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American Classic closes factory, puts IP assets up for sale

Published January 5, 2018
The 35-year-old component brand cites challenging marketplace in decision to close.

TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN) — Amclassic Inc., the parent company of the American Classic wheel and component brand, has voluntarily closed its factory here and laid off about 40 employees in Taiwan and the U.S. The company is in negotiations to sell its trademarks and other intellectual property, while founder and co-owner Bill Shook said he is continuing his design work and is available for consulting.

"We thank our AC customers and staff for their support over the years and sincerely regret the impact of these actions," said Shook.

"This is a new beginning for the AC brand and our technology. The challenges of the bicycle marketplace led to this decision. We are fortunate to have our health and will go on in a new direction without the stress of the factory. This is the start of a new journey in the best sport in the world."

Wheels and parts continue to be available in the U.S. through BTI and internationally through local distributors.

Co-owner and general manager Ellen Kast told BRAIN that employees in both countries were paid severance. The factory, which was leased, shut down on Dec. 28.

Kast said sales began declining for the brand during the 2016 season. The company began offering lower-priced OE wheels to adjust but was unable to resume growth. "It came down to a cash flow issue," she said.

She said she was hopeful that the American Classic brand will continue on with new owners while she and Shook go on to new ventures.

"Is it the end? Yes. Is it the end? No," she said. "It's how you look at things."

Shook founded the company in 1982. He had begun racing at age 14 and began building bike products during his racing career, which included a stint on the U.S. National Team. After earning a master's degree in mechanical engineering, he lauched American Classic with a bottle cage and seatpost as its first products. 

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