I have one more question regarding this question well answered. (Thanks for all answers.)

Now I checked that, The wheels which I have, are FAKE as you see on left image. I have two questions:

  • Which brake pads should I use if I don't know even is it carbon or not.
  • Can I use this wheels, or replace them something else.. I'm asking because of aero effect.

Image taken from Zipp official website

comparison of fake and genuine Zipp rims

  • 3
    The first step should surely be to figure out what your wheels are made of, then to decide whether you trust fake wheels to carry you safely. Personally I'd be happier on cheap metal than cheap carbon, and regard counterfeit products as worse than honest cheap stuff, because a dishonest seller has no incentive to make a safe or reliable product.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 28, 2020 at 11:38

2 Answers 2


I urge you not to ride these. I can't emphasize this strongly enough.

Almost all carbon manufacturing in the bike industry is done in China or Taiwan. There are likely to be a number of lesser known but good brands. For example, a number of posters on the Weight Weenies forum report good experience with Light Bicycle rims. I suspect but can't confirm that November Bicycles uses many Light Bicycle rims in its lineup, e.g. these wheels. In any case, their blog straight up admits that they've inspected and had good experience with their China-based rim suppliers. I've seen forum users endorse other lesser-known brands as well.

Fake goods are another issue entirely. These are fake. There may be rumors circulating that the factories for major Western brands, e.g. Pinarello, sell surplus product at lower prices through other channels. As discussed on the article, however, those are fakes. This Bikebiz article focused on fake frames, and it asserted that those are likely to come from low-quality factories with poor quality control. I'd suspect that the same applies to wheels.

Basically, it's possible that the carbon involved could have structural flaws that you can't see (e.g. voids that will propagate as stress fractures). Most factories in China do, in fact, conduct safety testing, but the ones producing fakes are very unlikely to do this. You could have the rims inspected, but this would require someone with knowledge of composites manufacturing and repair and an ultrasonic scanner or some other type of scanner. You would have been better off buying a lower-priced set of carbon wheels that were made in China, but were inspected by a retailer you trust and that has business insurance and a warranty. Or even just pony up for the Zipps.


First, try to work out what your rims are made of. Then you can either buy the most suitable pads or decide that counterfeit carbon wheels aren't worth the risk.

As for how to figure it out, I don't have carbon fibre on my bike, but do have a CF camera tripod. At room temperature aluminium feels much cooler to the touch than carbon, and aluminium sounds more metallic if you tap it, preferably with it suspended or supported by the axle in the car of a bike wheel (i.e. not holding it) . With tyres fitted the metallic ringing will be much reduced, so better to do this before mounting the tyres.

Dobble check that the rims you actually have (and not the ones they claim to be) are meant to be used with brakes. If you can't get confirmation, assume they aren't.

If you really can't work out what they're made of, and really want to test the wheels, aluminium rims are the most forgiving in terms of brake pad material, so try pads meant for carbon. But test very very carefully - off the bike, at walking pace, then a few moderate stops in a safe place (up hill perhaps, certainly not down hill or in traffic). Check for unexpected wear as well as braking performance. I'd only do this under very controlled conditions, one wheel at a time with a known good wheel in the other position, and only as part of a brief demonstration that they're wrong if needed for a return after exhausting all other approaches.

  • Thank you for posting answer. I also checked like you mentioned. I'm sure it is not aluminum. But it could be plastic or real carbon.. I should remove the tire may be then I can see what is inside. Commented Apr 28, 2020 at 16:56
  • Although plastic wheels exist, I've never seen them with normal spokes, and most plastics would need to be much thicker than carbon fibre to get the stiffness. You're more likely to have badly made carbon.
    – Chris H
    Commented Apr 28, 2020 at 17:10

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