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Old 02-09-2009, 05:59 AM
97CSI 97CSI is offline
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Where Was Your Bike Made?

Where Was My Bike Made

by Kerry Roberts

Kerry Roberts is the past president and chairperson of the National Bicycle
Dealers Association and provides consulting services to the bicycle
industry. He is also the owner of The Bicycle Company, which includes Bike
Pedlar retail stores in Nashville, Brentwood, and Hermitage, Tennessee.

The information contained in this report comes primarily from Bicycle
Retailer and Industry News' Factory and Suppliers Guide, published annually
in October. Bicycle Retailer and Industry News is the definitive trade
publication in the bicycle industry. Other sources of information include
trade show and factory visits, technical writers in the cycling media, and
bicycle company employees who wish to remain anonymous.

Some bike companies have a few secrets. And one of those secrets is where
your bike is made or who actually made it. The bike companies like it that
way because many of them rely upon the same factories to build their bikes!

The big picture is pretty clear: around 95% of the bikes sold in the U.S.
are made in China or Taiwan by a handful of manufacturers of which Giant is
the largest.

Generally speaking, low to mid level bikes are made in China and mid to high
level bikes are made in Taiwan. The exception is carbon; many manufacturers
use Chinese manufacturers to make their carbon frames - even their high-end
racing frames.

When it comes to knowing where your bike is made, shouldn't it be as easy as
looking at the sticker on your bike or what is printed on the box in which
your bike came? After all, how confusing can a label that says "Made in the
USA" or "Made in France" or "Made in Italy" be?

Well - in a word - very. It is very confusing because your definition of
"made in" is different from the bike industry's definition.

A typical rule of thumb is that the country claiming origin has to add 60%
or more of the value of the final product.

For example, you and I can import an unpainted carbon fiber racing frame
from China to Spain which will ultimately retail for $4,000 with Shimano
components in the United States.

The frame and fork may only cost $200 from the Chinese manufacturer. In
Spain, we will paint, decal, assemble, and box the bike for shipping to the

Our cost to paint, decal, assemble, and box might be $300 and the cost of
the components might be another $800.

So is this bike "Made in China" or "Made in Spain?" According to the bike
industry's definition, the bike is made in Spain. The sticker will say "Made
inSpain" as will the shipping box to the United States because over 60% of
the value will be added in Spain.

Let's say we take the same frame and have the Chinese manufacturer paint it,
decal it, assemble it into a bicycle, and ship it to Spain. When we ship it
to theUnited States, the label will have to say "Made in China."

Perhaps the best way to eliminate the confusion is for the bicycle industry
to follow the lead of the automobile industry and tell the end consumer the
countries of origin of all aspects of the bicycle.

With these things in mind, here is an alphabetical brand by brand run down
of some key bike brands sold in the U.S. along with a few bits of trivia.

Bianchi - As I was writing this, it occurred to me that Bianchi and Schwinn
have remarkably similar histories. Both were turn-of-the-century
family-owned companies, manufactured their own bicycles, were popular brands in their respective countries, fell upon hard times, were eventually sold, moved substantially all of their production to Asia, and have seen a
resurgence in the past few years under new owners!

In 1996, Bianchi was sold to a Swedish conglomerate (now known as
Cycleurope1) whereas Schwinn went through several owners before winding up with Pacific in 2001.

Under Cycleurope, which owns 11 bicycle brands,3 much of the bicycle
production shifted from Italy to Asia, with the exception of some final
bicycle assembly (i.e., Asian frames assembled into complete bicycles) and
limited high-end production.

Let me take a minute and address Reparto Corse bicycles, because their "Made in Italy" sticker is a source of confusion.

The historic Treviglio factory - a monstrosity of a thing which used to
house much of Bianchi's manufacturing before it shifted to Asia - has a
section dedicated to Reparto Corse. It used to be that Reparto Corse (RC)
meant the race department where high-end bikes were made. Now it is used as sort of a branding logo to identify the upper-end bikes that get the RC
design and marketing treatment.

Many of the RC bikes have a "Made in Italy" sticker, which usually means
assembled in Italy using a frame made in Asia. For example, the carbon RC
frames are made by Advanced International Multitech (a Taiwanese carbon
manufacturer of bike parts, baseball bats, golf shafts, arrows, fishing
poles, etc.) and the aluminum frames are made by Taiwan Hodaka.

Although Taiwan Hodaka manufacturers many of Bianchi's U.S. models, Fairly
and Giant have manufactured for Bianchi in the past.

