Cheap copy cats compromising on cycle safety

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First published in News by

There is a worrying trend in the bike world. I suppose the same thing happens for other areas of industry but working in the bike trade I see more and more copycat manufacturers emerging every year and they’re ripping people off.

They produce cheap, knock-off bikes parading as quality alternatives or worse, the actual original.

Some companies in China have an annoying habit of selecting something that has been built and designed with integrity and then copying it to the tee with shoddy workmanship and dangerous materials.

Recently we saw a Brompton copy emerge from Taiwan. To many it was the ultimate rip-off.

The Brompton Company has taken years to hone its folding bike into the ultimate commuter vehicle, with the utmost safety and quality.

An electric version is still behind the curtain yet to be unveiled until the company is 100 per cent happy with its specification. It has been more than three years since I saw the prototype.

The company that guards its designs so passionately saw a Taiwanese factory copy every part of it, literally overnight, swopping important components that make it plainly indestructible and producing a death trap that has the life span of a gnat.

The main ingredient that overwhelmed everybody was the slashing of the price by more than a third, leaving poor unknowing consumers to test ride something that was superglued together.

An utter crime if you ask me but even eBay had them listed for a time.

An even scarier rip-off came my way last week as I saw a counterfeit tricycle needing repair, the kind with the big box on the front that can hold the whole family.

On the face of it everything looked kosher but as I discussed the repair with the genuine UK distributor it quickly became quickly the child- carrying tricycle had been copied and downgraded from the original, leaving the unwitting customer with a death trap.

In the past few years I have seen Pashley rip- offs and Dutch bike rip-offs. They rattle and shake along compared to their properly-made counterparts.

What cannot be made safe is a bike with folding elements or something designed to carry large weights when the copycat manufacturers have used lower grade steels or cut corners on safety elements.

If you want a cheap version of the real thing don’t expect it to last as long or stay together forever.

Just beware when you are buying second-hand, like the trike I saw which on the face of it had a reputable manufacturer’s stickers on it but turned out to be a Chinese copy.

Best to do your homework before you part with your cash.

Comments (18)

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10:52am Tue 26 Aug 14

Heinz Kiosk says...

As far as I know Formosa / Taiwan (which is not China) would have intellectual property law, unlike China, and therefore it should have been possible for the owner of the cycle's name to have an injunction to prevent this "passing-off" and quite possibly an order for the fake cycles to be crushed. Equally, though China . like all communist countries, has no legal system I'd have thought Trading Standards should be hot on dangerous tat.
As far as I know Formosa / Taiwan (which is not China) would have intellectual property law, unlike China, and therefore it should have been possible for the owner of the cycle's name to have an injunction to prevent this "passing-off" and quite possibly an order for the fake cycles to be crushed. Equally, though China . like all communist countries, has no legal system I'd have thought Trading Standards should be hot on dangerous tat. Heinz Kiosk
  • Score: 0

10:54am Tue 26 Aug 14

xenarthra says...

Clearly the only sensible thing to do is to buy your next bike (new) from Honour Tomkinson's shop. Otherwise you are putting your children's lives at risk. Don't touch the Internet with a bargepole: there be dragons... (and Chinese ones at that).
Clearly the only sensible thing to do is to buy your next bike (new) from Honour Tomkinson's shop. Otherwise you are putting your children's lives at risk. Don't touch the Internet with a bargepole: there be dragons... (and Chinese ones at that). xenarthra
  • Score: 3

10:59am Tue 26 Aug 14

xenarthra says...

