Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner

Which Manufacturer Would You Recommend to a Friend?

Status
Not open for further replies.
5721 - 5740 of 6010 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
The more people writing about their experiences, good or bad, the better.

Anyways, my tracking number from Greatkeen has started working and my frame is currently in Hongkong, hoping for it to make it out of there before the new year, but its a slim chance. I'll hold of on any dispute until I see how long the delivery time actually is.

On a side note, I'm picking up my handlebar and stem (not from Greatkeen) later today, sent from China on the 14th with EMS, now that is fast shipping :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Why don't you admin guys make a "sticky" on top of the threat (or just open a subforum and put a Sticky up there) that contains

1.The "how-to" of dealing with chinese manufacturers (eg special rules of politeness??).

2. Links to the most popular webpages of manufacturers that people use here to get chinese carbon stuff, plus the contact email addresses or even MSN/Skype contacts (if this is in accordance with the forum rules).

3. User ratings to each of the links. To me it looks like there are more than enough people here on the forum that have experience with buying chinese carbon. With user ratings I dont mean another threat for people bashing each other, rather than just open a rating poll for the above mentioned manufacturers.

Just to say that there are easier ways to find information than reading through thousands of postings...
I also saw this velobuild forum, but it seems extremely useless at the moment. Plus this forum here is a much more established and (hopefully) reliable platform.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
828 Posts
Generic Frames Purchasing Advice (Read this First)

Hi All, Thought I would begin a thread in support of the growing popularity to Generic (Sometimes Copied) carbon frames available either through ebay, alixpress or direct from a distributor in China.

I'll start by sharing information on how to go about, calculating the right fit, finding the right frame, communicating with the reseller effectively including realistic expectations around turn around times, how to deal with sending money to a reseller and feeling secure about it, tracking your shipment and finally my personal experience buying and riding one.

Patience is Essential Here
During this entire process you have to start by assessing your expectations. If you are an impatient individual and must always have something in their hands after relinquishing funds this may not be for you. You also must do all the proper research on sizing prior to taking the plunge because once you've received the frame it's expensive and impractical to send it back due to sizing issues. Lastly if you choose an ISP (Integrated SeatPost) style frame be ready to measure the length a few times prior to making the cut.

Calculating the Right Fit
This is the best place to start when shopping for a new or replacement bike. There are plenty of online resources available which will assist in calculating the right geo for your measurements but first it's a good idea to have a buddy or close girl help you with measuring your body and assessing your flexibility.
Have a read through the following website which Provides instructions on measuring and a nifty calculator based on your flexibility and riding style preference Read Here. Done? Great now you can begin your quest for frame choice.

Finding the Right Frame
Road frames are available by searching through ebay using the advanced search feature and entering Carbon Road Frame then selecting the Location check box and finally Located in China or Taiwan. The results will likely overwhelm you but it's a good start. From here find the frames you like either based on looks or geometry (Most of the resellers have the geo charts posted but not always. Ask before you assume). On occasion you may find a frame which you love but it's either painted (And you're looking for stealth) or it's stealth and your looking to get it painted. Don't worry about those details yet because most of the resellers will customize the frame for a little more money. This pertains to aliexpress.com as well. Create a short list of geos that will fit your body and style then start by reading the resellers reviews. Look for resellers with lot's of feedback related to the parts they're selling. For example there may be 5000 feedback but only one or two for the carbon frame you're looking at and 4998 are for electronics and car parts. Next pay attention to shipping costs. It should not exceed $90US for anywhere in the world from China and this is EMS which is an express postage service in China (I'll discuss this more in the expectations paragraph). On the aliexpress.com website you'll have to filter through the resellers which require a min order quantity of more than one. On some occasions they may sell you one as well so a quick email will sort that out.
Great so you have your shortlist now you must begin the communication with the reseller. Send emails asking about your preferences around finish and painting. You can ask them for the UD, 3k or 12k finish look plus glossy or matte and you can even work with most of them around painting and design of logos etc.

