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The great conspiracy

Old 03-04-07, 06:30 AM
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Starider
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The great conspiracy

Dear all

I am fairly new to this forum and I would like your collective thoughts on a subject that I think could cause alot of people feeling they had been had by the bike industry.

I have recently had a very long and in depth discussion with someone who has been in the bike trade selling top end Italian road frames for along time. It was suggested that alot of large, world renowned Italian bike compaines are having their frames made in the Far East and having them imported to Italy to finish and paint them. I know that Colnago are having some their carbon and alloy frames made in Taiwan because it says so on the downtube, which is fine because you then know what you are buying. Though according to this source, alot of the other Italian frame builders are doing this but telling the customer it is made in Italy! I'm not just talking about the lower end frames, but the top end ones too.

This is particulary of interest to me as I own a few modern Italian frames and paid a 'not so little amount of money' believing they were made in a factory in Italy, by a world renowned master craftsman with years of experience welding frames.

Is there any truth in this? If so, then their are an awful lot of people out there being lied to and spending their hard earned cash on something thats not what they think it is, which is just plain wrong! Any thoughts or evidence to this being true would be welcome, Best Regards.
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Old 03-04-07, 06:45 AM
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Nobody's being lied to, but it's true that it's not always obvious. Pinarello, for instance, makes their high-end carbon frame (the Paris Carbon) in house in Italy, but the front triangle of the F4:13 is made in Taiwan and mated to the stays in Italy, where finishing work is also done. If you ask, you'll get an answer, but it's not like there's a sticker on the bike that says "front triangle made in Taiwan. Design, assembly, and finish work done in Italy."
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Old 03-04-07, 07:01 AM
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Not like buying a car like DrPete said with a breakdown of foreign work as compared to in house. I am not sure anyone other than the factory really knows and will they tell you the truth. Maybe, maybe not depending on what financial impact that may have on them. Face it......they want you to believe a frame is made in Italy but really Taiwan...........they can hide that very easily and we are none the wiser.

I just ride the damn bike and if it holds up, then I could care less if if was actually made in TimBukTu!
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Old 03-04-07, 07:03 AM
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What has that got to do with comparing the fit/finish/quality and price in relation to the other manufacturers in the marketplace and making a purchasing decision? The only issue that I can think of is if you are concerned about third world manufacturing environments and worker exploitation. Other than that, who cares how the end product is got to or how much it costs as long as it is better than other products? If it can be done better and cheaper other than in Italy, should they still keep doing it there? Or does it just burst your bubble to know that it was all hype before? I am not sure the answer but newcomers to cycling do not hesitate to purchase and enjoy the low cost/high quality bikes that are being offered. They could care less about brand loyalty and mystique and are not hampered by old paradigms.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:04 AM
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Here's a little blurb from the CC website about the F4:13 specifically...

Originally Posted by CC
One other note on where the F4:13 is made. The monocoque molds themselves are located in Asia, which is where that one component of the frameset is maunfactured. The main triangle is is then shipped to Italy for the remaining work -- the seatstays and chainstays are installed, plus all finish work is done.

There was a time a couple of years ago when there was still some life left in using "Made in Taiwan" as a criticism. It was probably more a sentimental argument than a technological one. Taiwan has made a greater investment in sporting goods-specific carbon fiber manufacturing infrastructure that all of western Europe put together, and it allows them to build a better quality, less costly carbon frame than anyplace in Italy. That's why the F4:13 is reasonably priced and is built with such amazing quality.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:10 AM
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I have no problems with Taiwan made frames.............I believe egos however do on people that want that damn stamp to say "Italy". I could care less if my Ferarri was made in Taiwan as long as it held up and would run like a tiger with it's a$$ on fire.

I think people get caught up in this made here made there syndrome and forget to do one single thing...............ride your damn bike and quit worrying where it is made.

One other thing.............check if it has a decent warranty and if needed..........USE IT!
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Old 03-04-07, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Starider
Dear all

I am fairly new to this forum and I would like your collective thoughts on a subject that I think could cause alot of people feeling they had been had by the bike industry.

