Buying parts for your bike online might seem tempting, but a BBC documentary shown last night has highlighted the dangers of counterfeit carbon parts sold bought on the internet
The Fake Britain documentary focused on the case of mountain biker Matt Phillips who bought a set of FSA carbon flat bar handlebars on eBay, which ostensibly seemed to be the real deal, having all the correct graphics and feel of FSA bars. However, while out riding a short time later, the bars failed catastrophically, snapping into three pieces while Matt was descending.
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The result was a broken wrist in two places, which would require seven weeks in plaster and many months of physiotherapy. And even after all that Matt still hasn't regained full movement of the wrist.
Just as big a shock came when Matt sent the bars back to FSA headquarters in Milan, only for the Italian manufacturer to find that they weren't made by FSA after all, and were in fact a cheap carbon copy produced in the Far East, therefore not conforming to European safety standards.
And it turned out that this wasn't an isolated incident, with FSA finding over 2,000 similar counterfeit parts online in just a single month. In order to combat this problem, the company puts a special FSA logo that can only be seen under ultraviolet light on all of its products.
eBay is also aware of the problem and has taken steps to protect its users, reminding them that counterfeit products are not welcome on any of its sites.
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"A large community of legitimate sellers trade authentic goods on eBay in the UK every day, and we work hard to protect them through anti-counterfeit initiatives including the Verified Rights Owner Program (VeRO) which helps legitimate sellers to protect their goods."
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This isn't the first time that Fake Britain has examined the problem of counterfeit cycling equipment, having previously highlighted the issue of fake copies of Giro helmets that also fail European safety tests.
Of course our advice would be to always buy through your local bike shop or through a reputable online store, ensuring the quality of the parts that you are buying and to make sure there is a warranty option just in case the worst happens.
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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
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