In fact, our consumer direct sales are a small portion of our actual business which is sourcing fo OE.
I did start this thread partially out of self interest as I see some potentially long term damage to the industry caused by the practices of some companies.
Also, I've been racing bikes for more than 25 year. I'm an end user, too.
googling bdop cycling U.S. distributor yielded nothing...
@Staggerwing: First, thanks for your input. You're coming at this from a different angle and I, for one, find it very interesting.
It seems to me that the way you were using form cores is very similar to how they are used in metal casting since they are not structural and are there to take up space or give shape to the finished product.
Probably the most interesting thing you said was about the items being produced oversized and that was what produced the pressure in the mold. I can see how this technique might be used to make rims.
My concern would then become that the factory might want to consider it structural and use less carbon as a cost cutting measure. What would be your thought on this? Do you think there would be room to go this way or would there be a serious loss of strength?
This is a perfect example. Cav was on a Chinese made carbon clincher.
My apologies for that. Just trying a little 'sensationalism' to stoke the fire. This was the start of a great thread. Need some lurking experts to chime in with what they know.
Seems though that a great many people just want to gush over their newly arrived Chinese hoops that cost relatively little.
Not as many people wanting to peel back the layers about what makes a carbon rim.
Bdop, elaborate on your unique position as an O.E. supplier. You have to wade through the sea of manufacturers and ferret out the good from the bad.
But...........as you described, it's difficult to witness first hand exactly how things are being produced. So what drives your decisions? A company's history, the real world performance of their previously made components? Do you get your hands on components and start cutting them up for a look see?
Once you become a buyer of said company do they roll back the curtains for little longer peek at how thing are actually made?
But, any carbon rim impacted from the side would have folded. Rims are not meant to withstand lateral impact, only vertical. There is pretty strict standards to pass EN testing, but in a crash anything can happen. The rim in this picture did not collapse while sprinting, it was impacted laterally and snapped.
the only way to know if what youre saying is true, is for you to provide me (ill paying shipping) a free carbon (preferably clincher, but whatever works for you) wheelset. i will then test said wheelset for a few years and ship it back to you. finally, i will post a thread with the results.
There's an easier method, go to a triathlon and there will be a wheel company offering test rides. Lay the wheel sideways on the ground and jump on the rim. You'll see I'm right :-)
It depends what I am looking for and for who. Typically a customer will give me a target spec and I will try to go find the closest match I can if we are talking about open mold products. If we are talking about opening our own molds (for a customer) then I will always go with a factory I know and trust and have worked with in some capacity in the past and whose capabilities best match up with my customer's needs.
For open mold products I'll start with suppliers I already know and trust and who we have already done paperwork with. This is just easier. I start by looking at the products they have to offer or I'll call them with a spec and see what they suggest. Next we move to drawings. If they don't have something that matches up with what I am looking for I have to look at opening a new vendor.
To open a new vendor I'll start by looking at product on offer through various industry sources. Then, if I find something that works I'll check out the company. Again, there are several ways to do that including talking to others withing the industry I know and seeing what experiences they have had, if any and basic web searches for consumer experiences, warranty recalls and other things I'd rather not share. No info is usually a bad sign.
If that looks good then a face to face meeting will follow. You can drink some tea, can hash out the spec a bit more, talk about the financials, logistics etc and get a sense of the kind of people you are thinking about working with. It's not always what they will tell you but what they won't tell you that can help fill in the blanks. It also gives the factory a chance to get to know you because they are doing the same thing.
If that all plays out next I'll arrange drawings. If those look promising and the math works I pass all that onto my customer. If they like what I've found it's on to samples and testing. This often means building up the parts and riding them myself or also having guys on my team ride them. The build process reveals a lot and riding adds more info. Sometims I'll do this before I make a recommendation, sometimes I've already done this and sometimes my customer wants to do this for themselves.
I almost always recommend that my customer take the samples themselves and make up their own mind instead of just taking my word for it.
In some cases we can cut things open and look inside but that can get quite expensive so it isn't always an option (esp if the projected order is small). In other cases we work with a factory that can do EN and destructive testing.
Some factories will give you a tour and show you what they are doing (which usually doesn't include products being made for other customers) and some will not. Sometimes it's like pulling teeth to get the factory to show you anything at all.
A lot of it is based on trust and relationships. There are some people I have known or worked with for more than a decade and others are new to me. This can dictate what I am shown, told or not shown or not told.
The amount of business you are doing with a vendor will also be a mitigating factor.
In the end there is always a risk and there will always be things you don't know. The trick is minimizing both as much as possible so that you can offer your customer the products they are looking for, at a price that works, from a vendor you trust and can work with.
I hope that answers your question.
I know it is a ZIPP
I know it was made in the good old U.S. of A.
I know Cav got up and rode the same wheel across the finish line.
I know it was last seen leaning against the wall in the ZIPP offices.
What else, what else??? I know that no wheel (even alloy) could take a diagonal hit and survive.
It was just a pic posted to spark the thread up again............
and it worked.
Last edited by redoak; 02-04-12 at 10:30 PM. Reason: spelling....as always!
So...........does ZIPP seek out EN testing and certification so they can sell in the EU with the EN standard of approval on their wheels?
Do you have EN certification on your wheels?
Good summary and yes it shed light on what I was asking.
So...............and believe me, this is NO 'bait and switch'..........I have read your opinions about manufacturers on the mainland.
What has soured your outlook for the mainland China companies / products?
I know the history of Taiwan and how it decided to be a supplier to the world decades back. How it strives to create professional, reliable relationships.
I know you have dabbled in sourcing from China. Was it shady business practices and a lack of business ethics? Was it promises to build a Mercedes level product but they delivered a Yugo? Did a mainland company ever try to out and out steel funds with NO intentions to ever build the product. Is the work ethic of a Chinese worker vastly different from a Taiwanese worker?
Last question. I can easily see why Chinese companies would be falling over each other to get on the Alibaba scam train. One customer, one theft, move on to the next sucker, rinse and repeat.
But...........why couldn't, why doesn't a Chinese manufacturer have the ability or desire to recognize that an ongoing relationship with an O.E. supplier could only benefit all parties. The relationship gets deeper and everyone grows their business.