I have been thinking about the subject of fake cycle parts thanks to some comments I have made and read recently on several forums, it has made me think a lot about human nature and the disposable society we seem to live in. When I was a younger lad I thought knock off products were just limited to perfume and designer hand bags but as I have got older I soon realised that anything out there that is desirable can and will be faked. The internet is teaming with scary dangerous electronics that are cheap as chips and we all have seen the stories of fake phone chargers people have bought online bursting into flames, so I wandered why people would risk their safety getting a faked frame or carbon wheels. From what I have seen many of the people who have paid hard earned money believe that the real deal is over priced and say ”these are if not as good they are nearly as good” and the other one is “it’s in their interest to make them as safe as possible, I know of people who have had the real thing break on them and my mate has got a couple of replicas and they are doing fine”.
(The frames above all come from the same place and are supposed to be the same bike, and a very interesting warranty form)
I have personally seen several sets of cheap branded carbon wheels that have failed, not to talk about the Chinese ones from Ebay or, Aliexpress, so if its just a cheap carbon bike that replicates some Italian exotica your after why don’t you just get the real thing? My point being for close to the same price people are paying for a “carbon” clone of the newest up to date Colnago or Pinnarello you can get the real thing if only a few years old and pre loved. Trawling through Ebay it’s not hard to find Colnago frames in or close to the price range of a cloneago and only a few years old. Funny thing is it’s the made in Taiwan models you will find at this price as they are not as revered by the conoscente, they are also the ones normally faked.
So how much money are we talking about? Meet the race bike, it is a Colnago M10 frame that I purchased from Ebay last December and being a bit concerned about fakes I took special care to check this one was real, but remember if you pay using paypal, if the goods are not as advertised you will get your money back. After a few hours of checking the frame out and realising all was ok and apparently was taken good care of I started adding the kit that I had amassed, the group set is a Campagnolo Chorus, Record and Super Record mix, not too shabby (full build list at the end).
In fact every thing apart from cables, bar tape, tubes and tyres is second hand or used spare parts so the total build bill is under £900 and that’s even taking into consideration the used cost of the parts I had already owned. So what do I have for my money? Well a genuine Colnago to start with, Colnago designed the headset as a crumple zone so if you have a crash the alloy cups will deform and save the frame, does a fake have that? Also they designed the fork so that each fork leg is made of two structures, each one of those is strong enough to get you home if the other is broken, again is this a benefit of the cloneago? Other details of the genuine article is that the drop outs are made of forged then cnc machined alloy to make sure they can survive hundreds of wheel changes. There are a plethora of design elements that you will only get with the original Colnago, and one of those things is that it was designed by a company whose reputation really does depend on them making a bike that is safe and will last, so instead of it being “nearly as good as the real thing” it is the real thing.
Let’s not forget that when the M10 came out the frame set was over £3,000, it is a Taiwanese made monocoque version of the C59, so if you don’t have to have the newest and greatest, especially if you did it means that you can only go for a fake made by a company whose business model starts with the intellectual theft from another, who you now have to rely on having enough decency to build something that’s not going to cause harm, why not try a pre loved bike and get the exotica you really want?
For more information on how your fake frame may be produced check out this independent test performed for Velonews.
Bike Build List
Colnago M10s 54s (2nd hand)
Campagnolo Super Recored cassette (2nd hand)
Campagnolo Record chainset, chain, BB cups and USB bearings (2nd hand)
Campagnolo Chorus front mech, rear mech, ergo power shifter's and brakes (2nd hand)
Speedplay ss pedals (2nd hand)
Fizik saddle (2nd hand)
Specialized s-works bar and stem (from previous bike build)
Specialized cotton turbo tyres and continental supersonic tubes (new)
H Plus Son rims (new) built with cx-ray spokes (new) to a used Roval hub rear and a used Mavic hub front taken from worn out wheels.
Cables inner and outer and brake pads (new)