Heinz Kiosk wrote:
As far as I know Formosa / Taiwan (which is not China) would have intellectual property law, unlike China, and therefore it should have been possible for the owner of the cycle's name to have an injunction to prevent this "passing-off" and quite possibly an order for the fake cycles to be crushed. Equally, though China . like all communist countries, has no legal system I'd have thought Trading Standards should be hot on dangerous tat.
China has a well-developed intellectual property system, largely modelled on Europe's. Obtaining injunctions against infringing companies in China is not straightforward, but is certainly possible. Legal action would be better taken against the importers in the UK though. Patents, design rights and trade marks might all be of use. English "passing off" laws are less likely to be relevant. But if bikes are being personally imported by eBay buyers, there is not so much that can easily be done about that.
[quote][p][bold]Heinz Kiosk[/bold] wrote: As far as I know Formosa / Taiwan (which is not China) would have intellectual property law, unlike China, and therefore it should have been possible for the owner of the cycle's name to have an injunction to prevent this "passing-off" and quite possibly an order for the fake cycles to be crushed. Equally, though China . like all communist countries, has no legal system I'd have thought Trading Standards should be hot on dangerous tat.[/p][/quote]China has a well-developed intellectual property system, largely modelled on Europe's. Obtaining injunctions against infringing companies in China is not straightforward, but is certainly possible. Legal action would be better taken against the importers in the UK though. Patents, design rights and trade marks might all be of use. English "passing off" laws are less likely to be relevant. But if bikes are being personally imported by eBay buyers, there is not so much that can easily be done about that. xenarthra
  • Score: 0

11:15am Tue 26 Aug 14

cowley bob says...

The real problem with these fake/replica bikes is the sheer volume they are produced in. Type in the name of any popular brand on Alibaba.com and you will be shocked ! You get what you pay for as they say.
The real problem with these fake/replica bikes is the sheer volume they are produced in. Type in the name of any popular brand on Alibaba.com and you will be shocked ! You get what you pay for as they say. cowley bob
  • Score: 0

11:39am Tue 26 Aug 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

It's not as though genuine bikes are overpriced or anything, so who's actually ripping us off?
Manufacturers will always tell us that copies are substandard, because they want us to buy from them, and pay their prices, well they can whistle.....I notice Honour only mentions expensive over-priced brands anyway.
It's not as though genuine bikes are overpriced or anything, so who's actually ripping us off? Manufacturers will always tell us that copies are substandard, because they want us to buy from them, and pay their prices, well they can whistle.....I notice Honour only mentions expensive over-priced brands anyway. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 1

11:59am Tue 26 Aug 14

livid99 says...

Simple solution - don't buy a bike, buy a car instead.
Simple solution - don't buy a bike, buy a car instead. livid99
  • Score: 6

12:23pm Tue 26 Aug 14

King Joke says...

livid99 wrote:
Simple solution - don't buy a bike, buy a car instead.
Yes Livid, buying a car on eBay is completely risk free and there is no possibility whatsoever of dangerous shoddy workmanship.

Or maybe you should think before you type?
[quote][p][bold]livid99[/bold] wrote: Simple solution - don't buy a bike, buy a car instead.[/p][/quote]Yes Livid, buying a car on eBay is completely risk free and there is no possibility whatsoever of dangerous shoddy workmanship. Or maybe you should think before you type? King Joke
  • Score: 0

12:38pm Tue 26 Aug 14

cowley bob says...

Dilligaf2010 wrote:
It's not as though genuine bikes are overpriced or anything, so who's actually ripping us off?
Manufacturers will always tell us that copies are substandard, because they want us to buy from them, and pay their prices, well they can whistle.....I notice Honour only mentions expensive over-priced brands anyway.
A quick google reveals a basic Brompton will set you back at least £800, a fake from china is £69 complete with fake EU/BS kite safety decals.
[quote][p][bold]Dilligaf2010[/bold] wrote: It's not as though genuine bikes are overpriced or anything, so who's actually ripping us off? Manufacturers will always tell us that copies are substandard, because they want us to buy from them, and pay their prices, well they can whistle.....I notice Honour only mentions expensive over-priced brands anyway.[/p][/quote]A quick google reveals a basic Brompton will set you back at least £800, a fake from china is £69 complete with fake EU/BS kite safety decals. cowley bob
  • Score: 3

1:25pm Tue 26 Aug 14

livid99 says...

