Detroit, the “Motor City,” is historically known as the birthplace of the automotive industry. Detroit introduced the rest of the United States to assembly lines and mass production. Before Detroit became known as the “Motor City”, though, many of the automotive industry’s forefathers, including Henry Ford and the Dodge brothers, were connected to Detroit’s then-booming cycling scene.
Manufacturing is the production of a consumer good at scale from raw material inputs (such as steel tubing) using industrial machinery. So although some custom frame builders in the United States do make bicycles here on a one-off basis, they are not technically manufacturing bikes.
Inspired by both the history of Detroit manufacturing and Detroit’s roots in bicycle manufacturing, Detroit Bikes founder Zak Pashak founded Detroit Bikes in 2011 with a mission to revive the manufacturing of bicycles in the United States. Although Detroit Bikes is the only bicycle manufacturer in Detroit, there are other bicycle companies in the area that have been driven by the history of Detroit manufacturing.
313 Bicycle Works is a Detroit-based custom frame builder that creates custom steel city bikes, road bikes and mountain bikes. They design and hand-build their own bicycles using materials from local suppliers.
Not to be confused with Detroit Bikes, Detroit Bicycle Company is a company run by custom frame builder Steven Bock, and inspired by vintage bike culture. Steven highly values quality. He takes his time to find vintage parts through avenues like eBay and bike shows and builds about eight bikes a year.
While Plano Texas company Shinola purchases their bike frames from Waterford Precision Cycles in Wisconsin, and imports parts for their watches and bicycles from China, they have a flagship location in Detroit that assembles their bikes. It’s not Detroit manufacturing, but we’re happy to see them create jobs in the Detroit community!
Detroit Bikes continues to aim high as we revitalize American bicycle manufacturing. Not only do we manufacture our bikes in Detroit, we also source our chromoly steel from within the United States. If you are just as inspired by Detroit manufacturing as we are, we welcome you to visit our factory for a tour to learn more about our story. You can also test out our bikes at a retailer near you.