LOUISVILLE, CO (BRAIN) — By coincidence two well-known bike suppliers are expanding their footprints in this town northwest of Denver.
Wheels Manufacturing, best known for its replacement derailleur hangers and other small parts for dealers, is increasing its facility size by about 50 percent, allowing it to move into more OE markets.
And, just over the hill, Shimano broke ground Wednesday on a new building for its Pearl Izumi brand headquarters. The new building is across a street from Pearl's current facility; Shimano American is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday at its expanded faciliity in Irvine, California, and broke ground last month on an expansion to its warehouse in South Carolina.
Wheels breaks down wall
Wheels is in its 25th year in business and it has always manufactured its products in-house at several factories in and around Boulder, Colorado. Company president Dave Batka said the expansion will allow the company to pursue sales to bike OEs of hangers, bottom bracket adapters and other products.
The company will knock down part of a wall separating its current 8,000 square foot facility to allow access to a neighboring bay with another 4,000 square feet of space. Wheels is also adding new machinery to increase capacity.
Company spokesman Dave Whittingham said the OE market for derailleur hangers is very specific to different customer's needs. Some bike makers may need a supply of replacement hangers for warranty purposes, others may have frames shipped from Asia without hangers, and install them in the U.S. It's possible some customers will opt to have Wheels ship hangers to Asia for assembly there.
"It's sort of a la carte," Whittingham said. He noted that most hangers the Wheels sells now are highly finished and packaged for retail sale. The company could reduce its price on hangers to be competitive in the OE market by reducing packaging and taking the finishing level down a notch.
Pearl Izumi breaks ground
Meanwhile, Wheels' neighbor Pearl Izumi is planning a 55,000 square foot facility that will accomodate up to 160 employees.
"Our architectural agencies worked together to create an economically friendly design while integrating interior expressions that reflect the ethos of Pearl Izumi as an outdoor performance and endurance brand," a Pearl spokesman said.
Pearl and Shimano executives were on hand for the ceremony Wednesday. Members of the Lakota Sioux tribe also attended the event and conducted a blessing of the site and the new structure.