Cheap chinese carbon frames - Explain it to me

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:21 am

by Galatzo

I'm struggling to get to grips with all these cheap carbon frames available :noidea:
Can someone just give me a brief run down on what's good and and bad with these things please ?

Most on Ebay seem to be pretty similar to each other and I think I'm going for one of these 2 suppliers for what seems to be commonly known as the FM015 frame and FK007 fork, Carbonzone call it the RB003. ... K:MEWAX:IT
or ... K:MEWAX:IT

And how do Neo fit in ? Are they the same as the above ?

I definetly want a matt 3k finish and I'm just trying to decide on standard or integrated post (worries me if I find out I need more layback but looks ace) and the 516 or 529 top tube.

Looking for my own stealth build along these lines - further down is a nice build with standard seatpost - are these FM015 frames ?

If these are a very good buy then it may be a best bike, if they're just good then it'll be my winter tinkering project.
It'll be wearing campag !

Thanks in advance.

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Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:38 am

by bones

The problem with these eBay frames is that you actually don't know what the effective horizontal top tube measurement is because most of the sellers only list the actual sloping top tube measurement. And when you contact them to ask, they don't even know the measurement themselves.

by Weenie

in the industry
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by phallenthoul

Galatzo wrote:And how do Neo fit in ? Are they the same as the above ?


Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:21 am

by Galatzo

Both the ones I looked at on ebay have given me full geometry drawings with effective top tubes.
So what's the score with Neo then ?
Excuse my ignorance but I just don't understand how it all works, people say they're all built in a couple of factories so I assumed they were all similar or samer models.
So are these worth the £325 or so they would cost me ?

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by jmilliron

bones wrote:The problem with these eBay frames is

...that you don't actually have any idea what you're getting.
2013 Wilier Cento1 SR || 2009 Ridley Crossbow || 2011 Yeti AS-R 5 Carbon

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Joined: Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:54 pm

by pletharoe

I can't tell you about the Chinese frames, although I've read other threads that seem to say that they're very good, but a bit rough round the edges (poor finish etc.) although one guy posted a horror story about them. I guess, you pays yer money you takes yer chance!

As for the integrated seat post thing. I've just got a Ridley Helium with an ISP. Whether an ISP is worth it can be discussed ad nauseum. What I can tell you is that my "cutting" experience was very good (though harrowing at the outset). Once the bike had arrived (mail order) I took it along to the LBS, which had a funkatron machine thing like an exercise bike, which could put the bars, seat and pedals in any position. Once we'd found the right position for me, my bike was handed over to a grinning engineer brandishing a hacksaw while the shop assistants held me back with calming words of "Trust us, it'll be alright, we've done this before."

10 minutes later my bike was presented to me and it's been a perfect fit ever since. So, in short. For an ISP, leave it to the professionals. 9/10 times they'll do it right (ok, hopefully more than that).

After that, the only problem is selling it on afterwards. But I imagine I'm going to keep this bike for a while, and I can still adjust it up to 9mm (or cut it down more) and Ridley provide a clamp which allows up to 40mm adjustment. I imagine the Chinese brand won't do that though.

Oh, I've just found the link to a thread on RBR which might answer some of your questions. It's quite a hot topic, it's the third major thread they've had on Chinese carbon ... p?t=225409

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by SpinnerTim

Things to consider:

1. Warranty?
2. After sales support? Is there a person you can actually contact for customer service or questions?
3. Fit/Geometry? Like you said, hard to do without riding, sitting on, or even seeing the bike.
4. Quality? How much has been sacrificed to make it cheap?

5. Alternatives? Is this the best place to spend your money? Is a 3K carbon weave on a no-name Ebay bike worth all of the question marks above? Is something like a Dura Ace CAAD10 a better option despite the aluminum? You probably aren't going to get top spec carbon for Ebay prices.

I don't have the answers to the above, but it seems that dealing with real people, tangible goods, and having recourse for problems is worth spending a bit more or settling for a different frame material.

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Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2010 11:21 am

by Galatzo

Thanks all.
There seems to be a wide variation of opinion on these frames and personally I think some of them look pretty good (I like plain matt 3k) but as most say who knows what the ride is like and then the warranty issue (or lack of) but then they're only £300.
So is the FM015 any good or one of the better ones ?
Any user reports ?

May go back to plan a and get a HED R1c, always liked them and not expensive.

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by CharlesM

jmilliron wrote:
bones wrote:The problem with these eBay frames is

...that you don't actually have any idea what you're getting.


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by ahumblecycler

I know what I was getting when I bought my NEO, and I hope I heal quickly so I can take it out for its first ride.

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by Rick

PedalForce, Element 6, Planet-X, maybe some others ...look like a reasonable compromise: cheap, but with a company that appears to stand behind their products.

The FM-015, from HongFu Bikes, seems to be getting good reviews at another bike forum. I am really tempted just to see.

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by Musiker

I was not happy about my Neo Exile - Sure it was cheap and light, but I did not feel safe on it in the long run..
Read about my build and findings here....

What it all boils down to for me is: You can not trust that people on a forum will give unbiased feedback. In my oppinion all the positive talk about the original Neo Exile comes from people who ordered a frame themselves and thus are very positivly biased (They did order it for some reason).
Notice if you read the thread, that a few others chime in with pretty much the same observations as mine.
Also notice how my initial positive take slowly turns to the worse. I WANTED to belive - So in that regard I was also biased and focused on the good stuff, hehe!
Maybe I expected too much...

I do not know how much the Neo's have improved, so the frames might be very different today, but I personally would not recommend people buying a frame without it at the very least come directly from a company with a reputation at stake. These people that offer frames on ebay and don't have hard earnt reputation to defend have absolutly nothing to fear, if the frame you buy turns out to be a crash waiting to happen. They will in the best case just stop selling and in the worst just change name of their company and continue to sell the same junk.. A reputable company that sells frames with such defects would be out of buisness in notime.

Enough ranting from me..


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by ahumblecycler

When I ordered my NEO Exile Plus, I spent a long time reading reviews including Henrik's as well as lots of exchanges with Patrick (NEO Cycles). The new frame set is different and improved (based on several owners - perhaps or not wanting to believe) with the tapered head tube for more precise steering, new and stiffer fork, larger tubes with additional fiber layers on the frame, and the inclusion of BB30.

Patrick does a lot of business across forums and he does have a reputation to uphold (accountability).

I similar great-to-not-great like Henrik's account on bikes costing 3 to 6 times the amount I paid for the NEO. I bought this bike to fill my need as i refinanced my home and yet have something new. Will I keep it forever? Who does? :wink: Will I be disappointed ... nope. Will I be pleasantly surprised ... pretty sure I will be. Would I do it again ... cannot say until I mend and actually able to ride again but I do know I would not hesitate to buy from Patrick.

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by Musiker

Patrick have done ok service - He should maybe have pursuaded me to take the Edge fork (Could not draw the full amount on my Paypal at that time), but I am not blaming him for the fact that I ended up disliking my Neo... That could very well have happend with any frame - I need quite a few miles on my gear before I know how I like it.. Heck I may even end up not liking my Parlee once I get some miles on it, but the main point was that it is really tough to judge a frame from asking on a forum.. You just have to realise that you are taking a greater risk ordering a frame this way, rather than getting a frame from a big well known Company.
I doubt that I can get much for my Neo now - I would actually feel bad about selling it to someone. Whereas if it had been a CAAD 9 it would have been much easier to sell in the case I ended up not being happy about it.

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by sbh1973

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.

by Weenie

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