Cannondale - Aluminum Cannondales are made in the U.S. Cannondale, which was owned by founder Joe Montgomery and his son Scott. Cannondale is now owned by its key investment fund after experiencing financial problems.
Cannondale's market share appears to have diminished but stabilized.

According to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News in June 2007, low-end
Cannondales are made in Taiwan - probably by Fritz-jou. Others are welded
and painted in Taiwan then sent to the US for assembly. The Synapse is made
by Top Key.

In February 2008, Dorel Industries announced the acquisition of Cannondale
and Sugoi clothing in an all-cash transaction of $190 million to $200
million. Dorel purchased Pacific Cycle (Schwinn, Mongoose, and GT Bicycle
brands) in 2004.

Cervelo - Cervelo is a Canadian company. Bikes are made in Asia and
assembled in Canada.

Colnago - In 1944, when Ernesto Colnago served as a 12-year old apprentice
in the shop of Dante Fumagalli, did he have any idea he would become the
most famous of all Italian frame builders?

Colnago is, perhaps, the most coveted of all professional-quality bicycle
brands - just look at the pages of VeloNews or Pro Cycling and see how many
professional riders race on Colnagos!

Frames are still hand-made in Italy, except for three entry level aluminum
models made in Taiwan (probably by Giant) and the carbon CLX, which is also
made in Taiwan.4

De Rosa - De Rosa is an Italian company that is one of the Italian "big
three" that includes Colnago and Pinarello. Ugo De Rosa, along with his
sons, have been building bikes for over 50 years. As far as I know, all
bikes are made in Italy.

Felt - Felt was started by motocross guru Jim Felt. All production comes
from Asia.

Fisher - Gary Fisher is the "godfather" of mountain bikes. After struggling
with his own bicycle company, he sold his brand to Trek Bicycle Company.
Still involved in designing and marketing his brand, Gary is a popular
figure at bicycle industry events. He's sort of a cult figure with an
unmatched sense of fashion! Fisher bikes are made in Asia, except for the
full-suspension rigs (which are made in Wisconsin).

Fuji - Fuji is now owned by Ideal, who manufacturers most of their bikes.
Ideal is one of the key Taiwanese manufacturers along with Giant and Merida.
Ideal also manufactures for other brands. Topkey of China manufacturers
Fuji's carbon frames.

Giant - You may have ridden a bicycle made by Giant without knowing it!
Giant is the world's largest bicycle manufacturer with factories in Taiwan,
China, and Europe. Giant, a Taiwanese company started in 1972, manufacturers their own bikes - including the carbon bikes, which is unique in the industry (i.e., most other brands utilize other manufacturers such as
Advanced or Martec).

In addition to making their own bikes, Giant also makes, or has made, bikes
for many other prominent brands, including Trek, Specialized, Schwinn, and
Bianchi. Giant's claim to fame is that they have the most sophisticated and
efficient manufacturing facilities in the bicycle industry.

A bit of trivia is that Giant owns 30% of Hodaka, a key Taiwanese supplier
for many brands such as Bianchi.5

Giant also sponsors the T-Mobile professional cycling team.

Haro - a California BMX company started in 1977 by Bob Haro. All production
comes from Asia. Haro owns the Masi brand. Kenstone, with factories in Tawan and China, is a key supplier.

Jamis - Jamis is the house brand of G. Joannou Cycle, a long-time
distributor of bicycles and accessories. The bicycles are designed in the
U.S. and sourced from Asia.

Kestrel - Kestrel, an early pioneer in carbon frames, introduced the first
production non-lugged carbon frame in 1986. Originally, frames were
manufactured in California. In recent years, production shifted to Asia. The
frames appear to be made by Martec.

Kona - a California company with all production from Asia. Kona, founded in
1988, is a very small company similar in size to Marin. Fairly and Hodaka in
Taiwan are key suppliers.

Kuota - Kuota frames are made in Taiwan by Martec, the same manufacturer
that makes Kestrel frames. Kuota is a creation of Sintema, an Italian
manufacturer of components. Basically, they designed the frames, had the
frames manufactured in Taiwan, and marketed the brand heavily in the U.S.,
Western Europe, and Australia. Kuota has been a successful brand launch in a
very short period of time.

LeMond - Greg LeMond is the first American to win the Tour de France,
winning in 1986, 1989, and 1990. LeMond also won three World Championships
and the Tour DuPont. His career was cut short by lead poisoning from a
hunting accident. LeMond's early bikes were made by Roberto Bilatto in Italy
and distributed by a now-defunct company named Ten Speed Drive Imports. The Bilatto-made frames are somewhat collectible.

