Pinkbike Poll: Do You Care If Your Frame Comes From a Catalogue?

Jun 24, 2022 at 23:27
by Matt Beer  

Open model catalogue frames are no secret. While most bikes from major manufacturers aren't made in house, a catalogue frame is different from other bikes in that the manufacturer isn't supplying a frame exclusively to a brand. It's "open" and anyone is free to buy them, brand them, and sell them (sometimes even with a warranty). Usually they're priced much lower than brands who are doing their own R&D, testing, or manufacturing. The business model exists for aluminum and carbon components too; bars, stems, rims - you name it. Open models and white-labeling are everywhere, even the first Grim Donut was a modified open model.

Among the big companies, open model frames are uncommon now, but many major bike brands have historically done some open models—especially in smaller markets or to react quickly to new categories. Think "oh man, fat bikes are blowing up this year, our dealers need us to deliver a fat bike quickly!"

Quest Karst
The Quest Karst

Agogo (Qtour) Bike Company FM-M06 open model

Someone in the comments was asking about the Quest Cycles Karst recently, and we recognized it as the Agogo FM-M06 frame we saw in Taipei back in 2018. It's a 130mm trail bike with pretty progressive geometry for an open model, especially by 2018 standards.

Quest Karst geometry
Nothing an angleset can't fix.

There are plenty of companies branding up, selling, and doing after-sales support on bikes like these. Quest, Rythm, Sherpa, and Evolve, all look to be shopping from the same catalogue pages, but does that mean should be scoffed at or aren't decent value?

The frame that Evolve Bikes uses for its Alpha model is also found under other names.

On the flip side, many bike brands will point to more control over design, insight into quality, immediate intervention to problems, and the ability to be progressive with their bikes as reasons they don't do open models. Some are even investing in their own carbon factories. Going a step further, brands such as Antidote, Hope Tech, Atherton Bikes, We Are One Composites, and Guerilla Gravity, and more have even built their manufacturing locally.

How do you feel about open model frames? Would you ride one?





How do you think the catalogue bikes from Quest, Evolve, Sherpa, etc. stack up against major bike manufacturers?

Are they strong enough? Is the geometry good?



If catalogue frames were on par with the latest major bike brands' offerings but significantly cheaper, would you buy one?

How much does the brand's marketing, production, and connection to the mountain bike world mean to you?




317 Comments

  • 148 11
 Personally, I would always be concerned about the resale value of my bike. Even if I don't care about the frame brand, a potential buyer might feel differently.
  • 32 12
 Fair point, but with the "standards" changing every year even bikes from the most mainstream brands lose more value in a season or two than the "brand value" could possibly be worth regardless
  • 16 2
 @hunty101: true, but still if you had a Diamondback and a Specialized with similar frames, standards, and components, the Spec or other mainstream brand is gonna have better value even though on paper they are the same bikes.
  • 24 6
 @hunty101: "changing every year" is a huge stretch. Outside of a few brands pursuing 157mm rear spacing, things have been pretty steady for almost half a decade. If I still had my Hightower LT from 2017, I could carry every part over to my current bike except the rear shock and headset.
  • 22 1
 @hunty101: Not true where I live. A 10 year old Santa Cruz here will sell for more than a comparable 2 year old Marin, regardless of which one you think rides better.
  • 4 12
flag conoat (Jun 28, 2022 at 12:59) (Below Threshold)
 this. while I get my bikes at wholesale, resale still matters....maybe more so! I want something people will want after I am done with it in 12-18mo. a catalogue bike is not that.
  • 158 3
 Resale? I ride my bikes till they crack
  • 119 3
 I treat my bikes as an expense when purchased and not a depreciating asset
  • 64 3
 @bashhard: I ride mine on crack
  • 14 3
 As long as I’m not riding anything from the Ann summers catalogue no problemo
  • 9 3
 @Compositepro: I sit my crack on my saddle
  • 9 0
 @hunty101: missing the point - the 'brand value' makes its more sellable second hand and reduces depreciation by some degree for a like-model generally.
  • 4 3
 @hunty101: really? I don't think there have been many "standards" that have changed recently (barring headset cable routing)
I'm pretty sure that most mountain bikes use post mount brakes, threaded bottom brackets, every fork can be installed, boost spacing is easy to live with. are there any standards I've missed?
  • 1 1
 @bashhard: And my big name bike brand just gave me a new carbon frame because of a “crack”. Well, more than a crack.
  • 2 0
 @Spencermon: if you include ebikes things get outdated pretty quick. Also geometry gets tweaked constantly.
  • 18 0
 The survey needed something about not wanting to reward someone who just adds a sticker and resales a catalog frame like it's their own creation. I know some companies have started there and worked themselves up to full on mountain bike companies "now". But there has been some shady marketing from "some" companies in the past.
  • 2 0
 @stiingya: could you drop some names and maybe give us a brief summary of what happened?
  • 2 0
 @n734535: mondraker?
  • 2 2
 @n734535:
I did drop a name and I got my post deleted! Not the first time..
Rhymes with Fanta Fruze.
Another comment on my bike- I got a killer deal on it from my favorite big on-line store. Like, a few hundred bucks more than a frame alone! Just to find out the rear linkage didn’t line up. Fixed with a shim, but did I get a “second” frame? One that wouldn’t make it from the big bike name showroom? I’ll never know..
Maybe the thirds make it into a catalog!
  • 6 0
 @Compositepro: dunno mate, I’ve had a fair bit of fun out of that catalogue
  • 2 0
 @your-pal-al:
I bought a new "downcountry" bike in 2021. (I hate that term)
I always thought a CC bike was a better fit for me but was put off by 100mm travel and the relatively steep head angle.
Slack with 120mm travel wasn't widely available before then.
  • 3 12
flag fraserkelly02 (Jun 28, 2022 at 15:18) (Below Threshold)
 @seatsniffer4: we are chatting about bicycles here pal there are plenty of other websites for that kinda obscenity bud
  • 1 0
 @KalkhoffKiller: I can understand motors and batteries and the changing standards involved there, being a new technology and all, it sees a lot of improvements and changes in a short time. but most of the other components are swappable between most bikes.
  • 3 2
 @seatsniffer4:
That’s how it should be!
I’m an ex motorcycle racer and have always spent more time setting up bikes than riding! Though I say they’re one in the same..
I’m looking for some magical feeling when I demo a bike. I know it when i feel it.
Who knows, maybe that old school magic I seek is in a catalog frame! But I need to test ride before I buy.
  • 1 0
 @ExMxEr: it's all about that magical feeling- my bikes gotta have that
  • 6 0
 my bikes are usually so f+&^%$g flogged they're worth zero when i'm done with 'em!!
  • 1 0
 @ExMxEr: Could you please say which was the online store?
  • 3 0
 I used to ride a road bike with 100% unbranded carbon parts and frame. Aside from the Dura Ace drivetrain and brakes and CST tires I don't think any of the parts had a name. The bike rode amazing, it looked like a Felt frame. Eventually I moved on from it but the one downside came when I went to sell it. Any brand name frame with this quality or part spec (assuming all the carbon bits were good quality) would have sold in a second, but everybody questions the frame that isn't a "brand name". It sold eventually but I would never go down that road again because of that. Even I questioned it before I bought it.
  • 1 0
 @bashhard: same here…that’s why they need a good warranty.
  • 1 0
 @bashhard: then get the brand new warranty frame Smile
  • 1 0
 @bashhard: LOL that's funny! hope its not catastrophic whenever it happens!!
  • 1 0
 @bashhard: username checks out!
  • 2 0
 @Davichin:
Competitive Cyclist
They held the bike for me when the simply didn’t have to. It was the last one.
  • 3 1
 I think this is a bit of a misplaced fear.
There are many bikes out there from the ‘catalogue’. One I am sure is so would be the Calibre Bossnut.
That particular bike has been selling 2nd hand more than the retail in recent times.
Personally I have not once even considered resale on mtbs though.
  • 2 0
 @92hokie: The catalogue bike might well depreciate more as proportion of its original purchase price, but will very likely be less in absolute terms. The mark-up the premium brands put on components is outrageous.
  • 2 0
 @hunty101: compared to previous times in MTB, the seas of the changing standards are pretty calm. I've been running largely the same components for the past 6 frames I've had. Dropper posts diameters do need to get figured out though.
  • 3 4
 So you buy something, concerned about what others will buy from you?
So you lose around +50% on *NEW* price, but at least someone will buy you back (or not...)
LOL! Way to go
  • 1 0
 @hunty101: what standards are changing every year? Boost and tapered forks are still around, and have been.
  • 1 0
 @Compositepro: good one!!! Wink 0
  • 1 0
 @ExMxEr: Thank you!
  • 1 0
 @ilovedust: Bossnut. funniest name of a bike ever.
  • 1 0
 @jamesbrant: Is it a noun or a verb? Boss, NUT!
  • 1 0
 @st-lupo: more like a noun and an adjective stuck together
  • 101 0
 As long as they don't claim it's their own developement and act as if it was a premium bike, I'm totally fine with a well designed catalogue frame. Looking at you Sciu bikes
  • 92 1
 The Sherpa site says they "build the most unique and customizable high-end bicycles in the industry," which definitely rubs me the wrong way.
  • 15 0
 Totally agree, most of the brands suppling their frames in catalogues are not really transparent about it and tend to say their bike are made in America or Europe as soon as they put a custom sticker on the down tube
  • 81 5
 @brianpark: being rubbed the wrong way is still better than not being rubbed at all
  • 6 0
 Evolv had some very questionable claims on their website when they first launched. I notice they've scrubbed a lot of that stuff off.
  • 5 3
 @DizzyNinja: that deserves an applaud
  • 4 0
 @DizzyNinja: Even with sandpaper?
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: They're unique (just like everyone else).
  • 7 0
 @DizzyNinja:
*Eyes cheese grater suspiciously*
  • 3 3
 @brianpark: I see what you mean, but if they are copying other companies' tech, that statement can still be true. They _build_ them, but don't really _design_ them (in the R&D sense). This "catch up" pattern has existed in tech industries forever and MTB has simply gotten popular and high-tech enough to attract catalogue manufacturers and thus adhere to the trend as well. You have the innovators and then the copycats who follow. Other examples include 3D printers, drones, action cameras, coolers...the list goes on.
  • 9 0
 @Lanebobane: I don't honestly have anything against catalogue frames, but maybe don't call your product the "most unique" when you picked it out of a catalogue and it's sold by several other companies as well.
  • 1 0
 @DizzyNinja: my cat disagrees
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: our Storm brand of bikes started at catelogue bikes in that the frame was made on the same jig as other bikes but we were able to spec our own geo, machining, and obviously build spec all to ourselves. This grey area is more common than this article really shows. Almost every big brand is doing this or something very similar for their entry level bikes. The only thing our bikes really share with the catalog bike it started from is the downtube shape and dropout shape.
  • 2 0
 @brianpark:
Unique! What a fantastic word!
“My fake carbon bars failed and now I’m paralyzed.”
“Those sound unique!”
  • 43 0
 "How do you think the catalogue bikes from Quest, Evolve, Sherpa, etc. stack up against major bike manufacturers?" Isn't it PBs job to answer this question for us?
  • 30 2
 I think they realize this. they just know no ad revenue is coming from those companies. No point making your paying customers look severely overpriced if the cheaper no name bikes are equal or superior.
  • 6 2
 @loudv8noises: Agree. Unlikely the presenters at GNBN will allow this discussion on their YT channel.
  • 13 2
 @birddog69: GMBN will make a video saying catalogue frames are bad and you need to upgrade as soon as possible and make sure you upgrade to a bike with plus-sized wheels, wireless shifting, carbon and high pivot.
  • 16 4
 @loudv8noises: Nobody can buy a review and the tech team doesn't even know who spends what. And for the record we've done plenty of stories about how you don't need to buy all kinds of fancy shit to have a good time on a bike.

