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Thread: Fake Bikes

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    Fake Bikes

    I don't get this. The majority of the bikes made today are all made in Taiwan and China. Many of the manufacturer names no longer exist as companies and yet they are still marketed as such. Why? Many of the more recent name brands are also made in Taiwan and China (like Cannondale, Specialized, and Trek). Why don't all these companies come forward and let it be known they are all Taiwanese or Chinese bikes or a mix of both?

    For people born yesterday this probably isn't a big deal but for those of us who were born before man walked on the moon it means something. I almost bought a Motobecane Immortal Spirit but realized from reading the forums that Motobecane has been gone for years. The same is true for many of the other brands I grew up with and current brands are really no different. Why the shell game?

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    Senior Member fluidworks's Avatar
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    I fail to see what makes them fake? Do they not have "made in China" stickers on them if they are? I don't think any one of those companies advertise differently.
    Last edited by fluidworks; 05-04-09 at 09:58 PM.
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    Is this a real complaint, or just disguised racism? I don't see a problem with the country of manufacture. My Atlantis and Rambouillet were designed in the U.S. but made in Taiwan (maybe Japan, but I think Taiwan), and they're by far the best bikes I've ever owned. My "Japanese" Isuzu pickup was made in Mexico. My wife's Mazda was made in Ohio. My stepmother's Ford was made in Canada. My daughter's Honda was made in Alabama.
    As far back as 20 years ago (certainly longer than that, but 20 years that i know of), there were just a few bike companies making frames under many labels. I can't remember the details after all this time, but Diamond Back, Centurion, Giant and others were made in the same plants. I'd like to see industry stay in the U.S. as much as anyone, but you can't blame the companies for going where they can get the best deal.

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    Motobecane is not Motobecane. Raleigh is not Raleigh. Cannondale is not Cannondale. It goes on. None of these companies are who they started out as. They are all bikes from Asia being sold under names that had nothing to do with Asia when they first formed and established themselves. Motobecane was in France, Raleigh in England, Cannondale in the United States. This is what I mean. Why don't they all change their name to represent who they really are instead of posing as what they are not?

    I almost bought an Immortal Spirit until I discovered on this forum that Motobecane is just a sticker on a bike frame. My trust went to zero once I learned that. The bike is generic and should be marketed as such. Calling it a Motobecane is deceptive for anyone old enough to have owned a real Motobecane. The same holds true for any of the other brands...even the more recent ones.

    Again, why the shell game?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    Is this a real complaint, or just disguised racism? I don't see a problem with the country of manufacture. My Atlantis and Rambouillet were designed in the U.S. but made in Taiwan (maybe Japan, but I think Taiwan), and they're by far the best bikes I've ever owned. My "Japanese" Isuzu pickup was made in Mexico. My wife's Mazda was made in Ohio. My stepmother's Ford was made in Canada. My daughter's Honda was made in Alabama.
    As far back as 20 years ago (certainly longer than that, but 20 years that i know of), there were just a few bike companies making frames under many labels. I can't remember the details after all this time, but Diamond Back, Centurion, Giant and others were made in the same plants. I'd like to see industry stay in the U.S. as much as anyone, but you can't blame the companies for going where they can get the best deal.
    The answer is no. For the record, I drive a Nissan 350Z. I know it's made in Japan. No worries. When I bought my first Motobecane, I knew it was made in France with components from England, Belgium, and Italy.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Who cares????

    Just buy the bicycle you like.

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    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Welcome to the world that the red pill exposes.

    The fact of the matter is, for many years now this "shell game" has been going on. The major US manufacturers today have always played games with placing their decals on certain models made overseas. As Machka pointed out, it comes down to selecting a bike you like and being happy with it. No matter the brand, at least some parts will unavoidably be made in Asia. Ever heard of Shimano?
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    Again, why the shell game?
    Because name recognition has a recognizable value when you're marketing a product in a highly competitive marketplace with little differentiation between many of the competing products. If you can acquire the rights to a well known brandname at a reasonable price then it's likely to be worthwhile in getting your product noticed by more potential customers. But that's only one step toward market success. If your product isn't any good then the name recognition won't last long and you won't be around next year.

    But why do you care as a consumer? If Motobecane had continued over the years as a single company do you think that your experience with their products from 20 or 30 years ago would have any relevance to their products today? The management of the company would likely have changed over the years, many of the designers and engineers would have retired or moved to other companies - so in what sense would you view the 2009 product as being related in any meaningful way to the product you remember from 1979?

    Just look at the marketplace that exists today and decide which of the numerous products best meets your needs and desires at a price you're willing to pay. The name on the downtube isn't likely to be particularly important in that decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    Welcome to the world that the red pill exposes.

