Cheap Chinese carbon bars and titanium skewers. Any good?

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  • Cheap Chinese carbon bars and titanium skewers. Any good?
  • Stevet1
    Member

    Can you write convincing marketing spiel in Chinese?
    Nope, but then my day job isn’t flogging stuff on ebay to the chinese.
    What does ‘quick disassembling carbon fiber handlebar ‘ mean to you?

    amedias
    Member

    What does ‘quick disassembling carbon fiber handlebar ‘ mean to you?

    To me it means somebody made a poor translation/mistake

    Premier Icon richardthird
    Subscriber

    Interesting thread. I too have had a bunch of cheap unbranded bars and seatposts in my ebay watch list for weeks now, still not brave enough to try them.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Also took a punt on some fully built whells from chinese ebay seller CN Carbon. They’re really rather good too.

    Their £300/1320g 38mm clinchers look good!

    amedias
    Member

    I too have had a bunch of cheap unbranded bars and seatposts in my ebay watch list for weeks now, still not brave enough to try them

    That’s exactly why I bought some actually, every time the topic came up there would be lots of fear-mongering, scare stories and teeth sucking, and 2nd hand anecdotes about the postman’s nan’s hairdresser’s husband who had a Chinese carbon bar that exploded once and sent carbon fibre shards straight to his heart and killed him and his cat dead, but very little actual 1st hand reports.

    I was (and still am) very sceptical about some fo them, but I bought some cheapies off ebay (£15) and put them on just rode them as normal, nothing broke, so I started using them on my race bike, trying to do a proper 1st hand test and use them under the same conditions I would any other bar.

    The bars (and me!) survived, so I kept using them. They don’t seem noticeably worse finsihing wise to the other branded bars I have either.

    Who knows how they will fare long term, or in terms of ultimate strength, but I’ve had a couple of years on them now with no drama and I pretty much forget they are there until someone asks what make they are.

    There seems to be general acceptance of cheap Chinese carbon when its a frame, or rims, or even a fork, but for whatever reason there’s still a lot of doubt about bars and seatposts.

    Make of that what you will, but all I will say is I have noticed that in general, most of the scare-mongering comes from people who haven’t used them (natural perhaps as they have doubts so aren’t going to), where as most people that have used them have reported very few issues, certainly no more than any other material or brand.

    bland
    Member

    I have the exact same bars (also from HK – Aliexpress) in 700mm staright flavour for my tupperware 29er Planet X frame. I havent built it yet, so cant comment on them snapping however they dont seem bad quality, look just like FSA bars of old.

    Ill report back in the replacement dentures thread!

    unovolo
    Member

    I took a punt on a set of the Carbon Flat mtb bars ,been using them for over 6 months so far on my rigid hardtail with no problems.

    The paranoid side of me does check them regularly and did compare them to a set of Answer Carbon pro tapers and finish/quality wise they dont seem any better/or worse.

    mikewsmith
    Member

    Make of that what you will, but all I will say is I have noticed that in general, most of the scare-mongering comes from people who haven’t used them (natural perhaps as they have doubts so aren’t going to), where as most people that have used them have reported very few issues, certainly no more than any other material or brand.

    I wouldn’t say my comments were scaremongering but again from your positive experience nobody knows if they are getting the same product as you, from the same factory or not. That is my reason for avoiding.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    mikewsmith – Member

    I love my Chinese made carbon frame, it came with a 5 year warranty, lots and lots of R&D and testing and a solid reputation from Santa Cruz.

    Ironic really considering their fail rate.

    mikewsmith
    Member

    Ironic really considering their fail rate.

    Not really as they replaced every single one. That and the issues were resolved with a redesign.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    So it doesn’t matter if carbon bits snap, as long as they replace them? But you’ll avoid products that have a lower failure rate because they may not be safe? 😕

    mikewsmith
    Member

    Eh, thats a chuck of assumption and mis quoting, you don’t know if “Handle bars from china” have a low failure rate, they are made all over the place in different factories with no central control. There were issues with a number of SC frames cracking round a bearing insert due to a design issue that was fixed. My general point is about people saying Chinese carbon is this or that, it’s an incredible multitude of things made by lots of people, in terms of the no name stuff or worse the blatant rip off/fakes with no known standards, testing or QC process.

