BOULDER, CO (BRAIN) — Carbon wheel maker Mad Fiber is planning to set up wheel production in Taiwan to serve the OEM market. The company has laid off seven employees at its Seattle, Washington, facility, but is continuing to manufacture wheels there for aftermarket sales, spokesman Jasen Thorpe said.
The layoffs affected about a third of the workforce in Seattle, he said.
"Right now there remains a production team there [in Seattle]. We are making wheels, selling wheels, shipping wheels from there. This [the layoffs] should be viewed not as a downsizing of Mad Fiber but as a transferring of resources to another continent."
Thorpe said Mad Fiber has increasingly been getting inquiries from potential OEM customers, and proximity to Taiwanese bike factories is key to serving those customers.
"It doesn't make any sense to make wheels in Seattle and ship them to Taiwan to be assembled on bikes and then shipped back here," said Thorpe, who said he wasn't sure when production would begin in Taiwan.
Mad Fiber was acquired by Divine Cycling Group in February, and merged with Blue Competition Cycles and Serotta in June. DCG is planning to restructure Serotta to include contract bike building at its upstate New York factory. As part of the restructuring, founder Ben Serotta and CEO Bill Watkins were fired earlier this month.
Thorpe said he could not speak about DCG's finances beyond the specific changes at Mad Fiber. DCG and Blue managers have declined to comment to BRAIN.