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Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College
If you love cycling and want hands-on experience in the development, testing, and production of the components that make up a bicycle, then Bicycle Design & Fabrication is for you!

Career Area: Engineering, Manufacturing & Trades
Program: Bicycle Design and Fabrication
Campus(es): Red Wing

Major Details

If you love cycling and want hands-on experience in the development, testing, and production of the components that make up a bicycle, then Bicycle Design & Fabrication is for you!

The Bicycle Design & Fabrication program in Red Wing, Minnesota is a 2-year Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree option at Minnesota State College Southeast - the first program of its kind in the nation!

The design and fabrication of bicycles and their components is part engineering, part craft. In this program, students explore a hands-on engineering technology and design curriculum, revolving around the fabrication of bicycles and associated components.

Build your own cycle creation

As a student in Bicycle Design & Fabrication, you will gain the skills required to conceive and build products of your own design, such as frames, components, and tools. Along the way you will study metal fabrication, 3D printing, mechanical design, and composites.

Lab courses have been developed in welding, prototyping, CAD (computer aided drawing/design) and CAM (computer aided manufacturing/machining) as applied specifically for bicycle fabrication. The lecture components provide breadth and rigor to topics critical to understanding the physics and characteristics of bicycles. This includes algebra, statistics, and thermodynamics.

In addition to preparing you to start a career or business in the bicycle industry, the skills mastered in this degree can be applied to any industry involving fabrication, manufacturing, and engineering technology.

Red Wing is a cycling lovers' paradise. In your free time, ride the scenic bluff roads throughout Southeast Minnesota, the Cannon Valley Trail, or a challenging mountain bike loop in Red Wing's Memorial Park.

Apply now for admission to MSC Southeast

Our Advisory Committee includes representatives from:

Erik's Bike Board Ski logo     Hawk Racing     HED logo     Kirk Pacenti     Park Tool     QBP logo     TREK logo     Wolf Tooth Components

Download the Program Plan


1) Must complete a minimum of 3 different MnTC goals in Liberal Arts and Sciences

2) 1100 or higher Liberal Arts and Sciences courses required unless specified

Introduction to the Digital Arts and Creative Multimedia
The purpose of this course is to develop in students an appreciation of creative multimedia and the digital arts as a vital element in understanding the human condition and to expose the students to various digital art forms. Students will explore the relationships between the artist, the artwork, the audience, and society. The students will engage in critical analysis of various forms of creative electronic multimedia, interdisciplinary arts, and the digital arts to help them form aesthetic judgments. Meets MnTC Goal 6. (Prerequisites: none) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
College Writing I
This course involves expository writing based on experience, direct observation, research and reading with emphasis on critical thinking skills, rhetorical strategies, and style. (Meets MnTC Goal 1) (Prerequisites: Writing College Level Placement or successful completion of ENGL0528) (3 Credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
College Algebra
This course covers functions, graphs, exponents and logarithms, inequalities, application problems, matrices and determinants, sequences and series, and the binomial theorem. (Fulfills MnTC Goal 4) (Prerequisite: MATH1025 Algebra or Algebra College Level Placement ) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
Introduction to Statistics
This course emphasizes the concepts and methods of statistics. Statistics is the study of how to collect, organize, analyze, and interpret numerical information from data. Statistical methods will be presented with a focus on understanding both the suitability of the method and the meaning of the result. Statistical methods and measurements will be studied in the context of a broad range of practical applications that require decision making. (MnTC Goal 4) (Prerequisite: MATH1025 or MATH1020 or MATH1015 or Algebra College Level Placement or Statistics College Level Placement) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
College Physics I
This non-calculus based course introduces the basic principles of physics through applications, problems, and experiments. Newtonian motion and conservation laws for linear and circular motion will be covered including speed, velocity, and acceleration for linear and projectile motion. Oscillatory motion will be covered including mechanical, light, sound and energy waves. Thermodynamics will be introduced including the first and second law of thermodynamics. (Meets MnTC Goal 3) (Prerequisite: Algebra College Level Placement or successful completion of MATH1025 Algebra) (4 credits: 3 lecture/1 lab)

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4 cr
16 crs
Oxy-Fuel Welding, GMAW, Plasma and Flame Cutting, and Brazing for Bikes
This course will introduce the safety rules for the welding lab. This course will cover the issues with dealing with ultraviolet rays, burns, fumes, and electrical hazards. This course will also introduce the print symbols and terminology used in fabricating and welding basic joints that are commonly seen on blueprints. The student will be introduced to the four basic welding processes: gas (oxyacetylene), arc (shielded metal arc welding), MIG (gas metal arc), and TIG (gas tungsten arc) welding. The student will learn proper set up and operating procedures through classroom demonstrations. Special emphasis is placed on safety principles. Theory and operations of shielded metal arc welding equipment will also be covered. Emphasis is on safety, machine settings, and filler metals. Students will also develop a proficiency in theory and operation of shielded metal arc and gas metal arc welding in flat welding position, and horizontal welding position. Students will be introduced to Oxy/Fuel and Plasma metal cutting. Students will also be introduced to metal joining using brazing. (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 2 lecture/1 lab)

