Thomson posted on its blog today new details about its upcoming handlebars, the very first of the brands’ products to be made outside of Macon, Georgia. On their way this fall are carbon mountain bike bars, carbon road bars, titanium mountain bike bars, and aluminum downhill bars. Details are live now in the Thomson website.
We simply will never put in the equipment to make metal handlebars as the investment would not pay for itself. Just one example is heat treat. You need a furnace to heat treat bars. You don’t put a furnace in an air conditioned building, and you don’t machine aerospace parts in an un-air conditioned building. We can’t justify a separate building and a $400,000 furnace just for handlebars.
Carbon is a different story. We are using a Taiwanese partner to build the carbon bars. They are simply the best people in the world to build the bar. In the meantime we must bring carbon fiber fabrication in-house. We are already machining and making assemblies with carbon. Fabrication will require a separate building. Plans are being made, but this will take a few years to accomplish.
Current steaposts, collars, and stems will continue to be made in Macon, as will some new products in the works: "We have plans in 2013 for a new Roadbike setback post and a Single Speed Crankset that will be machined here. Steerer tube spacers are in the works as well."
They are also clear that the brands’ commitment to quality will not change: "The bar project represents a big change for us… But it does not signify any change in our core philosophy… No matter what, if it says Thomson the care and attention to detail that you have come to expect will be there no matter what."