Monday, March 15, 2010

Worksman Cycle

Today's featured manufacturer is an American bicycle company that decided on it's own destiny. Unlike the majority of other American bicycle companies Worksman Cycle decided for themselves to continue on in it's long history as an American bicycle manufacturer. They wanted to be something more than just a Chinese made bicycle importation company and not be included with the shortsighted extinct and near extinct other American bicycle companies like Cannondale and Trek.

Worksman bikes are used in many industrial applications, small business operations and they also have a custom build shop so that you can chose what type of cool American made cruiser you want to be seen riding. I am a bicycle enthusiast and I own mostly vintage American made bicycles, namely Schwinn but some time in the near future I can see me cruising a Worksman custom cruiser on the boardwalk down the shore.

Be careful however, even though Worksman goes to all the trouble of telling us how great they are for making bikes here in the USA, they do sell a couple of China made cruisers called "Atlantic Coast Cruiser". To me it makes no sense and only perpetuates the problem of selling inferior imported Chinese made products. Schwinn tried that strategy many years ago and it cost them their business and thousands of jobs. The majority of Worksman bicycles are made in Ozone Park, New York.

Worksman Cycle

Here's the statement Worksman makes on their website "Buy American":

"Made in the USA…It Matters:

We all know how the US Economy is facing challenges that we have not known in our lifetime. But it would be a mistake to think that the poor economy is the result of any single factor or is not the result of long term trends and poor past decisions. However, we have no doubt that one of the primary factors in the current economic tsunami is the fact that we simply stopped manufacturing products in our own country.

Somehow it seemed to be acceptable to import the products we all consume or use…from cars to airplanes, steel to furniture, toys to TV’s, we simply allowed US manufacturing to dwindle to a fraction of what it once was. Those who argued “fair trade works” failed to see that the playing field was never “fair” at all. The USA took proper steps to make sure employee safety, employee welfare, environmental protection and product safety were mandatory of its manufacturers. Yet somehow the countries we imported from were not held to any of these standards. It seemed acceptable that we could import our products from countries where child labor, pollution, and slave wages were the norm. Were we all blinded by slightly lower prices?

It was only a matter of time until our steel industry went into bankruptcy, our consumer electronics manufacturing basically disappeared, our wooden furniture plants all but closed down, and the garments we can purchase are all made in places around the globe...anywhere but the USA it seems. Some might argue that a country that does not produce vehicles (Cars, trucks, etc) is most likely a third world country. Are we heading in this direction?

Worksman Cycles has witnessed this trend for the past 25 years, seeing so many of the largest, well known factories close and seeing the workers that worked there having to adapt to this new reality. Many of these factories, foundries, mills, etc were customers for our Worksman Industrial Cycles. We have witnessed the steady and unmistakable decline in the number of USA factories and the number of factory workers. Factories close down and get replaced at best by warehouses or shopping centers, producing absolutely nothing. Worksman Cycles has been able to find other customers for our industrial cycles, while many suppliers of these factories simply disappeared. The ripple effect is amazing when factories close. Anyone who has visited towns such as Bethlehem PA can see the results of a Bethlehem Steel going bankrupt and closing. The rusting infrastructure of a company that once employed tens of thousands of workers is a memorial to what has happened and is continuing to happen to our US manufacturing economy. Truthfully, this field trip should be mandatory for every US citizen.

We can speak specifically about the bicycle industry, where 20 years ago over 10 million bicycles per year were proudly produced in the USA (out of approximately 12 million sold here). Sadly today more than 88% of bicycles sold in the USA are imported from China, leaving the remaining 12% to all other countries, including the USA. To put it simply, the number of bicycles made in the USA is basically insignificant.

Worksman Cycles made a conscious decision many years ago to maintain our tradition of manufacturing our bicycles and tricycles right here in the USA. Most of our competitors thought we were just foolish and old fashioned believing we could remain viable in the USA, let alone New York City. It would have been far easier to do what most of our competitors did….close the US factory and simply become an importer. Think of it, you can cut labor costs, cut overhead and just make life easier. But we thought differently….we could control quality, offer greater diversification of product, maintain our integrity, while also allowing hard working American citizens the chance to do a good job and live the American Dream. It may seem an old fashioned concept, but we actually respect our factory workers and believe in our own abilities. As it turns out, Worksman Cycles outlasted most of the household brand names in the bicycle industry, most of which are simply out of business.

