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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 09-04-08, 10:53 PM   #1
Mr.BoJingles
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Generic Carbon Frames?

I've been doing a lot of searching for a while and I'm really searching for the best I can get for my money. I've talked to my LBS's and they're willing to service anything, even BD bikes. I was thinking for a long time about buying a MB and having a local shop tear it down and build it up. But in the search for a Ti bike I came across GVH Bikes, a couple emails and now I'm considering having them build a SRAM Rival bike for me, or buy their build kit and have a local shop build my bike.

I've seen some OEM carbon frames on the bay and things like the Pedal Force and the group buy currently being organized. I have a lot of experience with OEM manufacturers (albeit not with the cycling industry) and generally you see "buddies" of the factory getting the same stuff, unbranded at "good guy pricing". But I feel a bit hesitant about buying a "generic" even compared to a MB or a used frame, are my concerns warranted?

FWIW I'd rather buy an all American (or European) bike for personal reasons, but they are very expensive and I still have Tuition and gas bills.

Thanks.
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Old 09-04-08, 11:04 PM   #2
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I would buy two more of my Pedal Force frames before I'd spend the same amount buying one Specialized/Trek/whoever.
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Old 09-04-08, 11:04 PM   #3
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I don't remember the numbers, but there are just a handful of manufactures making almost all the carbon frames in the whole market. Giant is one of the very largest if I remember right, making bikes for brands that are arguably more notable then themselves.

FWIW I don't think you have anything to worry about buying a frame that you can trace back to such a supplier... ask on here first and it's likely someone will know something about them.

Also, GVH has a great reputation, especially in putting together a full bike. So if you do a build through him I would recommend having him build the full machine for you and then ship it out ready to ride! :thumbup:
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Old 09-04-08, 11:07 PM   #4
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Pedal Force frames are great, and you can usually get a great deal with something like a Rival groupo, i mean great deal.
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Old 09-04-08, 11:41 PM   #5
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Some generic frames are excellent. Some are not. When you buy from a reputable company like Pedal Force, at least you have some assurance of accurate specifications, quality control, customer service, and warranty.

When you buy a generic frame from an anonymous seller who will ship it to you from a communist country, you have no way of knowing if it is first quality or a factory reject or even if the specifications are accurate. If you don't like what you get, what recourse do you have?
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Old 09-05-08, 12:01 AM   #6
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Thanks a lot. You guys reassured my instinct.
I've heard only great things about GVH and have no hesitations using them.

The way I see it OEM manufacturers selling other peoples' R&D and startup costs is price of outsourcing. It's pretty crazy the price differentials in the cycling industry, but it currently helps me get on a bike that I want which is good for me.
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Old 09-05-08, 12:25 AM   #7
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For the most part, bike companies are now marketing operations rather than manufacturers. Why would I want to pay $3k for a frameset when one with similar (sometimes identical) specs can be had for 1/3 the price? Support may justify the extra cost for some, but judging by all the horror stories I read around here, it's not something I put too much stock in. Buying a generic frame from a non-local source does pose additional risks, but there is plenty of information and documented experience out there.

I say this tongue in cheek because I still see plenty of Specialized, Trek, and Cannondale frames out there. I confess my favorite target are those who insist on "Italian" frames, envisioning an 80 year old ex-tour star named Gisseppe carefully handcrafting each Pinarello or Colnago in a shadowy basement. Sorry, it's a mass produced $200 frame just like everyone else has.

Cycling is expensive enough. I'm not paying a premium to fund next year's tour team or more commercials on Versus.
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Old 09-05-08, 02:45 AM   #8
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I wouldn't buy one - not because they're made differently, but because nobody is putting their reputation on the line. We don't know how many frames say Trek rejects and throw in the bin because they won't pass inspection.
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Old 09-05-08, 04:22 AM   #9
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It is a mistake to assume that because a frame is made on the same "production line" as those use to make high end product, the cheap frame will nonetheless be the same. No. The materials used can be vastly different, as can be the quality control and rate of production.

Remember, marketing on the "same production line" notion is still "marketing". It is promotion. What you get is . . . ?
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Old 09-05-08, 04:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.BoJingles View Post
I've been doing a lot of searching for a while and I'm really searching for the best I can get for my money. I've talked to my LBS's and they're willing to service anything, even BD bikes. I was thinking for a long time about buying a MB and having a local shop tear it down and build it up. But in the search for a Ti bike I came across GVH Bikes, a couple emails and now I'm considering having them build a SRAM Rival bike for me, or buy their build kit and have a local shop build my bike.

