Spanish company Rotor is famous for its Q Ring elliptical chainrings, used by many pros. It has an extensive in-house manufacturing facility and we recently took a tour

When we recently visited Madrid-based Rotor’s facilities for the launch of its new Uno hydraulic groupset and 2INpower double sided power meter, we were given a tour of its impressive machining facility housed in a series of buildings on the same industrial estate as its head office.


First look at Rotor’s new Uno groupset


Rotor describes itself as an engineering company gone wild in the cycle industry. Its original designs sprung from work at the Aeronautical Engineering School in Madrid and were launched in 1998, with manufacturing outsourced to Spanish mountain bike parts manufacturer EDR. Eventually, Rotor bought out EDR and its facilities became the core of Rotor’s own facilities, where Rotor still makes the majority of its components.

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Rotor originally built complete bicycles using its eccentric chainring technology

Rotor originally built complete bicycles using its eccentric chainring technology

The whole process is highly automated, with robots selecting the templates used by the computerised CNC machines. Because of the large number of different parts which Rotor manufactures, it has invested in versatile machines which can make small runs of a variety of different components.

The process starts with cutting up large sheets of aluminium. These square blocks will become Q Rings

The process starts with cutting up large sheets of aluminium. These square blocks will become Q Rings

Cutting intricate parts from blocks of aluminium creates a lot of waste and Rotor collects this up elsewhere in its factory for recycling.

All the cutting is done by computer-controlled lathes

All the cutting is done by computer-controlled lathes

There are banks of templates for different parts

There are banks of templates for different parts

A robot selects the appropriate template for the component to be made

A robot selects the appropriate template for the component to be made

There’s a lot of testing done of finished product and again much of this is automated. Rotor also runs a quality assurance facility where tolerances are measured to ensure that standards are met.

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The design team works closely with the factory

The design team works closely with the factory

3D printing is used to model new components and assemblies

3D printing is used to model new components and assemblies

There's a lot of testing and quality assurance of finished products

Finished products undergo extensive testing and quality assurance

Rotor’s design team works in the head office building. As well as CAD software, it makes use of 3D printing to make prototypes of new parts and assemblies. There’s also a small facility in the same building in which Rotor assembles complete bikes using its components.