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  • Possible demise of CRC / Wiggle
  • dc1988
    Full Member

    I just got an email asking whether I’d like to forego the pre delivery check, I said yes as I’d want to double check everything anyway and I know how to build a bike. They said they’ll send a waiver for me to sign.

    jonnyboi
    Full Member

    The Belfast chain reaction store is closing down in Feb and the retail staff appear to be losing their jobs.  :(

    dereknova
    Free Member

    Dc1988 – I had the same before Xmas, you have some quick email back and forth (“yes I’ll not put the bars on backwards” type thing). Bike turned up 3 days later!

    grimep
    Free Member

    Old news but just noticed the £20k debt to Haribo

    Guess there’s no such thing as free sweeties then

    grimep
    Free Member

    Just spotted neil from superstar’s comments a while back about competing with AliExpress…

    “AliExpress etc is very interesting. I’ll be straight up it’s taken a huge chunk of our small item sales where people are only interested in price not quality”

    I’ve bought a few items from Chinese sources such as lights but wouldn’t trust them on safety critical components or wear and tear items like chainrings or chains. A brand needs to build trust over the quality/ durability of it’s components, then a higher price can be justified over cheap imports.

    I’ve been doing the post Xmas bike parts shopping, might as well completely decimate the bank account and we all need some retail therapy this time of year – Been buying bits from the usual online retailers – merlin, CRC, woolly hat shop, smaller bike shops with online parts stores, eBay and AliExpress.

    Wanted to upgrade the crappy seat clamp on one of my bikes, wanting something quality and good value, maybe titanium, considered pretty much every seat clamp on AliExpress as well as the stores, Hope etc, ended up getting the £11.99 Alu job from superstar as they look nice in the pics. Couldn’t really justify £50 for Ti and frame’s a weird size but might do one day in a moment of madness/beer driven online shopping.

    Haven’t got round to seeing how good the clamp works but it’s very well finished and a classy design. Reckon superstar could be making Thomson quality stems given how nice these look. I guess some customers just want to bling their bikes up and go AliExpress as they’re skint… others just want to replace worn parts like rings, and upgrade the cheap contact points and small parts that came from the factory

    My point is I think British manufacturers can compete with China but your brand needs a perception of durability and quality – aftermarket chain rings are an obvious candidate where we want decent wear, weight and price tradeoffs (as well as availability of older standards for those of us keeping retro bikes going), and after considering various brands inc middleburn, truvativ hope , that guy on the Welsh border,TA Specialities, Cranx etc, I ended up getting 5 Shimano rings – so I think there could be opportunities for British manufacturers- if superstar were knocking out Thomson level stems at superstar prices word would get around and they’d fly off the shelves.

    7
    nedrapier
    Full Member

    I’ve bought a few items from Chinese sources such as lights but wouldn’t trust them on safety critical components or wear and tear items like chainrings or chains.

    I’d much rather have to bin a skippy AliExpress chain than have a dodgy AliExpress Li-Ion battery/charger burn my house down.

    1
    finbar
    Free Member

    I’ve bought a few items from Chinese sources such as lights but wouldn’t trust them on safety critical components or wear and tear items like chainrings or chains

    Interesting take – lights are the last thing I’d buy from China. I’d rather have a chainring wear out too fast than my house burn down…

    EDIT: #jinx! Popular opinion clearly…

    nedrapier
    Full Member

    :-D

    1
    Big-Bud
    Free Member

    Again people are jumping on the china quality bandwagon without thinking .your mobile phone you plug in every night is made in china as is your TV .Samsung lg batteries are some of the highest quality and are made in china .
    Yes there’s poor quality around but how many of you had Christmas lights on your tree now that’s more risky than any of the above .

    grimep
    Free Member

    I’d much rather have to bin a skippy AliExpress chain than have a dodgy AliExpress Li-Ion battery/charger burn my house down.

    Which is why I bought a front light with no battery from Banggood for £22, sourced 2 genuine Panasonic 21700 batteries from a reputable UK source, and charge with the Xtar Li charger I’ve had for a couple of years, also bought from a reputable UK source

    5
    finbar
    Free Member

    Again people are jumping on the china quality bandwagon without thinking .your mobile phone you plug in every night is made in china as is your TV .Samsung lg batteries are some of the highest quality and are made in china .

    Well duh. But I am going to hazard a guess that Samsung/LG have slightly more rigorous QC than a BEROCK XP18 60,000 lumen light from Ali for £16.99 delivered. I might be wrong though, in which case I’ll be missing out on some sweet sweet light bargains. A tradeoff I’m willing to take.