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3 cr
Machining for Bikes
This course introduces machining operations as they relate to the bicycle manufacturing industry. Topics include machine shop safety, measuring tools, lathes, drilling machines, saws, milling machines, bench grinders, and layout instruments. Upon completion, students should be able to safely perform the basic operations of measuring, layout, drilling, sawing, turning, and milling. Students will be exposed to the machining of materials typical of the bicycle industry including metals and composites. (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 2 lecture/1 lab)

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3 cr
This course will familiarize the student with the relationship between computer aided drafting and computer aided machining. Students will learn the principles of CNC machining. Students will learn to transfer CAD data to the machining programs (CAM) and to machine tools using the CAM package. Positive design aesthetics will also be explored and compared to traditional utilitarian design methods. (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 2 lecture/1 lab)

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3 cr
History and Theory of Bike Design
This course will explore the evolution and developmental history of the bicycles from first invention concepts to modern day designs including electric assist bikes (E-bikes). Case studies will be conducted looking at commercially unique and engineering milestone bike designs in recent history (such as the rise of mountain biking, bike suspension, commuter bikes, gravel bikes, fat bikes, 26 plus, and e-bikes). Emphasis will be given to both practical facets of bicycle design, as well as artistic facets distinguishing similar bikes from one another. Lab work will include basic assembly, setup, adjustment and repair of modern bike building. (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 3 lecture/0 lab)

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3 cr
AL-FE-SS-TI Welding for Bikes
The primary focus is on joining advanced bicycle materials utilizing the Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) process including materials like CrMo steels, high strength aluminum alloys, stainless steel and titanium. The course will enhance your knowledge of current thinking in arc welding safety, processes, instruction, concepts, equipment & consumables, and improve your welding skills as they pertain to bicycle fabrication. )Prerequisite: BIKE1010) (3 credits: 2 lecture/1 lab)

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3 cr
CNC for Bikes
This course introduces the concepts and capabilities of computer numerical control machine tools. Topics include setup, operation, and basic applications. Upon completion, students should be able to explain operator safety, machine protection, data input, program preparation, and program storage. Machine fixturing specific to bicycle fabrication will be covered. (Prerequisite: BIKE1020) (3 credits: 2 lecture/1 lab)

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3 cr
This course covers the fundamentals of parametric drawing and design. The student will use Solidworks to create 3D parametric models as well as use these models to create engineering drawings and documentation. (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 2 lecture/1 lab)

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3 cr
3D Prototyping
Learn how prototype parts and assemblies can be generated using CAD design data. Understand available processes to rapidly create functional objects, visual models, and working assemblies. Learn to apply a variety of rapid prototyping methods including: 3D Printing, Desktop Machining, Wood Router, Vacuum Forming, Laser Cutting, manual detailing and finishing (paint, decals, etc.). (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 2 lecture/1 lab)

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3 cr
Carbon Fiber & Composites
The objective of this class is to familiarize students with the composite materials layup process and the main types of composite fabrication. Students will learn the advantages and disadvantages of processes such as match molding, bladder blown compression, trapped rubber, RTM, and vacuum forming. Lab work will include building a carbon fiber based component using a wetlay process. Students will learn to identify problem molding areas and techniques used to best address these. (Prerequisite: none) (5 credits: 3 lecture/2 lab credits)

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5 cr
This course covers materials commonly used in the construction of bicycle components and frames. The mechanical properties of each material type will be explored and compared in detail including composite materials. The advantages and disadvantages of utilizing different materials for various applications will be addressed. The fabrication properties of each material type will be explored and contrasted. The impact of secondary operations such as heat treatment or coating on the durability, strength, or other properties of materials will be covered. A practical application of spring design will be presented to demonstrate the dependencies between material properties and component performance. (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 2 lecture/1 lab)

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3 cr
Provide instruction on mechanical design for the bicycle fabrication industry and applications. Course will cover Belts, Chain, Gear Drives, Lubrication, Couplings, Alignment, Bearings, Ball Screws, Seals, Clutches, Brakes, Vibration. Read blueprints and schematics to determine sequences of assembly. (Prerequisite: None) (3 credits: 2 lecture/1 lab)