Effective Communicating with the Reseller
Communications with the reseller is important especially since you're paying for something you never saw and can't try prior to buying. The most effective method of communicating with these people is via email. Most of the resellers respond quickly (Within 24 hours). Don't assume because they haven't responded right away that they are poor resellers, they have lot's of emails to sort through each day plus China has many more holidays so be mindful of that. It also depends on who receives the email they may not be working that day. Basically it's exactly the same as if you emailed someone anywhere else, be patient. Some resellers offer online Skype or MSN messenger chat services so you can chat with them in real time. Some also offer telephone numbers but calling China is expensive and you might get someone who doesn't speak English (They often use online translation software for emails). Sort out all of the details ahead of time when communicating with them. Ask any and all questions about how long it will take and how much everything will cost. Ensure you are as detailed as possible about what you want. When asking them to do a paint job you'll need to provide them with a design. Some resellers send you a photo of the frame you're interested in then it's your responsibility to mark it up in Photoshop or MS paint and send it back to them. Indicate that you will put a deposit down to begin the process then once you receive a photo of the completed frame pay the remainder. This, I believe, ensures they are on top of getting it done and it's done right. Again the back and forth communications may be a little frustrating at times if you don't hear back from them but it should be sooner than a week. If you don't hear from them in a week I would search for another reseller. Realistic turn around times for having a frame customized is around 10-30 days depending on what preferences you order, if it's a newer design it may be up to 60 days and those are to be expected considering they build the frame for the most part once the order is placed. If you want something sooner you can ask which frames they have in stock and make your decisions then.


Sending Money to a Reseller
Once the preferences are sorted out and you make your frame/fork choice ask them about total price and have them send you an invoice via email. Verify all is correct and ask about methods of payment. So far most will accept wire transfer, western union, and paypal, however wire transfer and western union are non-track able and I strongly suggest against that method. Use paypal and send the payment for goods and services not as a gift, regardless of what they say (They will add a small service fee for using paypal, it's to be expected because they are charged by paypal). You can dispute or hold a paypal payment should you suspect anything after the transaction has occurred. Lastly, send just a small down-payment first. Have them begin the process and let them know you'll send the remainder once the order is complete and it's ready for shipment. On that note ask them to send you a photo of the ready frame so you can see what you're getting.

Tracking your Package
Once the package is sent they should send you the tracking details. EMS operates out of China and works as a hand-off service. For example I live in Canada so EMS handed my package off to Canada Post once it landed in Vancouver. The tracking number will only work properly from the EMS website until it's left China. Then use the same tracking number in the local postal service to see additional details. You may have to pay
duties on the item. They claim it as a sample or gift and place a $80 - $90 value on the items to attempt to avoid customs fees, however this is illegal and I don't condone the practice, nor do I suggest they lie. In some cases I've seen customs hold packages for longer due to this and they have the right to re-valuate the item based on a similar item purchased from within that country.

My experiences with buying a Chinese Frame (Here's my Finished Bike)
I was quite a bit skeptical at the beginning of this process and felt I was getting what I paid for (Low Quality Product). I began by doing as much research as possible. Found RBR to be an excellent resource with plenty of people posting in specific Chinese forums. I wanted to be extra certain I wasn't going to be ripped off so I decided to go with a stand alone reseller outside of ebay or aliexpress. There are a few of them out there such as HongFu Bikes, DengFu bikes, and some others. I found communications to be acceptable but what really got me was my representative was on MSN and was even online EST-5 from 7AM till around 10AM so that made it easy to communicate and ensure I had everything set correctly. I decided to order everything carbon from the reseller due to price. Frame (HF-FM015-ISP)/Fork (HF-FK007)/Headset (top1-1/8,down 1-1/2)/ISP Mast Topper/Extra Derailleur Hanger/Handlebars (HB003)/2x Bottle Cages (FD006)/Stem (Road alloy+carbon stem). I sent my contact a photo sample of how I wanted the bike to be finished and a week later received a mock up on a high resolution photo of the frame I chose. I sent an email back as approval and the process began. It took me 30 days before the parts were ready for shipment and during the time I was able to find my contact online via MSN. They responded to all of my questions instantly. A few days prior to shipment they emailed me a photo of the finished frame and fork. I then paid the remainder of the amount owned via paypal and a few days later it was shipped. The shipment arrived 7 days after I received the tracking number.
The box was a typical bicycle box about 4'x5' and was in good condition from the outside. I opened it and found all the parts carefully packed in layers of bubble wrap. The fork, frame and handlebars were wrapped with a thick foam wrap, and the rear dropouts and fork dropouts had the plastic spacer for lateral rigidity. The frame finish was excellent and it looked exactly like the photo.
Assembly was uneventful except for the headset crown race. Everyone's got an opinion on how to install it, from banging it onto the steerer using PVC pipes to sanding down the steer tube. Whatever you do DO NOT sand any part down to make it fit. What I did was cut a slit in the crown race itself to allow it to naturally expand and fit on the steerer. The steerer on these forks is full carbon so in my opinion a slit will provide just enough force but not enough to crush the carbon.
Using a torque wrench and carbon paste assemble the rest of the bike. For the first ride definitely do a short, slow ride to let all the parts settle and ensure nothing is loose. Because I was as skeptical as I was my first long ride was very slow paced and with my multi-tool. I needed to build my trust in carbon. Now after 200KM's of riding on smooth and rough roads I can confirm these frames are built to last. There are many RBR forum users who claim they've put 5000k's on these frames.
The frame itself was stiff and showed no signs of flex even under extreme power pedaling. The rear seatstays are thin, but surprisingly strong laterally. The frame absorbs minor vibrations but larger ones can be felt. The frame itself is not the lightest that exists 1250g verified but it's strong for that reason.

