Specialized Bikes are made in Morgan Hill, California. All the research that goes into making the Specialized bike is done here.
They also do the designing, prototyping, and product development in the same headquarters at Morgan Hill.
As soon as the bike gets its specifications, it is then handed over to a contract manufacturer in Taiwan.
The contractor, in this case, is Merida, a Taiwanese manufacturer who back in 1974 acquired 49% equity from Specialized. This makes it no surprise that the manufacturing process takes place in Taiwan.
Merida is reputed for its expansive factories within which they make high-quality bikes.
They are also well known for not buying and rebranding other people’s products as most other bike manufacturers do.
Is Specialized Bike Made in China?
A lot of Specialized bike lovers get confused over this one. The answer as to whether these Specialized bikes are made in China is a Yes and No one. Allow me to explain:
As earlier stated in this article, Merida, the company that manufactures Specialized bicycles, mainly does the high-end and the mid-level bikes within their facilities in Taiwan.
But cheaper Specialized models are sometimes manufactured in China.
Why Do They Make Specialized in Taiwan and China?
To answer this question, a little history about this bike brand is necessary. This history forms the background as to why Specialized is made in so many different places.
To start with, Specialized did not start off in the bikes industry as a bike manufacturer. It was founded back in 1974 by Mike Sinyard. Sinyard would initially import Italian-made bike components and then sell them in the US.
The very first Specialized bikes arrived in the US in 1981. These were the Specialized Allez, a road bike, The Sequoia touring bike, and the Stumpjumper mountain bike.
The Specialized brand then steadily grew from there, and soon, a decision was made to go into the lower-end more affordable bikes. This was in 1995 when “Full Force” emerged. This move made Specialized lose its distributors’ support, which ended up in the brand suffering financially.
As a result, Specialized sold 49% of the business to Merida Bikes in 2001. However, Sinyard retained the CEO position and also maintained a majority stake in the company.
With Merida Bikes in the picture, the making of these bikes moved to Taiwan where Merinda was based. The company went back to making high-end bikes and mid-level bikes, outsourcing the lower-end ones to China.
That is how the current-day Specialized bikes came to be made and manufactured from all over the place.
But as a result, we have different great quality Specialized bikes, including Specialized Tarmac, a great road racing bike, Specialized Venge, the perfect aero bike, Specialized Allez, an entry-level racing bike, Specialized Roubaix, a great endurance bike, Specialized Diverge, a good bike for adventure, and Specialized Crux, a great cyclocross racing bike.
Here’s a Behind the Scenes Glimpse of Their Manufacturing
Are Specialized Bikes Good Quality?
Many people wonder why they don’t manufacture them in China or someplace similar to cut costs and eliminate other problems associated with moving production from country to country.
It’s not so much about the cost of labor as it is about quality control and ensuring a consistently good product every time.
Generally speaking, Specialized bikes are of good quality. The Specialized brand is reputed for producing high-quality bikes. But before you rush to buy one, there are a few things you should be aware of.
To start with, just like any other bike manufacturer (or other product manufacturers for that matter), Specialized offers both high-end and low-end bikes.
The high-end bikes are very expensive, but the quality is also equally matching. It is top-notch. They go the extra mile to ensure that the high-end customer gets exactly what they bargained for.
On the other hand, as the range gets cheaper, the bicycle marketplace gets more competitive. This goes without saying that the product quality also has to use ‘shortcuts’ so to speak.
The end result then becomes a bike that is not really that high quality. It is actually at this range that Specialized will even have some of its cheap bikes made in China.
It is also common reasoning that a semi-serious cyclist will not be willing to spend so much money buying an expensive bike. They will, therefore, be willing to forego some quality measures with the bike they can afford within their budget.
As for serious cyclists, they will be willing to spend that extra coin to ensure that they get the perfect bike for their specific needs.
Finally, should you go for a Specialized bike that is cheap, you are partly just paying for the name and brand while losing out on some quality needs.
All said, Specialized is a quality bike compared to its competition, and especially if you can go with the mid-level and high-end ones that are designed in California and build in Taiwan.
Does Giant Make Specialized Bikes?
To answer this, Giant does not make Specialized bikes. However, Giant makes frames for Specialized, as well as for other mountain bike brands.
They have a huge facility in Taiwan that allows them to do mass production of bikes and bike parts. They make most of the frames for Specialized including their high-end carbon frames.
But besides making the frames for Specialized, Giant does not manufacture entire Specialized bikes.
This is a common practice across most bicycle manufacturers where they outsource the manufacture the making of some parts of the bike, especially the frames, and then have those assembled elsewhere within their own facility.
The fact that they make aluminum frames was something they were able to negotiate with their existing contract manufacturer, Giant in the early ’90s.
Originally, their design team had invested a lot of time into designing frames at the beginning of the ’80s when aluminum was really cheap and economically feasible.
They knew at that point that the production cost for an aluminum road frame was competitive. Their goal was to design a frame that would be both light and rigid.
When Specialized decided to move from Easton to Reynolds, this new production process for aluminum frames was accelerated.
The Reynolds/Specialized contract manufacturer used over a million dollars worth of automated equipment and computer software for making these bikes.
In summary, Specialized bikes are designed and prototyped in Morgan Hill, California. They are then manufactured by Merida bikes in Taiwan. But a few lower-end Specialized bikes are made in China.
Giant also helps make the Specialized bikes frames in their facilities.