As you may know by now, when it comes to equipment, I am a wuss. Only the best is good enough if you want to perform and reach your goals. Especially in the field of gran fondos, long distance and ultra cycling where you often spend more than 10 hours on your bike. Using inferior material then is really out of the question. Also, I’ve always been a gadget guy and just always want the latest thing. I know…it’s a little deviation in myself. 😊 So I discovered cheap Chinese carbon bike frames and bike wheels about 2 years ago.
At first I was skeptical about the quality because the price was so low. However, a cycling friend told me he was very satisfied with his Chinese bike. The reason for me to give it a try. And with success. Therefore, today I would like to answer the following question for you. A question I once asked myself as well: Why are Chinese carbon bike frames so cheap and affordable?
Reasons of low price Asian carbon frames and wheels
- Low labor and production costs: One of the reasons why Chinese carbon bike frames are often affordable is because of the low labor and production costs in China. Many Chinese bike manufacturers are able to produce their frames at a lower cost than their Western counterparts, due to the lower wages and lower overhead costs in China.
- Competitive market: Another reason why Chinese carbon bike frames are often affordable is because of the large and competitive market in China. There are many bike manufacturers in China, and they are all competing for market share, which can drive down prices and make Chinese carbon bike frames more affordable.
- No middlemen: In addition, many Chinese carbon bike frames are sold directly to consumers, either through online retailers or through the manufacturers’ own websites. This can help to reduce the cost of distribution and marketing, which can make Chinese carbon bike frames more affordable compared to frames sold through traditional retail channels.
- Low marketing costs: Chinese carbon bike frame manufacturers are intentionally keeping their marketing budget low. They believe the mouth-to-mouth process will do the marketing trick for them. And so far, it seems to be working fine. Low marketing costs means they can also lower their sales price.
Does the affordable and cheap price of Chinese Carbon bike frames affects the quality?
Carbon bike frames have become increasingly popular in the world of cycling. Mainly thanks to their combination of light weight and durability characteristics. Many of these frames are made in China. There is a common perception that the quality of these frames is lower than those made in other countries. But is this perception accurate?
To answer this question, it’s important to understand how carbon bike frames are made. Carbon bike frames are made by layering sheets of carbon fiber and epoxy resin. These are then cured under high heat and pressure to create a strong and lightweight frame. The process for making carbon bike frames is essentially the same regardless of where it is done. So the quality of a frame is largely determined by the materials used and the skill of the workers who assemble it.
Materials and labor cost
In terms of materials, Chinese manufacturers of carbon bike frames generally use the same high-quality carbon fiber and epoxy resin as their counterparts in other countries. Chinese bike frame and carbon wheel manufacturers also use a combination of T700, T800, and T1000 carbon. Which carbon is used depends on the application and of course your budget and the quality you are looking for. Read more about the differences between T700, T800, and T1000 carbon here. The main difference is that Chinese manufacturers may use less expensive labor. This allows them to produce frames at a lower cost. However, this does not necessarily mean that the quality of the frames is lower.
When it comes to the skill of the workers, it’s important to note that many Chinese manufacturers of carbon bike frames have been in the business for a long time. So, they have developed a high level of expertise. In fact, some of the world’s most respected brands of carbon bike frames are made in China. These companies have strict quality control processes in place to ensure that their frames meet the highest standards. Some renowned brands that have their bike frames and even bikes manufactured in China or Taiwan are Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Giant and the Italian bike brand Colnago. Chances are great your local carbon bike or carbon wheel builder also gets his basic materials in Asia.
Conclusion cheap Chinese carbon bike frames
So, is the quality of Chinese carbon bike frames lower than those made in other countries? The answer is no. While it’s true that Chinese manufacturers may use less expensive labor, this does not necessarily translate into lower quality. In fact, many Chinese carbon bike frames are made by skilled workers. Workers that are using high-quality materials which are subject to strict quality control processes. As a result, the quality of Chinese carbon bike frames is often just as good, if not better, than those made in other countries.
I can only confirm having nothing but positive experiences so far myself with Chinese bike brands. Of course, like in any other country there are high-quality and low-quality webshops and manufacturers. It is a matter of checking online reviews or checking with friends of family who have had positive experiences themselves.