    That’s pretty much my point.
    I don’t suppose Enigma would want to be lumped in with Lynskey as “Western titanium”.
    How do I know which is good Chinese carbon and which is not?
    Ebay feedback is no good for long term reliability.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    So buy from one of the shops that trade under their own name away from eBay?

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    mikewsmith – Member

    Not really as they replaced every single one. That and the issues were resolved with a redesign.

    My point was that their supposedly superior r&d and testing saw them launch a number of products that needed to be redesigned. Their customer service dealing with it seems to have been excellent and they’ve fixed the fault so I wouldn’t hold it against them, but it kind of calls doubt on the design excellence.

    amedias
    Member

    I wouldn’t say my comments were scaremongering but again from your positive experience nobody knows if they are getting the same product as you

    Wasn’t directed at you specifically by the way, was a general observation from the many bike forms (there are others?!) on t’internet.

    The bit about unknown is totally valid and was kind of my point about why I wanted to try some, I actually picked the cheapest ones I could find and not form a known manufacturer. As njee says, you can mitigate a lot of the unknown by buying from the bigger Chinese manufacturers who trade under their own name, but sometimes it is an unknown and the only way to find out is to try, same with any new brand/supplier in any material. Just because mine havent exploded doesn’t mean others wont, but it also doesn’t mean they will.

    If you look around though there are actually very few 1st hand accounts of people buying ‘cheap Chinese carbon’ and experiencing a failure. but plenty of first hand reports of good products with no problems.

    I would expect people to moan about the crap more than praise the good, as that’s naturally what happens, so based on the evidence available the risk seems low.

    Sure, there are some, but not as many as the prevailing ‘stay away!’ opinion would suggest.

    NW and Njee are ribbing you a little bit about SC but it is an interesting point, you’ve got faith in brand that had a proven design issue, and documented multiple failure rate, yet you’re happy to buy from them. But with another Chinese brand with no documented failure rate and no known design flaws you won’t buy from them.

    I totally understand that position, and brand faith based on reputation and how they handle such failures, but it’s hardly logical based on actual evidence is it?

    My general point is about people saying Chinese carbon is this or that, it’s an incredible multitude of things made by lots of people, in terms of the no name stuff or worse the blatant rip off/fakes with no known standards, testing or QC process.

    Exactly, China is a big country with thousands of factories churning out everything from complete shite to the very highest quality. Unless you can guarantee professional design, materials, manufacturing technique and quality control then I wouldn’t go anywhere near – regardless of cost.

    At the end of the day a bar failure is probably going to result in serious injury. It’s one of those failures you really want to avoid at all cost. For that reason I’m not a big fan of ultra-light bars, whatever they are made of. I would only choose branded bars from well known quality manufacturers, bought from a reputable retailer. I usually go for their toughest option too (usually DH rated) rather than super lightweight.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Member

    Matt wrote:

    As njee says, you can mitigate a lot of the unknown by buying from the bigger Chinese manufacturers who trade under their own name

    TBH that’s just about as good as buying a Chinese made part from a Western brand. I’d also be wary of buying parts on ebay where I don’t know the source, but no particular issues where there is a real company with a reputation (my road bike is a Pedalforce – it occurs to me the seatpost is also one of theirs, and I have no concerns at all about that, and would happily buy any of their parts).

    Premier Icon Sundayjumper
    Subscriber

    Another set of those QR’s here. The clamping force is rubbish and the plastic washer falls apart instantly. They’re on my weight weenie bike which fortunately never gets ridden 🙂

    As for bars, I’ve tended to buy second hand branded ones. “Oh noes” I’m sure someone will say, “what if they’ve been crashed and weakened and are about to fall apart”. Well, much like the buyers of chinese bars, I’ve no idea what state the carbon is in beyond the surface. And also like the buyers of chinese bars, I’m not dead yet.

    I keep wondering about trying some Chinese carbon rims though.

    I’m not dead yet.

    I love this quote. The “yet” is the key part of it 😉
    Not saying bars are going to kill you, but you might need a new face if they do let go at some point.

