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Dec 13 / admin

America’s Largest Bike Maker Closes its Doors

Sapa Shuts Down its Bicycle Manufacturing Operations

Sapa last week confirmed that it will be exiting the contract bicycle frame manufacturing business after two decades of operation. Since it began in the early 90s as Anodizing, Inc., the Portland, Oregon, plant has put out a steady output of high-end aluminum frames for brands such as Cervelo, Cube, Santa Cruz, Knolly, Schwinn, Specialized, Titus and Turner—plus others that are not publicly known.

Rows of preformed Ellsworth top tubes await final assembly at Zen Bicycle Fabrication, which is poised to pick up some of the business being abandoned by Sapa.

Sapa’s peak production came circa 2000/2001, when sales engineer Ray Goody says the company was turning out 75,000 to 90,000 frames annually. Since then, the industry has seen the widespread adoption of Asian carbon fiber frame construction and advances in aluminum production process such as hydro-forming, which Sapa failed to keep up with. Compounded by an ailing economy and a dwindling customer list, Sapa quietly informed its customers recently that it will be winding down its frame-building operations to concentrate on more lucrative opportunities such as electric motorcycle frame and aluminum wheelchair manufacturing.

Zen Bicycle Fabrication, a new contract manufacturer created when Ellsworth’s former production manager bought out the operation this fall, is poised to pick up some of Sapa’s lost business.

Read the whole story at MountainBike/