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Cycling industry veterans launch an American handmade bicycle factory

News International-French

25 Aug 2016

HIA Velo was formed as a partnership between cycling industry veteran Tony Karklins (founder of Orbea USA), Douglas Zell (long time cyclist and founder of Intelligentsia Co­ee), and Sam Pickman (an 11 year veteran of Specialized’s senior engineering team).

“For the last two decades, I have seen bicycle factory after bicycle factory close down and shift their production to Asia. 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,” says Tony Karklins, HIA Velo’s Founder and Managing Director.

In February of this year, HIA Velo acquired all assets of Guru Cycles in Montreal, Canada. “Guru had one of the largest and best equipped high-end bicycle factories in North America,” says Karklins. Five containers of equipment and machinery were relocated to HIA Velo’s facility in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the installation took approximately 90 days.

“We have assembled a first class development and production team,” says Sam Pickman, HIA Velo’s Director of Product and Engineering. Chris Meertens, a previous co-worker from Specialized and a true master in composite part development joins HIA Velo as Senior Composites Engineer. Olivier Lavigueur joins as Composites Production Manager after working in the Guru composites department for nearly 11 years. David Woronets, founder of Zen Fabrication in Portland, Oregon, brings 15 years of steel and aluminum production experience to HIA Velo and joins as Metal Product and Production Manager. “I am feeling confident in the team we have assembled. There is a great chemistry building, and everyone is dedicated to the project,” says Pickman.

HIA Velo is scheduled to launch its first brand, Allied Cycle Works, by spring of 2017 and is in discussion with other brands and joint venture opportunities in the industry that believe in the benefits of domestic manufacturing.