Where are trek bikes made? (is it really American?)


In recent years, buying locally has become important for many people for various reasons: employment, environment, quality, etc. But have you ever wondered where trek bikes are made?

Trek bikes are manufactured 99% overseas in places like Germany, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and China. Whereas the majority of bikes are made in Asia, Trek does make some high-end carbon fiber bikes in the USA in Wisconsin, but that represents only 1% of the 2 million bikes sold per year.

But, not all high-end carbon Trek bikes are made in the USA, some are also made in Taiwan. Nevertheless, Trek emphasizes a lot on the quality of their products, and that’s why all their bikes have a lifetime warranty, build in the USA or not.

To explain things deeper, this article will cover which models are made in the US, and how to recognize them. Does buying from china necessarily mean bad quality, and what is all the fuss about giant making Trek bikes? Many interesting things, so keep reading!

Which Trek bikes are made in the USA?

All Trek bikes made by Project One program are handbuild in the United States. There are currently eight Trek models available: Madone, Domane, Emonda, Checkpoint, Speed concept, Supercaliber, Fuel EX, and Slash: all high-end models above $10k.

Note that not all these bikes are made in the USA. Only the “Project One” ones do. Therefore, it is entirely possible to find an Emonda made in Taiwan for instance.

Project One is a premium program where you can customize the paint and all the parts (wheels, handlebars, etc). It is packed with a superior quality standard where nothing is done on a “mass assembly line”. It’s all hand-painted, and hand-assembled on US soil.

A few examples of Project One personalization you can do

How to recognize bikes made in the USA?

Trek bikes made in the US have “Handbuild in the United States” written on their frames.

Where is the Trek factory?

The USA Trek factory is located in Waterloo, Wisconsin. This is also the place of their headquarters and R&D facilities. As of 2014, they were making between 20,000 and 25,000 bikes a year in Wisconsin.

In the same year, trek manufactured 1.6 million bikes worldwide. These 20k on US soils represent thus only 1% of worldwide production. BUT, these 20k represent a big part of the 56k bikes manufactured annually on US soil. That’s why Trek claims to be the first “made in USA” bike manufacturer, even if the numbers are quite low.

Are Trek Bikes made by Giant?

Giant does manufacture some Trek bikes in Taiwan, but these bikes are still designed and engineered in Waterloo, Wisconsin. Moreover, Trek is only outsourcing at Giant facilities and can therefore specify their own requirements to them, especially in terms of quality control.

What that means is Trek may oblige Giant to very strict quality checks, more than Giant may do for other bikes. Moreover, Trek designs cannot be used by Giant for its own bikes, they are Trek’s property. Therefore, you cannot say that, because Giant and Trek bikes are made in the same factory, it’s better to buy the cheaper Giant bikes because that’s the same bikes. This is just not true!

Good quality controls mean you will have two very good bikes if you buy two Trek bikes. They will be very similar because quality control ensures they do. On brands with less strict controls, it’s more like the lottery. You may have a very good bike for cheap but another time have a bike that won’t last long.

Having bikes built in the same factory means absolutely nothing. It’s not proof the bikes are identical by any means. In fact, it’s not rare to see entry-level products produced on the same assembly line as the high-end ones in many industries!

What does Trek do on US soil?

On US soil, Trek hand assembles all the Project One bikes. All the research and development is performed in Waterloo. So every Trek bike is designed and engineered in the United States of America. Their headquarters are also located in Waterloo.

Trek is also very proud of its retail network, which is orchestrated from the US. They only work with the world’s best bike shops; people they believe can deliver the quality service they aim for. Trek sells in 5,000 retailers globally and owns about 100 stores. 

Is Trek bikes a good brand?

Despite producing mainly in Asia, Trek has strict control over quality. Quality control is in their DNA and among the values they convey to customers. That’s the reason why their bike frames have a lifetime warranty. Trek bikes are without a doubt very good bikes.

They do not compromise on quality and that’s how they become one of the top brands worldwide with an excellent reputation. They have 5000 retailers globally, a strong network to ensure very good after-sales services.

I also personally like the fact that they decided to never go public on the stock market because they “don’t need the money and (they) don’t the headaches” [Burke, CEO]. To me, it shows their aim to do quality products instead of just doing money for shareholders.

Trek bikes are the largest bicycle company in the US. While selling bikes for the masses, they also develop high-end products for professionals with cutting-edge technology. You can see Trek bikes on the famous Tour de France for instance. They really know everything about bikes and that’s why I have confidence in the quality of their products.

It’s no surprise that my main road bike is a Trek!

Related questions:

Are Trek bikes made in China?

Yes, the majority of Trek bikes are made in China and Taiwan. This is a common trend among many bike manufacturers. Despite this, the quality of Trek bikes is top-notch thanks to very thorough quality control. All their bikes have a lifetime warranty, even those made in China.

Sources:

https://www.cnbc.com/2014/08/01/in-waterloo-wisconsin-a-passion-for-made-in-usa-bicycles.html
https://www.bikeradar.com/features/inside-treks-project-one-semi-custom-operation/
https://onmilwaukee.com/articles/trekwisco
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/project-one/

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