www.pinkbike.com/news/mtb-on-a-budget-where-to-spend-and-where-to-save-on-bike-parts.html
www.pinkbike.com/news/mtb-on-a-budget-bike-parts-video-2020.html
www.pinkbike.com/news/mtb-on-a-budget-where-to-spend-and-where-to-save-on-mountain-bike-clothing-part-1.html
www.pinkbike.com/news/the-pinkbike-podcast-episode-105-the-3-bike-budget-challenge.html
www.pinkbike.com/news/the-pinkbike-podcast-episode-88-mountain-biking-on-the-cheap.html

When it comes to reviews, I ask the tech team to focus on brands and products that are available to most people. We also try to focus on brands that are pushing the boundaries. Catalogue frames are neither, so they usually go to the back of the line.

That said, we absolutely are guilty of some laziness here too. It's a lot easier to facilitate a review from a major manufacturer. We should definitely review a catalogue frame sometime. Anything in particular you'd like @mattbeer to test?
  • 10 1
 @brianpark: So to be clear my comment wasn't intended as a editorial criticism more a statement of fact that you guys do run a business where most of the revenue is advertising from major bike brands who probably wouldn't be too pleased to see a review of no-name bike coming out of the same contract manufacturing facilities where they make their stuff that performs more or less on par with their expensive boutique products. I think that's fair assessment of reality. If I worked for bike brand and bought PB advertising I probably wouldn't be that pleased to see some catalog bike getting similar marks & coverage to a product like an Evil Offering (i'll use Evil as an example because they already hate PB Wink

If you're actually going to go ahead test one of these things; and I honestly have absolutely no idea which one that should be. I would just do your normal test routine or include it in a field test. That said if you really want to go to extremes and make some video & article content out of it - do a full up manufacturing analysis & destructively test it. Buy a frameset, build it up, ride it, review it then have an expert in manufacturing do an analysis of it. Weigh it, do some precision measurements of the interfaces and see what the quality is actually like in comparison to a big brand frame. Have someone with composites expertise section the frame (cut it up into pieces to inspect the laminate quality in multiple areas) and look at the build quality vs a big brand frameset. There are a few people on youtube who do an ok job of this on warrantied scrap road & mtb CFRP framesets already. Probably wouldn't be that difficult to find an industry person willing to weigh in on the kinematics as well.

It might just be my personal background here, but for me the cheap composite bicycle parts is such an interesting "behind the curtain" dynamic in the bicycle industry. We all know most of the brands build product out of contract composite manufacturing facilities in SE Asia. So you can make equally reasonable arguments that the cheaper no name products are nearly identical to high end bike products because they may be built in the same facility with the same materials, labor, and processes AND you can reasonably presume that the cheap no-name or alibaba stuff is dangerous junk made out of aged/expired/lower quality materials by less skilled labor to lower quality standards. Both make sense - we just don't know; that uncertainty is what drives a lot of people to just go with what they know, to go with what is *generally* proven product.