Now consider the current state of our country and the economy including rising rate of unemployment, wage deflation, record numbers of home foreclosures, and bankruptcies. This does not even take into consideration the human emotion that goes with this, such as hopelessness, depression and decrease self worth.

Having said this, the exodus of the bicycle manufacturing industry in the USA means that we too have to source many of our parts from overseas to make Worksman Cycles. We have little choice here as there are simply no US suppliers for many bicycle related components, including tires, tubes, spokes, saddles and other key parts. Even so, we continue to do our machining operations, welding, painting, wheel building and final assembly right here in the USA, even it if means that there is foreign content in our finished product. We simply have no choice. Our factory staff is committed to welding, building and assembling the best cycles we can for your ultimate satisfaction.

So the next time you make a purchase, ask yourself if “Made in the USA” means something. At Worksman Cycles we have always known that “Made in America Matters!” We’ve known this since 1898. We have not lost our way."


Anonymous said...

Not related to Worksman but the outfitter has a link on their main page where you can sort all the products they sell (and it is a big list) that are made in the usa.
Maybe you can help and get the word out.

Georgia Drivers Ed said...

great Stuff. competition is always healthy to grow ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Great blog! I just discovered it today.

i remember going on a road trip on my bicycle last year from Baltimore to Pittsburgh and back. I was on the Lincoln Highway between Mcconnelsburg PA and Beford PA ,having lunch at a bar.I asked the lady behind the bar what people did for a living in the area.

She then listed about 5 or 6 factories that had closed within the past year.She said that the Cannondale bike factory was all that was left.

Since then ,Cannondale was bought out by Pacific Cycles and they either have closed the plant or are in the process of doing so.

So Cannondale bikes are one more brand of bikes no longer made in America.

It was sort of a sad bike trip.Western Pa is beautiful.And the people are friendly as heck. But you can tell that its severly economically depressed. I rode through in Juns and all of the kids had just graduated. So all of the diners were having to find new employees, since once they graduated high school ,most of the young people left the area. One told me that she was joining the Navy because there were no jobs in Confluence PA ,where she lived. This area was heavily dominated by mining,steel and manufacturing.So its been damaged economically the last 30 years.

Thank you for talking about the products that still are made in America. I work in construction and i have found the American made tools to be not only better in quality than the imports.But often comparable in price[ i have many types of hammers and they all are Estwing]

Pete from Baltimore

J_G said...

Thanks for stopping by everyone. Sorry I haven't been keeping up with the blog.

Cannodale was bought by a foriegn company called Dorel in Canada. They shut the plant down in western PA and moved production to China. Our government pays them to do that. It all started back during the Carter admin and has gone unabated until our manufacturing base has been completely decimated. You can change this by voting with your dollars and your franchise of freedom by voting this fall for the candidate that wants to stop this purposeful destruction of our nation.

Lester - Adult Tricycle said...

Great article.

I had tested quite a numbers of adult trikes, and to be honest Worksman trikes are the winners in terms of quality if compare to those China made products.

Jennifer Gallagher said...

Well, there you have it folks. The China bike guy is worried that you'll buy a quality American made bike instead of his China Made inferior bike. They negotiated all the obstacles I put up just so they could get a link in to advertise their inferior bikes. Gosh at least get a translation software package that doesn't make you sound like a robot.

No free advertising for Six Three Zero Bikes. They advertise on their site they have humble beginnings in Hermosa beach. Is that the Port where you import the China made bikes?

Orson Wheels said...

The Return of the American Bicycle.

It can happen....

Scott M. said...

Great blog! Keep up the good work.
Buy made in the USA.!/pages/Sick-of-Chinese-Junk-Then-buy-American/118762941479921

Gas Powered Drill said...

As it is a clear known fact "Quality matters and not the quantity".. And i strongly believe it..

Jennifer Gallagher said...

This time I'll leave the link up to the six three zero bikes so you can compare China made absolute crap to a high quality American made Worksman.

FOLKEditor said...

Hi. I am the editor of FOLK magazine. Is there an email address I can contact you with?

LI Veterinary Ultrasound said...

Nice article. I know competition is the strongest drive for a successful business.

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