I've become very disenchanted with the current situation regarding the fudging, and in some cases, deceit about the use of "MADE IN ITALY" when it comes to bikes. As mostly everyone has come to learn many bikes are now made in Asia and labeled as MADE IN ITALY, or through omission you believe they are made in Italy. My issue isn't one of the quality of Asian made vs. Italian made bikes, I just fall into the category of people that believes if a bike has "MADE IN ITALY" it should be made there.
It's getting harder and harder to determine which are the Italian made bikes because of how the bike business operates:
1. there are finished frames that are made in Asia and imported into Italy labeled as MADE IN ITALY,
2. there are finished frames that are made in Asia and imported into Italy labeled as DESIGNED IN ITALY (hoping that no one will make the connection?),
3. there are naked frames that are made in Asia and imported into Italy and then undergo a certain level of "transformation" that permits companies to apply the MADE IN ITALY (MADE IN EUROPE) label. I've been searching for the official "transformation" rules, EU rules I believe, but have been unable to find them (if they indeed exist). Here are two opinions posted on cycling websites as to how these transformation rules work:
a)"I think European Union legislation states that they have to say "Made in Europe" ... furthermore if a product has some extra work done on it in Europe which increases its value by 60% it could be stated that its made in Europe - so a frame could be made in China for say 500 dollars and then painted, labeled, boxed etc for 300 dollars so that the finished product will have a cost price of 800 dollars and then sold as made in Europe for 1600 dollars."
b) "There is something to that effect, but I believe that the 60% is of the total value, not the added value, so if the frame sells for $500, if $300 is created in Europe, it can be labeled as made in Italy. That is my understanding but I am not sure. So effectively the value added component must be 150% of the imported content. All of this is however hearsay and not necessarily the case."
If any readers know of these "transformation" rules please leave a comment or contact me.
4. there is also of category frames that are Asian made for a strong Italian brand(s) that although there is no MADE IN ITALY you are decidedly left withe the impression that it's made in Italy.
Photos (from http://www.raydobbins.com/): when bikes were MADE IN ITALY
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