Made of Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada
“Eat. Sleep. Bike.”
The only motto any biker needs.
When Félix Gauthier invested $50,000 in Devinci Bikes, he though he was getting 50 % of a thriving, if niche, bicycle manufacturer in Chicoutimi, Quebec. Here’s what he got instead: upward of 1,000 angry customers whose expensive aluminum frames had cracked, thanks to a defect in the heat treatment process. And since the frames were under lifetime warranty, Gauthier was on the hook to replace each one. “I didn’t start at zero,” he says. “I started at minus 40.”
That was 25 years ago. In the intervening years, Devinci invested heavily in R&D and real–time stress testing to ensure its lightweight aluminum frames–all moulded and welded in Chicoutimi, and assembled with some imported parts–can withstand the rigours of high–speed riding and crashes. It also lost $1.2 million in a failed bid to conquer the U.S. market in 2002. “That wasn’t my best shot,” Gauthier says. This year, his 80 employees produced everything from road bikes to mountain bikes, as well as Bixi bikes, designed by Devinci and bound for public bike-sharing schemes in Toronto, Montreal, London, New York and elsewhere. Orders for its downhill bikes will likely rise after Canadian downhill rider Stevie (the Chainsaw Massacre) Smith–on a bike like this $3,900 Wilson XP–won the World Cup Championship in Austria in fall of 2013.
80 Number of employees
512 C (954 F) Temperature at which that aluminum frames must be treated to prevent cracking
5 hours Amount of time it takes to build a bike, from hydroforming to the final coats of paint
15,000 Number of bikes Devinci produced in 2013