After an attempt to have an independent bike company, LeMond licensed his
brand to Trek Bicycle Company.6 Trek now designs and markets his bikes,
which are made in Asia except for the spine bikes featuring OCLV carbon
(which are made in Wisconsin).

Litespeed - Starting in the 1980's, Litespeed was a pioneer in titanium
frame building. As their reputation grew, a steady stream of cycling legends
came to Litespeed for their titanium expertise. For many years, Litespeed
built frames for famous brands such as DeRosa, Merckx, Basso, LeMond,
Tommassini, and others.8

Litespeed was, for a period of time, the largest manufacturer of high-end
bicycles in the world. All bikes, including the Merlin brand that they own,
are made in Tennessee except for the carbon Pavia (which has been
discontinued). The Quintana Roo brand is also owned by Litespeed but is made
in Asia.

Look - Look is a French company with frames made in France and Asia. Look is
also a leading pedal brand.

Marin - a California company with production from Asia, except for a handful
of high-end models. Marin is a very small company similar in size to Kona.
Key Asian suppliers are A-Pro, Fairly, and Sunrise.

Masi - Faliero Masi was, in my opinion, the "grandfather" of all Italian
frame builders, serving as inspiration to famous frame builders like Ernesto
Colnago. Faliero sold his company to Americans in the early 70's. Since
then, the brand has had several owners including Schwinn! At present, the
Masi brand is owned by Haro (the California BMX company)9 and the bikes are
made in Asia.

Alberto Masi, Faliero's son, still hand-makes the traditional Masi frames in
the shadow of the Vigorelli Velodrome in Milan. Unfortunately, these frames
- due the licensing of the Masi name to Haro - are not sold in the U.S.
under the Masi name. Instead, these frames are sold in the U.S. under the
"Milano" name.10

Merlin - see Litespeed.

Olmo - Olmo is a prominent brand in Italy. Traditionally, Olmo has been made
in Italy. I don't have any information on whether any models are made in

Orbea - Orbea is one of the two large Spanish bicycle manufacturers. It is
sort of like Spain's version of Trek or Schwinn. Bikes are produced in Spain
and Asia. High-end carbon frames are made in Asia and "finished" (i.e.,
painted) in Spain.

From Bicycle Retailer and Industry News:

Orbea builds aluminum frames in-house. Carbon fiber frame production, which
accounts for half of its road bikes, up from 20 percent just three years
ago, is outsourced to such Chinese specialists as Martec.

But unlike many bike makers who are content to tweak stock factory frames,
Orbea does all of its carbon fiber frame design, engineering and prototyping
in-house. It builds its own molds for new frames and assembles several dozen
prototypes before handing off manufacturing instructions to China.

"We need to keep and develop our own knowledge of composites and carbon
fiber, and then to find someone who can work with us to build what we want
them to build," Joseba Arizaga (Orbea's marketing manager) said. "We make
the molds, the first frames, everything here in Orbea. Then, when we are
ready to do mass production, we send the instructions to Asia." 11

Pinarello - This Italian company has been producing world-class frames since
the 1950's. Pinarello - along with Colnago and DeRosa - is one of the
Italian "big three." You can visit their website,, for a nice
history of the company.

Some frames are now made in Taiwan, including the aluminum Galileo. I
haven't been able to confirm this, but apparently the carbon frames are made
in Asia then shipped to Italy for painting and assembly.

Raleigh - A few years ago, the U.S. management team, headed by former Murray exec Bill Austin, bought Raleigh from its U.K. owners. Headquartered in
Kent, Washington, production comes from Asia, with key suppliers being
Kinesis and A-Pro.

Schwinn - Schwinn was for many years the largest American brand. All
bicycles were made domestically until the late 80's.

In 1985, Schwinn management called mountain bikes a "fad" - oops.12 After
two bankruptcies, Schwinn is now owned by Pacific, who also owns GT,
Mongoose, and the Pacific (and some other brands). Pacific is headquartered
in Madison, Wisconsin.

Under Pacific's ownership, the Schwinn brand is returning to prominence.
Pacific sells more bicycles than any other brand in North America. However,
that includes Pacific brands sold at WalMart, Target, etc.13

The bikes sold in the U.S. are made in Asia, many by Giant.

Scott USA - Scott got its start in Sun Valley, Idaho, when Ed Scott
developed the first aluminum ski pole in 1958. In the 80's, Scott developed
a bike line.

