XC Race bike. It’s a Hongfu FM057. No that’s not a brand you’ll find at the local bike shop. Hongfu is one of a few big chinese manufacturers that sell stuff direct and through sites like ebay and aliexpress. I’ve owned lots of big brand bikes and honestly this is the best.
Lots of people ask about it because of the paint job and no stickers. Here’s some FAQ:
Q: What is it? As above. As far as I can tell it’s 95% same as a Niner Carbon. The profile of the top tubes a little different as is cable routing but mostly its just like a Niner.
Q: $$$? I bought this one direct through the Hongfu website. Just google Hongfu you’ll find it. The frame was $430 USD Plus $75 USD for custom paint. I picked the paint job by googling frame paint jobs, finding one I liked and sending them the link. Easy. They send a proof before they paint it to make sure. The rest of it was bought online, mainly through Merlin, Chain Reaction, Wiggle and ebay. Its a mix of XTR and SLX. I think the whole thing would have been maybe $3000 NZD or less.
Q: What the heck is ‘Hongfu’? Good question. I don’t get it either. As far as I can tell, it works like this: The big brands we all know, are supplied frames by a few big carbon goods manufacturers in China. I think what happens is that the Chinese uber companies make prototypes and samples for these brands, and they kind of pick and choose and modify them for different markets/ fashions etc. The moulds are used then to make unbranded stuff they sell on the secondary market. The main names you find are Hongfu, Dengfu and Flyxii. I have no idea if these are stand alone companies or just like online retailers or if they manufacture or what the hell is going on. They seem to all sell most of the same looking stuff for the same prices.I’ve bought from a_baygoods, hongfu and Dengfu and they were all fine.
Q: Aren’t you scared it will break and you will die? Not any more. 3 frames over 3 years and none have cracked or gone bad. Lots of internet research – can’t find too many issues. The big brands try to tell you that their R and D costs are higher. Well, I dunno about that. I’m staying with Chinese Carbon for now.
Q: Weight? As pictured, 22.3 pounds (10.1KG) The frame is 1350 grams (size 19 inch) That’s about 200 grams heavier than what Niner SAY their frame weighs. Manufacturers are always squirrelly about their ACTUAL weights and from what I can tell, if there is a difference we are talking about 100 – 200 grams. I’ll keep the 2 or so grand in my pocket thanks.
Q: Wait? If you buy one off the rack it seems to take anything from 1 – 3 weeks to get to your doorstep. If you order custom paint, you’ll be waiting maybe 3 months.
Q: Why aren’t you supporting local retailers? Well actually I buy some stuff from LBS’s all the time (some clothing, lube sometimes tyres etc – anything where I want it NOW), and of course get wrenching done. The days of LBS trying to even contemplate competing on price are long gone. I literally couldn’t afford to race buying retail. Simple as that. Plus, some things really grind my gears about shops. You know, you wander in, needing something, kids are in the car, you have other places to be, and all the young usually male, retail assistant wants to do is yarn to his sponsored mate Robbo about that “awesome air they ripped out on jailbreak the other day” and “mannn car drivers are so dumb ayy mannnnn” Or when you want advice and it’s plain that 1 minute of googling on your phone would get you a better researched, and more sincere answer. Happened to me yesterday. Sorry, but that’s how it is in my experience. SOME PEOPLE AT SOME SHOPS ARE GREAT. I LOVE THEM. Lots are crap.
Seems like chinese carbon is the big new thing these days. There is a MASSIVE body of internet discussion on these things. See forums on mtbr, weighweenies, roadbikereview.
Any questions ask away