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  1. #1
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    Buying a good bike in China...Please help!

    Hi all,

    I'm a newbie so hope it's ok to post this here!

    I am in Beijing, about to return to my home in Sydney, and considering buying a half-decent but cheap bike here.

    BUT...not sure whether what I'm looking at is a good deal or not! And I am only an amateur when it comes to looking at them.

    I am thinking of buying a Giant ATX 680. This seems to be a model only available in China so there are no reviews to go by in English. In China they call it an ATB Cross Country bike, so that's why I'm hoping someone from this forum might know about it!

    The specs (that I could find out in my not-so-fluent-Chinese) are as follows:

    Brakes: Promax

    Gears: Shimano Altus 21 / C050

    Frame: Giant aluminium

    Shocks: Giant

    It's very basic info, I know. I couldn't find out anything else. It's priced at about $220 Australian dollars, so very cheap.

    I'm going to use the bike to cycle to and from work in Sydney (I'll put slicks on it), and just around the city suburbs. So I probably won't be doing many mountain-biking tricks on it!

    So, any comments or suggestions would be very much appreciated! What else do I need to check for before buying? Should I ask to swap some of the parts, or upgrade? Or would I be better off buying a similar priced bike in Sydney? Has anyone looked over one of these bikes?

    Thanks,

    Elise

  2. #2
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    Hrm. That doesn't sound like a crazy good price for such a low spec (from the little you've shown us). I would have thought you could have done better in China, but I really wouldn't have a clue. From a value for money's point of view, I'd have a bit more of a look around before you come home. I wouldn't bother fiddling with the spec of that thing. But really, going by what you'll be using it for, you'll probably get your money's worth.

    Then again, how much will it cost and will it be much of a hassle to get it back from China? In the end that might be more of a factor when you're buying such a cheap bike.

  3. #3
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    Don't buy in China! Wait until you get back home. There is little respect for or control over trademark law in China. It might be the case that the bike is so cheap because all or most of the parts are knock-offs. This is a big problem in many industries. Golf clubs and gear immediately comes to mind.

  4. #4
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    While many low to mid-range frames are made in China, many of the components are usually not (more likely made in Japan for the drivetrain or US or Europe for suspension forks and wheels). I don't imagine there is much domestic market for high end mountain bikes in China, so while you _might_ be able to score a cheap frame if you knew someone in the industry, i'm doubtful about getting a deal on a complete bike..

    Unless you were after one of those ubiquitous Chinese commuter bikes, which would be kind of neat.
    Last edited by robo; 06-17-05 at 09:02 AM.

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    Elise,

    I'm not sure how long you've been in Beijing but you must have noticed the variety and (advanced) age of most of the bikes being pedalled around. I think it's time to take a hint from the locals and look to a different segment than what you may usually consider in Aus or for me: the US.

    I was just in Beijing (among other places) two weeks ago and several things struck me.

    1) The great majority of bikes are quite old and dirty. I'm guessing >10 years and rinsed every time it rains.
    2) About half are single-speeds.
    3) Most of the newer (brightly colored full suspension xmart bikes) are being ridden by kids (0-18).
    4) Baskets and racks on >99%.
    5) Helmets don't exist except for the one lycra guy on a $1200USD roadie.

    Therefore, I think that you would be better off getting a ss commuter special rather than something comparable to what you might find in more affluent markets. I know in some of the medium to small cities, a bike can be picked up for about 100RMB (~$12USD). Includes basket and rack (which would run you $bling$ in USD). Dependable for next 10 years with no maintenance.

    The newer models with suspenions appear to lag far behind state-of-the-art. The market for that is too small right now. I wouldn't expect to find a good deal on those. My suggestion is (if you really want one) get the cheapest, heaviest thing you can find. Pack it up, ship it home and ride it forever. The packing and shipping cost is going to be good and steep so you have to consider that.

    Good luck!

    Jim

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    Senior Member swifferman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Socrates
    Don't buy in China! Wait until you get back home. There is little respect for or control over trademark law in China. It might be the case that the bike is so cheap because all or most of the parts are knock-offs. This is a big problem in many industries. Golf clubs and gear immediately comes to mind.
    If he's going to an actual store I really don't see how this could happen. Maybe if you were a fool and assumed buying it from the guy with a stand on the street was authentic than maybe, but if he goes into a bike shop I highly doubt it. It's not like the price is exceptional for that calibre of bike.