Eventually, Scott pulled out of the U.S. market and focused on Europe, where
Scott is headquartered.14

After an absence of several years, Scott has returned to the U.S. market
under the direction of Scott Montgomery of Cannondale fame. Although the
company is headquartered in Switzerland, production comes from Asia, with
key suppliers being Hodaka and Giant.

Serotta - Serotta is a U.S. manufacturer of high-end bicycles. It competes
with Seven and Waterford and is of similar size to Waterford.

Seven - Seven is America's number one custom bicycle brand. Seven Cycles was founded by Rob Vandermark in early 1997.

Rob, previously head of R&D at Merlin Metalworks, decided to branch out on
his own and develop a company to build high-end titanium and steel frames.
He also wanted to offer the rider custom geometry, without extra charges and
long lead times. So Rob assembled a team of experienced craftspeople who all
shared a common goal: To build the highest quality, most innovative frames,
and therefore provide the cyclist with the best riding experience possible.

All bikes are hand-made in Watertown, Massachusetts.

Specialized - Started in 1974 by Mike Sinyard, Specialized has enjoyed a
long-standing reputation for being a leading bicycle design and marketing

Several years ago, Merida (a Taiwanese manufacturer) bought a substantial
interest in Specialized. Although Specialized is still headquartered in
California under the leadership of founder Mike Sinyard, all bikes are made
in Asia. Key Asian suppliers are Merida, Ideal, and Giant.

Time - Time produces what is arguably the most advanced carbon frame in the world and all frames are hand-made in France, even the entry level frames.

Trek - It's hard to believe that America's largest bicycle brand had humble
beginnings in a barn! Yet in 1976, Dick Burke - with an investment of
$25,000 - started making bicycle frames in a little red barn near Madison,
Wisconsin. By 1980, Trek built their first manufacturing plant in Wisconsin
and the rest, as they say, is history!15

After many years of making its own bicycles in the U.S., Trek moved entry
and mid level bicycle manufacturing to Asia.

In 1992, Trek introduced its proprietary OCLV carbon process (Optimum
Compaction Low Void) which is still used in its handmade carbon frames. All
OCLV carbon frames - road and mountain - are still made in Waterloo,
Wisconsin. The all-carbon 5000 (which does not feature OCLV) is made in

Worldwide, Trek is the second largest bicycle company after Giant (of the
brands sold only in bicycle stores). They are one of the most sought-after
brands by U.S. dealers because of their strong commitment to brick and
mortar bicycle stores (i.e., the brand cannot be sold mail order or over the
Internet) and because of their dealer-friendly policies.

Trek owns (or licenses) Fisher, LeMond, Klein, and Bontrager.

Tommasini - Tommasini is a small Italian frame builder in Grosseto, Italy,
of similar size to Seven, Waterford, and Serotta. Much of Tommasini's
production is exported out of Italy, with their largest markets being the
U.S., Germany, and Japan. In September 2006, Irio Tommasini's nieces took
over U.S. distribution and are relaunching the brand in the U.S.16

Waterford - Waterford is America's number one steel custom bicycle brand.
All bikes are hand-made in Waterford, Wisconsin.

In the late 1970's, a young rider, designer and builder named Marc Muller
was hired by the Schwinn Bicycle Company. He brought the experience and
innovation from his own framebuilding enterprise and took charge of building
the Paramounts, the dominant brand of American-build racing bicycles.

In the early 1980's, Marc moved the Paramount factory to Waterford,
Wisconsin and continued building elite bicycles and also created a cycling
design laboratory.

Marc and his staff introduced a number of key innovations including
oversized tubing (one of the most significant advances in frame design), 26"
wheels, cast-in cable guides and a patented full suspension system. These
advances allowed them to design and build bikes for National and World
champions such as Ned Overand, Marc Allen, Mike Engleman, Tom Prehn and many others.

In 1993, Marc Muller and Richard Schwinn, great-grandson of Ignaz Schwinn,
bought the Paramount factory and renamed it Waterford Precision Cycles.

Marc is now one of the most respected bike designers in the entire bicycle
industry. And Waterford, with a one hundred year heritage in bicycle
manufacturing, continues to make a winning, world class frames one at a

Waterford is 90 minutes north of Chicago. If you visit Chicago, feel free to
call for a factory tour.

