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Why does my LBS dis' Fuji, KHS, etc...???(29 posts)

Why does my LBS dis' Fuji, KHS, etc...???dgangi
Oct 25, 2003 6:55 PM
The owner of the LBS near be that regularly services my Trek mountain bike was none too pleased when he discovered I bought an '03 Fuji Team road bike (he sells Felt, Specialized, Lemond). He told me that Fuji, KHS, and some other "tier 2" brands are not very good bikes. His claim is they sell their bikes at a price point that is less than Specialized, Trek, etc. and they are only good for people who don't really want a great bike and want to save money. He further says these brands put nice parts on their bikes but the frames are junk -- in another year my Fuji frame will be a noodle.

I have owned my Fuji Team for 2 months and have been thoroughly pleased by the bike. Every time I ride the bike I am so impressed with the handling, ride, and strength. The parts spec, as the LBS admits, is top notch for a $1500 bike (even though I paid $995). But I also find the frame quality is very good -- as good as any Specialized or Felt I tried before buying the Fuji. The welds are clean, the paint job is good, and there appears to be no flex in the BB.

Does my LBS have any merit about the build quality of Fuji, KHS, and other "tier 2" bike brands?? Is my Fuji going to be a flexy POS in another year??

BTW -- don't get me wrong about the LBS owner. He is a really nice guy but is very set on the brands he sells.

Thx...Doug
re: Why does my LBS dis' Fuji, KHS, etc...???lyleseven
Oct 25, 2003 7:08 PM
There are a number of reasons why a lot of LBS dis the Fuji, KHS, etc. One, they don't carry them. Two, they know these frames are made in Taiwan for a fraction of the cost and probably less quality control involved. The material used may not be as high quality as the brands they carry or are manufactured elsewhere. It clearly is a production line type of bike and they can point to this. However, today there are so many good bikes (and a lot of them are made in Taiwan) that it is hard to find a really bad bike. As for it being a noodle next year, I doubt that very much. As far as the average cyclist being able to tell the difference between a Taiwan frame and a custom built, I think they might be hard pressed unless they were used to riding custom bikes or were really hard riding cyclists. If you like the bike, who cares what others think??
I think that is bad logic.gala7516
Oct 25, 2003 7:24 PM
I don't understand your connection between low quality and low cost. The frames are less expensive because the labor is more cost effective, not because they are leaving out steps like quality control or using lower quality material.

Your LBS is just upset because your road bike wasn't bought at his store.
Cost Effective my A**Zman
Oct 26, 2003 10:23 AM
More cost effective in the far east you say. Get a grip pal. They have unfair labor practices, plain and simple. While people in the States and Europe can make a descent living in manufacturing, our friends in China (and other countries) make very close to nothing. But who cares right, you are getting a deal on your bike. The real truth is that most bikes coming from the far east are much more profitable to sell, the margins are much higher. You pay more for the bike than it is worth even though it is less expensive than a USA or Euro bike.

Quality and cost do not have a lot to do with each other. Quality is procedure based, cost is marketing based. It always cracks me up when I hear how much superior a Italian bike is compared to say a Trek or Cannondale. From a true quality standpoint there is really no difference. A weld is a weld, tubing is tubing, and paint is paint. A blueprint will detail how something is to be built and if it is built in spec it is a high quality part. Tolerances vary, but if they have similar tolerances, and are built to spec, then they are basically the same, from a quality standpoint.

It is history that creates many of the price points. It is mystique that makes many things "worth" more.

Z
Another perspectivefiltersweep
Oct 26, 2003 10:51 AM
I won't argue with any of your points other than the idea nearly ALL bikes in the price range described are made in Asia- even the Treks. I don't know about Cannondale, but many lower end Trek and Specialized (maybe all) are made in Asia... don't know a thing about Cannondale.
Asian frames are everywheredgangi
Oct 26, 2003 12:09 PM
Very few road bikes in the sub-$2000 range are made in the USA or Europe. In fact, many brands use only Asian-made frames now: Giant (Asian brand), Kona, Schwinn, K2, Iron Horse, etc. KHS and Fuji, both being Asian brands, will of course use Asian frames.

Even Specialized and Trek, the 2 biggest names in bikes, make only their most expensive frames in the USA. The Specialized Allez bikes at my LBS are made in Taiwan, and those were $1500 bikes! (From what I was told, Specialized only makes their S-Works frames in house - everything else is sub'd out).

And of course, the boutique brands like Titus, Airborne, Litesepeed, Salsa, etc. are all made in the USA (or Europe if a European brand).

I think the only "big" brand left that builds frames solely in the USA is Cannondale, and those are some of the most expensive bikes made.

