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PSA - Counterfeit Chains Are Rampant

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PSA - Counterfeit Chains Are Rampant

Old 10-28-22, 05:34 AM
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PSA - Counterfeit Chains Are Rampant

I had heard of this, but now I have firsthand experience. I have three Ultegra-level 11 speed Shimano Chains that I bought from reputable and well established USA-based sellers on EBay earlier this year.

I had to use one of these yesterday, and after doing some research I have discovered that all three of these chains are counterfeit.

I do advise everyone to use caution when buying online.

EDIT/UPDATE: see pics posted at bottom of page for more info
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Old 10-28-22, 05:41 AM
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Short on details. Spill the beans please.

The LBS owner used to say the stuff from the big online resellers was fake too.
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Old 10-28-22, 05:52 AM
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The surprising and shocking thing here is that people buy junk off rando eBayers and expect it to be genuine. That’s like buying Hermes belts from some street vendor dude in Times Square and being surprised to learn they’re fake.
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Old 10-28-22, 06:04 AM
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How do you know they're fake? I only buy KMC chains because I like the quick links and having the same on all my bikes is nice. Also, I wax my chains so have 3 in rotation in all my bikes gets pricey. Also, I'm just cheap, so I buy inexpensive chains. As far as I can tell, the chains I buy are too cheap to counterfeit.
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Old 10-28-22, 06:06 AM
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I am busy at work today, so short reply....but the tip-off was the enclosed Quick LInk was clearly NOT shimano. The chain itself looks legit but likely a factory leftover. I did some research and the three little boxes under "Shimano" on the box should have at least ONE reflector-like printing and in mine they are all white. I can post pics of the box and chain etc. but likely not until tonight.

I do expect fake chains on aliexpress or low-volume Asian Ebay sellers. But these were domestic sellers I have bought from before and it's entirely possible even the sellers were not aware the chains are fake.
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Old 10-28-22, 06:52 AM
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High-volume, domestic, and “established sellers” don’t have anything to do with product authenticity, and most likely just buy their crap off Alibaba by the pallet load rather than the box.

I don’t even want to know how someone would get a supposed Shimano “factory leftover”…
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Old 10-28-22, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
The surprising and shocking thing here is that people buy junk off rando eBayers and expect it to be genuine. That’s like buying Hermes belts from some street vendor dude in Times Square and being surprised to learn they’re fake.
Wait...Are you suggesting that my Rollex is a fake?

Originally Posted by datlas View Post
The chain itself looks legit but likely a factory leftover.
I'm not sure what "leftover" means in this context...But if the chain looks okay, and you are leery of the quick links, then just buy a few Shimano quick links and it won't be a complete loss.

I would not buy chains on eBay unless I was pretty desperate.
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Old 10-28-22, 08:05 AM
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Someone here posted some pics of some "Shinamo" stuff they bought a while back..... Maybe that's what yours are?
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Old 10-28-22, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
Someone here posted some pics of some "Shinamo" stuff they bought a while back..... Maybe that's what yours are?
Possibly.

I have been buying Shimano parts from seemingly reputable online Ebay sellers for over a dozen years, and this is the first time I have been burned.