What have I missed? Let me know and I'll be happy to reply. Again, you may
wish to consult Bicycle Retailer and Industry News' 2007 Factory and
Suppliers Guide, published in their October 1, 2006, issue. The guide lists
which factories the U.S. brands use for their manufacturing.
Eat the nouveau riche!
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - Georges Santayana
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Old 02-09-2009, 06:28 AM
tuscanyswe tuscanyswe is online now
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Thanks i liked that info

Dident know Merlin was owned by litespeed. Im alittle suprísed by that.
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:04 AM
Pete Serotta Pete Serotta is offline
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Serotta Mft and Made in US

Yes frame and fork.......Yes carbon comes from OUR plant in CA and ALL bikes are made in SARATOGA!!!!!! Has been in the 30 miles SARATOGA area for over 30 years......
Pete Mckeon
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:13 AM
Sandy Sandy is offline
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97 Csi

Wonderful read. I seldom read posts that are that long. Very informative and interesting.

Assuming that I read the above carefully, the only all made in the USA builders in the above list are:

1. Serotta
2. Seven
3. Litespeed ( including Merlin, not including Quintana Roo, and excluding the carbon model no longer made)
4. Waterford

5. Independent Fabrication- Not on list above, but part of the all made in USA list, as pointed out by Spicoli.

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Last edited by Sandy; 02-09-2009 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:36 AM
Peter P. Peter P. is offline
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I'm proud to say that at my 3 bikes, or at least my frames, were MADE in America.

1. 1984 lugged steel Trek
2. Salsa Ala Carte (chainstay sticker says Made In USA!)
3. Bilenky Signature Clubsman

My new mountain bike frame, due to arrive in 1 week, is from Colorado. I just wished the builder would have proudly proclaimed that on the frame.

While frames made all around the world seem to be perfectly adequate for the job, I feel American made frames have the best quality design, assembly, alignment, and finish. I also tend to feel the brands that have moved production overseas and bank on their heritage to sell the name such as some of the Italian brands mentioned above as well as Specialized, Trek, and Cannondale, are frauds.

Thanks for the insightful information.
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:38 AM
sspielman sspielman is offline
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Litespeed never made any bikes for DeRosa....but Ugo DeRosa DID visit Litespeed when he was preparing to make his first titanium bikes.
Humilis humilibus. Inflectans arroganibus.
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Old 02-09-2009, 07:44 AM
Sandy Sandy is offline
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Originally Posted by sspielman
Litespeed never made any bikes for DeRosa....but Ugo DeRosa DID visit Litespeed when he was preparing to make his first titanium bikes.
I visited Serotta twice and never made any bikes for Serotta. Very fortunate for Serotta.

A big lug,

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Old 02-09-2009, 07:52 AM
sspielman sspielman is offline
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Originally Posted by Sandy
I visited Serotta twice and never made any bikes for Serotta. Very fortunate for Serotta.

A big lug,


There is still'll probably have to move to Portland, wear a wool beanie, stop shaving, and generally neglect your hygiene....That seems to be the formula to break into framebuilding....
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:14 AM
jvp jvp is offline
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5 bikes
'89 paramount = waterford
'80 silk hope = alamance county, n.c.
'83 bianchi track = italy
'76 fuji track = japan
'06 raleigh track =china
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:32 AM
joelh joelh is offline
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Would you post a picture of the Silk Hope. I live in Siler City, about 5 miles from Silk Hope and have read about the bike but have never seen one. Thanks.
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:33 AM
caterham caterham is offline
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80 de rosa-italy
80 peugeot-france
81 andre bertin-france
82 cambio rino-italy
86 vitus-france
01 cinelli-italy
01 cinelli/losa-italy
03 colnago-italy
04 cinelli-italy
06 bianchi-taiwan
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Old 02-09-2009, 08:45 AM
jvp jvp is offline
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some not-so-great pics - I put cyclocross tires on it, because I could, so I use it mostly out at umstead state park. The close up pics are from when I first got it and before I cleaned it up. For more pics and info of mclean/silk hope bikes, see: mclean

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Old 02-09-2009, 08:45 AM
acorn_user acorn_user is offline
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The problem with articles like that is that it gives rise to sentiments like "all stems come out of one factory in Taiwan" and "Italy doesn't make bikes anymore" that are just myths. But it would help if people were more open about things, although I suppose that other arguments can also be made.
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:03 AM
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xjoex xjoex is offline
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Neat article.

My rides:
07 Seven Mudhoney - Waterton, Mass
03 Seven Odonata - Wateron, Mass
08 Turner Flux - Portland, Ore
05 Bianchi Castro Valley - Taiwan
08 Specialized Singlecross - Taiwan
95 Spooky Darkside - Danburry, Conn

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Old 02-09-2009, 09:06 AM
Spicoli Spicoli is offline
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IF too

Made in the USA...Can I add "Independent Fabrications" to the list of Serotta, Seven, Waterford, Litespeed. These guy's are too good to leave off the list IMO.
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