I’m currently in talks with someone who works at the factory which makes Pinarellos and Storcks. As for purchasing one of those frames, it’s going to be hard to get a great deal since all of the frames are earmarked for export. Unless he breaks the rules, the frames can’t be sold in Taiwan from the factory. Pinarello and Storck customize them, assemble the full bikes, and sell them. So Pinarellos found here in Taiwan have been imported from Italy even though they have been made here. It’s a bit ridiculous. I’ll do some more snooping around in Taichung, as I have a contact there as well and most of the bikes in Taiwan are made in Taichung. I’m sure that a few frames slip off the production lines all the time.
However, the insider has revealed that Carbotec completely designed the Fascenario 0.7 for Storck, which is one of the lightest and stiffest carbon fiber frames out there at 740 gr. Carbotec make an OEM-like frame that is based on similar technology, which weighs 860 gr and is supposed to be 8% stiffer. It’s incredibly cheap, $1,400, and if it comes with no decals or logos, I’d be really interested because it would be lower priced than a second-hand KOM. It would be a tad more expensive than the second-hand Kuote Kredo ’08 that I had my eye one, but it would be a performing machine. All of the performance of a big name frame and a third or a quarter of the price.
Still, OEM frames are hard to judge since they don’t really have a brand. Sure, they do have a brand, but it’s an unknown quantity. It’s almost impossible to research those frames, so you can’t find out much about them.
Update: I’ve spent a few hours researching the OEM brand and found some really good comments on them. I haven’t read about any real issues, except maybe that the fork isn’t as stiff and performing as it should be for such a good frame. Most of the people who purchased this bike frame use Edge forks instead.
This whole thing is ludicrous. Why? Well, the “Made in Italy” stamp can be added to any frame or bike if at least 50% of the price comes from Italy. This means for example that if a carbon fiber frame was made in Taiwan, sent out to Italy, where the company adds components, paint and tires, then this frame would be labeled made in Italy. This is one of the secrets of the bicycle trade.
This is the reason why Wiliers and Pinarellos are so expensive, because their price is inflated artificially in Italy contrary to TIME frames which are completely manufactured in France. However, about 95% of bike companies function this way. Even Scott has their frames made in Taiwan. BMCs are made in China.