    Which is why I bought a front light with no battery from Banggood for £22, sourced 2 genuine Panasonic 21700 batteries from a reputable UK source, and charge with the Xtar Li charger I’ve had for a couple of years, also bought from a reputable UK source

    Gold star for you! 

    chakaping
    Full Member

    if superstar were knocking out Thomson level stems at superstar prices word would get around and they’d fly off the shelves.

    If they got round to actually making Shimano DM chainrings, they’d make a few bob there too IMO.

    1
    DT78
    Free Member

    I had a direct from china torch set itself on fire whilst charging, luckily I was out in the garden and noticed the horrible smell of burning plastic before it go too bad.  Made a mess of the worktop.  Anything that is non uk I charge in a metal box or fireproof sleeve now, as it was a close call

    crankrider
    Free Member

    A bit OT but does anyone buy Thompson stems anymore or care about their products that haven’t been updated for what seems like 20 years, are they really still the benchmark, I don’t see them on any bikes anymore, especially those under 40 yrs old.

    As for SS making ‘Thompson’ level stems or Shimano rings – like there are a shortage of either for acceptable prices now from non Alibaba sources? – The market is absolutely teeming with parts and manufacturers now vs when SS started. SS may be very slightly cheaper in some places but is it a big enough margin to really matter to anyone?

    E.g. – SS rings are £35 – everyone elses are £40-£50.00 – does £5.00 really matter, especially as again the competition do seem like a ‘nicer’ product.

    This is one of the reasons hopefully Nukeproof survive – most of their parts are nice enough / have modern design and are pretty much ‘SS’ prices too, expecially as they are almost always on sale.

    I wouldn’t buy anything from Alibaba really, zero resale value, zero chance of warranty, support or ability to return and absolutely no help for the bike industry we all claim to want to support.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    Thomson certainly used to be “aspirational” but were they ever really any better than the competition? The seatposts were notoriously under-sized too.

    I do have a set of their Titanium bars on one of my bikes – bought because I liked the backsweep (they were bought off the STW Classifieds).

    chakaping
    Full Member

     there are a shortage of either for acceptable prices now from non Alibaba sources?

    Yes, there’s a specific shortage of reasonably priced Shimano DM narrow-wide rings. Particularly in 28t.

    Still was last time I looked anyway.

    grimep
    Free Member

    Yeah Thomson’s time has probably passed, I just mention them as their level of quality was seen as a yardstick.

    And yeah there are loads of alternatives for rings out there, just not in the antiquated sizes I need (I’m still sure 1-by is a fad I can safely ignore) and yeah, no point just churning out more cheap stuff like everyone else, but if a manufacturer could innovate with materials to get durability up, weight down and offer a higher quality product I think they would sell. At least I’d be a potential customer for what that’s worth!

    crankrider
    Free Member

    You might be a little out of date there then.

    You can get shimano from alutech, garburak, unite, works, burgtec and others.

    A quick google shows burgtec have them in 28t and probably many others too, sure the Burgtec isn’t £35 but you can get them for about £45.00.

    1
    molgrips
    Free Member

    The problem isn’t that things made in China are bad.  I think the problem is that certain unscrupulous people are subverting the usual quality process and flogging crap – either knock-offs or quality rejects – and those things happen to be made in and/or sold from China.  For no other reason than the factories that make the good stuff are in China, and people might be making money on the side cutting corners or not closing the doors of those lorries properly when they take the rejects away.

    uggski
    Full Member

    I must admit that I have bought a few lights of Aliexpress on the recommendations of people on here and have been happy with the quality of goods. As Big-Bud says, nearly everything we buy now is made in China. I guess the main thing is to realise that some retailers may not have the same QC standards as some of the big manufactures.

    My dad works and lives in China and consults for a few of the big manufactures. Tesla is one. He says there is a huge issue with people stealing stuff and selling on. We are not talking small amounts either and some are so regular/large that they suspect that the sub contractors themselves are behind it.

    Copying things is another issue. When I was there I spotted a dealership selling what I thought were Land Rover Evoques but turns out they were almost an exact copy but with a Chinese name.

