2
votes

I've notice that the business to business site AliBaba and it's more consumer friendly AliExpress website have a number of bike components for sale. They tend to be complete component groupsets and the like but are some quite reasonable deals, especially if you are building a bike from scratch.

I've used AliExpress before to purchase electronic components, which have been good quality and are what they say on the tin.

Has anyone used AliExpress to buy bike components and have they had any trouble? (quality, counterfeit etc.)

One benefit is that your money is held in escrow until you receive the item and aprove the payment so some safety.

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    One thing to think about is the product warranty. If I buy something at my local bike store, I know they will help me out if I end up having to return it for warranty. I don't imagine the same could be said for stuff purchased from AliExpress. I wouldn't be surprised if some if it was counterfeit. I've bought a few lights and non-functional items (valve covers, etc) from dx.com, and I was happy with those items. But I've never had the faith in ordering something from China that was crucial to the safety and proper operation of my bike. – Kibbee Dec 18 '12 at 20:22
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    I just looked at this site - did a search on "Assos" and instead of gear costing $200+ they're showing a jersey for $20. On a totally unrelated note, I remember hearing a saying once that if something looked too good to be true, it probably was! – PeteH Dec 20 '12 at 16:55
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about reviewing a specific vendor. – lantius Nov 27 '13 at 18:40
  • Originally voted to close, but have since retracted close vote. Underneath, this question is asking more generally than one supplier, its asking about buying anything from bulk-megacheap websites like aliexpress, alibaba, dealextreme, chinavasion, and the rest. I wouldn't like to see a lot of questions on specific suppliers though.. – Criggie Nov 19 '16 at 6:29
4
votes

Crapshoot.
You may get something fantastic for your money, or you may get something that will leave you feeling burnt. Worse yet, you may get something that will fail catastrophically and get you really, really hurt. I have personally seen all scenarios play out with friends and former customers.

I recommend you try to find reviews for whatever parts you're looking at from folks who have owned the product for years- not months or weeks, or the "I just ordered it and when it gets here it's gonna be awesome!" guys.

3
votes

I too am interested in this matter, and I plan on ordering some parts and maybe a carbon frame set.

I stumbled upon this forum of happy AliExpress carbon frame customers, there you can see real life builds based on carbon road and mountain bike frames and see what are the pros and cons:

http://www.velobuild.com/

2
votes

I cannot comment on entire bikes, but my personal experience with buying bicycle accessories from Ali has been abysmal. Typically, the issues come down to:

  • Engineering faults, such as a missing inset where one should be, making it impossible to actually fit a light onto the bile without using a file on the holder first.
  • Design faults, such as a bicycle accessory bag with straps in absolutely the wrong places, ensuring you won't be able to fit it anywhere near the seat, despite plenty of things to attach to. Another example is a valve LED that lights up on vibration - well guess what, it works on rear bike wheels, but not on front ones.
  • Crap materials being used for the accessories. Things just falling apart after a while.

I've filed tons of disputes, and in most cases the supplier refunded the money after I posted pics (and even links to videos) showing their crapware in action.

Now, you might say that Amazon also sells pretty much the same China made stuff. Well, yes, except you pay for quality control. The Amazon price will be higher, but you're a lot less likely to buy a lemon.

Long story short: you get what you pay for.

  • I actually enjoy unbreaking things to make them useful. Its not hard to sew on velcro straps etc, just time consuming. Of course they may be used for totally non-intended purposes! – Criggie Nov 19 '16 at 6:25
  • Having spent more time filing down expensive bike parts to make them fit than cheap parts, I don't see that being much of an issue. Cheap lights are also good for backups and modifying, though I wouldn't rely on a single cheap light (or a single expensive one, they also fail) – Chris H Nov 19 '16 at 8:36
2
votes

I've bought plenty from dx.com and one thing from alibaba which turned out to be a fake.

Generally speaking, its the Britpart mentality. If you want an item whose job is not structural, not safety, and its not required to move, then a "pattern" item would be fine.

Good items to buy

  • Valve stem covers
  • tube patches
  • inner brake/gear cable crimps
  • mirrors (if they fall off you don't hit the ground)
  • bartape

Bad items to buy

  • tubes (structural )
  • brake calipers/levers (safety items + moving )
  • frames (structural)
  • handlebars and stems (structural)
  • helmets (safety item, plus they won't have the required safety approval.)
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    Despite their safety implications I'd add lights to the "do" list. They don't fall much more often than ones costing much more and I always run multiple. Also clothing, glasses, bags - a sudden failure is both unlikely and no more than inconvenient. – Chris H Nov 19 '16 at 9:40
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    On the other hand cheap mirrors aren't worth having - they vibrate or drift, don't have enough adjustment and lack the field of view of a decent one. – Chris H Nov 19 '16 at 9:41
  • @ChrisH fair call on the lights - they're cheap enough that you can run multiple different ones for redundancy. I run 4 front and 5 rear. As for the mirrors, if they fail then you're merely inconvenienced. – Criggie Nov 19 '16 at 19:47
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    My objection to the mirrors is slightly different - with other stuff there's an obvious risk that you're getting junk. The cheap import mirrors I've tried have all been complete rubbish out of the box. – Chris H Nov 20 '16 at 7:43
  • To the list of bad items you can add - suspiciously light and cheap carbon seatposts, given that the consequences of one breaking don't bear thinking about. – John M Sep 15 '17 at 8:26

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