Thx...Doug
Get a grip...gala7516
Oct 26, 2003 1:30 PM
Fair or unfair labor, it is still cheaper to manufacture certain products with an acceptable level of quality in the Far East. And while they may not live as nicely as the rest of the world their lives would certainly be much worse if there weren't these factories.
It sounds like you are bitter that a company is trying to make money selling a product. If there is a market to sell a product at a price point, and you can create a larger margin, should you be vilified?
Cost Effective my A**jcpreuss
Oct 26, 2003 3:05 PM
I've toured the Cannondale plant in Bedford and can testify that they are truly crafted by hand. I would also submit that the American made bikes are a superior value. As for tolerances, welds and the like, they use several patented processes to deliver frames that 100 percent to spec. As for the Far East labor stuff...that loud suckin' sound y'all hearin' is all those manufacturing jobs headin' to China. It's so sad.
Crafted by hand is better?dgangi
Oct 26, 2003 4:23 PM
I'm not sure that argument is valid -- crafted by hand is better than crafted by machine. In fact, many "by hand" products have gone by the wayside because machines can make them better, faster, and cheaper.

Go back 30 years and you would be having this same argument about cars.

As for a superior value in an American bike, what do you mean? I picked the Fuji bike because I thought it was a superior value. For $1000 I got a bike spec'd with full Ultegra, a frame that was very well made IMHO (nice welds, flex-free, yet gave a compliant ride), and a light weight (16.7 pounds). There wasn't an American brand even close to that price point. Had there been one in the ballpark with as good a ride, I would have purchased it over the Fuji just so I was "buying American". The Trek and Specialized bikes I compared against were at least $500 more (Specialized was not a USA frame). The closest, a Felt F50, was $250 more and weighed 2 pounds more. And none of these bikes rode any better than the Fuji IMHO.

Cannondale, I came to the conclusion, was the worst value on the market. The Cannondale road bike was the highest priced bike at its level (Cannondale 2000 was the most expensive Ultegra bike I compared). Maybe the extra price tag was because of the hand made frame, but a test ride didn't reveal anything better than the other bikes.

Unfortunately, you are right about the sucking sound from Asia. But the fact of the matter is the Asian companies have been kicking our tail (and Europe's too) when it comes to manufactured goods.

What kind of car are you driving? Good chance it's a Toyota or Honda. And you probably watch TV on a JVC or Sony.

Thx...Doug
Crafted by hand is better?jcpreuss
Oct 27, 2003 3:41 AM
No chance on the Honda or Toyota. I work for General Motors, hence my sensitivities (not a UAW guy).

Value in this context was against other American and European makes. The price differential is solely found in the labor. No kidding, people work in China, Indonisia and the like for pennies on the dollar. Unfortunately, I know this because my own company, GM, is pushing more and more sourcing for our supply base to China to stay competitive. It's not right or wrong...I can't even say that our Asian counterparts are less caring or skillful (in some cases they're better). As for machine versus hand, I guess I'm still one of those people who admire bicycles as being as much about art and elegance as precision engineering.

BTW, I have a Cannondale CAAD5 (USA Edition, of course ), with full '03 Dura Ace, Mavic Ksyrium Elites, Thompson Elite post, Selle Prolink saddle, Deda 215 bars, and a TTT Less stem -- all for around $2,000. Careful shopping and a bit of help from Ebay can keep things pretty competitive on price.
Why are frames made inTaiwan inferior ...laffeaux
Oct 27, 2003 12:22 PM
... yet Dura Ace so wonderful? It's made in the same country, right?
You aren't making any sense.KG 361
Oct 25, 2003 7:33 PM
You think Specialized is made in the US? They're probably made in the same factory that the Fuji etc are made in Tiawan. Nothing wrong with those bikes. They just happen to be a better value than your LBS can offer. Nothing wrong with their quality-just not as muh "snob appeal".
Snob appealdgangi
Oct 26, 2003 12:23 PM
Oddly enough, I have gotten a LOT of compliments on my bike over the past few months. On a number of occasions I have been told "nice bike -- Fuji's are great bikes". And this is coming from Calfee and Titus riders!

For example, just this morning I was on the first training ride with the team I am riding with on the MS 150. One of the other riders, who rides a LeMond, commented that "Fuji makes some excellent bikes - my friend had a Fuji Team and it was an awesome bike - that is a great bike you have".

The bikers I have associated with seem to have a dramatically different opinion about my bike than my LBS. The positive comments at least make me feel like I have a worthy rig.

Of course, it's not the bike so much as the rider, so hopefully I will give this Fuji bike a good reputation by kicking ass on it!