I've seen some OEM carbon frames on the bay and things like the Pedal Force and the group buy currently being organized. I have a lot of experience with OEM manufacturers (albeit not with the cycling industry) and generally you see "buddies" of the factory getting the same stuff, unbranded at "good guy pricing". But I feel a bit hesitant about buying a "generic" even compared to a MB or a used frame, are my concerns warranted?

FWIW I'd rather buy an all American (or European) bike for personal reasons, but they are very expensive and I still have Tuition and gas bills.

Thanks.
most of those frames are made in a handful of factories overseas, and are then painted and decaled to spec for large bike companies. Trek, Giant, etc. unless what you are buying is a select few american or european built companies you are getting the same product with different clothes. I would buy a generic bike and spend the extra dollars on bits you will notice a jump in performance with, or better yet some nice gear to go with it.
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Old 09-05-08, 06:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.BoJingles View Post
I've been doing a lot of searching for a while and I'm really searching for the best I can get for my money. I've talked to my LBS's and they're willing to service anything, even BD bikes. I was thinking for a long time about buying a MB and having a local shop tear it down and build it up. But in the search for a Ti bike I came across GVH Bikes, a couple emails and now I'm considering having them build a SRAM Rival bike for me, or buy their build kit and have a local shop build my bike.
if they weren't, then it would be time to find a new LBS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.BoJingles View Post
I've seen some OEM carbon frames on the bay and things like the Pedal Force and the group buy currently being organized. I have a lot of experience with OEM manufacturers (albeit not with the cycling industry) and generally you see "buddies" of the factory getting the same stuff, unbranded at "good guy pricing". But I feel a bit hesitant about buying a "generic" even compared to a MB or a used frame, are my concerns warranted?

FWIW I'd rather buy an all American (or European) bike for personal reasons, but they are very expensive and I still have Tuition and gas bills.

Thanks.
there is no longer such thing as an 'all american' bike.
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Old 09-05-08, 06:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim6b View Post
It is a mistake to assume that because a frame is made on the same "production line" as those use to make high end product, the cheap frame will nonetheless be the same. No. The materials used can be vastly different, as can be the quality control and rate of production.

Remember, marketing on the "same production line" notion is still "marketing". It is promotion. What you get is . . . ?
Heh, never thought about it that way.
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Old 09-05-08, 10:23 AM   #13
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ridley excaliber with rival for 2grand is a sick deal at colorado cyclist. excaliber frames were ridden successfully in the pro peleton for years.
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Old 09-05-08, 11:28 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by jim6b View Post
It is a mistake to assume that because a frame is made on the same "production line" as those use to make high end product, the cheap frame will nonetheless be the same. No. The materials used can be vastly different, as can be the quality control and rate of production.

Remember, marketing on the "same production line" notion is still "marketing". It is promotion. What you get is . . . ?
That's true, however these OEM resellers also can't say that they are selling the exact same thing as a SCOTT or Look or whatever if they plan to sell on any sort of legitimate market. There are intellectual property concerns, even the materials used can be protected if they come up with some sort of name for their carbon. The only straight answer you'd get is if you talk to the actual factory manager, and you won't get a straight answer if they think you'd tell anyone. Everyone uses the term high modulus fiber, to the point where it really doesn't mean anything.
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Old 09-05-08, 11:33 AM   #15
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ridley excaliber with rival for 2grand is a sick deal at Competitive Cyclist. excaliber frames were ridden successfully in the pro peleton for years.
Fixed.
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Old 09-05-08, 11:57 AM   #16
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+eleven for PF.
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Old 09-05-08, 12:10 PM   #17
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To me it's not worth the few dollars saved to ride on a questionable OEM frame. I want a frame inspected by a company with deep pockets worried about getting sued or having their reputation and subsequent sales damaged.

I consider it in the same category as buying house insurance. I've never had a claim so I could likely save many thousands of dollars by forgoing insurance but I don't want the risk. On a bike I think about these things when I'm descending a long hill at 50+MPH.
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Old 09-05-08, 12:22 PM   #18
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To me it's not worth the few dollars saved to ride on a questionable OEM frame. I want a frame inspected by a company with deep pockets worried about getting sued or having their reputation and subsequent sales damaged.
It's not a few dollars. It's thousands of dollars. And you are deluding yourself if you think the big guys are inherantly more concerned about building higher quality frames. Frequently, it's quite the opposite.




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I consider it in the same category as buying house insurance. I've never had a claim so I could likely save many thousands of dollars by forgoing insurance but I don't want the risk. On a bike I think about these things when I'm descending a long hill at 50+MPH.
Buying a bike is not in any way like not buying home owner's insurance. Of the [relatively small number of] frames that I've seen fail catastrophically, almost all were from big brands.
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