With the Guru assets, I figured that if
I did things differently, I could make it
happen in America. All I needed was
someone to help make it happen. That’s
when Sam entered the picture.”
Sam is Sam Pickman, who was
similarly looking for a new challenge
following an 11-year tenure at
Specialized. I actually had met Sam
some years before and came away
impressed. He was everything I wasn’t—
young, friendly, brilliant and fast on
a bike. Between Tony and Sam, they
hatched a grand scheme to build some
performance-driven carbon frames while
also helping put food on the table for as
many Americans as they could.
To do so, the two opened Allied
Cycle Works in a 17,000-square-foot
factory in Little Rock, Arkansas, and
they went to work hiring everyone
needed to keep a carbon-frame
production line moving—design, testing,
manufacturing, paint and assembly.
The first bike out of the factory was
the monocoque-framed Alfa that is
available in six sizes. The next one that
was added to their lineup was the tube-to-tube-constructed Echo frame for
custom sizing, and by summertime a
gravel bike will be ready to go.
“Bikes are all I know,” confesses
Karklins, “and I knew that after all
my years working for other brands, it
was time to build my own brand. I still
remember the feeling I got when
I owned a bike shop and some wobbly,
250-pound guy would walk in to buy a
cheap city bike, and then a few months
later he’d walk in weighing 80 pounds
less with a cute cyclist girlfriend and
he’d be buying a titanium race bike.
His whole life had been transformed for
the better. That’s what bicycles do, and
that’s what I want to continue being a
Tony Karklins had a dream that quality carbon frames could be built in America for a good
price. With the birth of Allied Cycle Works, that dream is now his reality.
To illustrate the level of hands-on manufacturing that’s required to build a carbon bike,
Allied had Olivier Lavigueur on hand to hand-roll a carbon fork, which took three hours.