I think that's what would make a through review of one (or a few) of these bikes so interesting. Is it a pile of junk or an absolute screaming deal?
  • 2 0
 @brianpark: I think a video series that takes a bunch of catalog frames and many cheap components and tests them to find the value items among the crap would be a great idea. I suggested something similar in reaction to the 'budget VS baller' series. For the tech editors' safety, this should perhaps be shot simultaneously with the full body protection field test Smile
  • 1 0
 I am highly suspect of their geometry. I tried to decipher a catalogue frame. What components fit,etc. just not worth it.
  • 1 0
 @loudv8noises: GReat idea. I would be interested to see if there is any difference in build quality. Do they cut corners on the build, are they cosmetic seconds from the big brands, are they just the same because they are over production for brand x?
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: small brand builders should be included too. (self serving request ;-) )
  • 39 1
 I mean... $5400 USD for a carbon, full XT, and Fox Factory spec rig is a pretty phenomenal price... Can't argue with that. questcarboncycles.com/products/havoc-xt?variant=41760819773602

But, I like supporting brands that hire real engineers and push mountain biking in the right direction. Catalog bikes are rarely ever aesthetically pleasing, and open mold carbon tends to look "cheap".
  • 103 6
 "Real" engineers are designing, testing, and refining the catalog bikes, too. "Real" marketing teams, maybe not so much
  • 28 2
 @VtVolk: True! It was very disingenuous of me to state the people designing/creating these open mold frames are not also valuable.
  • 7 5
 @VtVolk: I would worry a bit about risk assessment and long term safety with these open mold bikes. A bigger brand will have processes in place and spend a lot of resources making sure the bike frame is unlikely to fail in a dangerous way and injure a rider. The big brand will have to be relatively safe if they want to keep their corporate liability insurance and not go bankrupt from legal bills. A no name frame might be safe but I would guess if there was any serious issue the frame builder would just disappear and show up a few months later with a different name and no legal connection to the former business.
  • 14 3
 @VtVolk: show me a catalogue designer with a bmx background I dare ya
  • 9 1
 Interesting wrinkle to this, many of the big brands outsource their engineering to design firms. I love my Transition bikes, but I'd be surprised if they did all their engineering in house. The big brands, like Specialized, Trek, etc. definitely outsource some projects, but also definitely push the envelope simultaneously. Makes it hard to evaluate
  • 5 1
 @jonemyers: I think your trust is misplaced. There is a reason I will never buy another Intense. Rocky Mountain had their moment. Loads of big and boutique brands have chucked out crap bikes that fail due to bad design or bad quality control. Just this month Lapierre recalled frames.
  • 3 0
 That's basically how I chose my current bike, best components for the money, not bad geo. Now after owning it for almost a year i'm kicking myself in the balls for not going with something better quality frame wise, even if it would have been a bit more expensive. All the little and not so little issues are starting to add up. I'm not saying that's the case with every single catalogue frame, but when choosing my next bike i'm gonna look much much further than just the bang to buck ratio for sure.
  • 4 0
 @ilovedust:
But… Lapierre did take responsibility and recalled their frames. Not sure open-mold companies would do the same?
  • 1 0
 My Ripmo V2 had a carbon frame, Fox Factory front and rear and a mix of SLX and Deore kit. It was $5300 when I bought it this past November, and I also got $550 in shop credit, plus the $100 I paid to demo it credited back.

I don't have anything against catalogue frames, but I haven't really seen any I consider to be killer values.
  • 1 2
 @mtb-thetown: absolutely nothing wrong with sending rote calculations out to someone else to run. especially the carbon layup caclulations. the sheer amount of computations that need to be made is much better outsourced than occupying one of your inhouse engineers for weeks.
  • 2 0
 Lightcarbon is the oem, LCFS947 is the model. Bought the frame for 720 usd last year and built it up. It's been great.
  • 30 2
 From Google Translate, I am a product manager of a transmission manufacturer in China. Before that, I often knew about bicycle supply chain and other issues. At present, ODM products are prevalent. Suppose you have an aluminum alloy frame requirement. You need to find the factory to provide the corresponding geometry. The factory will Provide a series of different shapes of aluminum alloy pipes for brands to choose, just like building blocks, it does not take too much time from design drawings to samples.
And there are countless ODM products for carbon fiber frames. Xiamen, China is rich in high-quality carbon fiber wheels, while Shandong, Huizhou, and Shenzhen and Guangzhou are the source of high-quality carbon fiber frames. Chinese bicycle enthusiasts will look for high-quality ODM frames for assembly. They tend to be cheap, maybe $500-$800, and a good full-suspension bike with Fox Factory 34SC and Deore XT and a pair of DT240 carbon wheels is just $3000
  • 5 0
 @Sephyx: Well translated. The markup on bicycle products that US consumers pay is insane. BOHICA
  • 1 0
 @suspended-flesh: It's just a shame the a big piece of that markup goes straight for taxes.
  • 28 0
 They just need a solid ad campaign " Freewind CF 29, love of train health for free spirit adventure, win for being beautiful economy "
  • 7 0
 This was an amazing and entertaining trend with ski suits from Japanese manufacturers in the late 80’s / early 90’s.
My favourite was…
“Never miss your own day with 100% good fun ski club”.
I was inspired and have never missed my own day since.
  • 32 5
 A good bike is a good bike, it doesn’t matter if it’s sold under multiple brands.
  • 26 2
 I put my money where my mouth is. I ride a US made Carbon frame with as many US made parts as I can reasonably get.

We have the power (we spend the money) to determine where parts are made. You can’t complain about the supply issues and everything being made in Asia while riding a bike with every part made there. There are options
  • 12 7
 Agree 100% - Vote with your dollar - it's all they understand. Support US labor and boycott China whenever possible.
  • 27 0
 @suspended-flesh: I lot of bicycle companies are from Taiwan though, which is a Country worth supporting. Not saying more than the local market, but definitely better than China.
  • 1 0
 which brands make their carbon frames in the US?
  • 8 1
 @hunty101: Guerrilla Gravity make theirs and all the parts in house in Denver. The only thing they don’t make is the bearings. Ibis (one of their models and I believe there may be a few others? We Are One makes theirs in Canada.
  • 17 4
 @hunty101: if you don't live in the US, it doesn't matter. The only reason to buy a US made frame over an equivalent is because you're in the US (be that for nationalistic, environmental or whatever reasons). US based manufacturing of carbon bikes is generally pretty new, they don't have the experience of the Asian factories. And it's about the same distance to ship a US frame to Europe as it is an Asian one.

It's the same for Hope in the UK - buy one because you like British stuff, or to remove the environmental impact of shipping, but don't kid yourself that a company who have been making carbon bikes for 5 years do it as well as ones in Asia doing it for 20.
  • 2 0
 I'll caveat that by saying a high quality Asian factory. Buying the cheapest carbon frame on AliExpress is clearly not comparable. But buying a frame like the one used for the Vitus Rapide is.
  • 2 0
 @lukeb: erm .... I was just asking out of curiosity, but to be fair Hope quality is absolutely magnificent
  • 2 0
 @stubs179: thanks , was curious
  • 7 5
 @lukeb: this is so spot on. The overseas manufacturing expertise is so much better than any domestic manufacturer. Quality, consistency, alignment, etc. I've been the guy wanting a made in America bike before but having been seen production lines in America and Taiwan, I'll trust the Taiwanese frame every day.
  • 5 4
 @GTscoob: tell me you don’t know what you’re talking about without explicitly telling me.
  • 2 0
 @Kickaxe: Taiwan gets my support. For now.......
  • 7 1
 @nickfranko: nah but I'll tell you that I've been to Taiwanese bike factories and American bike factories. I'll stand by my statement. The overseas companies have the expertise in design, engineering, and manufacturing. It's a numbers game, do you think a company that makes 500-1000 frames a year will have their processes as dialed as a company that makes that many in a day across several factories?
  • 2 1
 @GTscoob: which carbon bike frame factory’s have you been to in the US? Asking for a friend…
  • 27 5
 I have a trek fuel EX carbon frame that has stickers that say built by Giant. My privateer looks very similar to a RAAW Madonna, and i'm pretty sure Knolly is built in the same factory as the first grim donut. To quote George Carlin, "They're all a bunch of whores."
  • 16 1
 All those bikes come from the same factory. But the factory did t design any of them.
  • 4 0
 To correct my post, the grim donut is a tweaked catalogue frame.
  • 2 0
 It's less of an issue than it used to be, but traditionally named brand frames from the same factory as open-mould were subject to much more stringent quality control. Less of an issue now as the manufacturers started copying the QC from contracted frames and applied it to their open moulds, and some big name brands clearly don't have adequate QC anyway
  • 3 0
 I'm guessing at least 70% of the high-end, but not boutique, mountain bike industry is having their frames built by Merida or Giant in Taiwan. Can't really argue with it, Taiwan has proven itself an adept producer of goods that are of higher quality than Chinese, and less expensive than Japanese/American. Just take a look at the semiconductor industry, TSMC is the global leader easily dominating over half the market.

