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How far will you go?

Old 03-26-23, 12:46 PM
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How far will you go?

How far will you go using off brand products? I don't blink when it comes to "Asian" clothing, good quality bibs and shirt for 20-30 bucks. Water bottles, gloves, etc.
Now the dilemma is, I'm building up my latest project and have been eying these 3d print seats as well as carbon bars, stems, posts and wheels for at least a quarter of the price. I'm having a hard time doing that. Sad to say I want the label.
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Old 03-26-23, 01:02 PM
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What do you mean by "Asian" clothing? Like a kimono or ao dai or hanbok? Or are you talking clothing made in one of the many Asian countries of which plenty of known quantities make their clothing in? Clothing like a shirt or pants is less of a safety issue. Poor stitching will just lead to a garment that falls apart more easily which can cause safety issues but in normal wear is not so much.

In terms of the "label" it is not a label you are buying it is the actual R&D, support and quality. You are also getting the physical item but just copying the product doesn't add up to actual quality or any similarity aside from outer appearance. It doesn't mean it is safe or of good quality and if something does happen you are generally on your own. That is why you buy from a known quantity who likely specializes in carbon components or whatever you are buying. If a Specialized S-Works Carbon Hover bar has a problem with cracking, Specialized will send out a recall notice and get you new bars or find a solution, if Ali Baba and his 40 thieves random no-name bars have an issue with cracking, hope you notice it before something bad happens and you just need to find new ones on your own with your own money. It is not to say either one cannot have issues but when you have issues a known quantity will generally help you correct those issues or replace it whereas some unknown quantity you are paying little money too aren't and if they do it is probably to the same component with the same issues that will come back because why spend the money on new open molds when they can just produce the same product until they change names or go out of business.
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Old 03-26-23, 01:28 PM
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I'd ponder the consequences if something of questionable origin and price turns out to be crap. If your $20 bibs split, no big deal. Your $20 "carbon" bars might be more of an issue.
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Old 03-26-23, 01:42 PM
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Wonder if my Rapha jerseys were made in Asia.
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Old 03-26-23, 01:55 PM
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My "Asian" brand truck was built in MS. I'd have been happier had it been built in Japan.
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Old 03-26-23, 03:14 PM
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Just pay a little extra and buy quality stuff, don't settle down for cheap no-name brand crap.
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Old 03-26-23, 03:55 PM
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A friend said, “You can skimp on the whisky, but don’t skimp on the vermouth.” Especially for safety-critical components, I buy well regarded brand names: stems, handlebars, seat posts, tires, brake pads, etc. I buy better quality for reliability as well, especially on running gear, but better goods don’t have to be expensive. Look for cost effectveness.
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Old 03-26-23, 04:28 PM
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I have found over the years that buying proven, known quality is always cheaper in the long run.

I do certainly look for deals and buy on sale as much as possible, but even there I have found a good price is a poor value if it is not the right size or if I know I can't live with the color (rare there because I like bright....er gaudi)

all comes down to the economic principle that rules all: TANSTAAFL OR There Aint No Such Thing AS A Free Lunch
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Old 03-26-23, 04:29 PM
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No cheap carbon bars. Ever.
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Old 03-26-23, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mackgoo
Sad to say I want the label.
What’s wrong with that? “You get what you pay for” is probably truer in cycling than some other endeavors.
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Old 03-26-23, 05:39 PM
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For carbon parts, it's nothing but established brands for me.

It's too easy to make a defective part out of carbon, and there's no way to tell if it's bad by looking at it.
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Old 03-26-23, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad
all comes down to the economic principle that rules all: TANSTAAFL OR There Aint No Such Thing AS A Free Lunch
That is true one of the companies we work with as a service center took us out to lunch on their dime last year and the Piña Coladas I had gave me a bit of a headache and it was tougher to finish out the day and had a slight hangover the next day granted they were big Piña Coladas and I survived but yeah not totally free I paid the cost ; )
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Old 03-26-23, 07:54 PM
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in some cases I'll look into premium used vs buying the budget new Iffies.
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Old 03-27-23, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by squirtdad
I …comes down to the economic principle that rules all: TANSTAAFL OR There Aint No Such Thing AS A Free Lunch
or a free kitten.

Some endeavors have no junk. Climbing and parachuting come to mind.
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Old 03-27-23, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Wonder if my Rapha jerseys were made in Asia.
Mine were all made in China and Vietnam.

And I get your point, even if the OP doesn't.
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Old 03-27-23, 07:58 AM
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SMP saddles for me. I use the Stratos with standard padding. No cheap saddles.

I own two Yoeleo R12 frames with seatposts and integrated bar/stems from Yoeleo. No problems. There are several brands of Chinese companies making high quality carbon components, selling direct. Yoeleo prices have gone up substantially this year.

BTLOS wheels are high quality for around $800.

I've bought two jerseys from China one has been good, the other was longer than normal, wouldn't use that company again. No cheap bibs for me, but I buy good stuff only when discounted.

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Old 03-27-23, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by canalligators
or a free kitten.

Some endeavors have no junk. Climbing and parachuting come to mind.
and free bikes are often the most expensive
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Old 03-27-23, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by canalligators
or a free kitten.

Some endeavors have no junk. Climbing and parachuting come to mind.
unless you only anticipate doing it once?
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Old 03-27-23, 12:02 PM
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I sometimes wonder what 'off brand' actually means in terms of cycling.

Is Microshift considered offbrand? I dont think so, but others might.
Is SunRace considered offbrand? I dont think so, but others might.

I have Garmin mounts for a GPS and Varia radar light that are absolutely off brand...its some 6 letter Amazon brand and it was an excellent decision to pay less than half the cost of Garmin branded mounts.
Some bottle cages that I have in a drawer are by a brand I have never heard of. They were cheap, light, and hold a bottle just fine. Again, seems like a good buy to me.



