Chris King Precision Components employs 96 people in an old coffee roasting plant outside Portland, Ore. It's one of the few bicycle factories left in the U.S. King makes mostly components, including wheel hubs and headsets, the assemblies that make the front wheel turn smoothly. Until this year, Chris King, the founder of the 36-year-old business, allowed almost no visitors into his factory, guarding the methods that have helped him compete against larger rivals in Asia, where 99 percent of all bikes sold in the U.S. are made. He still forbids visitors on the main manufacturing floor.
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