That said many of these brands take the initiative to ensure the manufacturing and QC are to their standards in Taiwan, which I doubt these open-mold companies are doing.
  • 22 0
 My XC bike is a catalogue frame I built up. It’s been flawless. I will absolutely do the same again. It’s got me wondering about a longer-travel bike now.
  • 4 0
 Sounds appealing. What did you get?
  • 5 0
 @dominic54: Carbonda FM936 like some of the other comments below
  • 5 0
 I was going to say username checks out, but I know nothing about economics, so I don't know if Hayek would buy a catalog frame Smile
  • 3 7
flag WestwardHo (Jun 28, 2022 at 16:35) (Below Threshold)
 @muumuu: Austrian economics is all about flawed models so a catalog frame seems fitting.
  • 1 1
 @WestwardHo: HA thanks for the morning laugh.
  • 1 2
 @Hayek: not like it is and I have one
  • 3 0
 @WestwardHo: Not totally sure if that was just a stab at humor or an intentional but loosely informed critique on a school of economic thought. Either way, even though I don't personally subscribe to Austrian economics myself, it's worth clarifying that Austrian economics is methodologically logical-positivist (technically praxeologist) in nature. Therefore it rejects the use of models/modeling, "flawed" or otherwise. Just figured you were dying to talk about it.
  • 14 0
 If you changed the first answer to ‘ If They're functionally no different from other bikes’ then that would be my answer.
  • 5 0
 ...and in a lot of cases they are. Many brands out there that have a strong reputation have most or all of their engineering done at 3rd party factories. That means the same people designing catalog bikes are designing that cool bike from the hot brands. Trek, Gian and Spec aside, companies are more about 'design' than actual engineering. That also means the folks in Korean factories that are engineering bikes for several brands are seeing all the trends, updates and latest functionality well before it hits showrooms.
  • 4 0
 @Telemahn: I listened to a podcast with a third party bike design studio and he said the bigger brands were actually their biggest customers. Since they have so many models, new features etc. they need more extra help than smaller brands do. They have their own engineers too, but frequently contract projects out.
  • 5 0
 I didn't like the way they worded that first option either.

The fact that functionally they're no different doesn't make anything a "sham". The major brands steer the design of the catalogue bikes, enabling folks without heaps of cash to ride nicer bikes than 10 years ago. They drive progression.

Both need to exist for MTB to be more accessable to more people- which is the sport's biggest issue. Whomever wrote the question: poor form.
  • 13 2
 As a Polygon rider I'm happy to take the discount of a manufacturer that makes bikes for a bunch of other brands. Although this is a wholly in-house design on the Siskiu T8 I ride.
But they recently were selling the 'Vander' models that were a catalog frame they make for other brands.

Do you care that many, many parts of your car are shared between major manufacturers? Most of us aren't even aware of that, let alone in electronics.
Why should I care about shared design on a bicycle?
  • 7 0
 Well all the parts bolted to my bike are shared across all manufacturers too..
  • 20 1
 Most people dont want to think about this. Most bikes are manufactured in a small number of facilities owned by some of the companies making these open bikes. Giant became a brand because they were the contract manufacture for so many other brands they figured why not slap their own name on the side.

To your point about cars imagine how people would react to find out a lot of the components in a Mercedes and a KIA are the same, made in the same place, and were sold to each of those companies for the same price. Putting it back in bike terms Giant is the contract manufacture for Colnago.... which one has the higher resell value?

This is true for pretty much any industry. Those cheap throw away phones at walmart are made by the same company that makes every iphone and samsung phone, which is the company that makes most of the computer parts anyone uses besides the actual processor (foxconn).
  • 4 0
 At last someone not talking bollocks, well done
  • 1 0
 Siskiu T7/T8, Mt Bromo, and Tridd all look pretty good geo-wise and spec-wise from Polygon. Marin probably rubbing off on them.

Just lazy to think the rest of the brand's products are good due to this though. Scott might have prestige, but them using Polygon's factory (PT Insera) to fill out their entry level price-points doesn't mean that you get anything close to the ride experience of a Siskiu T8, Scott Ransom, Marin Alpine Trail, whatever.
  • 1 0
 I think Polygon is kind of like Giant in that they make their own frames and also frames for other manufacturers. For example I have a Marin that is made in Indonesia, I'm pretty sure in the same factory.
  • 1 0
 @racerben: surely that's why we all come to PB?
  • 10 0
 First ever true mountain bike was a Vitus Escarpe that shared a frame with KHS, Haibike, Rossignol, and many more. Sure as hell got me riding despite some weird design quirks such as a stupid short seat tube or a dropper post routing that just kinda popped out of a hole in the frame and interfered with the linkage super bad.
  • 10 0
 Anyone here gonna mention the golden boy of mtb that is transition with the tr250 and tr450 which were, indeed modified open model frames? Personally, the biggest problem is knowing is it a good manufacturer or not. Heard lots of stories of brands moving production to the east and having to spend a good while finding the right factory (evil revolt anyone?) so how is the average consumer supposed to fair any better, especially in a world with wish where you can buy absolute garbage yet get absolute bargain gems. So any reputable brand using open model frames, absolutely zero issues with, but they end up lower cost not low cost so some of the benefits are gone.
  • 2 0
 That evolve looks very similar to a 2018 sentinel as well. That being said I'm stoked on my tr500 which is very similar/may be from the same book as the 250/450.
  • 3 1
 I love my Transition bikes, but it seems like the only way that a brand that size could expand the way it has is through use of contract design/engineering firms. Which is fine with me. Their bikes still have brand continuity and I like the way they ride.
  • 2 1
 Weren't the Bottlerocket, Blindside, and Double also catalog frames? Thought they were the same as the NS bikes back in the day.
  • 2 2
 @jojotherider1977: none of those models or anything from Transition has ever been an open model. Everything has been 100% Transition original drawings.
  • 9 0
 I have had more transparency and better communication dealing with Carbonda than I have had with any LBS or direct to consumer bike brand. Thinking buying from Brand X because they sponsor Rider Steve and ‘invest in the sport’ as being money well spent is funny. We are all Consumers being sold Products by whatever means necessary. That said, companies that seem to be honest and upfront in how they do business will get me to return. Don’t care if you are Wing in China, Barry in Colorado, or Chuck in Canada.
My Will not Deal With list is mainly US companies with ‘premium’ offerings.
  • 3 0
 Carbonda has been fantastic to deal with for me as well.
  • 2 0
 I went with LightCarbon for a recent gravel build that I'm loving. Spoke with both Carbonda and LightCarbon and ended up going with LC just out of ETA and a couple minor differences in the frame. Regardless, I've been super impressed and intend on doing the same again.
  • 8 0
 I was looking on alibaba one night for ebike frames and saw a good looking normal full due bike frame for $600. The next day I saw one in whistler branded evolve. The owner said they had a dealer in Squamish. I checked it out, $2200 !
Alibaba every time.
  • 6 8
 Where do you think the factories sell their structural rejects and quality-seconds?
  • 21 1
 @L0rdTom: they sell them to canyon for sure.
  • 1 0
 @L0rdTom: at Evolv, obviously
  • 8 0
 I'd like to see this same poll with catalogue components. Obviously some of them are sound (the 50mm stem that's specced on every bike now days, the one that RaceFace sells as Chester). But being a shop employee we've seen soooooo many sketchy components that seem downright dangerous.
  • 5 0
 Broken components or ones that 'look sketchy'?
  • 6 0
 This is a really interesting topic but might I suggest that it begs a more-important question @mattbeer & @brianpark ?
As MTB geometry is now reaching maturity and has arguably been "solved", will catalogue frames' traditional weakness be eliminated and will they be poised to take a much bigger chunk of the market?
  • 6 0
 all i can say is carbonda has an amazing warranty. And yes, the FM936 is a great frame and it doesn't bother me that Vitus makes his bike on it, and Stevens uses it for his XC racing team
  • 2 0
 Same here! The 936 rides like crazy and was the cheapest way to upgrade from my already existing hardtail..
  • 2 0
 Ns Synonym is also based on the FM936. Identical geo.
  • 2 0
 their site even says "Developed by NS Bikes" - it's the exact same frame as an NS Synonym.
  • 4 0
 The rear triangle is different.
  • 1 0
 @Thirty3: You're right, I forgot about that.
  • 5 0
 If you do your research, there are good options out there. Fortunately someone did the research for us! It took Carlton Reid 3 months to research these articles. They are a few years old, but give good insight and can be helpful in working out who sells decent stuff: www.vitalmtb.com/forums/The-Hub,2/Faking-It-Bikebiz-Investigates-Knock-Off-Bicycle-Products,9164
  • 5 0
 Been buying all my hardtails, CX and roadie bikes, as well as cockpits, off Alibaba for over 15 years. Never one single issue. I have no problem with it. Just do the research and communicate extensively. Back then, there were no resources on the subject, but nowadays there's hundreds of huge threads and websites dedicated to buying direct from the factory.
  • 7 3
 Sometimes I’d rather support the brand that doesn’t over hype but are exceptional…Nicolai and others for example
Which brands keep it real?
Vitus would prolly work just fine but I bet most of us who have been riding a long time won’t go there
  • 8 1
 I bet they will become more and more popular if they resist routing cables through the headset
  • 1 0
 They don't resist!
  • 5 1
 Two bikes with identical geometry and same frame material from different manufactures will always ride differently. Cheap bikes are just the sum of their geometry, a high end bike should be more. Should give the signature feel of the brand.
I’m on a free frame replacement of a top brand because my 6yo frame had a failure.
..not a catalog bike
  • 4 0
 Everything has a price.

