Bicycling Magazine Spotlights Handmade in America Product

HIA Velo has ramped up quickly from concept to Little Rock, Arkansas reality

Headshot of Richard Horgan

It’s the sort of a press a new company dreams of. A few months ahead of the $8,975 Allied Alfa custom-made carbon-fiber frame bicycle rolling off the HIA Velo assembly line, Rodale’s Bicycling magazine has given the model its March cover and a full-tilt rave review. (HIA stands for Handmade in America.)

From Ron Koch’s cover story:

In February 2016, [HIA Velo founder Tony] Karklins (who had left Orbea two years prior) gathered a few cycling-passionate investors and purchased the carbon-fiber manufacturing machinery of the bankrupt Canadian bike maker Guru (which won a Bicycling Editor’s Choice award for its Photon road bike in 2010). He moved the equipment to Little Rock, Arkansas, attracted by its central location, budding cycling community, relatively inexpensive labor (thanks to the low cost of living) and grants from a state eager to attract new manufacturing businesses. …

We like the story of HIA, but it wouldn’t mean anything if we hadn’t also liked the bike. That sentiment—it all comes down to the ride—is something [head of HIA engineering Sam] Pickman agrees with. “When Tony and I started talking, one thing we agreed on is the ‘made in America’ story doesn’t mean shit if the product doesn’t back it up,” he says. “We truly believe that the way we’re going about this is technologically better than what anyone else is doing.”

It’s a storyline tailor-made for tubthumping by President Trump. On a side note, we couldn’t help notice that the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette completely mangled the spelling of Karklins’ last name in their mention of the Bicycling coverage. We have a feeling that soon, most will definitely know how to spell this entrepreneur’s name.

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.
Publish date: February 22, 2017 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT