Although the industry giants are still cranking out the vast majority of frames in China, there are now something like 300 to 400 hand-built bike makers practising their craft in the US.
New kids on the block Shinola are aiming to accelerate this homegrown manufacturing sea-change with a deceptively simple mission statement: to get Americans making watches, bikes and leather goods again.
Of course, this is no easy task in a post-industrial economy, which is why Shinola have partnered with a variety of American manufacturers whose “obsession with craftsmanship and quality” matches their own ambition to create high calibre products.
The company currently have three bicycles on offer, all of which begin life at the Waterford Precision Cycles factory in Wisconsin, before heading to Shinola’s Detroit workshop for assembly.
Their flagship model, The Runwell, is a lugged steel number, inspired by the Porteur bikes of Paris, and hence sporting a handy-looking front rack. Alongside this is The Bixby, offered in both a classic men’s and women’s frame design and a variety of colours.
Judging from both the quality of Shinola’s videos, and the components which complete the builds (Velo Orange stems and headsets, MKS pedals, Japanese Crane bells to name a few), attention to detail is in ample supply, so this could be an American bike brand which is going places.