I’m ok with open mold d2c when it’s cheap enough to gamble. I’ve bought some frames from these manufacturers with good success. Rode them for a few years until the cracked and moved on.

I’m not ok with buying a product made in Asia for a few bucks then marked up 500% when the branding gets applied. Especially with anything less than lifetime warranty.

If I’m paying industry averages for stuff I’d prefer it’s manufactured a local as I can afford and it’s got a no hassle warranty like Reeb or Guerrilla Gravity.

Brands like Pivot, Specialized, Revel, Evil, etc lose me with frames that are not only astronomically expensive but still made overseas.
  • 3 0
 I have an open catalogue fatbike that was set up for Framed, KHS and maybe one or two more brands. I'm not sure I'd buy an aggressive bike from a catalogue as usually they aren't supported as well and might not have the most forward thinking geometry. For something like a fatbike though, it made sense. Considerably cheaper than mainstream brands, almost the exact same geometry - of which fatbikes are usually really conservative. I've been happy with it so far, especially for the price.

Also - no kinematic concerns with a hardtail/fatbike. Wouldn't buy a full sus.
  • 4 0
 I think this is where I am... if it were a hard-tail of any kind I'd be way more inclined to go for a catalog bike, just less that can go wrong and not that much "innovation" to pay for.

... says the guy that paid through the nose for a Chromag hardtail.

The brain can rationalize, but the heart wants what it wants.
  • 1 0
 I got the Framed Foothill and love it
  • 1 0
 @fattybourgeois: Really? Haven't heard much buzz about it! What's it like? A good climber?
  • 3 0
 I've owned several of the "aliexpress" carbon frames they are surprisingly pretty good, Rode one for 6 months no worries, the LBS even commented it was good quality and asked me much did i get screwed to buy it.

Lots of XC guys ride the XC frames off there and they love them.
  • 2 0
 Have one, at 980 grams. They are surprisingly strong. Being well over 200 lbs, I considered it an experiment that would probably end badly. But after a few 4 ft drops to flat, a few stair sets of doom, the only thing that failed was ill advised carbon crankset and the crappy, but super light, name brand (Roval) wheels.

There were a few issues; the press BB is somewhat out of spec and there is nothing inside the thin frame walls to dampen the noise.
  • 4 1
 Mountain Bikes have switch to a status symbol. I don't agree with a bike being priced at the cost of a motorcycle or a car regardless of what Mickey Mouse research has being done. All major frame design were done over 20 years ago and since then there is almost no change. Bikes use to be around 2000$ with all Fox shocks and top of the line Shimano or Sram. The only major difference now is that manufacturers are milking the cash cow extra hard. I have used all top of the line components and also all the entry level but unless you are a pro racer you wouldn't feel it . If the bike is tuned correctly even mid tear parts would exceed anyone expectations. For the current bike prices I would expect all bikes to be made out of Magnesium and Titanium. The adoption of carbon frame was only done to drain the customer wallet by providing a light and fragile frame that will not last, prone to cracking due to impact damage from rocks and drops. This hypothetical weight saving make almost no difference in the real world but is heavily promoted by manufacturers because it helps with sales and reduces the longevity of the bikes thi only means more profit for the manufacturers and empty wallets for the bikers. Good luck to everyone that is willing to dump over 3000 $ on a bike. You better start buying shares in your favorite brand because you are becoming a sponsor.
  • 1 0
 2019 Mega was 2200 shipped to my house. 2021 version retailed 2999
  • 3 0
 Perhaps PB would like to do an investigation into the white labelling of components. It would be interesting to know with say carbon wheels how many brands are just white labelling stuff and marking it up with slick marketing. Why not tell us who is making the stuff and we can buy direct from them and pay less
  • 1 0
 Hunt wheels
  • 3 0
 I am sure that some catalogue frames come from the same factory as boutique frames. May also be the case that they come from the same designers and in some cases, better designers. I wonder which boutique frame designers have while label alternatives out there that they get paid a royalty for. As this is what happens in other industries.
  • 3 0
 I have a Carbonda 936. I'm very happy with it, price was much lower than anything comparable (and to be honest, you'd struggle to find bikes with that progressive geometry in an xc/downcountry frame). The customer service was good, and the frame is genuinely well built.

My only gripe is that their long travel bikes aren't quite sized as big as their 936/909. When they come out with one, I will buy it too.
  • 3 0
 I have owned 3 rigid catalogue/open mould frames in recent years. A road frame, a fat bike frame, and a hardtail 29er frame. Plus two sets of chinese carbon wheels and a carbon fat fork. Every. Single. One. Have been fantastic. Great sales people to deal with. Frames performed exactly as I expected. Never a single issue.

Resale values were great. I bought the road frame/fork for $750 shipped. Sold it 3 years later for $450.

However, I would never consider an open mould full suspension frame. They have NOT done their homework in the areas of kinematics, nor do they even have a recommendation on what type of tune / shock that the frame was designed around. Regardless of how inexpensive a full suspension frame is vs. a brand name, I will not touch them with a 10ft. pole.

However, I would not hesitate to buy another rigid frame / fork / wheelset / etc. If the geometries are what you're looking for, they offer incredible value. The only thing you're potentially giving up to big brand names is the layup. The open mould ones are pretty simplistic. So if you buy into the $5000-$6000 rigid road frames where layup / feel / optimized tube thickness is important to you...then you are not the intended customer of the catalogue frames.
  • 3 0
 I recognize that bike haha! What's old is new again.
www.lightcarbon.com/all-new-lightcarbon-trail-mtb-frame-lcfs958_p118.html
I was in my freshman year of materials engineering school in 2018 and spent a considerable amount of time getting a "first-article" size XL and tested multiple layups to failure (aka i cracked them). I sent a zillion emails with the factory with feedback on the layup/what was failing and we found something that worked. They were super helpful. Hopefully this new company has sorted out a better lower bushing system. I just used Teflon tape.

