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I am trying to buy Shimano Alivio M4000 components. When I was researching on Ali Express, I found this. This is Alivio M4000 including the front derailleur, rear derailleur, left and right Shifters and only for just $40. On Amazon they are sold for $35 and that is just for the rear derailleur. This just doesn't seem right.

I know this isn't exactly bicycle related but then I thought this was a worthy question because there are lot of people buying Shimano parts from Ali Express and it is impossible to segregate the actual sellers apart from the phoney ones. Answering this question can prevent lot of people from getting scammed.

Any more information about this would really be appreciated!

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  • Yes, they have 'Guaranteed Genuine' lol, which I could not find on any product. So safe to assume it's all fake.... – thelawnet Oct 21 at 12:14
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    fake as in "gray market / fell off the back of the truck" or fake as in counterfeit? – Michael Oct 21 at 16:27
  • Here is a question: is any of the garbage "Shimano S-I-S" mech found on $99 bicycles really made by Shimano? It looks like "new old stock" from 1970 something. – Kaz Oct 21 at 21:17
  • fake as in counterfeit. If you look at the RD & shifter photos in the listing and compare them to known real ones, they do not look the same. They are low-quality counterfeit. – thelawnet Oct 22 at 9:22
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I have seen a Far Eastern (Vietnam) seller advertising 'fake' and 'real'

  • ST-EF51-24/24

  • RD-M4000

  • RD-M390
  • RD-TZ50
  • SM-RT56

See here: https://dngbike.com/search?query=fake ( though some of those above have been deleted )

Fake RD-M4000 here on YT

Also my experience in Indonesia is that the market is completely flooded with fake RD-M390. The local selling price is around US$3.50

IME the selling prices of genuine Shimano varies regionally, somethings are cheaper in some territories.

There are some reviews on that listing suggesting that they are fake.

Product fake. Poor quality. Spoke with the seller to cancel the purchase before shipment but he ignored and only answer after shipping. AND the worst: The Loop 9 speeds not works, is locked. Trying a dispute but the seller not respond and the AliExpress ruled complaint unfounded. Worst purchase that ever made on AliExpress. Not Buy: fake, fake, fake.

In order to verify whether a product is real it can be hard to tell without a comparator in hand, so you'd have to order and then find a new, real Shimano product from a trusted source (i.e. not ebay, third-party Amazon sellers, etc.)

I'm not sure if M4000 is made in any respect in China. I have seen various sources: Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia.

Selling prices for known-genuine RDs in Indonesia (same seller, 100% genuine):

  • TZ50/TZ500/TZ31 $4.50
  • TX35 $5.50
  • TY300 $6.50
  • TX800 $9.75
  • M310 $12.50
  • M2000 $16.00
  • R2000 $17.50
  • R3000 $21.00
  • M3000 $22.00
  • 4700 $24.50
  • M4000 $28.00
  • M6000 $42.00
  • R8000 $65.00
  • M8000 $85.00
  • R9100 $166.00
  • Di2 M8050 $226.00

These are full retail prices and published discounts do not exist, but you might get 10% off if you bought from a retailer in person.

The fake Shimano are openly sold in Indonesia apparently with the euphemism 'OEM'. E.g. https://www.bukalapak.com/products?utf8=%E2%9C%93&source=navbar&from=omnisearch&search_source=omnisearch_organic&from_keyword_history=false&search%5Bkeywords%5D=shimano+oem

Besides the items I list from above, some 'OEM' (fake) items listed are:

  • SL-M310
  • SM-M370

Some Indonesian retail prices for genuine shifters (per ONE shifter):

  • EF41 $5.50
  • M370 $9.00
  • M2000 $10.50
  • M3000 $14.00
  • M4000 $21.00
  • M6000 $23.00
  • M8000 $35.00
  • R3000 STIs $55.00
  • 4700 STIs $62.00

FD-M4000 runs around $12.50

So in answer to your question for the AliX listing:

  • shifters - fake, garbage, missing logo. Indonesian price for fake pair ~$6, this at $15 is a rip-off.
  • rear derailleur - fake for sure, just look at the image, no logo, laughable garbage. Indonesian price for fake RD ~$10
  • front derailleur - quite possibly genuine?

So 100% definitely for sure fake. How do you tell? You can't - there is fake Shimano, fake KMC, and more on AliExpress. I am not sure if they haved faked hydraulic disc brakes - but I wouldn't guarantee it.

I would add that given that a lot of this stuff is made in Malaysia/Indonesia/Japan, a Chinese seller is a BAD place to buy it, because they've either faked it or imported it. Maybe DYOR on which Shimano is made in China?

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You pays your moneys and you takes your chance

Answer Maybe genuine, but just as likely not.

Essentially by buying discount, you're circumventing any quality and control process from the brand owner.

Costs are a strange thing - what costs you $40 in the shop retail, might be sold on sale for 20% off and the seller isn't making a loss. The various stages of wholesaler, importer, shipping, and so on repeatedly add a layer of costs - could be the original item costs only a small fraction of the sale price to make.