I have recently had a very long and in depth discussion with someone who has been in the bike trade selling top end Italian road frames for along time. It was suggested that alot of large, world renowned Italian bike compaines are having their frames made in the Far East and having them imported to Italy to finish and paint them. I know that Colnago are having some their carbon and alloy frames made in Taiwan because it says so on the downtube, which is fine because you then know what you are buying. Though according to this source, alot of the other Italian frame builders are doing this but telling the customer it is made in Italy! I'm not just talking about the lower end frames, but the top end ones too.

This is particulary of interest to me as I own a few modern Italian frames and paid a 'not so little amount of money' believing they were made in a factory in Italy, by a world renowned master craftsman with years of experience welding frames.

Is there any truth in this? If so, then their are an awful lot of people out there being lied to and spending their hard earned cash on something thats not what they think it is, which is just plain wrong! Any thoughts or evidence to this being true would be welcome, Best Regards.
Next time do your research.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:13 AM
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When I was checking out my Cervelo Superprodigy before my purchase, it did seem sort of suspicous that they were half the price of its predecesor, the Renaissance, and there was no info on the net about it being made in Taiwan, but when I emailed Cervelo they told me straight out.

For a moment I did kinda think "well, they could've said 'made in Taiwan' on their website", but I thought, "ah well, it's just a tigged steel frame, and I'm saving at least $1500"

hmm......not sure why I posted that

Some old dude said to me he'd rather have a tigged frame welded by a robot than by some 82 year-old, half blind Italian guy who's half tanked on red wine after a long lunch.

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Old 03-04-07, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by 531Aussie
When I was checking out my Cervelo Superprodigy before my purchase, it did seem sort of suspicous that they were half the price of its predecesor, the Renaissance, and there was no info on the net about it being made in Taiwan, but when I emailed Cervelo they told me straight out.

For a moment I did kinda think "well, they could've said 'made in Taiwan' on their website", but I thought, "ah well, it's just a tigged steel frame, and I'm saving at least $1500"

hmm......not why I posted that

Some old dude said to me he'd rather have a tigged frame welded by a robot than by some 82 year-old, half blind Italian guy who's half tanked on red wine after a long lunch.
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Old 03-04-07, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by dekindy
What has that got to do with comparing the fit/finish/quality and price in relation to the other manufacturers in the marketplace and making a purchasing decision? The only issue that I can think of is if you are concerned about third world manufacturing environments and worker exploitation.
Taiwan is not "third world". It is a modern democratic country with health care, education, pollution, and labor protection laws similar to the USA.
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Old 03-04-07, 11:20 AM
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My bike is African.
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Old 03-04-07, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Cypress
My bike is African.
That it is.
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Old 03-04-07, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by johnny99
Taiwan is not "third world". It is a modern democratic country with health care, education, pollution, and labor protection laws similar to the USA.
I was not worried until you posted that information.
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Old 03-04-07, 01:44 PM
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Blimey some of you guys are very laid back about being lied to. I bought my frames thinking they were made in Italy the home of passion and things of beauty. I bought them with the belief that if the maker themselves tells me they are made in Italy I should have no reason to question that, as they are the makers and you hope they telling the truth.
Thats my point, not whether they ride well (they do) but your paying for the history and craftsmans skills in a factory in ITALY, not a mass produced factory in the Far East. Believe me apart from actually going under cover at the makers factory I DID my research as much as anyone could possibly do.....My concern is, not being told the truth and possibly finding out the whole Italian 'made in Italy' is a myth......thats my point...
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Old 03-04-07, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Starider
Blimey some of you guys are very laid back about being lied to. I bought my frames thinking they were made in Italy the home of passion and things of beauty. I bought them with the belief that if the maker themselves tells me they are made in Italy I should have no reason to question that, as they are the makers and you hope they telling the truth.
Thats my point, not whether they ride well (they do) but your paying for the history and craftsmans skills in a factory in ITALY, not a mass produced factory in the Far East. Believe me apart from actually going under cover at the makers factory I DID my research as much as anyone could possibly do.....My concern is, not being told the truth and possibly finding out the whole Italian 'made in Italy' is a myth......thats my point...
incorrect.

we were smart enough to do some research.
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Old 03-04-07, 02:23 PM
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OP: It's time to get rid of some misconceptions and stereotypes. Taiwanese frames these days rival, and in many cases surpass the quality of Italian frames. You should seriously take a better look at the level of technical expertise and design know-how coming out of Asia these days.

