The BBC is set to air a show this week, exposing the number of counterfeit FSA components emanating from China, as part of its Fake Britain series.
A similar episode aired last week, warning viewers of the abundance of fake Giro helmets coming out of China as well.
For years, FSA has been dealing with counterfeiters, principally from the Chinese, who have been selling fake versions of their components online.
In fact, the issue has become so problematic for the Italian brand, that they’ve gone so far as to set-up a special page on their website, to help consumers indentify fakes.
Consumers beware – unscrupulous cheats are making and circulating counterfeit products. Here’s how to ensure your FSA products are the genuine article: safe, high-performing, durable and enjoyable.
Why fake bicycle products are bad
Offers that look like a fantastic discount deal may be tempting, but sometimes these are too good to be true – and it’s vitally important to buy and run genuine components on your bike. First and foremost, the major concern is safety. Parts made with the wrong materials or techniques, without proper design, engineering and testing can be dangerous for many reasons – and when riding high-speed road or high-impact mountain bikes.
As well as your safety, there are other clear downsides to fitting a fake. Of course, the performance of your FSA products is imperative. All FSA products are made with carefully chosen materials, to highly specified sizes and tolerances, to bring you the very best performance throughout its life. Fakes are made as cheaply as possible with no regard for their immediate performance or durability.
Compatibility is another important issue. All FSA products are carefully made to be compatible with the standards used on your bike and with other FSA and third-party products and accessories.
There are also ethical issues to consider, such as the duped customer unwittingly supporting the other illegal activities linked to the criminals who run counterfeiting rings.
How to avoid buying a fake
The first precaution is to always buy from reputable dealer. If you are based in the USA, the FSA webstore is here and in the full list of FSA distributors you’ll find details for your country. It’s concerning to read media reports that some unprincipled dealers stoop to mixing bogus with genuine products, so always stick with the authorised stores.
Examine the product and its packaging thoroughly before fitting – ideally in the store before purchase. We’ve provided a product authenticity checklist, below.
Always pay by credit card – never cash – as you have additional protection (note that details vary from region to region).
It’s also good practise to have your product fitted by a trusted, qualified mechanic who should be familiar with ‘the real thing’ and warn you if the product is suspect.
How to spot if the “FSA product” you have been offered is a fake:
1. Check the packaging for copyright symbol, product serial number, FSA address and contacts.
2. Look for the serial number on the product itself.
3. Examine the FSA and other logos, and the finish quality on the product itself.
4. Examine any paperwork included in the box, such as technical specifications, fitting instructions and guarantee.
Look for the serial numbers which appear on all genuine FSA products
Firstly, DON’T ride with any suspect product fitted to your bike – remember, your safety is paramount. If you realise or suspect you have bought a fake, get the details of the store or website where you bought the product – along with any photographs or any other appropriate transaction details – and contact FSA.
We have adopted several legal remedies in order to identify and stop the fake products at Customs, and our lawyers are working on this issue on a daily basis. For the future, we are determined to continue with this strategy and to identify and prosecute anyone who may be dealing in fake FSA goods, and keep you safe.
There is some good news in the fight against such criminals, chiefly in the form of a series of programs run by the World Federation of the Sporting Good Industry.
WFSGI’s ‘Convey’ project is making great headway into this malpractice, but all such programs rely on the diligence of you, the genuine customer, so please remain alert when considering a new purchase.
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