Over the past two decades, offshoring has significantly impacted the bike industry. The majority of bike companies closed their American factories and outsourced their production to Asia chasing after cheaper labor and increased profits. During this time, bicycle manufacturers that had truly unique products, were rich in culture, and had a sense of purpose, eventually converted to just being another “bicycle brand” with a focus on their sales and marketing departments. They closed the doors to the behind the scenes manufacturing processes, and only showed bikes being prototyped in the U.S., but not actually being mass produced in the U.S. The majority of bike brands don’t want you to know that they actually share the same Chinese and Taiwanese factories with their competition!
Unfortunately, Wyatt Bicycles wasn’t any different than the brands that have offshored their production to Asia, except for the fact that we started with our production there. As the owner and founder of Wyatt Bicycles, I wasn’t happy being part of the problem, but I knew that we would eventually be part of the solution. It has always been my long-term strategy to bring the manufacturing process in-house, but with limited capital, I wanted to first establish the Wyatt brand, learn the industry, connect with customers, and find our place in the market.
After being in business for six years and learning the ins and outs of the bike industry, it was time to begin bringing the manufacturing process in-house. Over the past several months, we’ve been purchasing equipment, building frame jigs, and working on a new fat bike frame design. By controlling the manufacturing process, we will be able to improve the quality of our bikes, innovate faster, and support American manufacturing. Unfortunately, manufacturing in the USA costs significantly more than having our bikes made in China and will double the retail price of our bikes! The good news is that there is a solution to keeping the retail price competitive and still being able to manufacture our bikes in the USA.
The solution to keeping our prices competitive is to eliminate the middleman and reinvent the traditional retail model. The traditional model consists of brands selling to a bicycle shop (middleman) and then the bicycle shop adds a retail markup before selling the bike to their customer.
The problem with this model is that it makes it very difficult for American bicycle manufacturers to compete in a retail setting, as lower prices drive sales. Lower prices also strangle innovation, which results in brands making bicycles with predetermined prices in mind, limiting them to using cheaper materials and finding the cheapest labor force that tends not to care about the products they are making. A direct-to-consumer model will allow us to start making bicycles in the USA using the finest materials and parts from around the world, ultimately making a much better bicycle and creating more value for our customers.
We believe that being transparent with our customers helps foster trust and creates a stronger relationship between us and our customers. If you look at any of the big bike brand websites, you will not find any pictures of the manufacturing facility or the people manufacturing their bicycles because they want to avoid this at all cost. We believe in American jobs and American manufacturing and take pride in the work that we do. If you look around our website or visit one of our social media pages, such as Instagram or Facebook, you will quickly see how transparent we are.