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3 cr
Bicycle Electronics & Test Fixture Automation
This course covers the basic principles of electrical theory and measurement, and common electrical bicycle systems. The fundamental concepts of electricity and electronics that involve direct current (dc), alternating current (ac), resistive circuits, inductance, capacitance, batteries, transformers, motors, and other electronic components are introduced. Electronic shifting and electronic peddle-assist systems are explored and analyzed. The safety aspects of working with electrical systems is covered. The course covers the use of test and measurement equipment commonly found in industry, including: pneumatically driven endurance testing, corrosion and heat testing, performance benchmarking (stiffness/strength), and impact failure testing. (Prerequisite: none) (3 credits: 2 lecture/1 lab)

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3 cr
Physics for Bikes
This course covers the physics that control the operation of bicycles. The concepts of balance, momentum, rolling resistance, aerodynamics, and stability will be explored in theory and during lab work. Also covered will be how energy is expended by the rider and how this energy is transferred into motion of the bicycle in terms of efficiency and power. Power losses such as aerodynamic drag, friction, and frame flex, and ergonomics will be explored. How electric assist can impact power will also be discussed. Additionally, the thermodynamics and heat transfer of braking systems and how this energy transfer can impact frame and wheel design, and brake component performance will be explored in the classroom and the lab. The concepts relating to rider fit and position on the bicycle relative to power and efficiency will be covered. A discussion of how loads are applied to the frame and wheels, and typical failure points is also covered. (Prerequisite: none) (1 credits)

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1 cr
Safety and PPE
This course covers the personal protective equipment and safety procedures necessary to protect workers engaged in the design and development of bicycles. Emphasis is placed on the importance of training on the safe use of tools and equipment and to raise awareness of hazards. Knowledge of different types and classes of PPE and how to select the most appropriate protection depending on application and conditions of use. Understand how to don, size, and adjust PPE correctly. Understand the expected function and limitations of PPE. Understand how to interpret and respond to material safety data sheets (MSDS) when exposed to such materials and substances. Be knowledgeable of OSHA workplace regulations that govern safety requirements. Historical perspective of workplace safety. (Prerequisite: none) (1 credits)

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1 cr
This course covers the Capstone project that will demonstrate and showcase the student's knowledge and skills developed over the course of the program. Students will develop a practical physical or virtual model, design concept or algorithm that is relevant to the build, design, or development of bicycles. Facility will assist students in their choice of projects and approve the selected project prior to kickoff. Students must adhere to a strict timeline and other Capstone guidelines. Students will be responsible for project management and presentation format. Students will present their project to facility, industry partners, and peers. Students will be judged on a number of scales predefined in the Capstone guidelines. (Prerequisite: none) (4 credits)

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4 cr
44 crs

Total Credits Required for this Major: 60 Credits

Estimated Costs for this Major

Approximate Tuition/Fees:$11,994
Minimum Tool Cost:N/A
Estimated Total:$11,994


Career Opportunities

In this career field, you can work in the bicycling industry including:

  • Test Technician
  • Mechanical Design
  • Production Specialist
  • Engineering Technician
  • Quality Assurance Technician
  • Composite Manufacturing Technician
  • Other careers spanning light manufacturing, mechanical design, and engineering technology.

Career Information


Students will:

  • Understand the nuances of metal working as it pertains to bicycle design and light manufacturing
  • Gain mechanical design skills encompassing both structural integrity as well as aesthetic elements
  • Experience performing CAD modeling and 3D rapid prototyping
  • Understand physics-based concepts applicable to mechanical components, principles of statics, and thermodynamics


  • Opportunity to design and build a custom bicycle or bicycle component
  • Understand the art, aesthetics, and history of bicycle design
  • Coursework is created specifically as it applies to bikes
  • Gain transferable skills that can lead to a career in a wide range of industries


Michael Ford
A long-time Red Wing area resident, Mike Ford has been an instructor in welding at the college since 2016. He is a retired iron worker with experience in construction welding with organizations like the Army Corps of Engineers, Rosemount Pine Bend Refinery, and 3M. He has 44 years of metal fabrication/welding experience and is certified in SMAW, GMAW, FCAW, GTAW, in Steel, SS, and Aluminum.
Chase Spaulding
Chase Spaulding has bachelor's and master's degrees from North Carolina State University in Industrial Design. His background ranges from fabricating architectural metalwork to building custom motorcycles, putting academic theory into practical experiences and real world creations. In Bicycle Design and Fabrication, Chase aims to enable passionate students to jump-start their career in the cycling industry or a myriad of similar modern manufacturing opportunities




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Minnesota State College Southeast is an affirmative action/equal opportunity educator and employer. ADA accessible. MSC Southeast is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment and education opportunity. No person shall be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices, or access to and participation in, programs, services, and activities with regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or sexual orientation. In addition, discrimination in employment base on membership or activity in a local commission as defined by law is prohibited.


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