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Environmental and Social impact of bicycle goods



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 11th 04, 04:09 PM
Chris
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Default Environmental and Social impact of bicycle goods

There's something that I have been thinking about for quite sometime now.

I've been working in the bicycle industry for just over ten years now, and
like everything else I see the shift of US produced bicycle goods to places
like China, Taiwan and Mexico.

We all understand why production is moving away from here, lower wages, lack
of environmental restrictions, etc. It all comes down to cheaper production.

Ok, but at what costs? Do or should cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts
care more about where and how there goods are produced? Especially the
effects the production cycle and extra transportation required to get the
goods here has on the environment? Should that be a concern?


I'm not trying to spark some kind of anti or pro global market debate or
anything along those lines. I'm more curious if faced with a choice would
"enthusiasts" pay 15%-20% more for a US produced product made with
environmentally safe methods. I look at a company like Chris King and say
yes, but then I think has a king headset become more of a status symbol? How
many people purchase a king headset or hubs based on their manufacturing
process? I'm personally a big fan of King components for several reasons
including performance, durability, manufacturing process and their continued
support of trail building efforts.

I know my question is entrenched in a lot more then just a persons
recreational activities and more in the way of American life.

Thanks
Chris

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  #2  
Old May 12th 04, 05:02 AM
HardwareLust
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Default Environmental and Social impact of bicycle goods

Chris wrote:
There's something that I have been thinking about for quite sometime
now.

I've been working in the bicycle industry for just over ten years
now, and like everything else I see the shift of US produced bicycle
goods to places like China, Taiwan and Mexico.

We all understand why production is moving away from here, lower
wages, lack of environmental restrictions, etc. It all comes down to
cheaper production.

Ok, but at what costs? Do or should cyclists and other outdoor
enthusiasts care more about where and how there goods are produced?
Especially the effects the production cycle and extra transportation
required to get the goods here has on the environment? Should that be
a concern?


I'm not trying to spark some kind of anti or pro global market debate
or anything along those lines. I'm more curious if faced with a
choice would "enthusiasts" pay 15%-20% more for a US produced product
made with environmentally safe methods. I look at a company like
Chris King and say yes, but then I think has a king headset become
more of a status symbol? How many people purchase a king headset or
hubs based on their manufacturing process? I'm personally a big fan
of King components for several reasons including performance,
durability, manufacturing process and their continued support of
trail building efforts.


Well, unless you are talking specifically about products that are
*significantly* better than their foreign-made competition, (e.g. King
headsets), I don't think that you're likely to get enough sales at a 15-20%
premium to survive in today's market for very long.

Time and time again American consumers have proven their undying loyalty to
the lowest price, regardless of any implications outside of the impact on
their wallet. A prime example of that would be Wal Mart.


  #3  
Old May 20th 04, 06:49 PM
Dr Engelbert Buxbaum
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Default Environmental and Social impact of bicycle goods

Chris wrote:

There's something that I have been thinking about for quite sometime now.

I've been working in the bicycle industry for just over ten years now, and
like everything else I see the shift of US produced bicycle goods to places
like China, Taiwan and Mexico.

We all understand why production is moving away from here, lower wages, lack
of environmental restrictions, etc. It all comes down to cheaper production.

Ok, but at what costs? Do or should cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts
care more about where and how there goods are produced? Especially the
effects the production cycle and extra transportation required to get the
goods here has on the environment? Should that be a concern?


That probably depends on what kind of bike you want. I don't know about
the US, but here in Germany you can get 100 euro made-in-china bikes in
a supermarket which may last you 2 or 3 years. Or you spend 800 euro on
a nice brand name bike from a German or Dutch manufacturer that lasts
you a life time. The latter will have added safety, added comfort and
added style, too.

The problem is that many of the factors that distinguish a quality bike
from a cheap import are not immediately obvious, certainly for a lay
person but sometimes even for a professional. Corrosion resistance is
proven only after running a bike through several winters on salty roads.
This is were a good bike shop has the advantage over the supermarket:
The attendant can recommend a bike meeting the needs and wallet of a
customer, and advise on advantages and disadvantages of the various
solutions. This is a position of trust, of course, which is easily
abused.
 




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