Thx...Doug
Just as a note: bikers wear leather and ride mororcycles.MShaw
Oct 27, 2003 10:50 AM
Cyclists ride bicycles.

Mike
re: Why does my LBS dis' Fuji, KHS, etc...???dgangi
Oct 26, 2003 12:14 PM
I'm not sure you can make the generalization that Asian frames use "cheaper" materials than USA-made frames. My Trek 8000 hardtail, a handmade USA frame, uses Easton tubing. My wife's Iron Horse ARS hardtail, a Taiwan frame, also uses Easton tubing. And in my opinion her frame is as strong, if not stronger, than mine (I have ridden both on technical single track). My frame is a scant lighter than hers, but it isn't noticeable on the complete bike.

Thx...Doug
He'd sing a different tune if he sold them...Fez
Oct 25, 2003 7:45 PM
Its pretty common for a dealer to criticize a line he doesn't carry.

BTW, the 2nd and 3rd tier Trek ALUMINUM road bikes are not that great.

Also, the 2nd and 3rd tier Specialized bikes are not that great. And most of those bikes are made in Asia as well.

I think a Fuji Team is a good choice compared to what I mentioned above.

Of course, I would prefer a Trek OCLV or Specialized S-Works frame over the Fuji, but those are not exactly offered at a price anywhere near the Fuji.
He'd sing a different tune if he sold them...dgangi
Oct 25, 2003 8:42 PM
Trek OCLV frames are, without question, some of the best frames made in the world. If I wanted the best road bike money could buy, I would certainly have that frame on my shopping list! But I recall the bikes with this frame all cost >$3000.

And Specialized S-Works were also >$3000 (from what I can recall).

Both of these bikes were way out of my league!

I was comparing the Fuji Team to the Trek 2300 and Specialized Allez Comp bikes (all of which came with Ultegra components). But both the Trek and Specialized had some marginal parts on the bike (house-brand stuff). And the Specialized and Trek were heavier. I test rode all of them and I honestly think the Fuji Team rode better than the other bikes.

From what I recall, the Specialized Allez bikes had a "Made in Taiwan" sticker on the front of them, just like my Fuji...

Thx...Doug
Can get an OCLV for less than $3K, and you are right about...jtferraro
Oct 27, 2003 7:48 AM
the "Made in Taiwan" sticker on Specialized's non S-Works aluminum bikes, and I think the same is true for TREK. I remember one manufacturer, although I'm not sure who, had the sticker "Handmade in Taiwain".

-Jeff
consolidated
Oct 25, 2003 7:50 PM
I know the feeling, I had one of the first Giants in town years ago. Gawd, the crap I'd hear when I'd take it in..."will it fit thru the door?", "is that the size or the brand?"

He knows how tough it is to compete at that price point and I'm sure is not pleased when a regular customer goes elsewhere for large purchases, what's not cool is him taking it out on your bike. Fuji's are great bikes for the money.
re: Why does my LBS dis' Fuji, KHS, etc...???asgelle
Oct 26, 2003 4:10 PM
Also, if he says "in another year my Fuji frame will be a noodle." Either he doesn't know the first thing about frames or metallurgy, or doesn't care whether you learn about them. A poorly made frame may break in a short time, but it will get no more flexible.
re: Why does my LBS dis' Fuji, KHS, etc...???lyleseven
Oct 26, 2003 5:49 PM
Good comments from all, but I disagree about machine made being as good or superior to handmade. Hand mades are checked by machines for specs, of course, but not made by machines. Hand built wheels are superior to machine made wheels by a long shot. As for materials used on the lower end asian bikes, there is a difference in the steel and the butting which adds to the price in addition to the cost of labor. This doesn't mean some asian bikes are not made to higher specs and more refined materials, but by and large, they do not go through the same manufacturing processes that U.S. factories involve. Any tour of these facilities will demonstrate that. I am a believer in the saying that "you get what you pay for", even though sometimes you may pay too much!
re: Why does my LBS dis' Fuji, KHS, etc...???russw19
Oct 26, 2003 6:30 PM
Actually, regarding handbuilt wheels being superior.... not true.

First a handbuilt wheel is only as good as the hand that builds them. But superior by a long shot... no way! They are more prestigious, but not superior.

The biggest problem with wheels is improper tension. Handbuilt wheels that are not relieved properly are going to be problematic... same as machine built wheels that aren't relieved properly. But there is still one big problem with handbuilt wheels... I don't care how strong you are, you simply can not force the spoke all the way into the spoke hole of the hub by hand like you can with a machine. Therefore the spoke isn't seated properly and so it's weaker at the J bend than a machine built wheel is. The up side to handbuilt wheels is that wheelbuilding is an art, so a good artist of a wheelbuilder knows how to stress relieve a wheel to accomadate for this. Machines are inherently stupid and will only do exactly what they are programmed to do. But if done right, machine built wheels are stronger than hand-built wheels done right.

