So, there seems to be some suppliers of carbon frames that people are getting good service and good kit all the way from China. We also know that a lot of branded frames come from China and that the Chinese quite possibly lead the way in terms of carbon manufacture (at least for bicycle frames).
My question is, do we (the stw collective) know with any certainty, which branded frames match which direct from China frames?Posted 4 years ago
Cheers. I’m aware of the potential quality differences. However, I don’t imagine they use two different processes for the same mound. I used to work for a third tier automotive supplier. There was a car at that time which was identical between two different manufacturers. We’d check the finished item against the spec for the more prestigious company, then take the rejects bin down to another station and check them against the standards for the second company. The good examples could be of the same standard for both, it was just that the band of what was acceptable was a good bit wider.Posted 4 years agojordieMember
Nope if you want a top brand buy it. A frame looking the same is fine if you buy and think you are riding a top notch bike. It is just like all the “fakes” in China a take handbags they look the same feel the same but tgey are not the same as the correct one. Companies view brand security as important and if people think that some bikes are exactly the same just put out the cheap door rather than the expensive door. Remember copies are not breaking any rules in China the powers at be are with people coping anything just google China copy cars or trucks.Posted 4 years agomrblobbyMember
Not wanting to start a different debate, but does it matter? Think there’s enough info and reviews out there now from people who have these frames (velobuild for example) to consider them on their own merits, rather than try and draw some comparison with models from a brand that sells bikes in the UK.
That’s the thing, I wouldn’t expect to find a tarmac, venge, domane, madone etc direct from China but I think you could get a ribble or a planet x.
You won’t get a Ribble or a Planet X. You could potentially get a frame that came from the same mould, same factory, same process, etc. but it wouldn’t be a Ribble or a Planet X or a Specialized or a Trek etc.Posted 4 years ago
the Chinese quite possibly lead the way in terms of carbon manufacture (at least for bicycle frames).
‘some’ rather than ‘the’ Chinese, I’d say.
However, I don’t imagine they use two different processes for the same mound.
It’s quite normal to change the layup or carbon spec and use the same mold.
The good examples could be of the same standard for both, it was just that the band of what was acceptable was a good bit wider.
This is it – what is acceptable to a big brand may be above the standard that the factory think is ok to sell. They all think what they do is OK and that’s often the problem, it varies.Posted 4 years agoshermer75Member
I did a bit of Internet research on this and the conclusion I came to was that the big names ( I think I was looking mostly at Trek) use all different factories, sometimes even for the same model! I also got the impression that it was mostly Taiwan rather than China but I should imagine these things are changing all the time.Posted 4 years ago
I also got the impression that it was mostly Taiwan rather than China but I should imagine these things are changing all the time.
Not really – I’ve never seen a “Made in China” sticker on a Trek or Spesh after 11 years working in a dealer, every one says “Made in Taiwan”, and to my knowledge the ‘big boys’ don’t change factories that readily (although they may have multiple sites) – they’ve got a lot of invested expense and expertise at these places.Posted 4 years agoShredMember
There are some articles out there saying that a lot of the frame manufacture happens in China. They are then shipped to Taiwan for finishing and so the sticker is “made in Taiwan”, which is more acceptable to consumers.
The issue is that the large producers will have a QC person watching the process, so you know that the required fibres, layup and curing process is used.Posted 4 years ago
For their own brand, they often copy the moulds, but you have no idea of the fibres, layup and curing.tpbikerMember
i’m not convinced the handbag analogy is a particularly good one. If the strap falls off it then its no big deal, where as if the frame snaps at 40 mph and a truck is behind you it probably is.