Obviously I will be much more careful in the future.
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Old 10-28-22, 08:33 AM
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How can one tell?
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Old 10-28-22, 08:39 AM
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Does the counterfeit chain work on the bike?
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Old 10-28-22, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
How can one tell?
I will try to post some pics/info this evening. There are some signs which in retrospect are quite clear.
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Old 10-28-22, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Gyro View Post
Does the counterfeit chain work on the bike?
It works fine on the bike stand. I am not sure I want to trust it though. I hope to buy a chain from the LBS on my way home from work.
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Old 10-28-22, 09:21 AM
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I thought Shimano used KMC for their enclosed quicklinks.
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Old 10-28-22, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
The surprising and shocking thing here is that people buy junk off rando eBayers and expect it to be genuine. That’s like buying Hermes belts from some street vendor dude in Times Square and being surprised to learn they’re fake.
For what it’s worth, I got mine from Amazon with Amazon as the seller. The chain looked legit, but the link plates broke when I was climbing. The QL is what gave it away to my mechanic that the chain was fake. His words were - if that’s the QL that came with the chain, the chain is fake
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Old 10-28-22, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
I thought Shimano used KMC for their enclosed quicklinks.
That may be, but from my google searching KMC's quicklinks say "11S" while Shimano's have the arrow.
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Old 10-28-22, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by phrantic09 View Post
For what it’s worth, I got mine from Amazon with Amazon as the seller. The chain looked legit, but the link plates broke when I was climbing. The QL is what gave it away to my mechanic that the chain was fake. His words were - if that’s the QL that came with the chain, the chain is fake
Do you recall if the quick link was included in the plastic encasing the chain? Apparently that is typical for fakes, while Shimano ones they are separate.
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Old 10-28-22, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
I am busy at work today, so short reply....but the tip-off was the enclosed Quick LInk was clearly NOT shimano. The chain itself looks legit but likely a factory leftover. I did some research and the three little boxes under "Shimano" on the box should have at least ONE reflector-like printing and in mine they are all white. I can post pics of the box and chain etc. but likely not until tonight.

I do expect fake chains on aliexpress or low-volume Asian Ebay sellers. But these were domestic sellers I have bought from before and it's entirely possible even the sellers were not aware the chains are fake.
Reminds me of this

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Old 10-28-22, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Do you recall if the quick link was included in the plastic encasing the chain? Apparently that is typical for fakes, while Shimano ones they are separate.
Pretty sure it was in with the chain
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Old 10-28-22, 11:39 AM
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I snuck out at lunch to the LBS and bought a new chain. I will do my best to assemble a side-by-side pictorial of the counterfeit and real chains for posterity. Stay tuned. Pics at 11.
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Old 10-28-22, 01:07 PM
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Wasn’t there a thread here recently or in the General forum asking why more LBSs aren’t buying sports from Amazon/other online vendors? This is why. No LBS wants to put fake parts on peoples bikes, but they also don’t have time to inspect every box and every part that comes in the door.

The LBS that gets the local rep of putting on fake parts and charging full price is soon-to-be closed LBS.
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Old 10-28-22, 04:15 PM
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Pics, as promised. Real chain is on the right, fake one on the left:


Front of box. Real on right, fake on left. Main giveaway is to look at the small trapezoids next to "CHAIN" on the real box there is a shiny/reflector aspect while the fake one it's just white. It's obvious if you know how to look. But otherwise a very good copy.



Back of boxes. Some sites have said the giveaway is lack of bar-code on fake but in this case both have it. Real on right again.



Box contents. Real on right again. Takeaway is fake has quick link inside the plastic bag, and the quick link says "11S" while the real one has quick link in SEPARATE clear plastic and has arrows for direction on it. Note also the real package has pink sticker on top, fake does not (in this case).

The chains themselves really do look identical to me.

I hope the summary above is useful.

Caveat Emptor.
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Old 10-28-22, 04:19 PM
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If you buy from an authorized dealer you are extremely less likely to run into these problems. I get it you can find a really great deal in the vast emptiness of the webspace but you can run into issues like this quite frequently and are left without a paddle.
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Old 10-28-22, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
Pics, as promised. Real chain is on the right, fake one on the left:


Front of box. Real on right, fake on left. Main giveaway is to look at the small trapezoids next to "CHAIN" on the real box there is a shiny/reflector aspect while the fake one it's just white. It's obvious if you know how to look. But otherwise a very good copy.



Back of boxes. Some sites have said the giveaway is lack of bar-code on fake but in this case both have it. Real on right again.



Box contents. Real on right again. Takeaway is fake has quick link inside the plastic bag, and the quick link says "11S" while the real one has quick link in SEPARATE clear plastic and has arrows for direction on it. Note also the real package has pink sticker on top, fake does not (in this case).

The chains themselves really do look identical to me.

I hope the summary above is useful.

Caveat Emptor.
Different lengths? 116L vs 126L

Lots of chain talk. Strange.
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Old 10-28-22, 05:05 PM
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Chain-ge is coming.
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