By the way, Mavic Ksyriums, fine wheels by most people's standards, are machine built.

Just a head's up.. although not directly related to this particular thread.

Russ
Sour grapes...lyleseven
Oct 26, 2003 8:19 PM
Ksyriums are machine built, but not delivered until they are hand tested, tensioned, etc. My comment about machine built is that if not touched after the machine, they are seldom tensioned, relieved properly.
The bigger issue here, is that if you like your bike, what difference does it make where it was built or what others say about it. Sounds to me that the original poster has some insecurities about his having bought this bike or he wouldn't have had to ask everybody for their opinion! Sure, the LBS guy was singing sour grapes also. But it is foolish to compare asian built knock off bikes to what the Japanese did to automaking. Japanese auto makers set standards for others to follow, not vice versa.
Ever heard of a spoke punch?....TFerguson
Oct 27, 2003 5:10 AM
All of my wheels are built with the spokes well seated in the hub.

And to the point of your arguement, the spoke holes on hubs are currently made larger to make it easier to get the spokes in for machine building. The larger holes contribute to the slop and spoke elbow failure.

TF
re: Why does my LBS dis' Fuji, KHS, etc...???dgangi
Oct 27, 2003 5:37 AM
Thanks for all of your comments.

I am the original poster and I have no insecurities about my bike. As you stated on numerous occasions, who cares what you ride as long as you ride it well? I've been smiling on my Fuji since the day I bought it, especially as I pass the guys on their Colnagos!

My original question was merely a point of discussion surrounding Asian made bikes. My LBS is probably not the only LBS with a distaste for certain Asian brands, and I was curious as to why that was. Giant was also once considered a crappy brand, and I don't think there is a person in the world who would say that anymore (in both the road and MTB crowds). Sure an LBS might despise a Giant because he doesn't sell it, but at least it has a good reputation. Hopefully Fuji, KHS, and other Asian-made bikes will earn that same reputation over time.

In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy my bike. And since my bike came with free maintenance for life, I don't have to take it to the same LBS that I have taken my MTB to for so long. I will take the Fuji back to the Cycle Spectrum where I bought it and let them work on it when I need the wheels retrued, gears adjusted, etc...

Geez. I got what I consider to be a superior bike at a bargain price AND I get free maintenance for life. That all adds up to a winner in my book no matter what another LBS says.

Thx...Doug
re: Why does my LBS dis' Fuji, KHS, etc...???Dutchy
Oct 26, 2003 7:47 PM
I personally think that people who think a bike made in an Asian country is automatically crap are the same type of people that thought Japanese cars and electronics were crap in the 60's and 70's.
As far as the LBS giving your Fuji bike the thumbs down, I guess he would have bagged ANY brand you had bought, unless it was a brand he stocked. Even then, he would have told you that he could have done a better price. He sounds like a wanker.

CHEERS.

Mark
My LBS sells Fuji and sings a different songbimini
Oct 27, 2003 9:00 AM
but doesn't sell the team for $995 sells it at a little less than $1500.

It looked like a nice bike, thin tubing, light weight. The welds didn't look as smooth and contoured as a high end frame, but I'm certain it won't hurt longevity. A frame either is or is not a noodle. If it's not a noodle now, it won't be one in another year.

Your LBS is trying to make a living and is using a little salesmanship. Planting a seed of doubt about his competators product. Take it for what it is worth. It does not make the LBS owner a bad person. It aways hurts when a good customer buys from someone else.

PS: Where did you get a Team for $995?

Fuji's been around a long time.
My LBS sells Fuji and sings a different songdgangi
Oct 27, 2003 9:42 AM
I got the Team for $995 from Cycle Spectrum store in North Phoenix. I think the store is affiliated with BikesDirect.com. The $995 price seemed like a deal to me, especially since I saw Fuji Teams listed on some on-line shops for around $1500 (just like you mentioned).

The bike I purchased was a 2003, not a 2004, and that is why I think I got it for such a good price (year end closeout).

The welds on my Fuji Team frame are very nice. So is the paint. The white color is a pearl metallic - very classy. From my point of view, this frame is as nice as any other "mass market" frame out there from Specialized, Felt, Trek, Giant, etc...

What LBS near you sells the Fuji?

Thx...Doug
Fuji's been around a long time.53T
Oct 27, 2003 9:59 AM
I had one when I was in High School, in the disco era. The first 12-speed I ever saw was a Fuji.

$995 for a well-equipped Ultegra bike means you are getting the frame and fork for free, so what's not to like?