|Buy direct from China- shipped to your door.|
In terms of bicycles, I have written about how the consumer now has a choice to buy direct from factories in China. Something that was unthinkable five years ago now is commonplace. E-bay is the most common portal for this, but even supposedly "spam-free" forums have representatives of Chinese factories participating in conversations on-line with potential customers.
This hit the 29"er market a few years ago, (not to mention the road and cyclo cross market place), and now fat bikes have fallen into the same "rabbit hole" of the e-marketplace. I won't begin to delve into all the emotions and "he-said-she-said" arguments you can find about this stuff, but I do have some thoughts on this activity.
There seems to be two schools of thought that can most generally be summed up by the labels, (and these are my terms, not anyone elses), "Sticking It To The Man" and the "It's Just Wrong" camps. On one hand you have folks with a varied list of reasoning that are going to buy this stuff because it's a deal of some sort. The other side feels it is wrong on several ethical, moral, or legal grounds to even consider buying like this.
Here's the deal from my standpoint: These frames are made to make a buck. Are they as "good as" Brand X? Whatever...... I think of it as this- Go to your local butcher. Take a look at the cuts of beef, for example. The discerning eye will see how some are different, "better", or hold more value than some of the other cuts of beef. Others will see them as "overpriced", and give their opinions as to why and point you to a small town meat locker, or even a farmer/hunter/source that you can buy stuff "just as good" for much less. Who is right? Both are. That's the bottom line here.
|Made in Asia, but not "the same thing".|
But maybe in the end it won't matter. I've already seen where some industry wonk is saying carbon fiber will replace aluminum as the "material of choice" for the common levels of bicycle products. I find that sort of thinking pretty incredible. Big box store carbon fiber fat bike rigs for $299.99? Maybe, if this is where it is going. Think that it could never happen? I bet people that first saw Cannondales and Kleins in the early 80's thought the same thing.