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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:14 am 
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sbh1973 wrote:
Most of the folks over at RoadBikeReview, where "carbon ebay frames" has been by far and away (nothing is even close) the most popular topic for the past year or more, have had lots of success sourcing their frames directly from manufacturers or middlemen in China. The frames look great and can be custom painted by the factories. My sense is they're as good as most frames coming out of Asia. They do come with warranties and can be returned, but it is, of course, a hassle. But for $400-500 shipped (and in some cases less), that's a trade-off a lot of people are willing to make.

Check out GotoBike as well - they have a frame (028 I think) that is under 1000g.




I suspect that there are tons of fake advertising going on in that forum. I've visited that thread and it is dominated by people who initially register and make their first posts about how great it is to buy from such-and-such place.


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Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:14 am 


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:27 am 
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I wonder... If the labels and paint were removed from say, 10 bikes would anyone ever know which was a Trek or Ridley or which came from China without branding... I've seen generic frames and wheels raced to great success and have seen the fanciest of bikes wasted... One takes a risk with any bike they buy, that's just life. The assumption that because a bike doesn't have paint on it results in a lesser product is a testament to the marketing hype of the big bike companies.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 10:50 am 
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@showdown - Youre most likely right that the big companies hype their products, but there are standards for safety testing, some parts are not important, but some are (EN14781 Is an european one). Parlee mention that stricter safety requirements are the reason that the fork on the Z5 have become heavier.
http://www.parleecycles.com/z5
Quote:
FORK: The reality is that the safety regulations have changed the fork landscape for good such that many forks are no longer available or they are 20% heavier than they were 2 years ago.


Now do you really think that the cheapest frames directly from china are tested for durability and safety? If it works anything like in the electronics buisness they do not want to spend the resources needed to make these tests. So products that are sold as ultra low price stuff tend to fail all kinds of regulatory tests! Will the consumer notice? That depends, some may not, but some will experience trouble because of the shitty compliance. Often not with the cheap electronic device, but with other equipment which is disturbed by e.g. RF-noise from the Cheapotronic device.
I have also seen products that have a high risk of electrocuting you in case they malfunction just the slightest. The average consumer may not reconize this risk until its too late..
Its really up to you if you think that the Cannondale paint is worth it.. I did not think so an year ago.. Today I am not so sure
/Henrik

EDIT: BTW - Its no guarentee that a company assures that the frame have passed EN14781 - You have to trust that it is true, because you have no way of knowing that they really have tested it

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Last edited by Musiker on Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 12:20 pm 
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sbh1973 wrote:
Most of the folks over at RoadBikeReview, where "carbon ebay frames" has been by far and away (nothing is even close) the most popular topic for the past year or more, have had lots of success sourcing their frames directly from manufacturers or middlemen in China. The frames look great and can be custom painted by the factories. My sense is they're as good as most frames coming out of Asia. They do come with warranties and can be returned, but it is, of course, a hassle. But for $400-500 shipped (and in some cases less), that's a trade-off a lot of people are willing to make.

Check out GotoBike as well - they have a frame (028 I think) that is under 1000g.



of course, it's roadbikereview, so take that with a grain of salt as well! :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:22 pm 
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FWIW, I just purchased a set of 50mm carbon tubular rims from Jenny at HongFu and after a thorough email exchange where she not only provided me with all of the geometry and charts that I requested, she answered every question almost instantly (what's the time difference to China, dones she sleep?!) she also sent me pdf's of their EN standards test results. Now certainly, those could be forged and I'm not an expert enough to decipher a fake from a legitimate result (who is?) but I can tell you one thing for certain... Of all the companies whose products I've owned (Giant, Trek, Orbea, Zipp, American Classic, Ritchey, Easton, the list goes on...) The only two to provide me with such documentation of passed international standards were Colnago and HongFu (and yes, I've asked many of those companies-after receiving my Colnago I was curious to see if other companies would provide such results- the answer was no followed by "trust us, we comply" type of answers)

But here's more food for thought- Rims and frames fail.. even the best rims and frames fail. If one of these products fails while you're descending at 50mph down the side of a mountain it won't matter who makes it and what warranty they have... the product will fail and you'll be SOL. And as for warranties- I've wrecked wheels before... I've had frames fail and the warranties these companies assure you are what's invested into their superior product is mostly BS... What kind of warranty requires the customer to pay $1200 to get a new frame after the carbon around the BB cracks... what warranty requires a customer to pay $350 per rim when the rim cracks at the nipple... If I'm to pay that much to replace a product I was assured passed international standards and was protected by a warranty then I might as well buy generic because for $1200 I can get 2 frames and not care if one breaks, or 2 rims and simply toss the broken ones...

Part of me believes that many of the folk on the message boards who have not tried an unbranded carbon product are taking positions that seek to justify and defend their own purchase of significantly more expensive brand-name products... Because when someone shows up with an identical product that cost 1/3 as much the obvious reaction is to condem the quality of the generic and expose the idiocy of the purchaser. Because really, I can't be the fool for paying $3,500 for a frame and $2,500 for a set of wheels...

