I SEE YOU. DO YOU SEE ME?
I’ve been making and selling bicycles for a long time. Industrial and Cruiser bikes (we made the very first cruisers in the U.S. circa 1976) The bicycle frames and forks that we produced were stronger than any other on the market and equal in strength to Schwinn™, because we used a process called shot peening, which was, up until that time, used only in Sweden. It increased frame and weld integrity by 300%.
We seldom had a broken frame and if we did it was due to pilot error – like backing over it with a car – so we got a well-deserved reputation for durability and reliability. Schwinn™ had a great bike but it was heavier. At that time, they had a butt-welded frame that no one has ever copied but more than that they made many of their parts like their unique rim, 28 threads instead of 24 threads per inch, like everyone else, in the bottom bracket and elsewhere. All of their screw machined parts they produced in house. They designed forks, stems and cranks that were forged by Ashtabula Bow Socket just for them and Good Year™ made their special 26 X 2.125 tires patterned after a diameter size smaller than they once used on their Excelsior motorcycles.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but they controlled: the product, quality and price. I know all this stuff because my father Clayton and Uncle Willard were Southeastern distributors for Schwinn (registered trademark) for over 20 years. The first year they sold Schwinn™ they only sold one hundred units in Atlanta, Georgia which at that time was the largest city in the South. The last year of their association they were selling over 40,000 premium Schwinn™ units.
Every part on the first Emory bicycles were made in America…. every single part. Yet all we made was the frame initially. As the demand for cheaper and cheaper bicycles increased the quality of American bikes began a long decline culminating in the ultimate cheap bikes coming from China. Wal-Mart is around the seventh largest trading partner of China. I bet you didn’t know that! Well when they started buying Chinese the bicycle industry in America disappeared along with 15,000,000 bikes and over 200,000 jobs. I could have imported bikes with my name on them from China, like everyone else, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Or I could have started using Chinese parts as all of the American parts manufacturers were gone by 2000. No way.
Well if you are like me you detest crappy and shoddy merchandise and if you had any choice you would also try to buy quality. Not just because it is American Made but because it is the best in its class. Campagnolo and Cola-Cola) have stood the test of time not because of their registered brand names but because of their reputations for quality and uniqueness you can’t find anywhere else.
I set out nearly a decade ago to design and fabricate the Best Bicycle Ever Made. Using the best engineering innovation available. Our own standard means we make 95% of the components ourselves.
Not a road bike or a mountain bike; depending on frame design…. this is a street, city or beach bicycle. I coined a new name for these wonderful new bikes: Coastal Cruisers. East Coast, West Coast, Gulf Coast!
No one else is responsible for one iota of the many unique items you will find on this bike. I’m not some faceless engineer in Hong Kong rather I am your bicycle inventor. You decide what gender, wheels, tires, saddle, handlebars and stem as well as finish you want, and we will make it bespoke to your specifications.
Everything I learned about craft manufacturing of the highest order I put into this Project. No corners were cut, no shortcuts and no consideration for cost where quality was demanded. The end result of my efforts has resulted in an exceptional bicycle for the ages, an instant heirloom with a hundred-year heart, proudly made with durability and timeless design and plain old American quality ingenuity. If you want what I want. Thanks, for joining me and the Emory family.
Clayton Emory Smith II