Open mold. And open about it.

In this globalized world where even high-precision, bleeding-edge products like iPhones are assembled in China, we believe "Made in China" is no longer a dirty word - assuming the proper quality controls are in place. The majority of the carbon fiber frames raced by UCI ProTour teams are manufactured in China by Taiwanese companies, and for good reason: while the manufacturing of a monocoque carbon bicycle is extremely labour intensive, the engineering and structural design requires experience, expertise, and expensive software. It's something the Taiwanese have had a head start on during their decades of dominance in bicycle manufacturing, although rising wages have since shifted production to China.

According to a carefully calculated layup schedule that specifies the grade and modulus of the carbon fiber and the orientation of the strands of fibers themselves, a trained technician hand-layers pieces of machine-cut prepregnated unidirectional carbon fiber. They are then assembled into CNC-milled blocks of steel female molds (one for each size), pressure bagged, then cured with heat under pressure. Carbon frames are not about individual craftsmanship, but about design, materials, procedure, and precision. According to Rick Vosper, former Director of Marketing at Specialized, "quality of product is no longer a function of whose hand held the torch or what nationality that hand is."

That said, not all that seem the same, are the same. Many Chinese factories offer their frames online or through eBay - but not all manufacturers (nor frames) are created equal. While there are dozens of carbon fiber bike frame manufacturers, only a handful have the technology, quality control, and capacity to be entrusted with contracts from major bicycle brands. These top-tier manufacturers do not deal with consumers directly - when their contracts consist of thousands of frames worth millions of dollars, it doesn't make sense for them to risk losing them just to make a few bucks on the side. In fact, some don't even bother to exhibit at trade shows, since they deal exclusively with large, established brands.

Therefore, while many of the direct-to-consumer manufacturers will indirectly hint that they manufacture for well-known brands, none of them actually do - some have even stooped to outright counterfeiting. These frames are built to a price, and are not subject to testing and quality control that is as rigourous as what is demanded by established brands (if they are tested at all). This isn't to say that all of their frames are unsafe to ride - but you just don't know. With no physical presence outside China, these manufacturers have little to lose if any of their frames do wind up failing catostrophically.

We deal exclusively with top-tier manufacturers, and have toured in person the factories where the frames are produced alongside many well known brands, utilizing the same grades of carbon fiber and manufactured by the same technicians with the same processes. We've established a relationship with the owners themselves - being mindful of the many unspoken "intangibles" that are standard in Chinese business practice. We trust our suppliers, but also feel that that alone is not good enough for us. So we quantify that trust by submitting random samples for independent fatigue and impact testing. That way, we know for sure that our frames are made to our specifications and our quality standards.

So that's what we offer: carbon fiber frames built with cutting-edge technology, by experienced, top-tier players, to exceed industry quality standards. And we back them with a warranty befitting of our confidence in our product, as well as a 5-year crash replacement program, so you don't have to worry about riding hard.

carbon frame rear view