My ultimate feeling is that the only the opinions of individuals who have bought and used the Chinese and Taiwanese products are relevant. Everyone else is just blowing steam.

When I get my wheels (50mm carbon tubular, Soul hubs, DT aerolite spokes- 1250g) built up and ridden I'll report back about their quality.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 1:40 pm 
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FWIW I bought the Hong Fu FM001 with the 001 forks. My thinking on it was this. If I write it off/crash it I only have t o replace a couple hundred of bucks worth. With the sportives/races and roads I ride on (in Ireland) there have been many crashes. My mind was made up when in a very fast sportive there was a stupid smash and a nice expensive cervelo was snapped. Think of a bunch sprint. A heap of guys come down and your spesh/cannondale/Pino is smashed.
I am of a sprinters build and had no issue whatsoever with the frame. And that is from taking across the roughest roads and descending at 100km plus. Brand names can snap as well as non brands.
Arguments can go on all day about QC-ethics-R and D etc but everyone is free to make their own choice. Personally I would/am buying another.
All of this is of course IN MY OWN OPINION 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 2:14 pm 
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mdeth1313 wrote:
sbh1973 wrote:
Most of the folks over at RoadBikeReview, where "carbon ebay frames" has been by far and away (nothing is even close) the most popular topic for the past year or more, have had lots of success sourcing their frames directly from manufacturers or middlemen in China. The frames look great and can be custom painted by the factories. My sense is they're as good as most frames coming out of Asia. They do come with warranties and can be returned, but it is, of course, a hassle. But for $400-500 shipped (and in some cases less), that's a trade-off a lot of people are willing to make.

Check out GotoBike as well - they have a frame (028 I think) that is under 1000g.



of course, it's roadbikereview, so take that with a grain of salt as well! :mrgreen:




Exactly! Roadbikereview is one of the biggest frauds out there. All of it is pure fake advertising. I think it's called astroturfing or something. So stupid. I swear. The moderators even do it and it would not surprise me if they have multiple usernames themselves.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:04 pm 
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@Showdown - It is commendable that you request testreports etc. That also tell me that you are a technical minded person that is aware that tests should be made to ensure that quality and safety is acceptable. I don't think everyone is aware that quality control is not something you can assume taken care of when you import things yourself. At all the positions I have had our QA have returned sooo much stuff to the suppliers because the quality of the delivered products was unacceptable. The biggest problems have always been when using super cheap subcontractors!

To recollect. The OP wanted to know about experiences with cheap china frames (off ebay). So I chimed in and warned that there is a hype about buying a cheap frame.. Just as well as there is when buying an expensive one.. People (me included) are reluctant to admit it, when they realise that they made a bad choice...
No matter what you say. I will stand by opinion that you are worse off when it comes to warrenty and security issues, when youre dealing with ebay and unbranded stuff from a unknown source. Yeah Zipp/Cannondale/Felt etc may be unreasonble or deliver a product that does not live up to standards, but they do have a brand name to protect and if your case is bad enough to go public with, they most likely will take care of it. Neo/Hong Fu or whatever third factory in China - Could just change the name of their operation and continue under a new name.

How Hong Fu's production and QA are I can't be 100% on, a visit to the factory and a few third party tests of frames would be ideal. However I am not getting much confidence when I look at their homepage and see that all contacts are to a person named Jenny and contact details are through email and phone. There is no real address other than LongGang Town, Shenzhen City, China - Further more the first road frame shown on the flash on the front page looks 100% like the Neo Exile frame I have. the products could be fine Though *shrugh*

@bcmf - Yeah it might be cheap to replace the fork, but if you damage yourself or others in a crash that follows a snapped fork?? Id rather use a heavier or/and more expensive part and I am pretty sure that I will get a much higher probability that it will not snap under normal circumstances..

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:53 pm 
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@Musiker I meant no disrespect to you or your decisions, and I'm sorry your experience was crummy- nobody deserves that...

Information can be found if one does a bit of research:
http://jenny8088.en.ec21.com/company_info.jsp

The company that tests HongFu:
http://www.sgs.com/contact_us.htm?clickedcountry=118

FWIW, from HongFu:
http://www.hongfu-bikes.com/About.asp?Id=1
http://www.hongfu-bikes.com/About.asp?Id=13

And here, one of the employees (manager?) of HongFu comments (albeit minimally) on Velonews about a frame they produced being used by a pro team: http://velonews.competitor.com/2010/06/ ... olheiser-3

Let's take a step back and look at the products... how many frames failed, how may rims failed, how many, as a percent of total produced were duds... Everything on these forums is speculation derived from the belief that stuff produced in Asia is by nature a lesser product.

I find it amusing to assume that just because a company is located in China or Taiwan they are fly-by-night and can't be trusted. By that rationale Giantex (one of the largest producers of CF in the world) is a sketchy company as they're located in Asia. By that rationale, the Colnago CX-1 and M10 I own are inferior products because they're produced in Asia...

Further, the assumption that all Asia produced components are time-bombs is just dumb. My team had to send back 16 Trek Madones because the BB shells disintegrated and the frames developed resin cracks! 16 frames! It took months to get new frames that guess what, also suffered from cracking...