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    Thanks for all your comments! I'm going to head back to the bike shop with a chinese friend and get them to tell me the brand and model of ALL the parts. I think the parts are legit - the shop is a proper Giant shop. But then even if the parts are good, if the frame is made in a Chinese factory, maybe the quality will not be as good. Hmmmmmm.....

  8. #8
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elise
    Thanks for all your comments! I'm going to head back to the bike shop with a chinese friend and get them to tell me the brand and model of ALL the parts. I think the parts are legit - the shop is a proper Giant shop. But then even if the parts are good, if the frame is made in a Chinese factory, maybe the quality will not be as good. Hmmmmmm.....
    Maybe the quality will not be good as what? The other millions of MTBs made in China? I'd guess that nearly every other Giant frame is made there as well.

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    Made in China/Taiwan/Singapore doesn't necessery means lower quality
    They do have high-tech factories over there, just that it's cheaper to hire chinese women

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expatriate
    Maybe the quality will not be good as what? The other millions of MTBs made in China? I'd guess that nearly every other Giant frame is made there as well.
    Maybe true, as China does unfortunately seem to be the place for expensive luxury goods to be made for minimal costs.

    But the Giant company in Australia says they make their bikes in Australia. And China's Giant factories have only recently opened. I guess what I meant was that, for example, on the Australian Giant website they rave about how their frames are hand-welded. I don't really know what this means, why it is better etc. But thought maybe there are differences between how the frames are made in different countries.

  11. #11
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    Found out some more specs today after going to the shop again today. Any comments? The price is $220 Australian.

    Frame: ALUXX 6061
    Brakes: Shimano V Brakes
    Gear levers: Shimano EF-29
    Derailleurs: Shimano C050/Altus 21
    Giant Shocks
    Double wall alloy rims
    Riser handlebars

  12. #12
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Here's some interesting info, just read the red if you're lazy.

    Giants are not made in Australia:

    In 1980, Giant eclipsed all other Taiwan based bicycle manufacturers by becoming Taiwan's largest original design and original brand (ODM/OBM) bicycle manufacturer. Today, Giant is the world's largest manufacturer of quality bicycles.

    As the world's leading producer of bicycles, Giant owns and operates four manufacturing facilities in Taiwan, China, and Europe. Combining Giant's impressive manufacturing experience with advanced manufacturing processes and technology have resulted in highly efficient, quality-controlled bicycle production.

    Giant's specialization in design, development and manufacturing has also made it the leading choice of OEMs. Giant currently manufactures bicycles for many of the world's top brands, accounting for approximately thirty percent of Giant's total manufacturing capacity. Giant has developed a proprietary manufacturing system known as 'GPS' or the Giant Production System. Combining advanced technologies in manufacturing and quality control with a powerful, computer-enhanced management system, Giant is able to produce bicycles with greater efficiency and under stricter quality control.

    To support the growing demand from customers of OEM and ODM and consumers (OBM), Giant has made strategic investments in additional manufacturing facilities over the past few years. Most recently, Giant invested in a new 11,520 sq. meter facility in Europe, in order to support the growing European market. Giant has one of the most experienced workforces in the bicycle industry and one of the lowest turnover rates. People at Giant are energetic, assertive and professional. As a multinational corporation, Giant has rich cultural diversity and provides and extremely challenging work environment. It is this environment that attracts many of the industry's brightest workers and keeps them there.

  13. #13
    Senior Member swifferman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expatriate
    Here's some interesting info, just read the red if you're lazy.

    Giants are not made in Australia:

    In 1980, Giant eclipsed all other Taiwan based bicycle manufacturers by becoming Taiwan's largest original design and original brand (ODM/OBM) bicycle manufacturer. Today, Giant is the world's largest manufacturer of quality bicycles.

    As the world's leading producer of bicycles, Giant owns and operates four manufacturing facilities in Taiwan, China, and Europe. Combining Giant's impressive manufacturing experience with advanced manufacturing processes and technology have resulted in highly efficient, quality-controlled bicycle production.

