding the weight to strength issue, dh bikes are at a point where they can stand to gain a little mass for an extended lifespan. bikes such as the coke-can trek 88 seem to be nearing the durability / weight threshold for aluminum, and at that pricepoint i think alternative materials could come into play. random examples: superco's truetemper supertherm (steel) dh frame: 10lbs w/ shock; lahar (carbon) - 9.5lbs w/ shock (w/o rohloff). (yes, i know that the sample sizes of a couple micro builders is not adequate to declare steel or carbon the materials of the future, but precedents are being made).

this is pretty esoteric stuff, regardless; it's just what engages ME personally.

sleeper
03-27-2009, 11:45 PM
All frames are hand made
Just who's hands are making them that matters

SammyJ
03-27-2009, 11:51 PM
Only reason I would buy a boutique frame is to support the local economy.

leverfingers
03-28-2009, 04:59 AM
So, I'm sitting in my shop listening to the mill cut a thread on a large piece of mutherfackering hard stainless. A CNC machine is cutting the thread. It's late and I should have gone home a while ago. Is the thread "hand made"? Don't know. I think that a lot of people are just talking out of their asses here. People who make stuff are people too. Doesn't matter where they are.

One thing I know for sure, there is robot welding. On bicycle frames. One example that I can name is Sandvik titanium frames. I don't know if they still do that, but they used to. They made frames for other brands, like litespeed, and for some big names that had ti frames for a while.

Look at one of those and you will see the cleanest welds anywhere.

We are not THEY/THEM/THOSE PEOPLE. We are real people and we are among you!

josimar
03-28-2009, 05:52 AM
Come on. The custom little guys are BOUND to make more mistakes vs. enormous, high tech companies overseas that put a TON of money into R&D and then put together a fully automated process to bring defects to an absolute minimum.

Having a fully automated process does not guarantee defects will be an absolute minimum. Its often the case that the opposite happens because quality control is much more challenging. Production that relies more on small batches, and skilled employees tend to have better quality, produce less defects and catch them much more quickly. Compare Honda & Toyota to North American Autos.

It might be true that the big guys can put out better quality because of more investment into R&D.

L. Ron Hubbard
03-28-2009, 08:58 AM
Having a fully automated process does not guarantee defects will be an absolute minimum. Its often the case that the opposite happens because quality control is much more challenging. Production that relies more on small batches, and skilled employees tend to have better quality, produce less defects and catch them much more quickly. Compare Honda & Toyota to North American Autos.

It might be true that the big guys can put out better quality because of more investment into R&D.
You think Giant's automation process is comparable to even the smallest major auto manufacturer?

leverfingers
03-28-2009, 04:31 PM
I think that the auto industry owns more of their own factories. Bike industry farms it out a lot to factories that work for several/many brands.

Some bike factories are probably bigger than car factories, but those aren't owned by the bike companies.

Interestingly enough, the auto industry in north america has taken a blow to the cods and might start going more the bike industry way. Farm it out.

josimar
03-29-2009, 02:04 AM
You think Giant's automation process is comparable to even the smallest major auto manufacturer?

I have no idea how Giant's automation would compare to that of a manufacturer that makes different product. The idea was that Honda and Toyota have better quality and less automation than their North American competitors. The point is that automation does not equal quality.

L. Ron Hubbard
03-29-2009, 06:22 AM
I have no idea how Giant's automation would compare to that of a manufacturer that makes different product. The idea was that Honda and Toyota have better quality and less automation than their North American competitors. The point is that automation does not equal quality.

I agree that after a point it doesn't, but there's definitely a threshold there, and I don't think the big bike guys have come close to hitting it yet.

shirk
03-29-2009, 07:00 AM
The idea was that Honda and Toyota have better quality and less automation than their North American competitors. The point is that automation does not equal quality.

Honda and Toyota have no more or less automation than the Big Three. It's not automation or hand made that leads to higher quality. It's process control and verification that leads to a high quality product.

How do I know? I worked for Honda for 7 years, part of that on the line actually building cars and most of that working with parts suppliers so they could build parts that meet the Honda standard. I've seen very automated processes build crappy parts and I've seen the equivalent of "hand built" build crappy parts.

josimar
03-29-2009, 07:15 PM
Honda and Toyota have no more or less automation than the Big Three. It's not automation or hand made that leads to higher quality. It's process control and verification that leads to a high quality product.

How do I know? I worked for Honda for 7 years, part of that on the line actually building cars and most of that working with parts suppliers so they could build parts that meet the Honda standard. I've seen very automated processes build crappy parts and I've seen the equivalent of "hand built" build crappy parts.