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Not saying bars are going to kill you, but you might need a new face if they do let go at some point.

    Will it be less serious if they say Easton on them and you’ve paid 5 times as much then?

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    I’m wondering if at £14 a throw it’s not worth ordering two, one to “Proof load” and/or chop up and decide if you think it is actually safe, the second to either use, or flog on via STW so you can then play the villain in another disgruntled buyer thread…

    Don’t touch the Ti skewers though, just accept the crippling weight of Shimano’s and find another way to save those grams…

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    FWIW if you want a cheap light skewer replacement, the Halo hex skewers (not quick release) are a good one, and still have a steel skewer.

    amedias
    Member

    I love this quote. The “yet” is the key part of it
    Not saying bars are going to kill you, but you might need a new face if they do let go at some point.

    And there we go, more speculation and no actual evidence. I’m not saying every thing from China is 100% awesome, I just prefer to make my decisions based on evidence and 1st hand experience rather than speculation.

    I’m sure this is the third time I’ve said it but…

    A> The reports of failures are few and far betweeen.

    B> The reports of decent products with no issues are numerous

    Being that people who experience A are more likely to complain than B, you would expect, simply on the balance of probabilities, that there would be more reports than we actually see in reality when viewing the evidence in online forums* (admittedly limited scope of buying population).

    *unless they’re all dead from bar failure 😉

    amedias
    Member

    I’d actually be really interested in someone* doing a study like this with various components bought from major brands, lesser known but good rep Chinese manufacturers, and the complete unknowns.

    It would be great to have some real world data to quantify the differences in terms of ultimate strength, longevity and fitness for use under normal loads. I’d be thoroughly open-minded about it and would hope that the big brands would come out on top, but I suspect it would provide some interesting results, possibly showing that the large Chinese manufacturers are ultimately just as good/equal, and a few rogue elements with seriously sub-par products.

    *That someone would have to be independent, unbiased, and unaffiliated with any of the big brands.

    Premier Icon nemesis
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    Problem is the volumes you’d have to test to get statistically relevant data. Which is why inspection of manufacturing practices, QI, etc is usually how it’s done up front to get an idea of how reliable it’s likely to be.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    I am actually half tempted to buy a cheap Chinese bar to destructively test in my Garage now…

    Simply because I’ve not yet seen much real evidence for or against these parts, just anecdotes and internet hearsay…

    I bet someone will post a link to some testing now won’t they…

    amedias
    Member

    Problem is the volumes you’d have to test to get statistically relevant data

    absolutely it would be a big task, but would be interesting…

    The assumptions often made about Chinese manufacturers are that the QC process is either missing, sub-standard or not representative of actual output.

    These are assumptions though, lots of the Chinese manus. do publish some of their test and QC data, but then people start making claims that it’s made up, or that the ones that don’t publish are the ones that haven’t done any testing.

    They can’t win, hence why it would be interesting to do an independent study.

    I am actually half tempted to buy a cheap Chinese bar to destructively test in my Garage now…

    Go for it Cookeaa, but remember, you’d also have to destructively test brand name bars in equivalent fashion to have any meaningful comparison…

    I bet someone will post a link to some testing now won’t they…

    I’ve been looking, and not found much, would love to see some if anyone does have links?

    There was a semi-useful comparison done of some carbon rims by one fo the Unis (Bath?) but from memory that was also full of problems with test methodology and sample size.

    Premier Icon nemesis
    Subscriber

    But you could test a bar and even if that company has a 99% failure rate, you might get one from the 1%. I think we all accept that no products are perfect and failures will always happen – that’s the problem with perception – if I get the one in a billion, I think that the product is crap.

    (I ride a direct from China frame/fork BTW)

    amedias
    Member

    And that’s why, as you said earlier, sample sizes would have to be quite large.

    We all know you can’t draw any conclusions from a single bar or a single test, same as you can’t draw meanginful conclusions form internet forums 😉

    Premier Icon Sundayjumper
    Subscriber

    I’m not dead yet.

    I love this quote. The “yet” is the key part of it
    Not saying bars are going to kill you, but you might need a new face if they do let go at some point.

    [/quote]I love this quote. The “if” is the key part of it.