The specific items you're looking at might be any combination of

  • Quality legitimate parts, perhaps overstock or older designs that are no longer as popular.
  • Legitimate designs that have been built outside the brand's control, on the same production line (ie they were never official products) This is sometimes called second shift or midnight shift product.
  • Legitimate items that have been rejected in some way, that have failed quality control for some reason. Perhaps they're out of spec, or something wasn't done right in the build process
  • Second line product where a shadow factory makes the same item but on different machinery. It may or may not have the same metallurgy processes as the authentic product.
  • Reverse-engineered product - Someone has taken a finished item and figured out how to make the same thing. The designer would not be working from plans or specs, but from a retail product sample.
  • Outright fakes - where someone slaps a Brand's name on a generic component. May have a real model number, or a completely fake model number.

How far down that hierarchy you're prepared to go is up to you, and might vary depending on the safety requirements. I'd approximate that the more expensive are at the top and the less-expensive are lower.

Personally I have no problem with discount non-moving parts, like a reflector. But for a wheel or brakes I'd buy original only whether new or second hand.

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    I have certainly received parts that were QC rejects before. Almost nothing I have received from Ali Express has been to the same quality as a retail store but its ok if you are buying things that can be worse than described but still usable. – Qwertie Oct 21 at 2:10
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    I have purchased fake KMC chain links from Ali Express. My money was refunded, but they kept on selling them. They seem to work ok, Fake derailleurs, which these 100% definitely are, will not work as well original ones. OTOH I'm sure there are genuine full-quality Shimano parts on there as well... – thelawnet Oct 21 at 12:02
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    And one other thing: Shipping of small packets (2kg or less) from China to the US and some other countries is heavily subsidized. So it is possible to get "Free" shipping while ordering only a small item from China, whereas the shipping costs for an entire container of the same item are ultimately added to its retail price in the destination country. – Michael Hampton Oct 22 at 4:58
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    @Qwertie Data point only: Results can depend on product type. I have bought electronic "module" level products from AliExpress on maybe 20+ occasions and been almost always very happy with the quality compared to expectations. eg in some cases relay modules were not up to name brand specs but at the price they were value for money. Arduino 'clones' (legitimate licence wise) have all been good - although that is not universally the experience of all buyers. – Russell McMahon Oct 22 at 10:18
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One thing I have found on eBay---for both foreign and USA- domestic products--is that the listing will carry the heading for an aspect of a bicycle and the price posted will be quite low. For instance, a post will contain the picture of a complete hydraulic brake set from levers to calipers to the rotors and this will carry the title, "Acme, Co Complete Hydraulic Brake Set.." and the price associated with this will be 50-75% of the typical cost of the complete hydraulic brake set. The seller associates a low--but usually not a ridiculously low---price for the item. However, when you click on the listing and explore further, it becomes clear that the low price was a starting point and the low price is not for the complete brake set as the posting inferred, but for "calipers only" or "without rotors." The seller has enticed you to click on the post with a great price, only to force you to select various aspects of the brake system which then kicks up the asking price to be more commensurate (and often times a little higher) to the cost of the complete item. Another frequent item this unscrupulous technique is often seen is STI shifters: both shifters will be pictured, the title will state something to the effect, "Left front 2/3x, Right rear STI..." and the listed price will be lower than normal. In actuality, the posted price is just for one side and getting past the initial listing, you're forced to select options which INCLUDE both shifters but at a much higher price than initially posted.

I have a real problem with this practice and have complained to eBay several times about it. Several times I've messaged the seller and shared my disgust with this practice while making it clear I'm withholding any potential busniess.

One must be wary on selling sites. As far as counterfit products, I feel the majority of items are legit. Looking for established sellers that offer money back guarantee (not just the eBay assurance of a remedy should something not be right. Also studying the sellers stats can reveal inconsistencies. I typically won't order if the item is in mainland China. There are some nice, truly low prices out of there, but for a few dollars more the reassurance gleaned from dealing with a fellow countryman--and far quicker shipping times--balance the higher price.

  • Fair enough to the points raised here, and most of them are reasonably applicable to the Asian-homed websites like Aliexpress in the question, as well as Dealextreme or Banggood et al. – Criggie Oct 21 at 8:19
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    This is not really an issue nor what the OP asked. If it says '$20 brake', but that turns out to be only for the disc, or an adapter or something, that is made clear before you make the purchase. It does drag you in and make it difficult to find the actual cheapest part, but it's not really an answer to the question. For AliExpress nearly everything is in mainstream China, and for certain items essentially 100% of what's sold there is counterfeit. Also some of us not in the West might have a choice between untrustworthy sources, so 'buy from a fellow countryman' isn't an option. – thelawnet Oct 21 at 12:08
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I don't claim that the parts are not counterfeit, but the price is not impossible. In Europe the first price I looked up is 27€ for rear derailleur and 16.6€ for front. This includes VAT, import duty and German distributor's profit, and translates to 49 USD. Apparently USA does not have import duty for derailleurs, which makes Amazon even more overpriced.

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