Now I’m not saying that all chinese frames are bad, far from it, and I imagine my planet x is just a rebranded version. The key for me would be having confidence that it isn’t going to fail disasterously. Ie has it come out exactly the same factory, or has it been put together by someone whos got hold of a mold but has no idea of the carbon layup process, and hasn’t given much thought to the structural integrity. Although I’m sure that may only apply to 5-10% off cheap replicas, its not a chance I’m willing to take for a saving of a few hundred quid over a planet x/ribblePosted 4 years ago
The vast majority of the big brands come out of Taiwan, rather than mainland China (Trek/Spesh/Giant/Scott etc)
Not necessarily, that I’ve seen. Many Taiwanese factories also have production facilities in China. I’ve seen some big/boutique brands’ high-end carbon product in Chinese factories, nothing negative about that. Much of the most reputed carbon stuff out there is made in China.Posted 4 years agothisisnotaspoonMember
For their own brand, they often copy the moulds, but you have no idea of the fibres, layup and curing.
I’d think of it the other way.
I have no idea what Cannondales ultra high modulous CF is, or how it compares to Trek’s latest revision of OLCV. But I can go on the Toray website and see what T700 is.
The big brands are in the business of making the process as obscure as possible to make the value added apear as high as possible. Heck, i’d not be supprised to find some carbon frames had a glassfibre content.
I’d have faith in carbon frames, there’s not a lot you can cut costs with, assuming they’re not lying and using different fibres to whats advertised, and even if they did, they could have done the same with an 853 tubeset sticker. They’re hardly likely to de doing something stupid like uing polyester of vinylester resins rather than epoxy are they?Posted 4 years agoChunkyMTBMember
^^ what he said
Plenty of direct China carbon frames out there being abused for a number of years now.
The vendors are well aware of forums and how quickly a shonky product can damage them.
So far my direct China stuff has been faultless. The customer service too – which has been tested by some people with positive results.Posted 4 years ago
new 2013 or 2014 SWORKS stumpie 29er hardtail for circa £2500 (or £3500 with RockShox SID World Cup 29 Brain forks)
for £360 plus change POSTED!Posted 4 years ago
nice looking and identical carbon frame from the same mould
Are you sure it’s identical and from the same mold, same factory? Knowing how hot Specialized are on IP..?
I’m not scaremongering. I’ve seen really nice carbon frames from well-respected brands made in the same building as knock-offs of brands that they have no working relationship with. Are they both made to the same quality? I doubt it, but they may be. Who knows. I don’t care tbh, all it does is make me question the factory’s general policies, but then we’re into stuff about cultural differences over IP.Posted 4 years agoclubberMember
I have a Chinese carbon frame. It’s the same design as a Fuji Altamira Disc. What I have no way of knowing is how the carbon has been put together in comparison to the Fuji or even what type(s) of carbon is actually used, only that it has the same outside (eg mould) dimensions.
Now, I spent a long time researching who to buy mine from and it’s a company that has a good rep and I haven’t yet found an unhappy customer or tales of issues with failures. Obviously the volumes are lower than big brands but given that many/most people buying Chinese frames are doing so after finding them online, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that they’d post online to complain if they had problems.
As it goes, my first one did crack (not in a catastrophic way but a warranty failure still) and the Chinese company were very good at resolving it. Certainly better than many peoples’ experiences of ‘proper’ brands.
So, my point (finally) is that using the same mould means little. As above, QC, etc can massively affect the product so you need to pick a company with a good reputation.
A bit like buying any bike even if it doesn’t come from China…Posted 4 years agoatlazMember
I’m quite interested how the cheap groupsets and full bikes are. I’m prepared to concede that a Chinese factory may be able to copy a mould and produce decent frames (I have a chinese open-mould frame myself) but I do wonder how suspension and drivetrain are.
Anyone actually set eyes on those at all and tried them out?Posted 4 years agomtbtomoMember
As said, I think companies such as Hongfu/Dengfu etc who sell plain frames have their own reputation to think about, and you don’t find many tales of failures there. Probably wouldn’t go for a frame falsely labelled as Pinarello or whatever though.
