Saturday, September 12, 2009

Serotta Factory Tour

Well, I finally made the big leap and decided it was time to get a new road bike, one that actually fits.  Given that I'm old and not terribly flexible, my options for an off-the-rack bike were limited.  So naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to go custom. I looked at Seven and Indy as I like my current bikes very much, but after reading more about Serotta and talking to several people who ride them, I decided to check them out.  

Cora and I drove to the Serotta factory in Saratoga Springs.  We took a very informative tour and spent some time talking with the workers and ogling the bikes.  Serotta's technology is second to none and their attention to detail is incredible.  As we learned, Serotta has committed to making their own parts, i.e. drop outs, bottom brackets, cable guides and seat collars just to name a few. They have recently opened a factory in California to make their own carbon tubing--all this is done to control quality--so they have "complete control" over the customization of each bike.

CNC machines were cutting drop-outs as we toured.  They manufacture as many parts as they need to stay about a week ahead of their orders.  

This is the inside of the CNC machine as the cutterhead whittles a $40 block of titanium into the designated piece--it doesn't take long to understand why these bikes are so expensive--as they say, you gots to pay for quality.

Here are some of the machined titanium parts.

The CNC machines also work on carbon, shaping the tube ends for an absolutely perfect fit, increasing the strength of the joint as they are bonded.

Carbon fork blanks.

This is a jig in a heating room holding an uber sweet Meivici as the joints are bonded.

Bikes awaiting paint.

This is the finishing room--after seeing so many cool paint jobs at the factory, I'm rethinking my need for a custom Jackrabbit paint job.

One of the large machining tools--I believe they said it was used in fabricating steel frames. 

Frames awaiting repair.  One of the huge benefits of getting a Serotta is the extraordinarily reasonable crash repair program.

The shipping department.

A vintage Serotta track bike.

Custom bike made for the Russian cycling team.

Another vintage racing frame.  The 7-11 team frame was out in California for some show and tell. 

The tour was super cool.  After seeing the detail and precision that goes into every frame, I knew that I had to get a Serotta--the only question was which one. . .

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