Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Factory Direct: You Get What You Pay For

In the before times, you may have heard me say it was cool to buy shit from China. Well, that's still true. Kind of...
When I spoke on the subject of buying factory direct, I meant buying a good looking, NO NAME product for a good price direct from the place that made it. NO NAME of course meaning it does not say it is something that it is not. Like the hubs I buy from Circus Monkey. Sure they are direct from a factory in China but it is their product, not a knock-off or look alike of someone else.

See, I have no problem with folks who want to buy one of these on the FleaBay:

I mean, we all know that this is supposed to look like a Pinarello. This is one of the most counterfeit frames available on the market. But it's not a Pinarello, and the place in China that sells them online is not representing them as such. Meaning, it does not say "Pinarello" on the side of it, so a consumer is not being duped in to paying top dollar for a knock off. They know what they are getting. Any reasonable consumer should know that you can't order a $2,000 name brand frame on eBay, new in the box from China for $500.

That said, there is always an exception... After sharing with you where I sometimes get my stuff, we ran into a true counterfeit that made me feel like I had a responsibility clear up exactly what I meant.

The fork in this picture is all I am willing to share as far as the frame in question, because I make my living selling this brand and do not want to just "hang it all out there" for the world to see. I will say this though... it is a current frame that costs about $3,000 in a retail setting. The point is that just from this one picture of a fork, I can immediately tell you why I know this is not a Cervelo product...
They don't use aluminum fork tips. Period. The fork had other issues including the construction of the steer tube and the fake serial number. The frame itself had many tell-tale signs of being a fake including aluminum headset cups which they do not use, a ridiculous rear brake mount, and my personal favorite, an overly huge front derailleur hanger that, while on it's own was super obvious, was also mounted backwards. These are all things that can be missed by a consumer but not by me. If you would just look closely at the pictures before you hit "Buy It Now" you might be able to see it yourself...

It should be pretty damn obvious that you are not getting (in this case) a Scott SCALE 70 mountain bike frame if the bastards can't even spell SCALE correctly...

(Just one more example of how stupid China thinks you are)

The "Cervelo" in question, also came "stock" with Zipp 404's., yeah, right... Zipp's.

 I take issue with these even more so than the frame as Zipp wheels are made right here in Indiana by skilled hands with some of the world's leading wheel technology. These are not a high end product that is outsourced to Asia like other brands, so the fact that you could get them direct from China is absurd on the face of it. Some clear indicators are the stickers. Not the ones that say "Zipp Speed Weaponry," but the little "Fire Crest" sticker (not pictured) that adorned the carbon rim. (Fire Crest is a Trade Mark technology indicating Zipp's round-ish rim profile that makes them more aero than other modern V-shaped rim profiles) I can assure you that these are NOT round-ish, and are certainly not Zipp. If the rim doesn't give it away...

...the bullshit Novatec hub it is laced to, does. Novatec is a factory direct brand that is an OEM spec on many wheels that come on entry level bikes. They are also available after-market. On their own they are fine. On a "Zipp" rim, they are blasphemy. 
On the whole, I don't give two shits if you want to buy a carbon frame for $500 and then build it up the way you want. In reality the frame is junk compared to a name brand frame, and usually much heavier (which defeats the purpose of a carbon frame anyway). But if you want one, great! Get one!
At no time however, will you EVER hear me endorse a product that is clearly a fake. If it says its a (insert big brand name here) then it had better be. If it's not, I will be sure to belittle you for wasting your money and my time. 

So I guess the whole point here is that I may give consumers too much credit. Hell, I say all the time how "consumers are not stupid, they know when they are being taken advantage of..." 
But maybe they are stupid. I mean, Fred's spend countless amounts of time doing their "research" on the internet about what bike is best for them, etc... After the homework is done however, they go all "budget-minded consumer" and start shopping the internet for the lowest price (not the best deal, mind you) rather than going to a local dealer and asking their advice. It is ludicrous if you ask me. Why in the hell would you choose and expensive ass bike, and then "haggle" over price. If you want to pay less, just get something that fits that budget. Chances are, you will get what you pay for. The same goes for bargain hunting on the web. If you get something for nothing, there is most likely a reason you paid nothing...because it is worth nothing. Plus, if all of your research has concluded that the bike costs $5,000 and you find one on eBay for $900, then it is most likely a fake. I have no pitty for you when you realize it is a fugazi, you sir, just payed what we like to call:
"the Asshole tax"

Which you deserve to pay, as I consider it a big "fuck you" when you do all that internet research (or worse, ask me all of your questions and use our knowledge) to go to the internet to buy it at a price that I cannot give you, and then asking me to build it for you and balking at the price. If you want a quality product backed by a bike shop you "trust," then perhaps you should dust off your wallet and actually buy it from said bike shop. If you don't, we just might not be around long enough to be a bike shop at all.

Please support your local bike shop, they will thank you for it.

(especially when you tip them with beer ;)