    I also saw lots of really small practical EV’s at reasonable prices. I think they are way ahead on that sort of thing. Small eMotorbikes/mopeds were also very popular,

    5
    superstarcomponents
    Free Member

    I find what is said above interesting, a lot of the “quality” decisions are made based on perception not reality. The way you change people’s perception is marketing (let’s be realistic pretty much all the bike media’s claims of journalism is in reality paid PR), pretty much all of it is bu£&@hit. Can you believe an article by a company who’s major revenue stream is paid for by said brand they are apparently critiquing?

    I’ve made my feelings clear in the past on this. I can’t be bothered bribing companies to promote my stuff any more and stick to word of mouth. Sure I’ll sell less but I’ve got other stuff which I’m interested in. 

    as for value proposition sure you can buy a chainring for £7 on AliExpress, good for you. But bear in mind their government subsidises the shipping so they pay less to fly it around the world for less than half what I pay to post it U.K. to U.K. then throw in it’s exporting our cash so no U.K. jobs and no U.K. tax. Electric run on majority coal, dubious worker and environmental protection. Make your choice, but don’t tell me your eco friendly etc

    as for if Superstar rings are lower quality than brand xxx. Well you just got suckered in by marketing… but if it makes you happy go for it. I know money is tight so hopefully some people value the parts I make. Hopefully all the corporate destruction machines are getting their comeuppance finally and 2024 will be a good year for the little guys out there for once  

    people have commented that I’m sometimes negative about selling bike parts. Well some days I think I should just Jack it in and just go get an easy better paid job at one of the F1 teams who are desperate for machinists. (I make parts for them already…) Then take every evening and weekend and spend it focusing on my family and not people bickering about something they don’t know about on the internet.

    either accept there’s a lot more to your purchase than a cheap price or accept that you are choosing to be ignorant. 

    Neil SuperstarComponents. 

    chakaping
    Full Member

    A quick google shows burgtec have them in 28t and probably many others too, sure the Burgtec isn’t £35 but you can get them for about £45.00.

    This is exactly my point though, I had to buy a Burgtec last year but I prefer to pay £30 or whatever when Superstar are doing a promo.

    And I find their rings last better than most brands anyway, including Burgtec.

    3
    superstarcomponents
    Free Member

    Another misconception is lorries of QC rejects. Any Chinese factory is on such a small margin they can’t make any more than a fraction of reject parts. All the cheap junk is made as cheaply as possible specifically, it’s how they have stores full of stock.

    why do they do this? One single reason, customers buy it and demand it.

    oh and I’m in process of making shimano rings. So hopefully I can sort demand for than in spring.

    neil SuperstarComponents

    crankrider
    Free Member

    Just checked and Works have them in 28T too for £40, blackspire for sub £40 too, will be many others (making out there is some kind of drought was a little off the ball don’t we think?) – but yea if you are super tight / frugal / willing to wait then they are about £24.00 when a SS promo is on – for a ring that is Alibaba pricing.

    Neil – I am amazed you can make a worthwhile profit on these at that price – From my brief experience at work with aluminium pricing I bet they cost you a tenner to make all in with anodising and stuff, couple of quid to post and a few quid to the VAT man – About a fiver profit left in it for you?

    chestrockwell
    Full Member

    Used to love Thomson kit, it was really well made and nice to own. Strong and light so just the job. Still have a dropper and it still feels premium compared to the Reverb’s, Fox or Brand X posts I’ve had.

    Don’t see it for sale anymore. I assume the switch to dropper posts and stubby stems kind of spoiled their market?

    Gribs
    Full Member

    for a ring that is Alibaba pricing

    It’s not even close. Direct mount Shimano compatible rings delivered are ~£8 each. They last well enough to not need replacing before a chain and are cheap enough to swap with a chain. They’re hardly a complicated product and the actual function is similar to a Wolf tooth one I bought years ago.

    2
    superstarcomponents
    Free Member

    The only way I can do the price is I make lots at once. Years back I was making 3-400 rings a day with one guy on 3 machines. I bought the metal 5000kg at a time direct from the mill. Fast machines and good tooling plus the big machine had a pallet changer so it never stopped for the whole shift. 

    right now electric is crippling at nearly ten times what asia pays. Anodising is silly, I’m giving up on small parts when minimum per part went from 10p to 35p. Literally made it pointless to sell chainring bolts overnight even though I’ve got tens of thousands sat machined on the shelf. metal went silly but is getting back to normal. Availability is still rubbish. Rent rates waste etc all massive, packaging is bonkers. I bet people didn’t realise that the wheel boxes we used to use cost £4.50 each when I bought 1000 at a time filling a 7.5 ton lorry. Straight in the bin without a thought probably 

    postage has skyrocketed same with everything else, yet my prices haven’t changed much. Couriers I think are going to rocket soon with wages and costs up.

