Changes in the US bicycle industry

The US bicycle industry is estimated to be worth $6 billion. Now, Kent International, a US-based bicycle manufacturer which has relied on low-cost Chinese labor and parts is shifting production out of China. The company now plans to make bike frames in Cambodia. The resulting bicycles can enter the United States tariff-free because of US rules that generally allow products to be designated as made-in-Cambodia as long as 35 percent of their costs for parts and labor are derived from that country.

Kent currently sources from China nearly 90 percent of the three million bicycles it sells to Target, Walmart and other US retailers. 

Another major brand, Specialized Bicycle Components, has moved production from China to Cambodia, Vietnam and Taiwan. Pure Bicycles, is preparing a move to Vietnam.

In the 1970s, US-based firms made more than 15 million bicycles annually, compared to fewer than 500,000 now and US Census data shows 94 percent of US bike imports currently come from China.

China also provides more than 300 million components such as tires, tubes, seats and handlebars – accounting for about 60 percent total component imports.