Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Counterfeit bicycle components and my defective "Shimano" pedals

Today the NYT reported on a flood of “counterfeit” bike parts out of China. The parentheses are there because the article mixes up true counterfeits with diverted goods from “genuine” part assembly lines. Carbon fiber frames and wheels are probably the biggest problem — they’re very expensive and it’s pretty much impossible to distinguish a high quality carbon frame from a decent counterfeit that uses low grade materials (welcome to catastrophic frame failure at velocity).

As one would expect eBay and Craigslist are full of these things; surprisingly one cyclist friend is quite satisfied with the quality of the counterfeits he knowing buys. Of course not everyone knows they’re buying counterfeit goods, especially when items are sold at the genuine list price.

Which reminds me of my Shimano Pd-Mx80 Platform Pedals. I bought them from Amazon … sort of. In reality, from “Amazon marketplace” and “4ucycling”. 

Yeah, Amazon marketplace, home of zillions of worthless counterfeit “Apple” iPhone cables.

Did I mention one pedal started making hideous cracking noises the third time I used it? The pedal core spindle is binding on the casing. Here’s what “4ucycling" wrote when I asked about after-sale service:

hello dear:
you can contat with your local Shimano distributor,thanks.

Hmmm. They came in a nice box with normal Shimano directions, so maybe I just got unlucky. Or maybe they’re Shimano parts that failed quality control, and got diverted from the scrap room. I might try contacting Shimano just to find out.

I think that’s the last bicycle item I order from a no-name “Amazon Marketplace” store. I’d never do that with any electronic devices, but somehow my radar failed me on this one. Maybe I'll try a Crank Brothers 5050, sold by Amazon (not the marketplace).

Caveat emptor.

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