Sham chamois - never mind the quality, feel the width

BikeBiz asked apparel companies to share their views on counterfeit cycle clothing.
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BikeBiz asked apparel companies to share their views on counterfeit cycle clothing.

RAPHASimon Mottram, CEO and founder

"Faked products is a growing issue for lots of brands and Rapha is no exception. We have seen a growing number of Rapha fakes. "There are a lot of factories, especially in the Far East, who will copy any graphic design onto a sublimated polyester jersey almost as soon as it is launched.

"Copying is theft. Our brand marks (logos and some design elements) are our property, and we have spent years building them. We will fight to protect them whenever they are infringed.

"We spend a lot of time and money developing our products. The copycats spend none.

"Copies of colours and graphics don't mean that the jerseys are the same as the original thing. We use better fabrics, trims and manufacturing quality and fit than any fake. "Cycling is a tough, demanding sport. We need kit that really performs; fakes rarely do.

"Rapha offers free returns and a free repairs service, plus extended guarantees. Suppliers of fakes do not."


"Yes we experience problems in this area, especially with our Movistar Team Replica clothing as replica clothing is traditionally prone to counterfeiting.

"As with many premium and progressive brands, Endura's products are all too regularly targeted by fraudsters selling counterfeit items. The first thing to note is that if a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

"Check the images of the products carefully to confirm that they match with the items shown on Endura's website - you might be surprised to see significant differences in logo sizes and positions or mismatched colour panels, as often happens with counterfeit products."

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CASTELLISteve Smith, brand manager

"The Chinese manufacturers are not trying to copy our exact products, but rather have very cheap models on which they print graphics similar to our inline or pro team graphics. In the end the product is quite different from a real Castelli product, especially in quality - generally, these products are poor quality in fabrics and construction. Recently there was a big case in Italy where a consumer had bought a fake jersey, and it turned his skin blue. You don't know what chemicals are in the chamois in that $20 pair of shorts.

"I think relatively few people are being tricked and thinking they're buying a genuine Castelli product when that jersey costs $20 and ships from mainland China. So these consumers are knowingly buying a counterfeit product, and I wonder what these people are thinking. They seem to want to associate with our brand, but somehow we haven't managed to get the message to them about the performance and quality that we build into our products. It's like the guy who shows up to the party and shows off his new "Rolex" on his wrist that turned green.

"I talk to people when I see them in fake Castelli. Usually, I use the line of "Do you realize that we employ nearly 200 people in Italy, and you're supporting people who are stealing their jobs?"

"I saw one guy with fake tights but a real jacket and asked him why and he said that he loves the jacket, loves Castelli, doesn't use tights very often so didn't see the point of spending a bunch of money on tights. They were hanging on him and he agreed that they were crap, but somehow justified it in his own mind.

"It's a shame that we have to spend time fighting counterfeiters instead of spending our time on something more constructive, and it's disappointing that consumers are supporting these criminals. We probably don't directly lose too much revenue due to counterfeiters because the guy who buys a $20 jersey from China isn't going to move into a genuine quality product, they're going to buy a $20 with some other graphic on it if they can't get a fake Castelli. We fight it more to protect our consumers who buy a real product so that they don't end up being associated with the cyclists who buy counterfeit products.

"We've had some success at fighting counterfeiting through an aggressive program of taking down advertisers on the Chinese market places - DHgate, Alibaba, Aliexpress - as well as eBay and Amazon. We also attack individual websites since most ISPs provide some mechanism to remove fraudulent websites. Over the past year, we have reduced the quantities being sold through Aliexpress and DHgate by over 90 percent. We're attacking around 8000 listings per month. Our partner is Convey."


FAKING ITInside the shady world of counterfeit bikes, clothing and parts is a series of 20 articles. For offline reading convenience the 25,000 words can be found on a PDF, a Kindle file, an eBook and a Word document.

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