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Of all the mountain biking things that might cause me to need a new face, snapping a bar is probably pretty low.

    plus one
    Member

    It’s easy to spot the guys on this thread that are running Silly expensive carbon bits with a brand name on them 😉

    I am actually half tempted to buy a cheap Chinese bar

    Which one though? A genuine branded one with a decent track record or just a random Chinese knock-off out the back door of some unknown factory off flea-bay? The latter would be nothing more than a lottery. A bit like buying random Chinese power supplies for your kid’s toys or phone charger. It might be just fine or it might kill you or burn your house down or both.

    Will it be less serious if they say Easton on them and you’ve paid 5 times as much then?

    The point is that if you do your research properly you can mitigate your chances of it happening at all. Buying a cheap Chinese carbon bar from an unknown source and brand is increasing your risk considerably. But then I’m an engineer so I understand concepts like design, materials, manufacture, quality control etc.

    You can put whatever crap floats your boat on your own bike and I’ll put whatever quality parts I like on mine.

    Premier Icon cookeaa
    Subscriber

    Go for it Cookeaa, but remember, you’d also have to destructively test brand name bars in equivalent fashion to have any meaningful comparison…

    You’re right, and really you’d want to test a wide range of bars from different suppliers in different materials and at various price points to build a better picture…

    But then given limited budget, time and resources, you might argue that as a minimum “control” test should really be done with a branded bar at the equivalent price point, most likely an aluminium one, say an EA30? that’s typically the consumer’s choice; bottom end branded product, or un-branded chinese Composite?

    Testing an ebay special against say an ENVE bar, would be a bit like comparing a Daewoo with a Porsche and completely ignoring the price differential surely?

    And yes 100% confidence could only ever come from 100% destructive testing of all products (generally not considered profitable by most companies), but at least some indication of a product’s performance can be drawn from any sample size, even a sample of just one, you simply need to highlight that in any conclusions you might draw…

    Of course with zero available test data you are currently no better informed than you would be with even a single data point, hence everyone’s for/against posts on these Chinese composite threads are of no more value than any other anecdotes or speculation, there’s no real harm in saying “I don’t know”…

    TBH I really do quite like the idea of semi-scientifically breaking/bending some bars simply to expand mine and other’s understanding…

    The real question is how do I apply known loads and measure deflections and breaking points consistently, and repeatably in my Garage and with minimal funds?

    A test rig is required…

    markshires
    Member

    @cookeaa
    Speaking of the testing I saw a video of one of the legit bar companies adding weights on each side of the bar and dropping it from a set height multiple times. I think it was on BikeRadar a couple of weeks back on the top 10 Carbon bars or something. I can’t find the link though. And not sure how relevent the testing will be.

    Also I get what your saying about comparing the price and saying it’s like comparing a Daewoo with a Porsche, but isn’t the point of the Chinese bars meant to be that they would be at the same price point if made in UK factories?

    Anyway I will have another look for the bar test video for anyone interested.

    markshires
    Member

    Found it, it was in Dirt not sure what it proves but it may be of interest to some.
    http://dirtmountainbike.com/products/10-best-mountain-bike-carbon-bars.html/11

    Premier Icon nemesis
    Subscriber

    markshires – that’s Easton – it’s on their site IIRC

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Buying a cheap Chinese carbon bar from an unknown source and brand is increasing your risk considerably. But then I’m an engineer so I understand concepts like design, materials, manufacture, quality control etc.

    You can put whatever crap floats your boat on your own bike and I’ll put whatever quality parts I like on mine.

    1) Get over yourself FFS, call yourself whatever you want, you’re still making a lot of entirely baseless comments. Can you answer my question about whether it would be less serious if some Easton bars broke? Let’s not pretend that branded parts don’t break, that would be stupid.

    2) How do you know that buying from an unknown source is increasing your risk? It just increases your perception of risk. Look at the story over there >>>>>>> Orange have recalled forks because the steerer was detatching from the fork. You’re basically saying it’s lower risk to buy an Orange fork than a Chinese one, in this instance that doesn’t appear to hold water.

    If you don’t want to buy parts direct from the Far East that’s fine, but you’re talking a lot of scaremongering shit.

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