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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys!

I'm looking at building up a first, grownup sized, really light bike for my son. We live in Switzerland and don't own a car - and a quick bike is very important. Watching him drag a massively overweight kids' bike up the very long hills around our house has been torture.

I was nosing around ebay looking at steel and aluminum frames when I ran into this, and got to thinking - why not??

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270323431909

For about $350 I could have the thing in Switzerland - and buying a cheap steel frame locally (made in China too!) would probably cost more than that. Add a rigid Chinese carbon or aluminum Mosso fork (I have an alu one one my daughter's bike and it's great), he'd be in business.

OTOH, I would, you know, prefer that the thing not turn break in half while he rides to school ... All things considered, I'd rather see him on a heavier bike than in the intensive care unit.

Alternatives:

For about the same price I could pick up this. Less chi-chi, but I would know what I'm getting. Also, this seller has a number of other items I'd need for the build.

I've also emailed a fellow in the US about the Columbus EL-OS version of this. That could make pretty nice ride, too. That would be the steel-is-real option!

What do you guys think?
 

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Like so many other things... the answer it - it depends.

The frame could be great. IBIS has their carbon bikes made over in China.

On the other hand, how well is the QC in this factory? If it had Scott, Specialized or another big name on the downtube then they should have decent QC and a rep to protect. It's not a guarantee (though a new bike from them will have a warranty too.)

If it's just a generic, random frame - it could be from one of the same factories that does the frames for the above, and is built to the same exacting standards - or not. And I can't tell the difference from just looking at it on EBay.

The Columbus Frame - just make sure that the frame can handle a 1 1/8 inch fork, and it's suspension adjusted for 80mm fork. I seem to remember it being a 1inch threadless and adjusted for 48 or 63mm fork.

Good luck,

JmZ
 

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I just built up one of these frames. it is light, and it rides amazing. From what I can tell the whole frame is made with a 12K weave. 12K is a strong and stiff weave, and is the cheapest. Most high end bikes are made using mutliple weave types to impart both stiffness and shock absorption. I love the bike, but I am going to have to wait and see how durable it is over time. From what I can gather the frame is made by Hasa, who supposedly makes frames for Scott. That is not to say that this frame is as good as a Scott, but just that they know how to make a quality frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ljsmith said:
I just built up one of these frames. it is light, and it rides amazing. From what I can tell the whole frame is made with a 12K weave. 12K is a strong and stiff weave, and is the cheapest. Most high end bikes are made using mutliple weave types to impart both stiffness and shock absorption. I love the bike, but I am going to have to wait and see how durable it is over time. From what I can gather the frame is made by Hasa, who supposedly makes frames for Scott. That is not to say that this frame is as good as a Scott, but just that they know how to make a quality frame.
Hmm. That's encouraging - thanks for the info! I'm not expecting the thing to have all the same upsides as a $2,000 frame - I just don't want it to collapse! And also, it's not going to be taking the kind of beating a proper mtb takes - although being ridden every day by a growing boy isn't exactly like being in a museum. (Give my daughter a bike and you can hardly tell she's ridden it a year later. Give my son a bike and all sorts of things happen ... )
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
JmZ said:
The Columbus Frame - just make sure that the frame can handle a 1 1/8 inch fork, and it's suspension adjusted for 80mm fork. I seem to remember it being a 1inch threadless and adjusted for 48 or 63mm fork.
Right! I sent the seller an email with some questions of that type. The one thing big downside on that bike is the teal paint job on theone using the Columbus ES-OL tube set. I might have trouble selling my son on it!

Happy New Year!

Mike
 

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mikesusangray said:
Oh, btw: is the seatpost area reinforced? I can't tell from the pictures, and I'm a little worried about the CF cracking.

Mike
There is about a 4" long aluminum insert in the seatpost area. Its pretty thick. The insert sticks out about 0.5" above the carbon so that the seatpost clamp is tightening down on aluminum and not carbon fiber. The bottom bracket is aluminum as are the dropouts.
 

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In case you are interested, here is the techinical drawing of the frame from the manufacturer. I requested it prior to buying it. I wanted to make sure the geometry was suitable. Just so you know, it uses a 34.9 seatpost clamp, takes a 31.6 seatpost, a zero stack headset and needs a 34.9 high clamp front derailleur. The one I bought came with a really crappy Neco headset, so I used a Cane Creek instead. The geometry is designed around a 440mm axle to crown fork (basically a 80mm). I was told that you can also use 100mm, and it would slacken the head angle about 0.5 degrees. but you cannot use anything longer than a 100mm fork.



And here is the bike, prior to putting a front derailleur on (I had a low clamp and it wouldn't fit!).

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks so much for the shots - that's a nice looking bike, and I'm starting to get excited about this project!

Say - isn't this the same frame a bunch of MTBR guys picked up from Pedal Force on a group buy thing back in 2007? Looks mighty similar.