King Joke wrote:
livid99 wrote:
Simple solution - don't buy a bike, buy a car instead.
Yes Livid, buying a car on eBay is completely risk free and there is no possibility whatsoever of dangerous shoddy workmanship.

Or maybe you should think before you type?
Oh dear, sense of humour needed here.......
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]livid99[/bold] wrote: Simple solution - don't buy a bike, buy a car instead.[/p][/quote]Yes Livid, buying a car on eBay is completely risk free and there is no possibility whatsoever of dangerous shoddy workmanship. Or maybe you should think before you type?[/p][/quote]Oh dear, sense of humour needed here....... livid99
  • Score: 5

1:42pm Tue 26 Aug 14

cubist says...

£800, pretty reasonable for a bike
£800, pretty reasonable for a bike cubist
  • Score: 0

4:46pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Pianissimo says...

Shouldn't this article be labelled "Advertising feature", as its underlying message seems to be that you should get your bike through a certain person "working in the bike trade"?
Shouldn't this article be labelled "Advertising feature", as its underlying message seems to be that you should get your bike through a certain person "working in the bike trade"? Pianissimo
  • Score: 2

5:26pm Tue 26 Aug 14

King Joke says...

Pianissimo wrote:
Shouldn't this article be labelled "Advertising feature", as its underlying message seems to be that you should get your bike through a certain person "working in the bike trade"?
Only inasmuch as you should go to a reputable bike shop or well-known website. She hasn't mentioned any particular supplier by name.
[quote][p][bold]Pianissimo[/bold] wrote: Shouldn't this article be labelled "Advertising feature", as its underlying message seems to be that you should get your bike through a certain person "working in the bike trade"?[/p][/quote]Only inasmuch as you should go to a reputable bike shop or well-known website. She hasn't mentioned any particular supplier by name. King Joke
  • Score: -2

6:34pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Pianissimo says...

King Joke wrote:
Pianissimo wrote:
Shouldn't this article be labelled "Advertising feature", as its underlying message seems to be that you should get your bike through a certain person "working in the bike trade"?
Only inasmuch as you should go to a reputable bike shop or well-known website. She hasn't mentioned any particular supplier by name.
She hasn't mentioned any particular supplier but she didn't need to. All you have to do search Google for her name on the internet, and you will easily find that Honour Tomkinson part-owns a named cycle shop in Oxford.

There! I've given her some more publicity!
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Pianissimo[/bold] wrote: Shouldn't this article be labelled "Advertising feature", as its underlying message seems to be that you should get your bike through a certain person "working in the bike trade"?[/p][/quote]Only inasmuch as you should go to a reputable bike shop or well-known website. She hasn't mentioned any particular supplier by name.[/p][/quote]She hasn't mentioned any particular supplier but she didn't need to. All you have to do search Google for her name on the internet, and you will easily find that Honour Tomkinson part-owns a named cycle shop in Oxford. There! I've given her some more publicity! Pianissimo
  • Score: 0

7:32pm Tue 26 Aug 14

cowley bob says...

Pianissimo wrote:
Shouldn't this article be labelled "Advertising feature", as its underlying message seems to be that you should get your bike through a certain person "working in the bike trade"?
Where in the article is Honour asking you to buy a bike, she is only making you aware of the pitfalls of buying cheap crap. As for advertising, i know which shop she runs,and the bread/butter is not bike sales, Honour is a guest/feature writer,give her a chance.
[quote][p][bold]Pianissimo[/bold] wrote: Shouldn't this article be labelled "Advertising feature", as its underlying message seems to be that you should get your bike through a certain person "working in the bike trade"?[/p][/quote]Where in the article is Honour asking you to buy a bike, she is only making you aware of the pitfalls of buying cheap crap. As for advertising, i know which shop she runs,and the bread/butter is not bike sales, Honour is a guest/feature writer,give her a chance. cowley bob
  • Score: 0

