Growing up riding in the early 2000s, American made product options were plentiful. The USA vs. Taiwan debate was certainly heavy and as the decade pushed on, Taiwan became more and more the norm, and for reasons that were plain to see. Taiwan’s quality control and technological capabilities had become increasingly more consistent and reliable and at the same time, was generally more affordable than American manufacturing. And on top of that, companies began to design and manufacture products overseas that pushed the capabilities of Taiwan to their limits, introducing things like hollow dropouts, butted handlebars, investment casting, and more to the BMX world. However following the tumultuous economic times the entire world has faced as of late, the gap between the final cost of Taiwanese products against American produced goods has shrunk. American made manufacturing has gotten a fresh wind of air in the BMX world and there are plenty of companies out there who have been there all along and many that have gained a renewed interest in keeping it local in the States. Following the success of the “10 Bikes to Gain Inspiration From” article, I figured another article in a similar vein was in store–let’s take a look at the (mostly) American made BMX bike.
American made frames are probably the easiest product to come by that are made in the States. The mainstay manufacturers of S&M, Solid, and FBM have been going strong for decades and are still producing the majority of the frames made here in the USA. S&M also produces a significant amount of the Fit brand in house alongside its products made overseas. That being said, there are still plenty of smaller companies producing frames here that don’t pass through The Building, FBM, or Solid–former FBM welder Dave Harrison started a company called Pedal Driven with his Kool Thing frame, and Rick Moliterno is hand welding frames in Iowa for the Standard Army and other custom jobs. As far as companies that have things made in the USA that don’t have their own manufacturing facility, Cult has been producing frames through FBM and Solid in their push to support manufacturing, Native has frames, forks and bars available produced by Solid, and T1‘s latest Garrett Byrnes SFA frame is produced by the tried and true S&M facility. Speaking of S&M, Clint Reynolds recently joined forces with S&M and has a hand in welding all of the Credence frames made in The Building–super cool if you ask me. And finally, if you just can’t find a frame that suits you out there, you can get a frame tacked up to your specs by FBM, S&M, Solid, or Standard–check each of their websites for further details.
American made fork options are getting slim these days–but The Building is still producing classics like today’s Pitchfork and FBM has recently reissued the CB4K to the delight of many. And while more under the radar, Standard still mades forks here in the States.
American made aluminum parts are another product that are a bit easier to find readily available these days. Profile Racing has always had a solid hold in the machined part department–they’ve consistently had great looking designs and products over the years and it holds true to this day. Profile has also been on the cutting edge of non-traditional clamp and bolt technology, introducing things like the Hidden Internal Piston stem over ten years ago. They’ve even had Madera under their wing for years, which focuses on holding their high standards of American made product with a lower end cost for consumers. However, Profile’s not the only company making things the states–classics like the S&M Challenger & Redneck stems have long been made in the States and continue to be made to this day. And as of late, the American made Fit BF stem has gained a serious amount of popularity, no doubt due to its no BS, straightforward design with the legendary rider backing it.
The Building really has this market cornered as far as readily available USA made designs go. Countless bars are produced on Lyon Street in Santa Ana and they’ve got damn near every size and shape you could ever want. They’ll even make you some custom joints if you want. Similarly, Standard does all of their manufacturing in house and produces stock and custom bars and I even have a friend who has a pair of Solid bars with one side of rise different than the other.
ODI is responsible for manufacturing grips under their own name and for countless brands and for good reason–they’ve got arguably the best BMX grip in existence (the Longneck) as well as plenty of other great designs in their portfolio of work. S&M, Kink, Cult and many others go through ODI for some or all of their grips and the results are always on point.
Again, Profile kills it in this department with their USA made hubs (and Madera hubs). Though at a more premium price, many are happy to pay the price for a component made in the States (which is also finished locally as well). Profile’s smaller runs of products consistently keep things fresh and they’ve always got even more unique colors compared to most brands due to their locally-based nature.
There’s some good news and bad news in this department. While Wheelsmith still makes quality spokes in Wisconsin (by importing Japanese technology to the States), finding a set of rims made in the States is damn near impossible, along with tires and even pegs. I do know that Sun Ringle was making rims in the States for a while, but their website nor internet provides any solid proof to any sort of BMX rims being recently available and made here at home.
Profile and Solid are holding down the fort for American made cranks. Solid’s 22mm cranks are “back again” according to their web store, and they’ve even produced a beefy pair of cranks for Cult that look pretty tough. Of course, Profile cranks have been the standard for years for many riders, and they’re still made in the USA.
Pedals manufactured here have become pretty difficult to find these days but there’s a chance you can find some Profile Gas pedals out there. Animal also had some of their BPE pedals prototyped from a machine shop in the States to ensure that the design wasn’t stolen in Taiwan. Though production was moved to Taiwan after prototyping, it still gives hope for the future for more runs of USA made pedals in the future.
Like stems, sprockets are a bit more plentiful–Profile, S&M, Solid and FBM all manufacture sprockets here in the States and Animal, Cult, and even Shadow have been having one of their sprockets made at home. Animal just utilized the quick American turnaround to their full advantage, producing ten limited edition V3 sprockets custom engraved by Zodiac Engineering in Orange Country.
While you’d be hard pressed to find a factory seat made in the States, Native Bikes has cornered the custom American seat market. While the thing might not be manufactured in the states, the custom leatherwork and seat shaping by James Covington is truly awesome and worth spending the money on to anyone that appreciates a custom, hand done component. Native has produced a ton of awesome custom seats as a side project of Covington and he offers plenty of options to base a custom design from.
In the initial stages of the ultra light bike trend, the Thompson Elite post was the ultimate BMX weight weenie post to have. Machined out of aluminum, it was the lightest at the time and was adopted by many, despite having difficultly accepting larger BMX seat rails. Little known fact, but the Thompson post is manufactured in the States and is one of the few options out there (if not the only) for an American made seat post.
If your frame doesn’t already have a built in clamp, Profile and Madera have you covered with options to match their hubs, sprockets, stems and other goods.
While I couldn’t find any USA made pegs, I have seen many homemade or locally machine shop produced versions. Solid has a description for USA made pegs but it has no image and no availability on their web store. But, if you’re looking for something American made in the grinding department, Our Wax and Lil Mikey’s Beeswax are both produced here in the USA.