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10 June, 2020

Allied Cycle Works - A Factory Tour In Photos

By: Allied Cycle Works

We moved into our new factory in Bentonville, Arkansas in the month of March and we're finally settled in. The moment is perfect for giving you a photo tour and a reminder of our MADE HERE mission.  

"Design, market, sell." Normally, this is the holy trinity of American bike brands. "Make" is almost never part of the equation. And this is why Allied is different. Our mission is to make the best carbon fiber bicycles in the world, manufacturing them right here in America.

The unmatched road feel of an Allied is a product of countless hours of engineering time and design R&D. But most vital to our mission of building the world’s best bikes is our vigilant attention to production.

Brands love to talk about “quality control.” We’re not fans of the phrase. It makes it sound like your lovingly-finished bike – one of the most glorious things you’ll ever buy – materializes out of thin air. It’s like a brand’s only level of real engagement with the making-of-the-thing is to run the final product against a checklist of corporate standards.

But bikes don’t magically arrive. And this isn’t the realm of semi-conductors or six-figure German cars. Automated manufacturing isn’t meaningfully present in the high-end bike industry. It boils down to people making things. People in a manufacturing environment acquiring and retaining knowledge. People making seemingly small decisions with disproportionately large effects downstream.

The cardinal truth of manufacturing – not just of bikes, but of anything relying on human labor – is that it requires constant vigilance and steady oversight.

But that's not about minimizing human error, just the opposite. Vigilance and oversight are so crucial because CAD-generated design isn’t reality. Because sometimes the standard operating procedures are wrong. Ultimately the brains of the people doing the production are the repository of our technical knowledge, and the greatest source of potential for future improvement.

The overall quality of your bike boils down to the making of it.

Most of the American bike industry has a mighty struggle on its hands: Creating idealized visions of products while remaining blind to how they're being made.

It's a world of two solitudes. A 14-hour time difference often separates the “brand” from the actual manufacturing. Complications are born from formidable language barriers. Production labor may be paid and treated in ways that were banned here in the 19th century. And holding it all together is a hyper-distributed supply chain encompassing multiple factories, across multiple countries, with bikes shunting from step to step in a system made for passing the buck.

Which brings us back to the Allied mission. We started this company because of our conviction that we could make superior bikes of superior quality only if we controlled all the pieces – from brand, to design, to raw materials selection, to manufacturing, paint and assembly. It’s a philosophy we sum up in two words: MADE HERE.

Every day our engineers work alongside our layup techs. Our marketing team circles around the paint booth. Our test lab thrums alongside our production line. Transparency, communication and connectedness enforce expectations of quality like nothing else.

How your bike is made matters. And as you consider your next carbon bike, we want you to see and feel the Allied difference.

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