We now race Colnagos produced in Asia.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:52 pm 
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Not as cheap, but it's a US company, and considering the specs (if accurate) it looks pretty good. ISP, 54cm, 890g, $1000, 5 year warranty.

http://www.pricepoint.com/detail/20969- ... et-ISM.htm

Image


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 5:03 pm 
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@Showdown, Hehe. no offense taken at all! I take it as a learning experience...
Im not saying that all (or even most) companies located in the far east are producing junk! By no means. What I am referring to are the "backdoor" and "backyard" places where employees,management or owners run a production line with one goal, to make some quick cash, such a facility could produce high quality frames during the daytime and at night produce something that looks similar, but are made without the normal QA or using alternative and cheaper materials! Unfortunatly I think that many ebay and alibaba listings are from these kind of productions.

AFAIK The address "kenzi street" is not complete - At least google gives up on it, but that could just be me not knowing my way around chinese addresses..

A Well known danish television show. Made an investigation in to how cheap water faucets where produced in the far east. It turned out that they used melted down junk metal with higher than allowed concentrations of dangerous metals. (Link in danish, only, sorry http://omtv2.tv2.dk/index.php?id=216 ) - The same I know happens in the electronic business- A lot of the really cheap products are made with little or no regards to quality or safety. Why should it not happen in the bicycle industry?

Lastly I am not so ignoran that I think big companies does not try to take the same shortcuts and lower QA, but more often than not they pay the price when it happens. Loosing costumer confidence is not good for a company like Trek, so they can not make many mistakes like this. And might even be forced to recall the whole production batch in order to save their brand name..

I think that Swalbe and Mavic Have both recalled products that had defects? Do you think an ebay or alibaba seller would do the same?

BR
Henrik
Ps. my new frame (The parlee Z5 is also produced in Asia)

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:00 pm 
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Well this has certainly got you talking !
I certainly don't think I will get a definitive answer on whether they're good or not, everyone has their own opinions and preferences to what they like in a frame.
I'm considering one of these frames for various reasons, I think in naked 3k they look great, not got a large budget at the moment, I waste far too much money on bikes just becase I like to try things, not the end of the world at this price if I don't really like it, and they could also be a bargain.
It seems there a quite a lot of people selling the same frames, often with the same model number eg FM015.
Is one place making all these FM015 frames or do various factories have the mould and produce them ?
If various factories are producing the same frame with the same mould how can you tell if one is better than another ?
I seem to be keener on the FM028 now rather than the FM015 although the HED R1c is only £399 in the UK and is much less of a risk considering the dealer is 40 miles away.
Researching a new bike is nearly as much fun as riding it !


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 6:41 pm 
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If you haven't already see it- this is a pretty informative site re: carbon from Asia...

http://cheapcarbonframes.com/


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:38 am 
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Guys, I hate to disappoint you, majority of carbon frames you see today, Cervelo, Specialized, Pinarello, Scott, Wilier, Colnago, Cannondale, Look, Time, and so many others, are made in Taiwan or made in China. China made carbon frame is "cheap" until they slap a American or European label on it, from a $300 frame, all of a sudden, its a $3000 frame.

Browse "carbon fiber" in alibaba.com. You can buy a nice carbon frame for $300 from a OEM manufacture. Some will sell small quantity such as a single unit to you as "samples". Some of these products looks pretty good, such as Miracle in Hong Kong, uses Toray carbon from Japan to manufacture carbon frames. Is there a after sales support or warranty? I doub it. But for so little money, that is the trade off.

You can find just about anything in alibaba.com because China makes almost everything in the world.

With prices like that, you can even try to "brand" your own bicycle company. Why not? Its all marketing and sales isn't it? That is what almost all major bicycle companies are doing to us today. Get used it, its the new reality.

Oh yes, my top dollar 2009 Wilier Cento Uno frame was made in Taiwan or made in China.

Good luck, David.


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Posted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:38 am 


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 8:49 am 
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@flyingtiger.. Have you read the thread :wink: ? No one is opposing the fact that most frames are made in Asia! My arguments are that:
- Just because a factory is capable of making a good Carbon frame, does not mean that they won't try to cut cost by using lower quality materials on the stuff that goes out the backdoor to ebay and Alibaba!

- How can you be sure that warrenty and safety of the products you buy of ebay or even Alibaba are ok? IF you buy a Trek/Cervelo/Cannondale/Willier or other "branded" frame. These companies have a brand to defend - They can't get away with anything. A company like "Hong Fu" can! They will not have a hard time to sell just as good under another name... Because they are cheap, and people always seem to go for cheap atleast once (Me included)

- Some listings and companies may very well be producing quality stuff and posting it on Alibaba and ebay, but as an average consumer I think it is near to impossible to figure out which offerings are solid and which are not. And I found that people's opinion and reviews on the internet to be overly positive about the few cheap products I have bought (Neo Exile frame being the most expensive one). This is compared to my own standard, so maybe I just expected to much from the raving reviews of the Neo Exile frame.

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