You are here

Olive Manufacturing Group's domestic alloy rim production making strides entering 2024

Published January 5, 2024

GREENVILLE, S.C. (BRAIN) — After producing alloy rims about 15 minutes away from the Boyd Cycling facility since May, Boyd Johnson is convinced that U.S. domestic manufacturing is gaining momentum as 2024 begins.

"My mission is all about making stuff here," Johnson told BRAIN on Thursday about Olive Manufacturing Group that he co-founded with wife Nicole Johnson. "I feel like we can make a lot of stuff here. And for those companies thinking about moving here, especially with the rims, we want to be a partner for that. We want to make that step easier for them."

From May through the end of 2023, Olive Manufacturing Group produced 5,138 rims for five customers, and Boyd Johnson said it has capacity for much more. "I feel like we can be doing over 30,000 rims per month," he said.

Olive Manufacturing Group caters to custom wheelbuilders, wheel companies, and bike brands. Johnson said he's speaking with three additional customers as the new year begins and plans to expand the workforce from its current two employees.

"What we saw (in the first year) was great, and the biggest thing has been how much we have the process dialed," Johnson said.

Aluminum extrusions are brought in from Arizona. Then they are rolled into rims, with the joints sleeved, spoke nipples and valves drilled, rims anodized, and brake tracks on rim-brake versions machined. A separate company, Tetracote, located in the same 65,000-square-foot facility as Olive, does the anodization.

"The owner of Tetracote is a good friend of mine, and business partner in Olive Manufacturing Group," Johnson said.

Previously, Boyd Cycling had its U.S.-bound alloy rims manufactured in Taiwan. Boyd will continue to produce its OEM rims in Taiwan for bikes built there. He said Olive has been able to match Taiwanese pricing from a combination of shipping savings and efficient manufacturing.

"Rims are a fairly automated process, so we've got some really nice stuff here," Johnson said. "The anodization is in the same building as the rim production. So when we go to anodize a rim, we don't have to box it up and then take it to another place, unbox it, and re-box it. There's a lot fewer people touching the rims. Every time you touch something the price goes up."

Johnson said he had a lot of interest when discussing his onshoring plan at the Sea Otter Classic last April.

"People want stuff closer to where they need the final product now, rims especially," he said. "When you ship a rim across the ocean, you're shipping 95% air. It's a large box for 10 rims. If we can ship it from South Carolina within the U.S. or even to Europe, it's a lot more economical than it would be shipping from Asia."

In addition to Olive, Time Bicycles announced plans last year that it also will manufacture domestically, near Spartanburg, South Carolina. It will open the nation's largest carbon fiber bicycle manufacturing facility after acquiring a 140,000-square-foot facility. Also, Propel Bikes and Vela Bikes co-founders announced in November the creation of Bloom, a vertical integration partner for light electric vehicles, with its first manufacturing location in Detroit.

Olive Manufacturing Group facility.

Join the Conversation