    The fact of the matter is, for many years now this "shell game" has been going on. The major US manufacturers today have always played games with placing their decals on certain models made overseas. As Machka pointed out, it comes down to selecting a bike you like and being happy with it. No matter the brand, at least some parts will unavoidably be made in Asia. Ever heard of Shimano?
    I appreciate your efforts. It's not about the origin of the bikes. It's about the game as you call it. Why is it necessary in the first place? Can't Asian companies market their own bikes in the US or Europe or do they have to come in under the radar due to trade restrictions or something?

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    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    I appreciate your efforts. It's not about the origin of the bikes. It's about the game as you call it. Why is it necessary in the first place? Can't Asian companies market their own bikes in the US or Europe or do they have to come in under the radar due to trade restrictions or something?
    I think it's more about brand recognition.

    In the heyday of mountain bikes coming on the scene, since this was an "American" invention, credibility was only given to "American" brands since only they would know what a "real" mountain bike was...however erroneous that perception might have been. Many bikes could be purchased with "Designed in the USA" and other such nonsense, meaning not one spoke nipple was made or assembled on US soil, just that someone in the marketing department had picked all the features and components out of a Taiwanese manufacturer's catalog, then forwarded their corporate logos for decals.

    I remember reading that the requirement for a "Made in the USA" label was lobbied for and lowered to a bike that was merely painted here. That may have changed since then, but then again, with Asia desiring to garner more of the US market, their standards and manufacturing techniques have improved vastly.

    I also feel it's a bit sad that we're a nation of consumers and engineers, not manufacturing...but what ya gonna do?
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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    If the OP isn't really interested in getting a bicycle, shouldn't this thread be in the Politics forum?

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    i will tell you why companies have stuff made over seas. its the same reason why the speakers in your car are made off shore. its cheaper, making the company that designed or ordered them more money. in most cases you as the consumer save money because "We Americans" want the best product for the cheapest price. which actually really does not make any sense. the Japanese will pay triple what we pay for cell phones for the latest greatest stuff. after a millions units are made then they ship to America and we get a much cheaper price and potentially crappier quality.

    i work for a company that used to have all their audio products made here in the USA. as metal prices sky rocket and consumers demand cheaper products the company has to do something. the middle and top of the line speakers are made here but to make a good product and still be competitive in price you have to go off shore. also the lure of having the same exact product for a third of the cost is huge. yes there is a drop of build quality, but it keeps the lower budget customers happy.

    Many customers like the thought of where the company is based. customers perception of the quality the company produces is skewed by thinking that the company is in the USA. i know Chrysler may be going belly up but what are you going to buy. a dodge or some random Mexican companies car that builds for dodge. I'm thinking you are going to buy dodge because of the name and the possible promise of a good product. its not much more than that.
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    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    If the OP isn't really interested in getting a bicycle, shouldn't this thread be in the Politics forum?
    Nope.

    The question was about the practice of whether bikes branded with US or other nations manufacturer's names on them manufactured in Asia or any other country was misrepresentation, not whether it is "Unamerican" to do so.

    I have seen a few examples of this switching on the sly...Santa Cruz being a great example. Their frames (and some might argue their reputation) were at one time all built in the USA, in Portland specifically. After establishing a high-end boutique image, they very quietly switched production to Taiwan...and without lowering prices. Some would say this was just very smart business practice and a way for them to stay solvent in tough economic times, others loyal to the brand specifically because they were a US brand might feel betrayed. I can't say one way or another whether their quality was compromised, but no formerly US-based manufacturer is going to proudly announce they are moving their production facilities out of the country. One might ask why that is so. The answer might be political, but the question is not.

    Oh, and since turnabout is fair play...



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    Last edited by Wordbiker; 05-04-09 at 11:37 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    Many of the more recent name brands are also made in Taiwan and China (like Cannondale, Specialized, and Trek). Why don't all these companies come forward and let it be known they are all Taiwanese or Chinese bikes or a mix of both?

    Trek still makes their higher end frames in the USA. Says right on the chain stay.
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    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    I appreciate your efforts. It's not about the origin of the bikes. It's about the game as you call it. Why is it necessary in the first place? Can't Asian companies market their own bikes in the US or Europe or do they have to come in under the radar due to trade restrictions or something?
    They aren't Asian companies, they are mostly Western companies which have moved to less expensive production sites in Asia. Thank your compatriots for always wanting cheaper, cheaper, and ever cheaper for this.

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    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumperm View Post
    Trek still makes their higher end frames in the USA. Says right on the chain stay.
    Can you define "made"?

    Does this mean the materials come from the USA? Is it assembled from parts made elsewhere? Just painted here?

    Believe it or no, I'm not griefing you. The one reality that anyone must grasp is that bicycles are a global commodity. Getting into squabbles about what is made where is silly, which is what I'm trying to point out. Quality knows no nationalism. If it did, then the US would have a lot of crow to eat considering at one time (perhaps even still) that US labels have been slapped on foreign products mainly because that foreign nation made it better. There's some good insight in this blog about the 7-Eleven bikes through the ages...
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    They aren't Asian companies, they are mostly Western companies which have moved to less expensive production sites in Asia. Thank your compatriots for always wanting cheaper, cheaper, and ever cheaper for this.
    ++


    And you're a fool if you think brand name means a thing nowadays.