Conclusion
Building your own Chinese carbon bike is not for everyone. Time, Patience and Adventure is highly recommended but will have a huge amount of return both for experience and the glory of having a 'Custom' built bike. Most importantly have fun while you're building!





Disclaimer: Feel free to use this information to help you in making a decision, however when it comes to assembly be smart and have someone do it for you if you're not sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
828 Posts
Feel free to add manufacturers and I will update the Poll. I would also suggest adding some details with your buying/building experiences for example if you really liked the quality of the part but did not like the communication.

Please stay on topic there are other threads that can be used to discuss Chinese Carbon frames and even threads for photos.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
828 Posts
Well folks it appears we're not liked here very much. I was hoping my post would become a sticky, unfortunately it is moved here and will be lost. It's a no win situation here on RBR. I completely understand that since RBR is supported by the many stores which advertise here and the stores advertising here despise our moves to buy directly from China.

Soooo....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
929 Posts
Well folks it appears we're not liked here very much. I was hoping my post would become a sticky, unfortunately it is moved here and will be lost. It's a no win situation here on RBR. I completely understand that since RBR is supported by the many stores which advertise here and the stores advertising here despise our moves to buy directly from China.

Soooo....
Our best option is to move this and all discussions regarding chinese frames to another forum. The BIG problem with that is that we cannot expect RBR to allow us to advertise or promote the forum we wish to move to, because we are, in a sense, taking away from its viewers. RBR will continue to do exactly as it always has and merge all threads containing Chinese carbon information into this one large unmanaged thread. If we don't like it, we need to stand up and move to somewhere that can accommodate us. A new forum sprouted up recently but I will refrain from naming it so this post can stay up.

If you wish to contribute to an effort to get chinese carbon frame information sorted and organized in a central location on a different forum, please send me a PM or drop me an email. I will do my best to get you the information necessary to assist in this effort.

For now, we can continue on RBR, but I think it will be a win for the RBR forum moderators, RBR forum admins, and all of us looking to learn and contribute information regarding chinese carbon, if we could move it to a place that is both welcome, organized, and maintainable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
220 Posts
The only thing I would add is that I do recommend putting it together yourself.

While it does require buying tools, grease, repair stand, etc., you obviously learn a ton about how the bike works, how to repair it, etc. It's an investment that pays back pretty quickly as you can service it yourself now and won't be delayed by LBS service schedules, fees, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,025 Posts
I recommend we try to find another forum for this discussion. To me, it seems as if the mods / owner of this forum are trying to make this topic as inconvenient, slow and confusing as possible by the way that these threads are managed. This forum has become very buggy and unresponsive as a result. I'm not sure why this is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
32 Posts
The more people writing about their experiences, good or bad, the better.

Anyways, my tracking number from Greatkeen has started working and my frame is currently in Hongkong, hoping for it to make it out of there before the new year, but its a slim chance. I'll hold of on any dispute until I see how long the delivery time actually is.

On a side note, I'm picking up my handlebar and stem (not from Greatkeen) later today, sent from China on the 14th with EMS, now that is fast shipping :)

Glad to hear you finally got an answer. Yeah, EMS is fast, I've ordered a ton of stuff using them and I don't think I've ever waited more than 5 days. That's why I'm sure my tracking number is not legit (over 2 weeks now and still no record of it). Hope your frame arrives soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
I recommend we try to find another forum for this discussion. To me, it seems as if the mods / owner of this forum are trying to make this topic as inconvenient, slow and confusing as possible by the way that these threads are managed. This forum has become very buggy and unresponsive as a result. I'm not sure why this is.
Same here. The Forum becomes almost unusable (Firefox freezes for almost 1 Minute and/or no Comments are shown) if you set your Forum options to show more posts than forum Default per page.
 
5721 - 5740 of 6010 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top