Ok. I won't mention links, ebay posts, or anything that may tempt you in any way, like I was. However, they are growing in popularity at my local and some guys swear by them. We all know buying local helps the local economy, jobs, and generally you get what you pay for ie local=quality!


Most of us cannot afford Zipps at around $2000+ (AUD), that really look no different to those Chinese carbon clinchers. I mean, have we've been ripped off when most of these wheels are really made in China anyway? Are we just paying for the decals!?

Please share your Pros and Cons on why and why we should not look directly at the Chinese carbon wheelset market more seriously?

  • 2
    Theres a ton of variance in how things are engineered and produced. Some may be perfectly safe, others could be terribly unsafe. Some may be made by taking the better discards from a factory, others could be made by running a major manufacturer tooling off the books, etc. Others may be made properly. Ask yourself if the potential savings are worth the potential costs associated with failure.
    – Batman
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 2:13
  • 1
    @Batman, that's like asking how long is a piece of string. As I said, many if not most carbon cycling wheels (most wheels) are made in Asia (China, Taiwan, etc) and their quality assurance has done quantum leaps in the last 10 years. So what you're saying is - don't know - stick with "known" brands.
    – Fandango68
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 2:58
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    "known" brands won't necessarily represent quality. Its no harder to write ZIPP or Bontrager on a knockoff rim than it is to write "kamakooza" as a brand name.
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 4:20
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    @FandangoAus Brands develop a reputation over time, as do whole national manufacturing sectors. Five decades ago Japanese manufactured goods were equated with low quality, but that reputation has been erased long ago. China is a very large country with hundreds or thousands of manufacturers in almost every sector. In such a situation it's hard to name an export brand that has developed a good reputation at this stage. Some are excellent, others not so. As end consumers, we don't really know.
    – andy256
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 4:21
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    @Criggie - If I were buying Zipp or Bontrager, I'd stick with authorized retailers so I'm pretty sure I'm getting the real deal (to avoid issues). And FandangoAus, my point is when you buy a name brand from a quality retailer, you're buy for some amount of R&D, manufacturing and trust that it's been done correctly (which is part of the brand). The Chinese manufacturers may or may not be cutting corners, so ask yourself if the savings is worth the risk of them cutting enough corners potentially.
    – Batman
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 18:04

2 Answers 2


First of all, you need to rid yourself of the idea that "It can't be top-notch if it's made in China". Don't let all the cheap junk that comes out of China make you think they don't manufacture top-quality products.

When you buy Zipps, you're not just paying for the decals... free-market competition sees that this doesn't happen, at least not much.

Name-brand stuff is generally a bit more expensive, not necessarily because the brand can get away with charging more, but because the product generally passes through more middlemen, partially due to said name-brand being less specialized.

If someone is selling "just like Zipp" wheels for $500, corners are obviously being cut. But if they are asking $1500, chances are they're probably just about as good as the Zipps.

If there's no brand name at all, that's a bad sign. They're trying to avoid accumulating a reputation. I would never buy anything new if they didn't at least have an (English) website.

So to sum it up, if the wheels are significantly cheaper (like $500), they're either heavy or dangerous. Or both.

If the price is believable (more like $1500), it may be worth it if you do a bit of a background check on the company.

  • 2
    What if its still cheap rubbish but with a high price - what are the giveaway signs there, other than a non-english website, and no independent online reviews.
    – Criggie
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 9:41
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    @Criggie It's a continuum. You can never be 100% sure that it's not cheap rubbish. But if the company has a background and is trying to establish a name for themselves, it's very unlikely.
    – BSO rider
    Commented Aug 21, 2016 at 17:16
  • With Chinese manufacturing unfortunately price does correspond to quality, but (and it's a big but), there is no way you'll ever find out the price at the factory door which is where it matters. There's so much cost above the actual material and manufacturing cost that it's a hard comparison. Among what you are sacrificing is quality assurance and a dealer assistance network. A large company like ZIPP (or SRAM) is carrying huge costs in marketing, R&D, stock, distribution etc. Light-bicycle and similar rims sit in a factory in China until you pay freight. Look at reviews and go from there.
    – DWGKNZ
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 3:16

I ride "cheap" imported carbon wheels. I could not afford big brand wheels - so took the risk. Albeit - I bought them from an importer who provides support and warranty. I figured it was worth the additional premium. Incidentally they also brand the wheels - but it's pretty obvious what the origin of the wheels are.

So I wouldn't say having no brand is a bad thing. But having no local warranty, backup and support is definitely a bad thing.

The wheels I bought look identical to those available from other well-known places.

I rode them for a year - through dry weather only. I've put significant mileage through them. I have not done any long mountain descents on them - which is a risk on any carbon where heat builds up and can warp the rim. It's something which can happen on any carbon rim - and I have heard it from riders of branded wheels too.

I'm a lightish rider at 69Kg. And of course - I pulse the brakes on descents to help prevent build up of heat on the rim. I've ridden the wheels pretty hard in training and group rides. Hit the odd deep rut - which only caused a snake bite puncture and tiny mark to the rim edge.

The wheels are still straight and no loss of tension - I've not had to true them. I cannot confirm if the importer has tuned the wheels on receipt or whether they get sold as-is. Whatever, the wheels have remained very straight - more straight than any of my alloy wheels (Ultegra, Aksium, Ksyrium).

They're the only carbon wheels I have ridden extensively. What I did notice was the rear wheel was a bit "whippy" - I can feel flex under hard out of saddle pedalling (sprinting). Perhaps this is normal for carbon(?). The wheels weigh about 1550g for a 38mm torroidal / wide rim. Not bad. But bigger brands are lighter by about 100g or more for the same depth or deeper.

I was happy enough with them - to buy a second set of wheels. So perhaps this is my biggest endorsement.

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