MBR delves into the world of counterfeit bikes and low-cost reproductions. Are they a cut price, or a catastrophe ready to occur?
We discovered a cut price – a model new carbon body, full with VPP decrease hyperlink pushed shock structure and Santa Cruz beauty for lower than $1,000. If that sounds too good to be true although, it truly is, as a result of the bike we noticed isn’t really made by Santa Cruz. As an alternative, your $1,000 body is fabricated by Winow Sports activities and made in Guangdong, China – it’s obtained 150mm journey, is available in eight colors, sells via alibaba.com, and is a close to copy of the unique.
We’re not suggesting Winow Sports activities has completed something unlawful right here, as a result of the VPP hyperlink patent has expired and the phrases “Santa Cruz” don’t seem on the itemizing or bike. However to any right-thinking rider, the bikes are an identical to the attention. We reached out to Winow Sports activities, which informed us that there are some “information modifications” that additionally imply Santa Cruz is unable to ask them to cease manufacturing, no patents having been breached.
Whereas searching out the Winow Sports activities bikes (the corporate makes loads extra than simply the Santa-Cruz-alike) we additionally stumbled throughout a slew of different bikes from varied sellers that bear placing resemblances to different mainstream manufacturers’ choices. And a motorbike that seemed suspiciously like a Specialised Stumpjumper, full with Sidearm suspension design, which was swiftly withdrawn from sale after we pointed it out to Specialised.
You can break the pretend street Aerofly handlebars together with your naked fingers
So, with large financial savings to be made for shoppers with frames promoting at lower than a 3rd the value of the actual factor, is it in your finest pursuits to purchase a near-replica trip?
Completely not, Specialised says. However then it could say that, wouldn’t it? “One high quality that makes it robust to distinguish is paint is commonly fairly good,” says Andrew Love from Specialised. “However you don’t trip paint.”
Are counterfeit and replica bikes secure?
Why shouldn’t we go for one thing that appears simply pretty much as good as the unique, we requested, and save ourselves some cash? They’re problematic principally as a result of they’re harmful, Love informed us. He’s the person in control of model safety and tasked with stopping the fakes. “They include inferior carbon and incomplete layup – you’ll be able to break the pretend street Aerofly handlebars together with your naked fingers,” he says.
There are critical security issues, with misaligned frames, weak carbon and an absence of precision by way of wall thickness and high quality management.
After we put the query of security, testing and regulation adherence to Winow Sports activities, they responded initially (and the response is transcribed beneath verbatim), then dialog dried up.
“Sorry I’m not going to make enterprise like an interview. My bike to this point no high quality challenge and we promote loads but when it fits your nation or EU or not I don’t know! We promote all around the world and to this point no challenge on the foundations to limits or not. If you will promote it’s important to verify your nation or EU guidelines if have limits or not.”
Bikes offered within the UK should adhere to the European Basic Product Security Rules (GPSR) normal, which has been carried over after Brexit. Which means producers want to make sure a motorbike is secure, that patrons are informed about any dangers inherent in utilizing it, and that there’s recourse ought to issues go incorrect.
Does the Winow Sports activities model signal as much as GPSR? The brief reply was no, with the inaccurate suggestion that is one thing the distributor is solely answerable for.
Shopping for a copycat bike is a harmful sport
“These counterfeiters are promoting to foreigners who can by no means discover them,” Andrew Love mentioned of the pretend Stumpjumper. “They’ve zero motivation or concern for security. I say this as a result of we see the identical security issues in bikes as counterfeit helmets. They’re completely lethal and provide no safety for riders in any respect. Their focus is the looks of the product and hitting as low of a worth level as potential, however supplies zero performance for what a helmet ought to have by slicing corners.”
There are different issues too, with no recourse ought to issues go incorrect and no help within the occasion of the product breaking. “The gross sales shops transfer on a regular basis. Riders get no recourse when one thing goes incorrect (body cracks or wheel misalignment, seatposts not staying fastened in place, and so forth).”
“Not comparable bikes”
Specialised has loads to lose from knock-off bikes, not least gross sales and a possible lack of status if riders get combined up and assume the knock-offs are the actual factor. However will we as riders lose out happening this street and shopping for direct from China? Would you purchase one?
“Naaah, no less than not till a bunch of others examined it first, however even then doubtful high quality management between particular person frames would put me off. The damage threat is useless. Slightly simply take my metal hardtail out and understand it’s bomb proof,” mentioned Drwilliams, by way of Instagram.
A fast straw ballot on social media confirmed a fairly even break up between those that’d purchase straight from China and riders who’d need the actual deal.
There’s additionally a robust perception on the market that these bikes are made in the identical factories as the unique merchandise. “These frames have a superb likelihood to be made in the identical place, in the identical moulds. Ya know – ‘after hours’. Carbon is such a commodity there, they usually actually make glorious elements,” mentioned powertrip by way of Instagram.
That is definitely not the case with our Chinese language Stumpjumper right here, as a result of the Morgan Hill model makes all its high-end frames in Taiwan somewhat than the mainland. Its argument in opposition to getting a pretend bike is that they’re of inferior high quality too, made in inferior moulds, and “will not be comparable bikes,” within the phrases of Andrew Love.
To guard itself, and shoppers, Specialised reckons it removes 40-50 listings a day throughout varied gross sales and social media platforms. It’s extra than simply whack-a-mole although, in line with Love, the model goes after the factories in China that make the stuff and distributors throughout Europe and the US that deliver it in, following the cash chain simply because the police does in opposition to organised crime.
“We struggle, full spectrum, in each method we will,” Love says. “One thing that’s equally as necessary is rider schooling. It’s necessary to deliver these points to gentle any method potential in order that they make educated and knowledgeable buy selections, not simply wanting on the most cost-effective worth on the web.”
Shopping for a copycat bike is a harmful sport to play in our view, since you threat your cash and your well being on a motorbike with out guarantee or high quality management. Shopping for some pretend CK underwear on-line or a shocking new “Rolex” from a market stall on vacation is one factor, as a result of they don’t actually must work correctly to carry out their operate.
A motorcycle is one other degree although. We have to belief it to not break below regular circumstances, and we don’t assume you’ll be able to put your religion in a knock off.