This article explains if it is ok to buy fake Chinese bicycle products.
My short answer is: No, it’s not ok to buy them. Below, I explain the main reasons why.
You also learn how to find out if the product is counterfeit and much more.
Let’s dive in.
What Are Counterfeit Bike Products?
Counterfeit bike products are often almost identical to original ones. They are usually made in China and sold for lower prices than originals. However, their quality is questionable and varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.
The most faked products are frames, wheelsets, helmets, handlebars, stems, clothing, and accessories.
The issue with counterfeited bike products is so serious that Specialized created a dedicated page explaining how to tell the difference between original and fake ones.
You might also be interested: Are Chinese carbon wheels (from established brands) any good?
Is It Ok to Buy Counterfeit Chinese Bicycle Products?
No, it’s not ok to buy counterfeit bicycle products because of their questionable quality and possible safety issues and no accountability of the manufacturers or sellers. There is also a moral aspect of counterfeit products you should not forget. Genuine brands invest a lot of money in research and the development of new products. Don’t undermine them by buying fake products.
Let me now explain these reasons more in-depth.
Quality and Safety
One of the biggest question marks is the product quality and the resulting safety. Would you ever buy a counterfeited bicycle helmet? I don’t.
When you buy an original product from an established brand, you will have at least some assurance that it has gone through a quality control process.
But with a counterfeited one? You never know.
Are all counterfeit bicycle products bad?
No, not all fake bicycle products are bad. I like the following video from Luescher Teknik, where he compared the fake Pinarello (Chinarello) frame and the original one.
In summary, the fake one had some areas better built than the original one, but some critical areas (headtube) were poorly built and could cause failure.
Does this mean I do recommend buying fake Chinese carbon frames?
No, I don’t recommend buying fake Chinese carbon frames. Let me explain additional reasons why below.
You might also be interested: Are Chinese carbon frames (from established brands) any good?
Counterfeiters are not accountable for any damage, injuries, etc. If you buy their products through 3rd party market places, you will probably struggle with finding somebody responsible.
Naturally, low prices and reviews of other riders may be tempting. What’s more convincing than a personal experience like:
“I’ve been using multiple counterfeit frames from this manufacturer and never had issues with them.”
You can also argue that some counterfeit products have better quality than the original ones. Well, unless you find a reliable supplier, it is a gamble. But then there is the last aspect.
Naturally, the reputation of brands being counterfeited suffers. When an unknown manufacturer releases a low-quality product that fails, people associate the issue with the original brand, not the counterfeiters.
Additionally, by buying counterfeit products, you help counterfeiters earn money based on the hard work of others.
It takes a lot of time and effort to build a successful brand. Do you really want to help undermine it by buying counterfeit products?
What Alternatives Are There to Counterfeit Bicycle Products?
If you don’t see the point of paying a premium for original products, trust me, you are not alone. However, the value of the brand is subjective for everyone. What I may find overpriced, others may find acceptable.
For those of you looking for quality alternatives to mainstream brands, I recommend checking out products of smaller but established Chinese bicycle brands.
If they put their brand on a product, they are accountable for it. If they think long-term, they won’t risk their reputation by releasing low-quality products that could be dangerous.
Additionally, you know where the product comes from, whether it has certifications, you can ask about the quality control process, etc.
Counterfeit Bike Products FAQ
I don’t recommend buying counterfeit bicycle products like frames, wheels, etc., because of their questionable quality, lack of manufacturer accountability, and moral aspect.
Do you have any experience with counterfeit Chinese carbon bicycle products? Share them in the comments below.
Or, feel free to check out the best products from established Chinese manufacturers:
Road Frames Reviews
YOELEO R9 Frameset Review
YOELEO R11 Frameset Review
YOELEO R12 Frameset Review
YOELEO R12 Complete Bike Review
YOELEO R21 Frameset Review
Winspace SLC2.0 Review
Winspace T1500 Review
Elves Vanyar Review
Elves Falath Pro Review
Trifox X10 Review
Chinese Carbon Road Bike Handlebar