8:52pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Pianissimo says...

cowley bob wrote:
Pianissimo wrote:
Shouldn't this article be labelled "Advertising feature", as its underlying message seems to be that you should get your bike through a certain person "working in the bike trade"?
Where in the article is Honour asking you to buy a bike, she is only making you aware of the pitfalls of buying cheap crap. As for advertising, i know which shop she runs,and the bread/butter is not bike sales, Honour is a guest/feature writer,give her a chance.
I was just trying to suggest that the ultimate effect of this article was to suggest that people should buy good-quality bikes. Nothing wrong with that, but the implication is that you can get them from Honour's shop, where she does appear to sell bicycles.

In the news report about Honour
co-owning Walton Street Cycles and Bainton Bikes (http://www.oxfordti
mes.co.uk/leisure/ar
chive/features/home_
interiors/news/82973
71.New_owners_for_cy
cle_shop__gem_/), her colleague says: “We will run the two businesses as separate brands, with Honour at Bainton Bikes. It will allow us to expand Bainton Bikes a lot more quickly.”
[quote][p][bold]cowley bob[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Pianissimo[/bold] wrote: Shouldn't this article be labelled "Advertising feature", as its underlying message seems to be that you should get your bike through a certain person "working in the bike trade"?[/p][/quote]Where in the article is Honour asking you to buy a bike, she is only making you aware of the pitfalls of buying cheap crap. As for advertising, i know which shop she runs,and the bread/butter is not bike sales, Honour is a guest/feature writer,give her a chance.[/p][/quote]I was just trying to suggest that the ultimate effect of this article was to suggest that people should buy good-quality bikes. Nothing wrong with that, but the implication is that you can get them from Honour's shop, where she does appear to sell bicycles. In the news report about Honour co-owning Walton Street Cycles and Bainton Bikes (http://www.oxfordti mes.co.uk/leisure/ar chive/features/home_ interiors/news/82973 71.New_owners_for_cy cle_shop__gem_/), her colleague says: “We will run the two businesses as separate brands, with Honour at Bainton Bikes. It will allow us to expand Bainton Bikes a lot more quickly.” Pianissimo
  • Score: 1

8:56pm Tue 26 Aug 14

cowley bob says...

Pianissimo wrote:
cowley bob wrote:
Pianissimo wrote:
Shouldn't this article be labelled "Advertising feature", as its underlying message seems to be that you should get your bike through a certain person "working in the bike trade"?
Where in the article is Honour asking you to buy a bike, she is only making you aware of the pitfalls of buying cheap crap. As for advertising, i know which shop she runs,and the bread/butter is not bike sales, Honour is a guest/feature writer,give her a chance.
I was just trying to suggest that the ultimate effect of this article was to suggest that people should buy good-quality bikes. Nothing wrong with that, but the implication is that you can get them from Honour's shop, where she does appear to sell bicycles.

In the news report about Honour
co-owning Walton Street Cycles and Bainton Bikes (http://www.oxfordti

mes.co.uk/leisure/ar

chive/features/home_

interiors/news/82973

71.New_owners_for_cy

cle_shop__gem_/), her colleague says: “We will run the two businesses as separate brands, with Honour at Bainton Bikes. It will allow us to expand Bainton Bikes a lot more quickly.”
is that in this article, no. You needed to google !
[quote][p][bold]Pianissimo[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]cowley bob[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Pianissimo[/bold] wrote: Shouldn't this article be labelled "Advertising feature", as its underlying message seems to be that you should get your bike through a certain person "working in the bike trade"?[/p][/quote]Where in the article is Honour asking you to buy a bike, she is only making you aware of the pitfalls of buying cheap crap. As for advertising, i know which shop she runs,and the bread/butter is not bike sales, Honour is a guest/feature writer,give her a chance.[/p][/quote]I was just trying to suggest that the ultimate effect of this article was to suggest that people should buy good-quality bikes. Nothing wrong with that, but the implication is that you can get them from Honour's shop, where she does appear to sell bicycles. In the news report about Honour co-owning Walton Street Cycles and Bainton Bikes (http://www.oxfordti mes.co.uk/leisure/ar chive/features/home_ interiors/news/82973 71.New_owners_for_cy cle_shop__gem_/), her colleague says: “We will run the two businesses as separate brands, with Honour at Bainton Bikes. It will allow us to expand Bainton Bikes a lot more quickly.”[/p][/quote]is that in this article, no. You needed to google ! cowley bob
  • Score: -1

