The issue of counterfeit carbon frames has popped up in media a few times in the past couple years…typically along with disconcerting images of separated head tubes. Sometimes people get them from eBay, or maybe they’re searching the deep web for an impossibly good deal. Or maybe they realize the deal’s too good to be true. Maybe they just want something that looks like the object of their desire. Or even more, maybe their cynicism has assured them that brand identity or no, all carbon bikes are the same anyways. Me? I don’t think it’s any marvel of craftsmanship or industrial science to make a serviceable carbon road frame that weighs a bit more than 3.5-lbs. Maybe not a highly tuned ride, but you know…if you had the know-how, the moulds, and some acceptable carbon fabric…didn’t try to save on the resin cost by cutting it with pudding mix or something…you could make a frame that might not fall apart. But I don’t think you can make a frame like an S-Works Tarmac, tuned ride and sub-kilo weight, for a fraction of Specialized’s costs and expect it to hold together. Personally I’d rather get an open mould, no-name carbon frame rather than some cheesy, knock-off Pinarello, but I’d then again, there are so many other easily available metal frames out there, new or used, that it’s difficult for me to imagine a scenario in which I would seriously consider doing that. I don’t know…maybe I’d need a carbon frame to practice painting techniques or some shit.
You know what counterfeit carbon items I wouldn’t buy? Handlebars or stems. Even respectable companies have some difficulty making proper examples out of carbon, so I’m not about to put one on my bike. I’ve seen a fair number of bars and stems fail, and when they do the situation can go bad real fast. So I’m puzzled why fake label carbon bars and stems litter eBay. And some of them are so laughably bad at imitating premium components….like Louis Vuitton bags made from a recycled naugahyde sofa…that I cannot but wonder if people aren’t buying them as a joke.
3T and ENVE seem to be among the more common targets for counterfeiters. The item below is so obviously not ENVE, I can’t fathom how someone could simultaneously recognize the value of the ENVE brand name and yet be so unfamiliar with their actual product. Hint: ENVE doesn’t make an integrated dropbar/stem.