The one I'm building for my son will be a size 16" and will get a complet XT gruppo, rigid fork (black aluminum Mosso, I think - though I may spend extra on the "carbon" Mosso just for the looks), 717s on a dynamo hub, slicks, SKS mudguards and a tubus rack - it'll be a killer city bike. One of things I'm trying to do with my kids' bikes is to get good deals on classy frames and parts so that the kids can ride them for a couple years. There's a very good - and inflated - market for upscale city bikes here, and when my kids outgrow their frames, I should be able to resell the bikes pretty close to cost.

Another question:

- Do I actually see an eyelet near the dropouts that I could use for the rack and mudguards? I definitely see some holes that I can use, so I'm not worried. I'll either use the V-Brake bosses or a special seatpost clamp for the other side of the rack.

Mike
 

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It does look very much like a Pedalforce frame. However it does not come in the same sizes and the Pedalforce, and the cables are routed on the bottom of the top tube instead of the top. I would not be surprised if they are built by the same factory though. There are small holes where the carbon seat stays bolt to the dropouts. I suppose you could bolt on a rack, but you would want to make sure you don't get any friction from the rack against the carbon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
CupOfJava said:
Slap on some Scott Stickers and you'll be set.
<g> Actually, one thing I like (though I don't always get it) is an add free bike. Unless they're paying me for it, they can flog their own stuff!

BTW, for anyone else interested in this seller and/or manufacturer, here's an interesting discussion of their roadie frame:

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=146183

Everything I read is very encouraging. (Including the observations that the frames may need a little finishing. That's fine. My lbs won't mind giving the BB a quick grind.) I think these Chinese guys have something going for them.

Mike
 

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mikesusangray said:
<g> Actually, one thing I like (though I don't always get it) is an add free bike. Unless they're paying me for it, they can flog their own stuff!

BTW, for anyone else interested in this seller and/or manufacturer, here's an interesting discussion of their roadie frame:

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=146183

Everything I read is very encouraging. (Including the observations that the frames may need a little finishing. That's fine. My lbs won't mind giving the BB a quick grind.) I think these Chinese guys have something going for them.

Mike
You must love your son a lot to buy him a no-name carbon frame for under $300.

The cheaper steel frames are heavy. Cheap aluminum frames are poorly aligned.

Cheap carbon breaks.

I understand saving money, but I would never buy any carbon product which has no track record or guarantee, and a thread on the internet is not proof of quality.

I've worked with cheap carbon frames, purchased from more reputable sources than this ebay seller. I saw thin tubes walls, flexing where there should no flex at all, stress fractures from almost no wear, and bad alignment which cannot be fixed on any carbon frame.

I doubt the headtube is going to snap off from a hard hit, but I don't know anyone who is foolish enough to purchase a frame of this dubious quality.

You might think I am being a naysayer. I've worked in 5 bike shops over 20 years. I've seen Trek carbon frames that are 10 years old and are still working fine, but Trek has a lifetime warranty.
 

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ljsmith said:
In case you are interested, here is the techinical drawing of the frame from the manufacturer. I requested it prior to buying it. I wanted to make sure the geometry was suitable. Just so you know, it uses a 34.9 seatpost clamp, takes a 31.6 seatpost, a zero stack headset and needs a 34.9 high clamp front derailleur. The one I bought came with a really crappy Neco headset, so I used a Cane Creek instead. The geometry is designed around a 440mm axle to crown fork (basically a 80mm). I was told that you can also use 100mm, and it would slacken the head angle about 0.5 degrees. but you cannot use anything longer than a 100mm fork.

How's she ride? Does it seem durable? Thinking about grabbing one & moving the parts over from my hardtail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
sanjuro said:
You must love your son a lot to buy him a no-name carbon frame for under $300.

The cheaper steel frames are heavy. Cheap aluminum frames are poorly aligned.

Cheap carbon breaks.
Ouch.

Anyway, what you say does make sense. In fact, I think I would feel a lot less comfortable about getting it for him to do real mountain biking - races, careening down on single track, riding down steps, etc. But this is a bike for a 110 lbs kid to ride on the way to school, training, English lessons, church, etc. - and to put in a couple hundred Ks touring as a family in the summer (with me carrying most of the weight!) I don't think that's asking too much of it.

Now if he forgets to look where he's going and crashes it into a car or a tree and the thing self destructs - well, that's bad. But these things happen ...
 

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Ask yourself why these frames are so cheap. Cheap labor? Sure for pennys a day you can get some kids to come and sand carbon with no real respiratory protection. Who cares about the environment? We'll just keep flushing all the waste by-products into the sea. Seriously If you must buy a cheap product from overseas atleast make sure it is made in Tiawan. Atleast they have some laws and good quality control.

OK edit these are shipping from Hong Kong. If they are made there they are made under stricter laws and better quality. If they are coming out of China who knows.
 
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