In fact - one my friends is a university student studying the Taiwanese bike industry specifically. I should get him on here; he knows a lot more than I do.

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Old 03-04-07, 02:30 PM
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Don't know if it's still true but there was a time when Harley-Davidson was buying speedometers and some other electrical components from (I think) Honda. And, that was a good thing.
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Old 03-04-07, 02:43 PM
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I still get a kick out of the old Mondonico ad that had a picture of Mondonico in this shop, completely barren of tools, with a frame in a stand while he held a brazing torch to it with no safety glasses, dressed in his red cashmere sweater, designer jeans, and Italian loafers. Now that sa' some framebuilder! Really, with the transient nature of brands these days and the sophisticated marketing, how is the consumer to know? "Doing research" turns into borderline paranoia. Still it's good to know that Torelli is really only a marketing brand thought up by some guy in California, and that the frames may or may not be built in Italy, even if they are pretty and make you go ohh, ahh. It may not make a difference on your next century, but you will see the difference in resale, and there is something called pride of ownership, if that even counts.
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Old 03-04-07, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by botto
incorrect.

we were smart enough to do some research.
+1. I read about it BEFORE I bought the bike, and got honest answers when I asked the question.
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Old 03-04-07, 05:15 PM
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I recently purchased a Cannondale because I know it was made in the USA. I did this not put of patriotic duty but because I know the conditions under which the frame was made. Fair treatment of workers and the environment are very important to me. So it is important for me to know where things are made.

The bike industry can be borderline deceptive when it comes to country of origin. Labels like "Designed in the USA" and "Assembled in the USA" and others, properly adorned with an American flag, can be very confusing. So one might not think there is a reason to dig deeper for the truth when one of these labels are present.

Another issue is when a manufacturer does not lower prices when moving operations to cheaper labor locations. So that Italian frame may cost much less but they charge just as much as before.

-Dave
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Old 03-04-07, 05:22 PM
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Why can't the Taiwanese framebuilder (or factory worker or whatever) be just as passionate about building a bicycle frame as an Italian frame maker? And even if you have a guarantee that your frame was 100% manufactured in Italy, you have no guarantee that it was done by "a world renowned master craftsman with years of experience welding frames" and not one of his 18-year-old apprentices.
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Old 03-04-07, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by wxlidar
I recently purchased a Cannondale because I know it was made in the USA. I did this not put of patriotic duty but because I know the conditions under which the frame was made. Fair treatment of workers and the environment are very important to me. So it is important for me to know where things are made.

The bike industry can be borderline deceptive when it comes to country of origin. Labels like "Designed in the USA" and "Assembled in the USA" and others, properly adorned with an American flag, can be very confusing. So one might not think there is a reason to dig deeper for the truth when one of these labels are present.
Have you seen this thread?


Another issue is when a manufacturer does not lower prices when moving operations to cheaper labor locations. So that Italian frame may cost much less but they charge just as much as before.

-Dave
Why should they? It could be that they moved production to a cheaper location so that they'll actually profit as opposed to either breaking even or taking a loss. Surely you don't begrudge a company making a profit? After all, that's what business are supposed to do.
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Old 03-04-07, 06:17 PM
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Who cares where it's made. I ride a Bianchi with a "Hand made in Italy Reparto corse" sticker. If I find out they lied to me, I'll go and ride it for a few hours to burn off my anger.
I think it's just silly to pay extra just because of where it's made.
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Old 03-04-07, 06:35 PM
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Unless you are buying a frame from a very small, one off builder like Tom Kellogg, you can't really ID who built your frame anyway. Was my Bianchi brazed by Ed? No. It was brazed by a frame builder in the Bianchi system though, and that works for me. Who builds Cinelli frames? Good guess. Certainly not Cino. Are Cinelli frames good frames? That's a unanimous yes. So if you ride what you like and you like what you ride, well, that's what it's all about anyway.
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Old 03-04-07, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Cypress
My bike is African.
I'm guessing Look?

Look frames are carbon frames I can appreciate. Cut the Onda BS that Pinarello peddles, the xtreme power wacky chain stay nonsense that Colnago has tried to differentiate itself with, and give me some beefy lugs holding beefy CF tubes. I'd take a solid 'looking' LOOK anyday.
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