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    GO BIG RED norwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    Is this a real complaint, or just disguised racism?
    Racism? Come on. Seriously. We're talking bicycles here.

    If none of this matters, why do the "American" bike companies proudly proclaim and display "MADE IN AMERICA" on the few examples of such and the outsourced bikes get a very discrete "Made in wearever".
    Trek and Cannondale and the others still want the consumer to have a warm and fuzzy and remember the good ol' American bikes.
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    One thing to keep in mind is that all this has been "Bicycle News" for years, it's not some dirty little secret that that just popped up. If you were into cycling 30 years ago, then come back now without having paid attention to what happened in the meantime, it could be confusing. But that's not just the bicycle industry, that has happened in most consumer industries. My Swingline stapler was made in Mexico- was that true 30 years ago? Has Swingline been bought and sold 4 times? I don't know, don't really care.

    You might look into the "Giant" brand, which as I understand is in fact an Asian company selling under their own name- seems I've read they developed some of their business building bikes for Schwinn.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    Can you define "made"?

    Does this mean the materials come from the USA? Is it assembled from parts made elsewhere? Just painted here?

    Believe it or no, I'm not griefing you. The one reality that anyone must grasp is that bicycles are a global commodity. Getting into squabbles about what is made where is silly, which is what I'm trying to point out. Quality knows no nationalism. If it did, then the US would have a lot of crow to eat considering at one time (perhaps even still) that US labels have been slapped on foreign products mainly because that foreign nation made it better. There's some good insight in this blog about the 7-Eleven bikes through the ages...
    If the frame is steel or aluminum there's a very good chance the raw material came from Australia.
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    Senior Member chicbicyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    Motobecane is not Motobecane. Raleigh is not Raleigh. Cannondale is not Cannondale. It goes on. None of these companies are who they started out as. They are all bikes from Asia being sold under names that had nothing to do with Asia when they first formed and established themselves. Motobecane was in France, Raleigh in England, Cannondale in the United States. This is what I mean. Why don't they all change their name to represent who they really are instead of posing as what they are not?

    I almost bought an Immortal Spirit until I discovered on this forum that Motobecane is just a sticker on a bike frame. My trust went to zero once I learned that. The bike is generic and should be marketed as such. Calling it a Motobecane is deceptive for anyone old enough to have owned a real Motobecane. The same holds true for any of the other brands...even the more recent ones.

    Again, why the shell game?
    That's uh...how business works. Someone buys a company, and they decide whether or not to continue using that company's name. It is theirs, after all.


    I get what you're trying to say, but so long as the manufacturers disclose where almost everything was made on the frame/component), then I do not see any reason why it's such a bad thing from an ethical standpoint to keep using the names you grew up with.

    They may try to hide it discretely, but it is ultimately your responsibility to find out as a consumer if it's such a big deal to you.
    Last edited by chicbicyclist; 05-05-09 at 06:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    For people born yesterday this probably isn't a big deal but for those of us who were born before man walked on the moon it means something.


    You're living in the past, man...

    Seriously...it's all marketing, perception and economics. People (I'm speaking in generalities here) want cheaper stuff, but they want to believe they are getting a well-made product. So, build it overseas under a recognized and respected name and "the people" get what they want.
    Chip

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    Quote Originally Posted by scrapser View Post
    Motobecane is not Motobecane. Raleigh is not Raleigh. Cannondale is not Cannondale. It goes on.
    I have an amusing sidenote to add to this.
    While vacationing in Turkey recently, I noticed a large number of Bianchis tooling around the city streets. At a distance, they looked a bit funny, some with really cheap looking full suspension. On closer inspection, some appeared to have the kind of front fork dropouts where the tubing is merely crimped then slotted for the front wheel axle. No Bianchi is that crappy.
    Clearly someone has a successful Bianchi decal manufacturing business going.

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    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    My Ovation guitar was made in Korea - is that a problem? I think not.

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    Everyone who's replied has stated some valid points which (along with many others not covered) paint a realistic picture of what the bike industry has become.

    To help clarify why I started this thread, let me say that my main gripe is that it's becoming near impossible to judge what you're getting anymore. People want quality and reliability at a good price. How do you find that in a bicycle these days?

    It used to be that the more something cost, the higher the quality could be expected. Companies that were in business for years could be trusted because if they didn't make a good product, they wouldn't have survived. Many brands represented originators (how many original products do you see today?).

    The old models that older people rely upon have all gone out the window. I'm 54, so I guess I should consider myself a causualty of change. You don't buy a bicycle anymore, you buy a package of parts. If you aren't up to speed on the various parts, you can't trust what you're getting. This is what it's all coming to.

    Having companies play the shell game with branding doesn't make this any easier.

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