    I probably should put my prices up. Realistically once this blip of bankruptcy stock dumping is over I’m certain everyone will go back to 10% discounts max and RRPs will all go up 20-30% to reflect reality. Prepare to pay alot more soon!

    neil SuperstarComponents 

    4
    superstarcomponents
    Free Member

    Oh and I have bought loads of the cheap rings over the years and other stuff to compare designs and spec. Once I’m done with them I send them to the recycling company and get them to zap them with the niton gun. It’s a X-ray spectrometer which tells you exactly the alloy composition they are made from.

    so far not one has been the 7075 they claimed they are made from. All just generic soft 6000 series

    so as expected they look like a chainring but aren’t what they claim they are. But that fools enough people and normal punters don’t have access to check what they are getting.

    Neil SuperstarComponents

    4
    crankrider
    Free Member

    I would rather give my £20-30 extra to Neil or the other UK guys for a chainring than send any money to alibaba for one.

    As I say, don’t comment on a thread that it’s a shame when another company goes under because you have saved a few quid buying alibaba stuff because ‘it’s not a complicated part’.

    Rich_s
    Full Member

    the wheel boxes we used to use cost £4.50 each when I bought 1000 at a time

    Lovely things those. Not surprised they were so expensive!

    some days I think I should just Jack it in and just go get an easy better paid job at…

    I understand there’s a ready market for On/Off switches for cockpit voice recorders. Might be worth looking into.

    donncha
    Full Member

    News have just came through that their flagship store in Belfast is closing down. This may not impact many here but it is a major blow for regular users that myself and, more importantly, the scores of employees who will lose their jobs.

    jonnyboi
    Full Member

    @Donncha, I posted about that earlier.  It didn’t get much interest sadly

    weeksy
    Full Member

    After this thread we should all make it a quest to look on Superstar Components first before buying stuff and buy some of theirs even if a little more expensive

    donncha
    Full Member

    Apologies jonnyboi

    1
    noeffsgiven
    Free Member

    I’ve got a request for Superstarcomponents Neil, could you make the DM Shimano rings with similar aesthetics of Works or Garbaruk rather than the butt ugly Burgtec, oh and don’t stop at 32t like Works do, a 34t option would be nice. Cheers.
    A teaser of what they’re gonna look like would peak a lot of interest.

    superstarcomponents
    Free Member

    Probably will look like our existing raceface ones in all those sizes but I copy paste a different spline in….

    I’ll probably do 26-40 tooth options but 80% will be 32/34. Bigger than 34T is the next size plate up so 30% more material so costs more and takes longer to machine. 

    I’ve got to finish moving the warehouse and making some Porsche cup race car gearbox casings before I’ll have time to do them.

    working on titanium rings too. I want to make hundreds so there’s a lot of time involved in soaking the process in. If I said sub £200 would that interest people? Billet alone is £40!

    neil SuperstarComponents 

    BruceWee
    Full Member

    Realistically once this blip of bankruptcy stock dumping is over I’m certain everyone will go back to 10% discounts max and RRPs will all go up 20-30% to reflect reality. Prepare to pay alot more soon!

    Is this really a period of massive discounts though?

    I’m asking because in my head I’m still in the 2010 to 2015 period where, when I was building up a new bike, I would make a list of parts I needed, go to CRC, click ‘Sort by Discount First’, and I normally didn’t need to look much further than the items that were 70% off minimum.

    I guess that started to changed with the all the new standards.  There probably was still stuff that was 70+% off but I’d already filtered it out because it wasn’t going to fit on my bike.

    1
    mattconway1984
    Free Member

    I’ve always looked around when buying new bits. Used everyone, from the likes of works, & superstar through to the major retailers… I’ve always gone on “value for money” but I’ve stuck to branded or UK made equipment, the (higher end) bike industry is relatively small, so supporting small business that do things right, quality check, use the right materials, don’t use (what is essentially) slave labour etc…. is of higher importance.

    Back in the 90s when I was a teenager riding my GT Tempest, I used to be in the LBS every weekend getting stuff repaired or replaced on my bike, a couple of years later the only original part on the bike was the frame… And there was no such thing as “internet prices” back then, all my earnings from my evening job washing dishes at the local pub went on my biking addiction hobby! …I remember going through a huge number of d521 rims!!!

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