Cannondale, one of the leading bike companies in the industry, didn’t start by producing bikes. In fact, they began as a concrete manufacturer in 1971, and they didn’t produce their first bike until 1983—a touring bike. In 1984, Cannondale followed up with a mountain bike and a racing cycle.
Being one of the biggest bike brands in the world, you may wonder where they’re made.
Cannondale bikes are made in Taiwan. In 2009, Cannondale switched its production from the United States over to Taichung, Taiwan. However, the brand continues to manufacture suspension and crank designs in the U.S.
If you’d like to learn more about Cannondale bikes and their manufacturing practices, keep reading. We will cover this information in depth so that you know where your products come from and you can decide whether or not you want to support them.
Production of Cannondale within the United States
When Cannondale first chose to switch its operations over to Taichung, Taiwan, in 2009, it came as a shock to many because of how the company had expanded its 225,000 square-foot facility to add 7,000 square feet for carbon fiber production. They did this to speed up their time in the market.
It appeared that the company had no congruent leadership, however, as Dorel Industries announced that they would shift all of their bike frame manufacturing operations over to Taichung, Taiwan, by 2010. If you bought a Cannondale bike after 2011, all of the models came from that region of Asia.
Before the announcement in April 2009, many people could already discern that information based on a meeting that Dorel Industries had in March 2009. During the meeting, President Robert Baird spoke with investors about how manufacturing in China costs $1 per hour, but the same manufacturer in the United States costs $35 per hour.
He also spoke about how it took 45 hours to manufacture the frame.
Especially in 2009, we believe this was a big exaggeration about the cost of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. because the average manufacturing job in the U.S. paid $23.01 per hour, with many paying less than that to start. They did this more to justify sending the work to Taiwan rather than the truth of it.
After 2011, Cannondale’s manufacturing facility in Bedford dwindled to 100 employees, where they now simply assemble the bikes.
Dorel first bought Cannondale at the start of 2008, and even before, the manufacturing facility in Bedford had given out subtle signs of change. For example, two years before 2008, Cannondale turned its gaze to Asia to source its entry-level aluminum bikes. That marked a big change for the company because of how they sourced the carbon fiber from China since 1983, but they had always produced aluminum and aluminum carbon bikes in Bedford.
The changes to Cannondale’s American jobs stretched far beyond Bedford. Three of its remote offices, for example, were shuttered in 2009. This included the one in Madison, Wisconsin; Longmont, Colorado; and Lake Forest, California.
The facility in Bethel, Connecticut, however, was expanded, but this may have been done to deter backlash. In 2013, Cannondale used state assistance to relocate its company headquarters from Bethel, Connecticut, to Wilton, Connecticut. Cannondale used a partially forgivable $3 million loan to relocate their headquarters 20 miles, which received its fair share of controversy.
Cannondale and many other companies want the financial support of the United States, but they often fail to offer manufacturing jobs.
Cannondale Bikes: Made in Taiwan?
Now that we understand the reasoning for why Cannondale moved its manufacturing over to Taiwan let’s have a look at the manufacturing in Taiwan.
Bicycle making has long stood out as Taiwan’s premier industry, and they even have a reputation as “The Bicycle Kingdom.” To put this into perspective, an estimated 70 percent of the mid-to-high-end bike demand sees fulfillment through manufacturing in Taiwan.
Road bike exports consist of between 20 and 30 percent, and mountain bikes consist of 60 percent of manufacturing here. The component manufacturers in Taiwan have international reverence.
With that in mind, this could be one of the reasons that Cannondale felt comfortable sending its manufacturing jobs for bikes overseas. Taiwan’s reputation as a great bike manufacturer at a lower price than in the U.S. only gave them increasing reason to make the move.
Dorel Industries owned other iconic biking brands like GT, Schwinn, and Mongoose. GT bikes get outsourced to Taiwan and China, Schwinn bikes are made in Taiwan, and Mongoose is manufactured mostly in China.
Some of the most popular Cannondale bike models made in Taiwan include:
- CAAD Optimo
- Supersix EVO
None of the most popular Cannondale bikes remain fully made in the U.S. anymore. For the lower-end bikes from Cannondale, they tend to make them in Vietnam.
We found an excellent video of a professional cyclist comparing Cannondale bikes made in Taiwan versus handmade models that used to be handcrafted in the US, which you can check out below.
Pon Holdings Acquires Dorel Industries
In February 2008, Dorel Industries acquired Cannondale, but the bike brand will shift again to a new owner on October 11, 2021. Pon Holdings announced that they would acquire Dorel Industries, which means that they will take over the manufacturing of Cannondale. They paid $810 million for the acquisition of Dorel Sports. You can learn more about the agreement here.
The Dutch company employs an estimated 13,000 employees in 20 countries, with them being one of the largest companies in the Netherlands.
We see this change with a new assembly site that Cannondale put up in Europe.
Why Do They Make So Many Bikes in Taiwan?
In the 1980s, the U.S. dollar took a nosedive. During this time, many of the U.S. bikes were being made in Japan, but the rising cost of making bicycles in Japan sent the production to Taiwan. Cannondale managed to hold out and keep its manufacturing jobs in the U.S. until 2009, but many other biking companies sent manufacturing jobs overseas.
China took many of the lower-end quality bikes, but the higher-end bicycle manufacturing jobs were sent to Taiwan. They soon began to dominate the high-end world of bikes, and chances today are that most of your bikes come from Taiwan or China.