I qualified for Sea Otter pro slalom finals with this frame and Greg Minnaar looked at it and commented something like "nice bike". I podiumed a few local pro enduros and even got some UCI Pro XC point on it. Swapping between a 130mm and 160mm fork. Great value for money. ( Proof of the slalom finals. www.instagram.com/p/BwOEB0bAPTG/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link )
  • 3 0
 One major factor wasn’t mentioned. Not everybody gets to pick every model from said catalogues. There’s what you get offered on Ali and whatever and there’s what industry people get offered. I recently wanted to sample an Enduro frame that looked great but in the end a german brand bought 2000 pieces and gained exclusivity for said market. I think many people have wishful thinking about how this industry works fuelled by marketing talk of the companies. Like always in life the answers are not just black and white. It’s complex. But what is for sure is that Taiwanese and Chinese engineering has become so good we cannot do without them if we want to scale things at realistic prices. Covid has shown what happens if you try and manufacture a frame in EU or US from start to finish, it becomes prohibitively expensive. Is the quality better? I really don’t know. It has less of a carbon footprint probably since you avoid long shipping routes.
  • 8 1
 What’s a catalogue?
  • 16 0
 Something to do with Christmas...
  • 6 2
 Basically a Chinese/Taiwanese brand releases a catalogue, a booklet, of all their frames, parts, designs, paintjobs, optional extras, finitions,... And then you can contact them, meet with them, decide on frames, options, sizes, sometimes you can tinker a bit with the geometry (similar to what Pinkbike did with the Grim Donut), quantity, and you can launch your brand that way.

Mondraker started like this, until they had enough recognition and money and designers to start to design their own bikes.
  • 2 2
 @mattbeer is so good at bikes he can put in superfluous letters
  • 6 1
 ogling the sears catalog
  • 1 0
 Don’t forget to rabbit ear the pages of stuff you like.
  • 1 0
 An animal that chases sheep.
  • 3 0
 @iamamodel: Would you please let me go, I don't deserve this shabby treatment...
  • 6 1
 Just a note, some of these “catalog” frame manufacturers build frames for other brands too.
  • 6 0
 Love my Carbonda. Great bikes.
  • 5 0
 This. Just built a Carbonda FM1002 for my son. Just over $3k Canadian with 36 Rhythm, Deore, MT5s and XT/ WTB wheels. Carbonda's service was excellent.

Had a similar experience with Airwolf when I built my hardtail.

If you want to build your own bike, going direct makes a lot of sense. If you don't, brands like Quest and Evolve make a lot of sense. I just wish they'd be open about the fact they are selling catalog frames. Yes Quest, I'm looking at you!

"We are an Atlantic Canadian based bicycle company. All Quest bikes are built with Japanese Toray Carbon Fiber, paired with the world's best performing components. Quest Carbon Cycles are carefully assembled and tested in Atlantic Canada, where we ride all four seasons."
  • 3 0
 FM1002 owner here! It rides better than my alu 2021 Trek Remedy, better geo, lighter, can fit a 210mm dropper, Carbon and half the price!
  • 2 0
 I'd be fine with a catalog frame... but i'd like to see some long term reviews of said frames from respectable tester to answer some of the questions we all have. I find we don't see many tests of these frames. Also wouldn't it matter most where the carbon is sourced and constructed to fill these catalog molds. I thought that was the way it worked? Could be wrong.
  • 3 1
 What part of the fact that the same manufacturer is making most of said catalog frames don't people get?
These are bicycle frame manufacturers, not some shed where they downloaded the plans and sell it.
Like I mentioned above, I ride a Polygon Siskiu. And Polygon makes bikes for a lot of other 'premium' brands. Why do you think the catalog frame would be inferior quality?
  • 3 0
 @BarryWalstead: these are the same people that won't buy store brand groceries. They are paying for marketing and packaging and feel a sense of security in that.
  • 2 0
 I have bikes from some of the major brands but am tempted to add to the fleet a FS XC catalog frame (FM909/936 that gets a lot of praise here). There are plenty of reviews online for the more popular catalog bikes, so its not as big a gamble as some may think.
  • 3 0
 Whether or not the reselling brand tell me the frame is catalogue is more important than if it's a catalogue frame. Of note, see the shit show that was the rear end of the haideli Santacruz clone.
  • 5 0
 Someone at Quest this morning was like "whoa, our site traffic jumped up 8400% today??"
  • 2 0
 I would happily consider a catalogue frame if the factory that makes them has a B-corporation type approach. Amazing frames are amazing but I want to support companies that are balancing profit with purpose. For me, the quality of the bike becomes negligible at a certain point when considering modern options. The real difference is the manufacturing, distribution, and retail practices involved in getting the frame to me and wether or not I want to support those practices.
  • 6 1
 Save the $$$$, donate it yourself if your actually care.
  • 3 1
 @BarryWalstead: I’ll do both, thanks. I’d rather support companies that consider all stakeholders in the supply chain.

It doesn’t make sense to me to shop ignorantly then donate to make yourself feel better. It probably does more good to not donate to charities and spend your money supporting ethical business practices.
  • 2 0
 The only reason stopping me is the purchasing options, if there was a UK-based shop I could email and buy without the importing and tax worries. Plus the point of contact for questions it would make it a lot more tempting. Lots of carbon rims from plenty of small builders are just open mould rims, and I'm weighing up getting some built instead of a new 29 frame just to make my 2017 27.5 ride a bit lighter for that matter,
  • 4 0
 I'm pretty sure that for 80 - 90% of cyclists out there, a catalogue frame would be perfectly fine, in fact I doubt they would feel a difference.
  • 2 0
 Adding to the Carbonda FM936 praise here... and doing a bit of self congratulatory promotion... but I have a 2 year ride review video coming out on Friday. Long story short, I've ridden the living piss out of this thing and it's been awesome.
youtu.be/9g6deVCyNuo

5/7 would buy again. Some design tweaks I wish they'd make but it's a killer bike.

I'm surprised nobody mentioned this forum: chinertown.com/index.php?board=8.0
That's ^^^ where I lurked for a few months before buying Carbonda.
  • 2 0
 Another video I did at our local trails on my FM936
youtu.be/wiTHJqi-K-w
  • 2 0
 What I despise the most is when those companies are not transparent about it. I've seen all kinds of marketing pitch revolving about "For Rider by Rider" when it's an open mold.

Also it's really hard justifying the price difference when you can buy the same frame yourself directly...

I just ask those companies to be clear about that advantage of buy an open mold frame from them.

tell us something like : yes this is an open mold frame but if you buy from us you'll have :

