Cheap? Could it be fake? BikeBiz special on counterfeit bikes & parts

What is real and what is not real? What is a bargain and what is not a bargain? When is a Pinarello a Chinerello?

These concepts, and much more, are explored in this BikeBiz special, a series of twenty long-form articles about the shady world of counterfeit bicycles, fake parts, and knock-off clothing. This series was first published on in April but deserves another outing because of all the “bargains” people will be seeking online in the run-up to Christmas.


For offline reading convenience the twenty articles – and that’s all 25,000 words – can be found on a PDF, a Kindle file, an eBook and a Word document.


Cream, Competent or Cowboy – Which factories are faking it?Who is making fake carbon frames: a “third-shift”, back-street workshops, or “the same factories that make for the big brands”?

Alibaba and the forty fakers – Who’s retailing the counterfeits?Chinese websites and apps offer “factory-direct” prices for big-brand carbon bikes and parts. Too good to be true?

When a fake isn’t – open molds vs the knock-offs No-name versus brand name.

When is a Pinarello not a Pinarello? When it’s a ChinarelloSome roadies proudly ride fake Pinarellos, but how good are the “Chinarellos”, and are they made in the same factory as the real thing?

Snap, crackle, and pop – do fake bikes and parts crumple?Some fake frames and counterfeit parts are built tough; some aren’t. How can you tell which are which?

“I bought a fake” – who’s buying the knock-offs and why? People who buy fake frames, bike parts and cycle clothing may think they’re getting a bargain, but is it a Faustian one?

Tribute bands and the Shadowlands – a design professor’s take on IP theft What’s real? What’s fake? A crash course in “intellectual property” and Platonic idealism with Professor Steven Kyffin.

Faking bikes is as old as cycling – knock-offs are nothing newFolks have been faking bicycles since 1817.

Fake China – where copyright means copy-it-right In recent years, China has taken steps to counter the counterfeiters, but in a culture where imitation is said to be the sincerest form of flattery the fakes won’t fade away anytime soon.

Tiger watching the Tigers – Specialized’s Andrew Love fights the fakers Andrew Love is Specialized’s in-house IP investigator.

Whack-a-Mole Inc. – the lawyers clobbering the counterfeiters Preventing Chinese factories from churning out counterfeit goods, and merchants from selling them is a tale of take-downs and sanctions.

Fake folders – how Brompton and Strida tackle the copiers Counterfeiters don’t just target carbon frames they also make fake steel and aluminium folding-bikes.

Sham chamois – never mind the quality, feel the width BikeBiz asked three apparel companies to share their views on counterfeit cycle clothing.

Fake sense of security – counterfeit helmets are not for headbangers Put a lid on it, just not a fake one.

“They’re just bits of plastic” – why cyclists buy fake Oakleys Of all the counterfeit cycle products available the most ubiquitous are Oakley sunglasses – fake Oaks are known as “Foakleys”.

Moles, meet the mole-catchers – officialdom takes on the counterfeiters Law enforcement agencies, governmental organisations, bureaucrats and trade associations all play their part in tackling IP theft

Don’t mess with the mafia – is it dangerous to expose the fakers? Tussling with the Triads is not to be recommended, says bike boss.

On your marques – what can manufacturers do to foil the fakers?It’s not easy to stymie the copiers, but there are overt, covert, legal-eagle and forensic authentication systems that can help.

Get real – How and why to avoid buying a fake Low price too good to be true? Then it’s possibly fake …

In other news...

What is PR and how can it help your business?

By Kate Allan, Compete PR This piece first appeared in the September edition of BikeBiz …