Cannondale Manufactured in Taichung: What to Know
Previously, we spoke about how Cannondale manufactured its bikes in Taichung, Taiwan. Here’s an interesting fact that people may want to learn about it. Taichung and the surrounding areas remain home to most of this manufacturing powerhouse for the biking industry. Most of the biggest bike brands have their manufacturing done in Taichung, where many of the factories are located.
Machine shops, trips to benders, and heat treaters all add to the convenience of manufacturing bikes in Taichung.
They assemble Cannondale bikes in Taiwan, but they also assemble them in the United States and the Netherlands for the local markets. Still, we don’t see the same level of jobs in the USA from Cannondale as we did before. For example, the facility in Bedford still hung onto 100 jobs, but that shows you a 75 percent drop from its previous 400 workers.
Should You Buy Cannondale Bikes?
Because they don’t heavily manufacture Cannondale bikes in the United States, we can’t highly recommend this brand for American-made bikes. Still, they have great bikes and do employ some American workers, which may make them worth supporting. They still assemble some of the bikes in the United States, but we wouldn’t call this a great American-made brand anymore. In the past, they sat with the best American-made brands.
Plenty of good American-made bike brands still exist. Some may have dropped off in the last couple of decades, but you can still find American-made bikes.
The other negative about Cannondale comes from its lack of transparency about the origin of its bikes. You don’t see the manufacturing location on its site, and they only tell you the origin of their bikes when required by U.S. customs.
American Manufacturing with Cannondale: Reasons for Optimism
To be fair, Cannondale has kept some of its jobs in the U.S., but they have drastically reduced them from before.
Before Cannondale was acquired by Dorel Industries, they did a great job at keeping the manufacturing jobs in the U.S. In 2003, they tried to reinvent the off-road motorcycle, but they failed and had to file for bankruptcy. As a result, Pegasus Partners purchased the brand for $58 million.
Even after Pegasus Partners acquired them, the jobs remained within the U.S. In 2008, Dorel Industries acquired the brand and decided it best to ship the manufacturing jobs to Taiwan to save money. Not all of the jobs have gone to Taiwan, however. Learn more about the incredible turnaround that Pegasus Partners helped to create with Cannondale here.
In October 2021, Georgia Governor Brian P. Kemp announced that Cannondale would open a new assembly plant in Effingham County, which would provide 60 more workers in the state with jobs, doubling its workforce in the area. Cannondale also has a distribution center in Georgia where they employ another 60 workers.
At the same time, Cannondale says that they plan to grow their business in the U.S. and internationally. Additional investments in American manufacturing may soon follow since it belongs to a multi-year investment plan where they will continue to grow their operations.
In late 2022, Cannondale plans to open another manufacturing facility in Rincon, Georgia, where they will bring back some of the assembly jobs to the U.S. It’s doing things like this that make us more optimistic about Cannondale as a company in the future. They have begun to reinvest jobs back into America, which may make them worth supporting. Not only do they still have some jobs here, but they have invested in creating more jobs.
Granted, they still do a lot of the manufacturing in Taiwan, but they have shown a willingness to give jobs to hard-working Americans. The manufacturing plant in Rincon will cover 1.1 million square feet, and it will house the distribution and assembly of bicycles.
How They Restructured Cannondale Manufacturing
Cannondale announced a plan to create five “Centers of Excellence.” The first thing in the plan was to have Bethel, Connecticut, as its global headquarters for high enthusiast bikes. In Basel, Switzerland, they would focus on enthusiast bikes for the market in Europe.
Madison, Wisconsin, would focus on global mass-market products. In Vancouver, Canada, Cannondale had a facility where they would produce urban clothing, active lifestyle products, and shoes. Finally, the facility in Taichung would source and test the quality of its Asian suppliers and handle the manufacturing of the bikes.
The manufacturing plant in Bedford would refocus on assembly and the final product of the bicycle and suspension system assembly. They would also handle the bicycle warranty repair and customer support, and they would create a new call center.
Bike Brands That Manufacture in the USA
Cannondale deserves support on some level because they have begun to bring manufacturing jobs back to America on some level since Pon Holdings acquired them. However, you have other companies that do this as well, and they deserve to be mentioned.
Some of the bike companies that make their bikes in the USA include:
- Allied Cycle Works Echo
- Intense Cycles
- Co-Motion Cycles Camino
- Turner Bikes Cyclosis 2.0
- Guerrilla Gravity Trail Pistol
- Detroit Bikes A-Type
Cannondale bikes have a reputation for durability and innovation. In fact, they were the first company that used aluminum for its bikes, which was groundbreaking for the time.
You wouldn’t buy Cannondale bikes if you wanted to guarantee a fully American-made bike, but the company does have good things about it. They have started to bring back some assembly jobs to the U.S. You could support a worse company than Cannondale, but we do believe that you have better American-made bike brands as well.
Hi, my name is Kevin and I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Choosing products made in America is important to me because it supports local economies, creates jobs, helps the environment, and ensures ethical labor practices. I also find that American made products are usually of higher quality so although they’re a little more expensive, you save money in the long run. Before starting this website I was in the USMC infantry and nowadays I work on this website as a hobby.
2 thoughts on “Where Are Cannondale Bikes Made? 2023 Overview”
I have a Cannondale that was made in the USA that I’ve had for almost a decade. How would you say the quality of their bikes is now that they are made in Taiwan?
Hey Brian, the quality still seems to be great. There are many American alternatives but Taiwan is a country we don’t mind supporting as well. It’s better than China that’s for sure. We have an article on bikes if you’re interested in checking it out.