- better and faster customer services
- local inventory and/or faster shipping on replacement parts
- better warranty
  • 2 0
 More discussion needs to be brought forward on this fascinating topic in regards to design. How the design is being done can vary drastically, from a full on copycat, to easy modifications to existing designs, to completely new and never thought of before designs.
To the author, I'd suggest the term 'Unbranded' used for the product, and the term 'Open' refer to design (ie open source)
What's compelling about this is how modern manufacturing techniques can allow potentially equal quality products with equal or potentially better performance, at a lower cost.
This raises questions on how this could disrupt/change markets, affect design, evolution of design, and evolution of mountain bike technology, evolution of the sport.
Personally I have an unbranded bike company in my area, and even with warranty and product support and lower prices with good specs, I still struggle to consider purchasing one. Maybe its ethical, or just uncertainty about the legitimacy of the product.
This must be why companies like Pinkbike avoid reviewing them, aside from obvious conflict w/ bike industry.
  • 2 0
 I ride a raw alloy, locally made frame from a small scale manufacturer. The bike was ahead of its time. Any issues and I am able to DM the designer & company owner.
I will support guys like him - even at a premium - rather than some marketing bullshit & different decals on a generic frame from the Far East.
  • 2 0
 Catalog bikes are a great way for a new brand to start building revenue to fund their own development. A startup bike brand will struggle to find the resources to create their own mould for their first product, so a catalog bike gives them an opportunity to build brand recognition, marketing, etc. before launching into their own design concepts.
If I'm not mistaken, weren't some of Transitions first bikes from a catalog? I could be wrong though.
  • 3 2
 Nothing wrong with oval and misaligned openings where the headset and bottom bracket are supposed to go. Big brands have been feeding this to us for a while. I have a problem with possible voids in the carbon layup where the frame could fail and send me to hospital with a broken neck…
  • 6 2
 How many "catalogue" manufacturers are actually manufacturing the brand name bikes most people buy and ride?
  • 4 0
 The only catalogue my Orange frame came from was their design back catalogue.
  • 3 0
 Did they get it out of the filing cabinet?
  • 2 1
 I've been riding a GT of one sort or another since 2012. Tried out a Sensor 29'er back then and fell in love with that bike, and got a 2019 version which I'm still on. I emailed GT and they replied that I should expect 'a surprise' later this year, indicating that there's a new Sensor on the horizon. That continuity and communication between customer and brand, not to mention the history, is something that the catalogue bikes can never achieve. And, don't even mention how easy it is to get parts and support (even with all the supply chain weirdness) from major players, like GT and the like. I acknowledge that the $ is always a major consideration, but the intangibles are also much more important in the long run, methinks. Great topic to discuss!
  • 1 0
 Trek actually used to lay up all their frames in Waterloo up until 2017 - now everything is imported, & then paint/finish work is completed in-house. i see all the ads for Airwolf & other AliExpress China knockoff frames for like $799. whether you purchase from one there, Amazon or eBay, i'd still trust a Taiwan manufactured frame over China (unless it came from a reputable brand like Giant, who manufactures about 70% of the mass-produced frames for the entire industry).
  • 1 0
 "Open Mold" is just that. Anyone can use that mold. I'm willing to bet that some of these companies that have open mold frames...also make frames for name brand companies...you just can't use those molds since they belong to that particular company. Of all the name brand bikes that are available...how many actually own the factory that their bikes are made in?
  • 2 0
 I liked Vitus's attempt at tweaking catalog frames to have decent geo. I would've totally got on with that if the price was right. They seemingly have gotten big enough to commission their own custom tubing/molds now though.
  • 3 0
 Also, while an open mold frame will look the same the carbon used and processing can vary depending on how much the buyer wants to spend.
  • 1 0
 Heck yah - I’d rather buy frame and put my own decals on it. Brand bike to me. Who really cares when they buy private label food that isn’t an Eggo or a Kellog corn flake? I’d rather have something not associated with brand. I’m someone who prefers to buy non-logo clothing. I’d just want to know there is a reliable warranty if I happen to have failure.
  • 1 0
 I would love to support a brand that not only design's in-house, but also builds in-house as much as possible, or at the very least, the area they are from. Reeb Bikes are a great example, as is Actofive bikes.

For carbon, the new factory in Belgium from Rein4ced is really interesting, as is Guerilla Gravity. for Carbon, using come clever thinking and sometimes robotics brings the price down, and with aluminum, the combination of CNC'ed parts along with welded tubing opens new doors (Nicolai, and again Reeb).

I am looking forward to what those brands can bring to the world of MTB.
  • 1 0
 I've got a super sick and simple aluminium do it all hardtail from Dartmoor. No off nice to the team there but I'm pretty sure it's 80% catalogue design. Works a treat, costs 50% less than rivals and only weighs around 300g more. No contest for the simple life
  • 1 0
 Regarding the last question: for me, it's all about this: www.pinkbike.com/news/opinion-be-more-like-chris.html

That being said, I tend to fall for what a brand "is about" and how they support the common rider. Even if they'd use an open model.

Now that I got a "real" brand model (Ibis Ripmo AF) I have already experienced how Ibis communicates with the common rider. I think that's great and it is what gets me hooked on a brand.
  • 1 0
 Geometry is always the issue with these, i think. I dont exactly understand how this is, i mean it doesnt cost anything to make the angles more modern. But anyway, ive got a hardtail fatbike thats a catalogue frame. The geo is a little wonky, but not bad at all. It was 750, a similar build farley, fatboy or beargrease was 1400.
  • 2 0
 Every damn time I open my AliExpress app I see clones of carbon Stumpjumper and Hightower frames staring me in the face for $500. One day I'm going to pull the trigger and make a "does it suck" video. One day....
  • 1 0
 barely save any money on a bike with poor resale and no engineering effort (just a couple dudes + marketing). why would I put money in their pockets when I know its a 500 frame. its like buying amazon junk through a provided sales link.
  • 1 0
 I have one of these frames. It wasn't my first choice, but I needed a 27.5 frame in a hurry and it was all I could find during the height of the pandemic MTB buying rush. The geometry was a bit outdated, particularly the 68 degree head angle. I converted it over to a mullet wheelset and lowered/slacked it out with offset shock bushings and an angled headset. It rides great and I'm super happy with it. I think it cost around $800. I don't give a crap about resale value. I never buy new bikes anyway, they just tend to evolve over time with new parts. If you like to tinker with bikes, these can be a great way to go if you do your research, but definitely not for everyone.
  • 1 0
 Before the former Pres screwed up bike imports, I was talking with a Caron frame maker about just that. They were willing to modify top tube length and add material in a couple of places for a 200 bike initial run. My test mule has photos with the profile. The head and tail badges wouldn't be Stealies, but I was going to go retro-mod with integrated bar-stem and long travel forks. I also asked PNW to consider a dropper shockpost, which they did. This would be/is a helluva down-country bike, c2017.
  • 1 0
 Does anyone have any feedback on those DiYcarbonbikes frames that have been on the pinkbike buy and sell for a long time. Wondering if anyone has built one up and ridden etc. Be a great option for many if it is reasonable quality. Surprised that did not come up on the podcast
  • 1 0
 I built up a Dengfu for my wife a few years ago. There weren't many choices in long travel 27.5 at the time. Geo was really awkward with a crazy long chainstay and the factory bearings and headset were rotten - had to replace them all right off the bat. Of course since the frame was completely plain black, I spent some time/effort to dress it up a bit so it didn't look too generic.

Overall I wasn't blown away by the overall value. Waiting for a great discount on a brand name frame just made more sense. Maybe open mold frames are better now, but I'm not holding my breath.
  • 2 0
 Santa Cruz, Transition, Yeti etc are hugely overpriced and very similar, trying to talk up trivial differences to "experts". There are scads of riders on 5k+ bikes riding mostly green and blue trails. LOL.
  • 1 0
 I have owned full carbon enduro bikes from bigger bike brands and currently have an open mold design from one of the companies mentioned in this pole.
I chose this open mold concept because the geometry really wasn't that far off from some of the current enduro designs out there and it comes with a very high spec, and a full lifetime warranty for the original buyer as well as replacement warranty for second owner.
Bike prices from larger brands have been growing at a rapid pace and is becoming almost unaffordable for alot of the population to get into somthing "decent".
I wanted to see what the ride value of a open design frame with high spec would be in comparison to bikes I've had in the recent past and have been very pleased with the result. For the spec I have I would have had to spend in between $2000 to $3000 more for a Carbon frame for one of these larger brands which I'm sure the value is there but just out of my comfortability to purchase. So I welcome the option to purchase somthing that in my opinion is very comparable.
I am in the mid range of an advanced rider and this bike has done everything the others could do in the 4 months ive had it riding every second day, and so far frame quality or integrity has not been a negative factor. Large gaps, drops, tech, raced enduro, so far this bike has been a riot.
I would absolutely recommend an open design frame with high spec in terms of value per dollar.

Cheers!
  • 5 1
 I care that it's reasonably priced
  • 4 0
 The only catalogue brand i'd buy from is KHS and Da Bomb.
  • 2 0
 As we learned in the comments of a recent article about helmets there is no such thing as trusty brands buying from an Asian company's catalogue.
  • 3 3
 I would not buy an open mold bike directly from the manufacturer, but if a company was willing to brand and support it (presumably for extra $), I'd consider it. But I'd rather buy from an established brand that gives back to mountain biking or is in some way involved in their local riding community.
  • 21 0
 So why not take that $1000 extra and donate it to your local trail organization and buy the catalog bike?

