Polygon Factory Tour with Flow Mountain Bike
They say, if you like eating sausages, you should never visit a sausage factory. I’m a vegetarian, so maybe that doesn’t apply to me. But what about mountain bikes?
If you’ve spent the past 15 years buying into the glitz, technology and hype of the mountain bike industry, what’s it like to go behind the curtain and see the process before the marketing team get their hands on the story? Polygon Bikes recently gave us the chance to find out, with a visit to their factory and assembly facilities in Surabaya, Indonesia.
With a local market in Indonesia of 250 million people, Polygon Bikes could happily exist solely in the domestic realm – there’s plenty of bikes to be sold in a country that lives on two wheels. But in the past five or so years the team at Polygon Bikes have been looking outwards, undertaking a global expansion in the high-end market that’s underscored by their sponsorship of some of the world’s most high-profile riders. Here in Australia, we’re really the first port of call in this worldwide conquest, and already Australia is Polygon’s largest market outside Indonesia.
Polygon are one of just a small number of brands that actually possess their own factory and assembly facilities, and they’re amongst the largest manufacturers in the world, producing almost half a million bikes a year
While the brand’s profile around the world has grown considerably off the back of the UR Team’s successes and the Red Bull Rampage winning riding of Kurt Sorge, until recently I doubt many people outside of Indonesia could’ve told you much more about Polygon than name a handful of their sponsored riders. What few people know is that Polygon are one of just a small number of brands that actually possess their own factory and assembly facilities, and they’re amongst the largest manufacturers in the world, producing almost half a million bikes a year. This includes building bikes for some other well-known brands too, the marketing departments of which would love to convince you wasn’t the case. (Sorry, no names here!)
Getting behind the scenes of global bike brand is rare, so when we were offered unrestricted access to Polygon’s factory and assembly facilities, we were on the next plane to Surabaya faster than you can say ayam goreng.
Almost 800 staff work in the welding, painting and assembly areas of the business.
I didn’t know what I was expecting, but not this scale, that’s for sure. The huge space stretches away from me, dominated at the far end by tremendous dual, two-storey ovens that heat treat the frames. The smell of solder and metal being cut takes me back instantly to my high school metalwork classes! It’s warm, but not stifling, and surprisingly a lot quieter than I’d expected, the noise all kind of disappearing into the massive roof space.
At any given moment, there are a couple of hundred employees in the welding factory (three shifts keep it running 24 hours a day), and overseeing them all is Ronnie, a man who joined Polygon on the factory floor 15 years ago and whose pride in the space is clear. He insists that it’s kept spotless, the floor is a clean as a car showroom, and he walks me through the whole process.
Looking out over the welding bays. While there’s a lot going on, there’s nothing chaotic about it – I’ve got no idea how it all comes together so smoothly.
POLYGON FACTORY TOUR1 April 2016Thankyou for a great journey thru a modern bicycle factory, the wheel making machine in particular. Good OHS example. Top Job Bicyclesonline, Regards D.