Dorel’s newly-named Cycling Sports Group (formerly the Cannondale Sports Group) plans to consolidate all North American product development, marketing and business management functions for the four cycling brands Cannondale, Schwinn, GT and Mongoose in Bethel, CT.

Bike frame manufacturing will shift from the Bedford, PA location to the new Taichung, Taiwan CSG location. Nearly 200 of the current 300 employees will be cut from the Bedford location by 2010 as a result of this shift.

CSG plans to focus its existing Bedford operations on final bicycle and Headshok assembly, CNC machining, testing and quality control, bicycle warranty repair, inside sales/service, distribution and customer support/administration. However, not all manufacturing is being relegated overseas – the group said that suspension manufacturing and crank design will remain in the U.S.

With this shift, the group has established new “Centers of Excellence.” These five centralized locations around the world will each have its own specific mission within CSG. “A good way to think about it,” Jeff McGuane, president, CSG North America told The B.O.S.S. Report in an interview, “[Is that] these facilities are responsible for demand creation.”

The company is currently working to move some of its employees to the new centers in order avoid additional job cuts. “We’re going to do as much as possible… We have great people scattered across the U.S… We want to keep our talents,” McGuane said.

CSG’s shift of operations to Taiwan and resulting “new mission” for Bedford came down to economic tension, Robert Baird, president of Dorel’s Recreational/Leisure segment told BOSS.  “The economic realties of frame manufacturing just don’t work anymore,” he said. “We’re one of the last couple still making bike frames in the U.S… This was a tough one for us. The Bedford workforce is extremely talented and has really been a source of pride for us for over a decade.”

Many top-tier bike vendors have been manufacturing frames in the Far East for over a decade. “It doesn’t surprise me that Cannondale made this move at all,” Giant USA General Manager Elysa Walk told BOSS. Giant Bicycles has manufactured its bicycles in Asia since the 1960s. “The level of craftsmanship and detail is excellent in Taiwan. Everything’s hand-done in Taiwan, clean and professional.” Plus, she added, the cost of labor is significantly less.