Oh, because we all like to 'support brands that give back' but probably don't give personally.
  • 3 0
 @BarryWalstead: wise words
  • 2 0
 I am putting together a Lexon Riot which is the same frame that the Trinx World Cup XC team is using. If it's good enough for Eva Lechner its good enough for me.
  • 6 0
 Ok bro! I am good friends with the designer of trinx. I have developed open mold with him. He is the designer of this product. He said that the ODM framework, trinx factory and Lexon all use open molds, but there are some differences in carbon fiber stacking. EVA Lechner uses better materials to make them for the competition. But Lexon is good enough for you. Have a nice ride!
  • 2 0
 @Sephyx: Cool! I am very excited to get it built up. Oh, yeah l bet the Trinx frames use higher, world class fibers.
Thanks friend!
  • 1 0
 Hard tails like fatbikes and gravel bikes i have no problem. But FS bikes i would have an issue with. Fezzari for one, their newest fatbike is pretty sick geometry wise, Their gravel too.
  • 1 0
 over the last several years Fezzari has gotten rid of all of their catalogue frames and everything is now designed in house.
  • 3 0
 @Spencermon: Yep, and they have some great bikes....that f@@cking brand name though. They should have ditched that years ago.
  • 1 0
 @OnTheRivet: 100% agree.
  • 3 0
 First question has no answer I would pick. How about the top one minus the scam part.
  • 1 0
 I would totally buy a well-reviewed catalogue frame, one reservation would be whether spare parts (i.e chainstays) are available but at the right price it's not a deal breaker.
  • 1 1
 Someone labored over making it no matter how it happened. It took thought and effort and created jobs even if it's nowhere near you and you disagree with the working conditions. A bike is a bike. It took people to bring to market and I will support them if I like it....just don't tell me how many kids lost fingers or arms in the process.
  • 3 2
 Two of my mates are dentists , I could never ride wit them again if I had a catalogue bike. Every year I have to get a loan to get a new yeti or santa cruz , so they will allow me to tag along.
  • 2 2
 Those bikes show up in my shop among a host of other unheard of nonsense. BEWARE the build quality on them is horrendous. Once the unmarked bearings are out you can really see that the factory is barely pushing out something resembling a bike and the care and quality is NOT THERE. I'm not being a brand snob either. You could buy a Giant, DB, Kona or Fuji and get the same thing.
  • 2 2
 As others have said resale is the main reason for buying a brand which brings me onto my pet hate. Marketing. I know some is necessary but it all adds to the cost of our stuff and I have this odd belief that the product should be able to stand on its own 2 feet as a decent product and not need vast amounts of marketing spend to sell it
  • 3 1
 To be honest, I really like bike shops for what they provide to the community! I'll protect that by purchasing what they are selling.
  • 1 0
 What I learned is, custom build frames like anything else custom build require more maintenance, and weird parts than big S or G frames. Also, I do not give an f, cause it should be ridden not fapped
  • 1 0
 If the frame is on point, then I'm looking for build components that will have a HUGE impact on how the bike feels. Suspension is adjustable, but brakes, drivetrain and touchpoints directly influence my decision making.
  • 2 0
 but how am I supposed to flexxxx my sickkk bike on green trails and bike paths if its generic???
  • 2 0
 I bought bike from "Framed" last year and I love it. Worst part is no one knows what it is.
  • 3 0
 No option for - No idea nobody reviews them.
  • 3 1
 is this how the stumpjumper ended up looking identical to the orbea rallon?
  • 2 2
 Of course not silly ! The "journalist" told you that his main sources of revenue are developping absolutely all their bikes in house from scratch so that is pure coincidence !
Now to be faire there is only so many bike designs that work well and offer a good weigth/durability ratio (el famoso "looks like a Session") so seeing many doppelgängers isn't overly surprising either.
  • 2 0
 How many open model frames have been 'Bike's of the Year', for one publication or another?
  • 1 0
 I think Forme might have had one once in the UK.
  • 1 0
 Vitus has had a few!
  • 2 3
 I've made an effort to buy more "local" products. I live in CO. Some of it is made here (very limited) and some is just branded here. Yes, catalog stuff exists. Some "cool" companies got their start there. It really comes down to, "you do whatever you can." I'd prefer to support a company that either is putting money back into the sport or at least trying to survive in an area that you'd want to ride (and the company tools ride themselves). Sure, I'd like to ride in China, but the people making whatever product there probably aren't riding. They probably can't afford to do it. Wait, that's super political. Wait... isn't this whole thing a cesspool? Ride your bike. Don't be a dick. Sorry, but dicks are way out numbering our population (and not just men). Bikes are fun.
  • 1 0
 There wasn’t the option in the survey for “Would you buy a catalogue frame if it worked as well, was much cheaper and looked:
A - Good?
B - ugly?
  • 2 0
 I'd consider a catalogue frame direct from the source, but not from someone who's slapped a sticker on it and marked it up.
  • 3 0
 NS Synonym/Vitus and Stevens are all the same catalog bike.
  • 2 0
 I think is unfair when a company by an open model frame and sell it as their own development.
  • 1 0
 by=buy
  • 1 0
 As long as the frame has a spiffy color and looks cool, I'm in. But sadly most of these frames have ugly bends everywhere, like the examples shown in the article.
  • 1 0
 I buy all my bikes from PinkBike buy/sell page. No different to me than a catalog. Can't afford a bike off a showroom floor nor would I want one that was brand new.
  • 1 0
 More love for the Carbonda with another FM936 here, superb communication, rapid shipping, awesome frame, rides real nice with sorted geometry.
  • 1 0
 The first question is missing a fair answer: I do think they are fine, I would buy one, but I don't think major brands are scams lol.
  • 2 0
 would have been good to mention Revel bikes - another company going w/ in country carbon production
  • 1 0
 I like the looks of the evolve bike. I checked them out on Instagram. And looks like they are bringing a alum frame to Market that's made in Canada
  • 2 0
 Where are all those Astro frames?
  • 1 0
 Also - No suspension kinematics to worry about with the hardtail/fatbike. Big difference.
  • 3 0
 Looks like a Session.
  • 1 0
 Generally generic brands look like dookie. Not that looks are the be all end all of a bike, but it is a factor.
  • 1 0
 I haven't had the heart to tell a friend his super spendy Spesh S-works fat bike frame is an open frame but it cracks me up!
  • 1 0
 I’d like to see open source bike design. A shared frame concept that anyone can manufacturer or make better.
  • 1 0
 Whare do you get one of the catalogues with all the frames in. I want a knock off spech camber evo carbon.
  • 2 0
 What are some of the big "brands" that use their frames from a catalogue?
  • 1 0
 The only frame I've ever broken came from such a catalog. No warranty. Straight into the recycling bin. Never again.
  • 2 0
 @theberminator start with a Google of Carbonda
  • 1 0
 First question: all of the above
  • 3 6
 My main concern is with who is designing the bike and if they have ever mountain biked before. I figure most of these are designed in China from carbon manufacturers that are just guessing how a full suspension bike is supposed to work and will never get the chance to even test their bike on a mountain since the nearest trail might be a 4 week drive. Less of an issue with road bikes but I would stay away from full suspensions unless they are outsourcing the design to people that mountain bike and know what they are doing.
  • 3 0
 Speaking in very general terms , China are great on production not so much on design. They tend to copy ideas and work on mass production of said product.

The design can happen anywhere. The production is a different story.

So much stuff you buy will be proudly stickered 'Designed'in USA/Canada/UK etc to try to add value. It doesn't mention production is China/Taiwan etc
  • 1 0
 Can I answer "all of the above" for the first question?
  • 1 1
 HoW dArE YOu ! CatAloGue pArTs aNd BikE dOn't ExiSt uNleSS yoU cAn sHow Me tHe caTalOg thOsE aRe jUst aLeGAtIOns !!! lol
  • 1 0
 I'll tell you in the comments... I've chosen Yes
  • 1 0
 Is Pinkbike testing the waters and thinking of selling a "Pinkie" frame?
  • 1 0
 Sherpas Everest frame is the ICAN p9 open Model
  • 1 0
 What's a catalogue?
  • 3 5
 I honestly couldn't give a fuck.
  • 5 1
 Then that's what you'll get in life. No fucks gotten.
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