Thanks for the correction. During my production management class, the prof always made the point of saying that smaller production sizes and less automation led to better quality. When he said it, I thought it seemed off, but I accepted it because he's an expert in his field. I think I zoned out during the parts he talked about process control or started skipping because it was boring.

capriebe
03-29-2009, 07:23 PM
This is the way I always understood the made in USA and stuff crap- Made in the USA can be applied as "assembled" in the USA- Hand built can also mean "assembled". Frame made in Taiwan, and then all the parts are put on in the USA.

A frame from a boutique builder in Canada or wherever is welded and handled all by a dude, who inspects his own welds and signs his own work. More choice in size and materials with a "custom hand made" bike. If you can't see the value in a frame made by a guy you can talk too- or the size, or material then don't buy one or complain about differences in quality.

josimar
03-29-2009, 07:25 PM
I agree that after a point it doesn't, but there's definitely a threshold there, and I don't think the big bike guys have come close to hitting it yet.

Is this pure speculation (about big bike guys reaching a threshold)? What insight do you have that lets you come to this conclusion? I think I read somewhere that you are a history student, but I dont know if you have ever looked into production numbers/theory or how much you know you know about bike or car manufacturing. I hope you dont take that personally because I confess my ignorance in knowing any real details about this too. Im basing my thinking off of my horribly boring class.

ESHER SHORE
03-30-2009, 01:39 PM
better QC (quality control) costs more money

ironically, having parts (i.e. bike frames) made offshore where the actual production cost is lower, can allow more margin for better QC than if something is made domestically, where costs are higher and the margin put towards QC suffers or is pretty much non-existent

SammyJ
03-30-2009, 04:02 PM
In my experience and according to my education in manufacturing engineering things break down like this:

1) Quality = value added in the eyes of the customer
2) The most efficient way to achieve good quality control is to have an effective quality assurance system. In mass production good Q/A usually means statistical process control, which means dimensional inspection with data collected and logged for statistical analysis. When the data is analyzed, you can determine if a process is producing parts within the target spec on a repeatable basis. This allows you to fine tune the process, ensuring quality parts and allowing for reduced inspection costs.
3) *This point is key to the debate of boutique vs. mass production* Automated manufacturing relies on effective management, as shop floor personnel individually work on small aspects of the final product. That requires good management and does not generally rely on a high degree of skilled labour. Boutique frames are made by one or two skilled tradeseople and the final quality comes down to their skill, and how good of a day they are having. That's why ppl look at handmade frames and savor the small imperfections. THey show that the part is made by hand, and some are willing to pay for that 'boutique' touch.

L. Ron Hubbard
03-30-2009, 07:17 PM
Is this pure speculation (about big bike guys reaching a threshold)? What insight do you have that lets you come to this conclusion? I think I read somewhere that you are a history student, but I dont know if you have ever looked into production numbers/theory or how much you know you know about bike or car manufacturing. I hope you dont take that personally because I confess my ignorance in knowing any real details about this too. Im basing my thinking off of my horribly boring class.

Well, until your idea got debunked anyway, my logic was simply that if huge automation = bad, and the big 3 = huge automation, then a) none of the bike manufacturers are even close to that big, and b) having sold bikes for the last 8 or 9 years, I know that the QC of the big guys is just fine.

shirk
03-30-2009, 07:50 PM
In my experience and according to my education in manufacturing engineering things break down like this:

1) Quality = value added in the eyes of the customer
2) The most efficient way to achieve good quality control is to have an effective quality assurance system. In mass production good Q/A usually means statistical process control, which means dimensional inspection with data collected and logged for statistical analysis. When the data is analyzed, you can determine if a process is producing parts within the target spec on a repeatable basis. This allows you to fine tune the process, ensuring quality parts and allowing for reduced inspection costs.
3) *This point is key to the debate of boutique vs. mass production* Automated manufacturing relies on effective management, as shop floor personnel individually work on small aspects of the final product. That requires good management and does not generally rely on a high degree of skilled labour. Boutique frames are made by one or two skilled tradeseople and the final quality comes down to their skill, and how good of a day they are having. That's why ppl look at handmade frames and savor the small imperfections. THey show that the part is made by hand, and some are willing to pay for that 'boutique' touch.

BINGO

Anyone that wants to understand manufacturing of bike or anything need to understand that above.

Now we can move into the argument of not just hand made or "automated" but made in the G8 vs made in any developing country.

If you apply above to any production process anywhere you can get a quality product, doesn't matter if it's China or Detroit.

shorelocal
03-30-2009, 08:48 PM
ironically, having parts (i.e. bike frames) made offshore where the actual production cost is lower, can allow more margin for better QC than if something is made domestically, where costs are higher and the margin put towards QC suffers or is pretty much non-existent


OR ....

the cost savings simply go into higher profit margins for the brand, but that's another thread all together :)