Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cannondale, End of an Era

The end of an era has arrived at Cannondale. All aluminum frame manufacturing has ceased in Bedford, Pennsylvania, and now the auction of equipment will take place on December 9, 2010 (see here).

It was in late 1996 when Saeco, international maker of pump-driven espresso and cappuccino machines, engaged Cannondale to sponsor its Italian-based Team Saeco professional cycling team. Cannondale became the first U.S. bicycle maker to supply frames under its own name to a European professional team.

The 1997 cycling season became very special for Cannondale. Mario Cipollini won five stages in the Giro d’Italia, and also won two stages at the Tour de France where he also wore the yellow leader’s jersey for four days. And from there...the rest is part of cycling history.

Don't expect to see this anymore now that production has moved to Asia:

Want to know more about vintage Cannondales? Visit

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  1. Hate to see it happen - but knew it would eventually.

  2. I had a Cannondale, US made, and it served me well. Sorry to be negative, but we have become a debtor nation incapable of producing almost anything but 500 pound bombs. America is no longer a first world country. We are a third world country with a rich upper class who no longer believe their fellow countrymen are capable of producing quality products. I'm glad I'm too old to see our inevitable downfall. But I feel for my grandchildren.

  3. Another view- Larry believes Cannondale entering the pro bike market via the Saeco team was in some ways the beginning of the end for Italian bicycle production. Let's face it, those C-dales cost a LOT less to produce than the gorgeous, lugged steel frames or even the titanium or glued-screwed carbon bikes in use by pro teams at the time. It wasn't long before almost every Italian brand offered a welded aluminum bike and put their pro teams on them. Torches were turned off while steel tubes and lugs began to rust on the shelves of the big brands and small artisan builders alike. It wasn't long before the Italians realized they could have these aluminum bikes welded up very cheaply in Asia (as Cannondale figured out a bit later) and simply slap their brand stickers on them. When carbon fiber replaced aluminum it was just as easy to continue with Asian production. Only recently has the Italian bike biz realized there is value in 100% Made in Italy bicycles created with passion in the land of ciclismo. More and more autoclaves are finding a home in Italy to make carbon bikes. Will this be enough to save the Italian industry or is it already too late? Only time will tell. Larry thinks "Vintage Cannondale" is an sort of an oxymoron, is there really collector value in any of these unless they were used in races by Super Mario or Il Falco Bergamasco?

  4. This issue is not confined to the USA. A look at the frames of Bianchi or Pinarello or any number of other Italian or European frames demonstrate they are no longer made in their respective countries. Haven't been for a while. Europe itself is becoming a collection of debtor nations - some on a grander scale than the USA.

    The good news is that some of the best bicycles in the word are handcrafted in the USA: Moots, Serotta, IF, Parlee, and many smaller shops - Crumpton, Richard Sachs, Eriksen, Kirk and the list goes on. Steve Rex in your Sacramento builds beautiful and affordable frames.

    Its not that consumers in the USA or Europe have lost confidence in their countrymen to produce quality products. Unfortunately, we are competing against a labor force , ie. China that pays pennies on the dollar for labor costs. Cannondale has figured out that in order for it to survive and profit they have to shift their manufacturing to Asia.

  5. Although I understand the economics of off-shore bike production, there are alternatives. Rather than going with cheap labour, better to use machines, which is how Swatch can produce watches in Switzerland that sell for $25. BMC is doing this right now with its new plant, currently making the high-end bike model but which will eventually produce all their bikes.