Giant carbon factory sign

Behind the Curtain: Giant Bicycles carbon fiber factory tour

Giant is the largest manufacturer of carbon fiber bicycles in the world, and we got to take a peek at how it all happens.

James Huang
by James Huang 02.05.2024 Photography by
James Huang
More from James +

Giant invited a number of tech editors from across the world to its global headquarters in Taichung, Taiwan, as part of its launch event for the tenth-generation TCR Advanced SL. While the bike itself was noteworthy, the part of the trip that was almost even better was touring the factory where that frame – and thousands of other ones – was made. 

Giant Taiwan Manufacturing – the official name for the brand’s flagship frame manufacturing facility – was originally founded in 1972, and today, it produces roughly a million frames annually and employs approximately 2,200 people. The facility is split roughly in two with a large central driveway of sorts separating the two halves: one side is where all the aluminum production occurs, while the carbon fiber work is done on the other side. Giant produces all of its premium carbon fiber and aluminum frames at GTM, both under its own label and for a number of other major brands. Keep in mind, too, that this is just one manufacturing hub; Giant has five other frame factories in China, another two in the EU, and one more in Vietnam. 

I’ve had the privilege of visiting GTM twice now in my career, and what’s perhaps most striking about it is how vertically integrated the operation is. I unfortunately only got a more cursory tour of the carbon fiber side this time around, and that’s what’s depicted in this gallery. Giant is perhaps the only major brand that truly makes its frames from scratch, starting with dry carbon fiber (thread), mixing its own resins, and rolling out its own pre-preg sheets instead of buying it pre-made from a third party. Those sheets are cut into much smaller pieces at precise angles and shapes depending on where they’re used, they’re placed around internal mandrels by both hand and robot, they’re cooked on-site, finished, painted, and so on. It all happens right there, under one giant – ahem – roof. 

And on the aluminum side? Again, I unfortunately didn’t that part of the tour this time around, but Giant has a separate facility, Giant Light Metals, that actually makes its own aluminum alloy – not aluminum tubing, but the raw material itself. Tubes are also extruded in-house, hydroformed, cut, welded, you name it. Dropouts are forged on-site. It’s a truly astonishing thing to see, but that’ll unfortunately have to wait for another day.

In the meantime, please enjoy even this cursory visual tour of how Giant makes its carbon fiber frames. There’s much more to the process than what’s shown here, but hey, some things are apparently better kept to themselves.

What did you think of this story?