11:02pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Pianissimo says...

Cowley Bob says "is that in this article, no. You needed to google!".

That is exactly what I said. If you read the article and think "I should get a quality bike", you might be tempted to google this lady and find out which shop she runs. It seems like subliminal advertising to me, which is all I was implying.
Cowley Bob says "is that in this article, no. You needed to google!". That is exactly what I said. If you read the article and think "I should get a quality bike", you might be tempted to google this lady and find out which shop she runs. It seems like subliminal advertising to me, which is all I was implying. Pianissimo
  • Score: 0

2:20pm Wed 27 Aug 14

Heinz Kiosk says...

xenarthra wrote:
Heinz Kiosk wrote:
As far as I know Formosa / Taiwan (which is not China) would have intellectual property law, unlike China, and therefore it should have been possible for the owner of the cycle's name to have an injunction to prevent this "passing-off" and quite possibly an order for the fake cycles to be crushed. Equally, though China . like all communist countries, has no legal system I'd have thought Trading Standards should be hot on dangerous tat.
China has a well-developed intellectual property system, largely modelled on Europe's. Obtaining injunctions against infringing companies in China is not straightforward, but is certainly possible. Legal action would be better taken against the importers in the UK though. Patents, design rights and trade marks might all be of use. English "passing off" laws are less likely to be relevant. But if bikes are being personally imported by eBay buyers, there is not so much that can easily be done about that.
I phrased that clumsily I'm sure the "People's Republic" has as many laws as North Korea, David Blunkett or the EU. I meant to say it has not the Rule of Law for in communist/fascist countries the State is the Law. I suppose that injunctions etc would be of little use inasmuch as some of the later comments suggest that the price would tell anyone of average intellect it's not the real thing. Equally the criminal law would be ineffective if no one is being conned. But if dangerous kit is being sold on ebay I'd be surprised if Trading Standards or whatever old Cable's Ministry is called had not the power to shut it down (the adverts at least)
[quote][p][bold]xenarthra[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Heinz Kiosk[/bold] wrote: As far as I know Formosa / Taiwan (which is not China) would have intellectual property law, unlike China, and therefore it should have been possible for the owner of the cycle's name to have an injunction to prevent this "passing-off" and quite possibly an order for the fake cycles to be crushed. Equally, though China . like all communist countries, has no legal system I'd have thought Trading Standards should be hot on dangerous tat.[/p][/quote]China has a well-developed intellectual property system, largely modelled on Europe's. Obtaining injunctions against infringing companies in China is not straightforward, but is certainly possible. Legal action would be better taken against the importers in the UK though. Patents, design rights and trade marks might all be of use. English "passing off" laws are less likely to be relevant. But if bikes are being personally imported by eBay buyers, there is not so much that can easily be done about that.[/p][/quote]I phrased that clumsily I'm sure the "People's Republic" has as many laws as North Korea, David Blunkett or the EU. I meant to say it has not the Rule of Law for in communist/fascist countries the State is the Law. I suppose that injunctions etc would be of little use inasmuch as some of the later comments suggest that the price would tell anyone of average intellect it's not the real thing. Equally the criminal law would be ineffective if no one is being conned. But if dangerous kit is being sold on ebay I'd be surprised if Trading Standards or whatever old Cable's Ministry is called had not the power to shut it down (the adverts at least) Heinz Kiosk
  • Score: 0

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