I’ve had a Microshift mini groupo from China and its fine. Not quite Shimano, but ok for the price (and very light).Posted 4 years agoT666DOMSubscriber
I bought a carbon 29er rigid fork from flyxii and is been faultless, taken some real punishment especially with me being no light weight! Only cost £60 shipped. I don’t know if it’s a copy of any branded fork, I’ve just got a carbon disc cyclocross fork for my rx9 hopefully this one won’t kill me! It looks well made and finished. Fingers crossed! !! 😉Posted 4 years agojordieMember
I have seen the quality of copy handbags, I have been in a factory making them. They feel and look the same but they are not the same. You can pretty much buy anything fake there including Eggs!! I dont buy this it came from the same factory so its the same product. More like it was made in the same factory with less attention to quality and built using poor cheap materials.Posted 4 years agothisisnotaspoonMember
Labour and QC/QA process is a major cost in a carbon frame and there’s a lot of corners that can be cut there.
True, but how is that unlike a steel frame? If anything the steel frame requires nothing more than a man (or woman) a tig machine and a jig (which the man with the tig welder can make). By the time you’ve invested 10’s/100’s of £k’s in the molds, ovens, vacuum equipment, clean rooms, etc for CFRP production, are the people doing that likely to be the type to cut corners when there must surely be quicker bucks to be made elsewhere?
I don’t believe you can get the same frame from 2 different (major) brands, minor re-badging brand maybe, but not the big ones. The same mold maybe more common, but that’s like finding two double diamond steel frames, one gas pipe the other 853, or even just two different custom buttings of 853.Posted 4 years ago
Are you sure it’s identical and from the same mold, same factory? Knowing how hot Specialized are on IP..?
It couldn’t look less like a 2013, 2014 or any other S-Works if it tried! It’s just painted vaguely like one. That frame is sold by thousands of manufacturers, an S-Works copy it most certainly isn’t! Scandalous if you’re convinced by a bit of paint I have a
VW GolfFerrari I’d sell you for just £8,000!
In fact you may as well write S-Works on a stick, would be close to a ‘frame from the same mould’.Posted 4 years agoneilsonwheelsMember
My Flyxii road build. Frame, fork and headset less than £300 delivered to my door and it rides beautifully.Posted 4 years ago
Aah, good, as long as you were being sarcastic! I guess the problem is that plenty of folk aren’t – they really think their Chinarellos (most of which are actually Kuota replicas, or at best a Prince, rather than a Dogma) really do come out of the back door of the Pinarello factory.
I reckon the majority of those companies are excellent, but I’d sooner buy a ‘house style’ frame over an attempted replica.Posted 4 years agoChunkyMTBMember
I guess the problem is that plenty of folk aren’t – they really think their Chinarellos (most of which are actually Kuota replicas, or at best a Prince, rather than a Dogma) really do come out of the back door of the Pinarello factory.
I think its funny that you think people think that. Oh dear.
When it comes to getting these frames, people aren’t as stupid or naive as you obviously think.Posted 4 years ago
I must admit, I’m now considering an anonymous far eastern frame because I get more freedom over the livery and enough money left over in the budget for much nicer kit.
I’m tempted to believe that I’m too much of a philistine to appreciate how big brand A tracks better the big brand B through the corners but big brand C is more compliant for all day riding.
My thinking is more along the lines of, if it fits and the saddle, bars and wheels/tyres are comfortable, I’ll be fine.
I think the reason I’m finding buying a road bike so hard, is that I’m looking for technology and advances that don’t really seem to stretch beyond the marketing department.Posted 4 years agoclubberMember
Edric 64 – Member
I wouldnt worry about buyimg Chinese carbon having seen a Wilier road frame with a bloody great crack in the top tube which was caused by sharp braking to avoid a truck and a testicle to top tube interface and nothing else .They cost a grand for the frame !!
Slight tangent and I tend to agree with the general point you seem to be making (that branded isn’t necessarily any better than not) but top tubes on £1k road frames (read “lightweight”, usually) aren’t designed for you to land on, balls first or not 😉Posted 4 years ago
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