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Friday, April 03, 2009

Cannondale to stop making bikes in U.S.

I was disappointed -- but not surprised -- to learn that Cannondale bikes no longer will be produced in the United States.

I have been a loyal Cannondale rider since 1985 because I've found Cannondale's stiff aluminum frames best suited to my cycling style. The fact that both of the Cannondales I've purchased were made in the United States was an added bonus.

According to a press release from Cannondale's new owners, Dorel Industries, the company will cease to make bicycles at its Bethel, Conn., facility. The Bike Biz blog noted that all but the lower-end bikes have been made outside the United States for some time, but all manufacturing will cease at Bethel in 2010.

Instead, Bethel will be part of Dorel's "Worldwide Centers of Excellence" and will serve as global headquarters and innovation center for high-end and enthusiast bicycles for Cannondale, Schwinn, GT and Mongoose.

Dorel also plans to switch its Bedford, Pa., facility to a bicycling testing facility and an site for inside sales and service, and customer service.

In typical public-relations speak, Dorel tried to put the best spin on the fact 200 jobs will be lost in Bedford. "In shifting Bedford's operations away from bicycle frame manufacturing by 2010, CSG (Dorel's Cycling Sports Group, formerly the Cannondale Sports Group) will be able to take full advantage of the strengths and capabilities of the new Taichung, Taiwan-based Center of Excellence in manufacturing oversight, sourcing, testing and quality control. Therefore, headcount at Bedford will be reduced from the current 300 employees to approximately 100 by the end of 2010.

The other Centers for Excellence are Basel, Switzerland (for high-end and enthusiast bicycles sold/marketed in Europe), Madison, Wis. (for global mass market products) and Vancouver, British Columbia, (for active lifestyle and urban apparel and footwear).

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