Apologies for the long message but....
This is a warning to all those thinking of buying a Chinese Titanium frame from Xi’an Titan Product.
The following is my personal experience of buying a titanium frame.
Unfortunately I seem to be one of those people who if you’ve heard of some crazy sh#* thing happening to someone and thought ‘its just an urban myth’ or ‘that’s something that rarely happens to anyone’, well, it usually happens to me.
After much researching I narrowed frame builders down to Titan Product and XACD. I found trying to deal with Porter at XACD a complete headache. The bloke is a pain in the arse. He has a massive chip on his shoulder and I figured, should I have any problems, dealing with him would be a nightmare. Anita at Xi’an Titan Product however was easy to converse with.
After many emails back and forth I eventually finalised my frame dimensions. It took approximately 4 weeks from payment until the frame arrived.
Out of the box it looked great. I proudly took it to my LBS to have the headset pressed in.
And this is where it turns to crap. Upon inspecting the head tube the LBS mechanic found the head tube bent. Being vertically bent meant the ends were no longer perpendicular but on top of this each side of the head tube was not equal. The head tube closest to the join of the down tube and top tube had shrunk so that it was shorter than the front of the head tube.
Regardless of this I instructed the mechanic to press the headset in anyway, just to see what happens. The headsets did not sit properly; there was a gap in some areas between the headset and the head tube. Then, when trying to fit the fork through, it would not fit. After a little fidgeting it finally pushed through but would not rotate easily due to the forces the bent head tube (and therefore headset) put onto it.
After I finished throwing a tantrum, which included much swearing and kicking whatever I wouldn’t break my foot on, I decided to take the frame to another LBS to get a second opinion. They also told me the head tube was stuffed and even pointed out the uneven markings on the headset once it had been removed. Indicating a head tube that was not round either. Great. Still not happy and in denial I took it to a third LBS, same diagnosis.
I contact Anita at Xi’an Titan and told her the problem. She said I could either return the frame and they would refund shipping and the frame cost or they would pay for the frame to be fixed locally.
I decided it would be easier if I simply returned the frame and got a replacement.
When they received the frame back they initially gave me 2 options:
1. A full refund
2. CNC head tube out and replace it.
I told them I would simply like a refund.
They refused. Nice choice eh?
Anita at Xi’an Titan Product told me their ‘Engineer’ had looked at the frame and found it to be fine. (They also said they inspected the frame before it left and said it was fine). They said they would return the frame but refused to refund my money as they had previously promised.
I now don’t want the frame back as I don’t know what they have done to it. Whether they have cut the head tube out and replaced it or bent it somehow or faced the head tube. I have no idea how they have decided a head tube was functional when 3 independent LBS wrenches here in Australia can assess it as being f*#@ed?
I have now had to put a dispute in through Alibaba in the hope they will force Xi’an Titan Product to refund my money but it is looking unlikely.
Other wonderful quotes from Anita is that they ‘produce 1000s of frames every year and they have never had a problem’. I find this very unlikely. No company in the world who produce 1000s of items per year have no problems at all.
And ‘The bending is unavoidable to weld large downtube to a long headtube’. So anyone looking to buy a Ti frame off these guys, make sure your head tube is less than 15cm long.
On top of all of this I bought a number of titanium bolts from them that never arrived. Anita told me she packaged them in the box with the frame but unless someone opened the box and took them out (unlikely) they were never sent with the frame.
It is horrible that Anita at Titan assured me that they would pay for not only refunding the frame but for return shipping but as soon as they had the frame back they changed their mind and refused any refund at all.
I saw a number of happy stories from people who had bought frames from them and little bad stories. Well, here’s your bad story.
Further to this, through the AliExpress feedback system, I gave Xi’an Titan Product a 1 star feedback rating on the transaction. This has never appeared on the website. They still have a 100% positive feedback rating on their AliExpress site.
So, there you have it. You have been warned. Use my experience to way up the pro’s and con’s. I thought Titan Product was the best of the bad lot but I was wrong. They are as dishonest as the rest of them, so take your chances.
Anyone looking for further info, feel free to PM me.
(PS – You’ll find my post in a few bike forums to get the message out there.)
Forewarned is forearmed.