ENVE proudly manufactures 100% of our carbon fiber wheel products in Ogden, Utah. When we first started, we thought we had to move our manufacturing overseas to be competitive. After a lot of sleepless nights, we made the hard decision to design and manufacture our rims in the U.S. instead of outsourcing them.
The questions we get most often are: Do you stay in the U.S.A. because you are patriotic? Why did you make the decision to stay stateside? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to do everything overseas? Are your wheels expensive because they are built in the USA?
We Choose To Build Our Products In The Usa Because We Think It Provides Value To Our Consumers
Are We Just Crazy Patriotic?
We love America. We believe job creation is the most charitable thing a company can contribute. We love the fact that our business puts food on the table for 200 families, but that is not a reason in and of itself.
The truth is that we think the best wheels we can make are right here in Ogden, Utah where we have a unique mix of both bike and aerospace engineers that are dedicated to design, develop and manufacture the best wheels on the market. Building the best wheels, made to order, AND shipped within 48 hours with your choice of hubs, freehub body and colors is why we get up in the morning.
Why did you make the decision to stay stateside?
Carbon fiber manufacturing is unlike most manufacturing. It’s both a science and an art. All of our carbon rims are hand laid in molds with removable bladder systems and a patented method to mold around rather than drill spoke holes. We then subject them to enormous heat and pressure which results in a wheel that does not have to be finished with filler or painted to achieve the beautiful wheelsets you see here.
This process is hard. It is complex. It takes a new “lay-up” technician at ENVE six months to learn how to lay-up a production wheel. A carbon rim is only as good as the process. If, at any time, the process has a problem, we have 180 vested employees who can make it right within days, not weeks. If others were to get a container of wheels from Asia that weren’t exactly perfect – they may be tempted to sell them to cut their losses. We never want to be in that position. We want our hands and eyes on every wheel from beginning to end.
Our engineers have great liberties and freedoms to use the right material, customize the process and “craft” the right mix of elements to produce ENVE wheels. We don’t have “cost” targets forcing us to make inferior tradeoffs. We build only the best.
Further, the engineers that design and test our products, also design and test the process for manufacturing our products. We use the same cutting, lay-up, machinery and ovens in our R&D process as we do in production, so the results are very, very consistent. We can go from design to prototype to production much faster than any company who sources their product overseas.
What about your components?
We make no excuses about the fact that our components are made overseas. We simply do not have the capacity to take on both. However, we are actively working towards more component manufacturing in the U.S. The Carbon Road Hub and the Mountain Stem are the most prominent result of this effort which are now manufactured in the U.S.
Wouldn’t It Be Cheaper?
At a nominal level, yes, it is cheaper per piece to build in Asia. However, there are a lot of hidden costs that you must factor in to deliver a complete wheelset.
- Warranty – do your wheels come with a no questions asked five year warranty and lifetime crash replacement?
- Cost of labor – when the cost of labor is low, you can use labor to sand, putty and paint everything. When the cost of labor is high, as it is in the U.S., you are forced to develop product that is more exacting and precise. We think this builds a better product.
- Support Infrastructure – to effectively manage a factory offsite you need QC/QA, engineers and support staff nearby to support your efforts or you need to take a lot of twenty hour flights overseas. We believe it’s better to invest in talent under our own roof to push the boundaries of innovation and world class manufacturing.
- Shipping – How much does it cost to ship wheels back to the United States, per wheel? A LOT.
If you add all of this up, and want to keep the same level of quality that we strive for here in Utah, then no – it is not cheaper to manufacture overseas.