I have not purchased a frame, or wheels, or components that could be considered offbrand. There have always been good alternatives for the same price, or near that price. I dont want a carbon frame and honestly every single house branded frame I have found has geometry that wouldnt work for me so its a moot issue.
I am not interested in carbon bars or stems so again- moot point.
A saddle needs to have the dimensions I like, and I havent come across a generic brand saddle that does, so they arent even a consideration.

I would buy a carbon off brand seatpost, if I saw that it was recommended by many people over time.
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Old 03-27-23, 12:40 PM
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I'm a "plus sized" guy my cycling clothing comes from "USA sized Aerotech Designs) my frames and some handlebars from some of the most skilled bike builders in the world Taiwan, Japan (some shifty bits, handlebars, stem, and a cranks), Germany (my dynamo hubs, lights, racks, and some panniers), France (Rims, saddle, bar tape, panniers), USA (hubs, stems, seatposts, brakes), China (my carbon wheels), finally a couple of bikes have shifty bits from Campy since they're bottom of the line I assume they're built in Poland.

It's a global word out there, buy the things that work for you best
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Old 03-27-23, 03:47 PM
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As with all things, one should do some research before making a purchase. As far as AliExpress stuff, I've bought clothing (sizing can be tricky to get right) and carbon stems, handlebars, seatposts, and wheelsets. I generally look at seller reputation and item sold volume and reviews, but it can still be hit or miss.

The most dodgy incident I've encountered was some material flaking off near the steerer bolt area on an integrated stem-bar. I didn't overtighten it; the bolt hole wasn't finished well and a jagged edge caught on the bolt and flaked off. I was ready to trash it but I've also ridden it hard plenty times since then and it's still holding up. I will probably use it on my indoor trainer bike just to be safe.
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Old 03-27-23, 06:23 PM
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I think OP was just saying "Asian" as a euphamism for cheap Chinese Aliexpress type cycling clothing. Yes, a lot of what we buy is made in China, but that has quality control and warranties, I'm sure OP means stuff like the $12 "Fox" MTB jerseys, the gillet and arm warmers/sun protectors I bought on Aliexpress the other day. Cheap clothing from unknown manufacturers in China that can be as good as or better than name brands and last longer, or that will crap out after one ride.

What's off brand in cycling? I'd consider anything like the Sunshine cassettes (borrowing from Sunrace) or the Wuzei stuff (with a red "W" like the Specialized "S") to be off brand. Anything that's clearly derivative, instead of having its own name. LTwoo, to my mind, isn't off brand. It may be cheap and perhaps not as good as products from the larger drivetrain component manufacturers, but they're not just copying other products, they are trying to innovate. That's IMO, I'm sure they have copied stuff, I get it, they may not be entirely original, but they are not calling themselves Shinamo or something similar.

Lastly, I'd think twice about anything made of Chinese carbon. The old adage of "Think cheap, durable and light. Now choose two." rings true, in that light, cheap carbon components may not be the longest lasting. Sometimes the vacuum process doesn't work properly and there are voids within the products, sometimes the fibres are poorly laid--one of the most skilled and highly-paid jobs at the Giant factory in Taiwan--so that their orientation doesn't yield optimal strength, and sometimes the resin is of poor quality. They did solve the issue of UV delamination, where direct sunlight would cause the carbon to come apart, but it's illustrative of the problems you can have with cheap carbon. You need to know what you're doing when you make it, and too many small factories in China are cutting corners and producing a substandard product.

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Old 03-27-23, 08:17 PM
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I try to avoid Chinese as much as I can, but mainly because I view Communist China as an enemy nation. I have no problems buying Taiwan though. In fact, I look for it.
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Old 03-27-23, 09:13 PM
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With all due respect to Jen, I see people living, loving their family, trying to make a living, regardless of the country as just people. People in China, due to propaganda, may see us the same way, but you, me, Jen are just people, not enemies either. I don’t condemn the people of any nation because they were born there. Many Chinese and Russians despise their country but are forced into silence or jailed or worse. As far as I am concerned, People can shop or not shop wherever they want and I respect that.

That said, since the vast majority of items we for our households come from China, and I use AliExpress to buy jerseys, cycling gloves, shoe covers, cadence, speed and heart rate sensors which are compatible with my Garmin devices. I would not buy any item from them which could possibly fail and jeopardize my safety, like carbon fiber seat posts, cranks, and especially handlebars.

If we go to war, then no more AliExpress.
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Old 03-27-23, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS
SMP saddles for me. I use the Stratos with standard padding. No cheap saddles.

I own two Yoeleo R12 frames with seatposts and integrated bar/stems from Yoeleo. No problems. There are several brands of Chinese companies making high quality carbon components, selling direct. Yoeleo prices have gone up substantially this year.

BTLOS wheels are high quality for around $800.

I've bought two jerseys from China one has been good, the other was longer than normal, wouldn't use that company again. No cheap bibs for me, but I buy good stuff only when discounted.
Part of it is the question of when do brands become labels. Trifox was advertising on here for a while and a search of the reviews revealed they had a lot of positive and high ratings and had been a brand for a while, kinda similar to lightbicycle rims, at some point they went from being a cheap chinese brand to a "label" as the OP seems to see it. Always easier to trust a brand that is around long enough and has enough reviews be to considered a mainstream company.
OP, not certain how to truly define the term off-brand but when it comes to stems, forks, handlebars and seatposts I don't trust anything that is clearly intended to be a knock off or by a brand that doesn't have an established reputation, though if they have US or EU distribution centers I'm more trusting of newer items.
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