a cost advantage to being [overseas] anymore," says Woronets.
Zen Bicycle Fabrication recently re opened in Portalnd as a contract frame manufacturer for hire
"We'll still keep butting tubes and keep CNC'ing parts for the bicycle industry, just like we CNC parts for Tesla and Freightliner. That business is as good as ever, and that's why we'll continue to pursue it."
Even at its peak bicycles represened a fairly small portion of this alumium titan's overall output, which takes in nearly $5 billion in annual revenue. The company maintains offices world wide to handle a business that stretches from heat transfer technologies to architectural applications and extrusion the last of which handles everyting from massive extruded aluminum sailboat masts to tubing for bicycle chainstays.
This pre decal Rockstar just came off the Sapa production floor in what likely will be the last batch of Titus bikes to be made by Sapa, ending a nearly 10 year run of Sapa made Titus bikes.
"It seems to me that smaller customers, anyone less than 300 frames per Flyknit Roshe Run Black
"I alwasy thought Sapa and Zen would occupy different airpsace anyway, with us as as a multi material specialists and them as the big aluminum only contractor," says Woronets.
Sapa's remaining customers only recently received word that they would need to find new frame manufacturers. office in Portland. The move followed a restructuring of the one time Arizona based brand using a consumer direct sales model. Titus was sold at bankruptcy auction to the UK based company Planet X last November.
Sales engineer Ray Goody has been the product managaer for Sapa's Bicycle division since it first began contract building bicycles in 1990, and while bikes have always been a relative blip on this global behemoth's balance sheet, the division hasn't always been as small as it currently is. Goody says that circa 2000/2001 some 75,00 to 90,000 bicycle frames came out of Sapa's Portland plant annually. While he could not divulge current sales figures, he indicated that the number of customers has dwindled.
/// Zen Poised to Pick Up Business ///
Titus and On One designer Brant Richards says that Titus Rockstar frames it's currently receiving from Sapa's Portland plant are being built from remaining inventory leftover from when Titus declared bankruptcy under the previous owners. It is not known how much the original Titus owed Sapa when it declared bankruptcy. manufacturing Richards says the company is also looking to source aluminum Rockstar frames from Taiwan, in which case it would offer clearly designated US and Taiwan made frames at different price Nike Flyknit Racer Womens Ebay
Citing a longstanding relationship with Sapa, company owner David Turner said that Sapa will continue to produce frames for the SoCal based mountain bike brand through next year. "This is a big country, but we have been talking to Zen about future projects."
Financially speaking, the bicycle division simply didn't make sense to continue to run, Goody says. So why should we stay in a market that's shrinking yearly?"
While it will continue to produce and supply bicycle tubing to other builders, the company recently informed its customers that it is winding down all its contract bicycle manufacturing operations.
"We just found out recently, but they've definitely given us a huge amount of warning. It's not like they're just shutting the lights off. We've got four or five months to transition manufacturing," he says. "We'll still be getting frames from Sapa through even through April or May of next year."
Another recent transplant to Portland, Zen Bicycle Fabrication, finds itself in position to become the next go to contract frame company for brands who still want their frames produced in America. Sapa's Goody says he expects Zen to pick up some of Sapa's displaced customers.
Titus has always sourced its all mountain El Guapo with its heavily hydroformed top tube as well as all its carbon bikes from Taiwan.
While its exact customer list is shrouded in confidentiality agreements Sapa has built hundreds of thousands of frames for dozens of customers since 1990
"For us it's really unfortunate," says Titus USA general manager Michael Golinski. production.
While Zen's roots are in full suspension alumium frames, Woronets says Zen will also turn out steel and Ti bikes. "One of our welders, Shawn Nike Racer Flyknit Black Anderson, came from Ti Cycles where he was a top Ti tig welder, which also makes him one of the best steel and stainless steel welders I've seen."
Zen just started production in the new 10,000 square foot factory in November, and Woronets says the driving reason behind the move was to be closer to his anodizing, paint and powder coating vendors.
quarter, are being stretched into longer and longer lead times. That and the pricing has gone up to the point where there isn't always Nike Roshe Flyknit Yellow
Sapa to Cease Contract Bicycle Manufacturing Operations
Zen VP and product manager David Woronets says that his company's recent relocation to Portland was entirely coincidental. Woronets bought out the manufacturing arm of Ellsworth Bicycles and relocated it from nearby Vancouver, Washington, re opening the business as a for hire contract frame shop. Zen already has deals with Ellsworth to continue building its frames, but the company is looking to work with other brands, some of which will remain confidential.
While most mountain bikers have likely never heard of Sapa Extrusions, it's safe to say we're all familiar with the high end mountain bike frames this Portland, Oregon, plant has produced. But after more than 20 years of manufacturing built to order aluminum frames for some of the world's best bike brands bikes that have been raced in the Olympics, the Tour de France and on trails around the globe Sapa is calling it quits.
Not all of its customers are publicly known, but some such as Titus and Turner are on Sapa's current (soon to be former) customer list. In the past, companies including Cervelo, Santa Cruz, Schwinn, Specialized and GT all have sourced aluminum frames from Sapa.
"Even back six or seven years ago, bicycles were 100 percent of my job, but recently I've had more time to devote to other areas, and other customers. Right now maybe a quarter of my time is spent with bicycle customers," says Goody. The bicycle manufacturing workforce will be kept on and transitioned to other projects, such as Brammo electric motorcycle frames and aluminum wheelchairs for medical companies.
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