    Giant's specialization in design, development and manufacturing has also made it the leading choice of OEMs. Giant currently manufactures bicycles for many of the world's top brands, accounting for approximately thirty percent of Giant's total manufacturing capacity. Giant has developed a proprietary manufacturing system known as 'GPS' or the Giant Production System. Combining advanced technologies in manufacturing and quality control with a powerful, computer-enhanced management system, Giant is able to produce bicycles with greater efficiency and under stricter quality control.

    To support the growing demand from customers of OEM and ODM and consumers (OBM), Giant has made strategic investments in additional manufacturing facilities over the past few years. Most recently, Giant invested in a new 11,520 sq. meter facility in Europe, in order to support the growing European market. Giant has one of the most experienced workforces in the bicycle industry and one of the lowest turnover rates. People at Giant are energetic, assertive and professional. As a multinational corporation, Giant has rich cultural diversity and provides and extremely challenging work environment. It is this environment that attracts many of the industry's brightest workers and keeps them there.

    Holy crap and here goes little old me thinking that Trek was the #1 selling bike of the world...

  14. #14
    mmm... chicken! Funkychicken's Avatar
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    if it's a MTB you're looking for, suggest you get it in sydney.

    Whilst many bikes in china are old and look rusty, that is no indication of the quality of a new bike sold in china - giant has a reputation to uphold after all. my issue is variety - very few widely known mtb brands besides giant, and giant's offerings over there focus on commuters and folders not mtb's. But if it's a casual road ride you're looking for, go for it (i expect the price of giant to be pretty standardised worldwide anyway) except that you'll have to find some way of bringing it back into sydney.
    That's a lie.

  15. #15
    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    Yep, Giant is based in Taiwan, so i'd expect their top models to be made in Taiwan (just like US based companies like Specialized and Trek make their top models in the US), while their cheaper models are probably built in China.

  16. #16
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    Looking at the specs he gave you, That is not a good bike. Altus? That is pretty low end stuff. Almost bottom of the barrell. though seeing as how $220 AUS compares to about $170 US, I guess that is to be expected. heck I would say at that price, that seems about right. An aluminum frame for 170 bucks, I could see, a whole bike? watch out.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    The price is about right. What do you think your LBS pays for an Altus equipped bike? Subtract taxes, duties, and transport costs from that, and you're probably not too far off this figure. And at under AU$400, it won't atttact GST or import duties if you bring it back in your luggage.

  18. #18
    Senior Member swifferman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joelsp
    Looking at the specs he gave you, That is not a good bike. Altus? That is pretty low end stuff. Almost bottom of the barrell. though seeing as how $220 AUS compares to about $170 US, I guess that is to be expected. heck I would say at that price, that seems about right. An aluminum frame for 170 bucks, I could see, a whole bike? watch out.
    Apparently you've never been to wal-mart. Most people will not pay $170 for a frame. That is not to say most people on here wouldn't but not many non-biking enthusiasts would. It would be like saying I could see $200 for a suspension fork, but for the whole bike? Tell that to a person trying to buy a bike at your local X-mart.

  19. #19
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    Wonder if the web link helps. http://www.hoovers.com/free/co/facts...abforward=true

    One thing to highlight, do not be surprised that with the exaggeratingly low cost of operations (considering the currency exchange), the bike price might be reasonable.

    From understanding, China produces many types of products, and people are marking it up dollar-for-dollar (i.e. an item selling at RMB $6 will be sold at S$6), for ease of administration, as well as to confuse buyers' comparison (I might be wrong).

    Truly, many many things are very cheap in China, but the question is, whether or not you know the link / establish the relationship for better deals. On the other hand, if MTB profit margin is so low, I reckon foreign distributors will be disinterested, instead of promoting Giant so aggressively (at least in my area). I reckon with the distributor perks (lower cost than suggested retail price), the actual price elise has uncovered might just be practical.

    Again, I might be wrong.

  20. #20
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    Again, thanks for all your comments! I'm now pretty sure that, for the price and for the kind of stuff I want to use it for (ie. just riding to work and around) it's a pretty good deal. I'm gonna check that the warranty is worldwide. And yep, it can come on the plane with me...so no tax or postage! Thanks heaps everyone.

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