Allied Cycle Works will move the bike factory it opened in 2016 in the Riverdale area of Little Rock to Rogers, CEO Brendan Quirk confirmed today. He expects the factory to go online March 1. It will continue to operate in Little Rock into February.
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The factory was among the first in the U.S. to produce carbon-fiber bikes stateside, rather than in Asia. The Arkansas Times wrote about Allied after its opening, when it also became the first bike manufacturing business in Arkansas since Roadmaster, which operated in the state for 10 years before moving in 1962.
Quirk, who has been CEO since September, said the employees in Little Rock were informed in mid-October of the decision to move the plant, and that he expected a half dozen to move to Rogers to continue working for Allied. The plant in Rogers will employ 25, he said. Allied, whose owners include bike enthusiasts and billionaire brothers Steuart and Tom Walton, has already moved its sales and marketing office to Bentonville.
Allied had 45 employees in its first year of production, but director of engineering Sam Pickman, who took over from founder Tony Karklin after Karklin’s dismissal in 2018, had to lay off 15 employees in June because of slower than expected sales. “2020 will be the year we move things in the right direction,” Quirk said. Pickman remains the director of engineering for Allied. Karklin is now in litigation with Allied relating to his dismissal.
Allied manufactures four models: Alfa Able and Alfa Allroad gravel bikes and the Alfa Disc and Alfa road bikes. Quirk said gravel bikes are the fastest growing market in the bike industry, especially popular in the middle of the country because of the region’s high number of gravel roads. The men and women’s pro winners in the Dirty Kanza in Emporia, Kan., a race Quirk likened to the Tour de France of gravel, both road the Alfa Able, he said.