The World of Fake Bike Gear
Everyone knows how expensive bikes and their parts can be these days. Bikes intended for rigorous use can cost well over ten thousand dollars. This leads many buyers onto second hand websites such as eBay and Craigslist, searching for a better deal. However, what many consumers end up with is a knock-off bike with a sub-par build, putting it’s new owner in real danger.
Bicycling.com recently posted an article about the world of fake bike gear and the dangers it poses on consumers. To read the post in full, click here.
The article speaks with Ken Avchen who purchased a new carbon handlebar off of eBay for about a third of it’s normal cost. Unfortunately, within just a few weeks of installing his new handlebars, Avchen found himself sprawled across the pavement in and out of consciousness. According to his bike computer, he was going around 30-35 mph when his bar broke right off his bike, causing the accident which broke his neck in two places.
So, what can all consumers and bike enthusiasts do to protect themselves from ending up in a situation like Avchen? Bicycling.com offers the following advice on how to spot a fake:
- Check Out the Seller: So many counterfeit items originate in China that a seller based there should be an automatic red flag. Legitimate dealers have dedicated websites outside of their marketplace identities, which should be listed in their profiles. Use this to verify their dealer status with the manufacturer.
- Read Listings Carefully: When it says “email for color/graphics,” it likely means the seller has omitted those details to evade brand security. Also, positive reviews can be misleading; they might be notes from buyers simply saying the item arrived on time. Likewise, a seller’s membership in a “preferred/verified seller” program may have little to do with the legitimacy of the merchandise.
- Research Brand Policies: “If you see frames that look like Venges alongside others that look like Dogma F8s and Look 695s—that are all unlabeled—find out if the seller is an official dealer (most brands list them on their websites). Some, like Cervélo, don’t allow online sales. Others do, but only via specific channels, say, on a bike shop’s own site, and not on third-party platforms like Amazon.
- Use Common Sense: A brand-new Look 695 frameset for $500? Don’t be so taken by the deal that you suspend rational thinking.