What you won't get from a counterfeit Kolossos cage

AK
posted by Ard Kessels
December 07, 2022

Recently we found our products on Alibaba and bought some to see what the quality was like. We wondered how a counterfeit Kolossos cage would match up to the real deal Kogel version. We took a close look to see what we were up against; find our video review and in-depth comparison below.

The Real Price of a Counterfeit Kolossos

First of all you need to note the price difference: $449 for the Kogel Kolossos vs $42 for the counterfeit. 90% discounted. As we know, when something looks too good to be true - it usually is. $42 is actually less than the production cost of a real Kolossos, even if you take the ceramic bearings out of the equation.

If this Alibaba seller was a bit smarter, they would contact Kogel, become an approved manufacturer, and sell thousands of Kolossos cages instead of the 275 across all models that are noted on the seller page. Of course the fact that they decided to take unethical actions and create a counterfeit product immediately disqualifies them from the possibility of working with us.

Premium Service and Shipping Times

When you’re buying a product, you are not buying just the product. The service element is very important. Ask some questions about the seller. Will they will be there for you when you need advice pre-purchase or if there are any issues afterwards. I haven’t tried, but my guess is that F1Z Bike Shop Store on Alibaba will be hard to reach if I ever have an issue with my fake bearings.

The counterfeit Kolossos cages took three weeks to reach us. There was a shipping notification but no usable tracking. For the entire three weeks the tracking said our order was ‘in transit’.

Kogel will ship your real cage anywhere in the continental USA in three days, or even overnight if you’re in a hurry. International shipping is done via DHL with door to door service in 3-5 working days depending on your location.

Authentic Kolossos Packaging

The real Kogel version of this product will come to your door in a magnetic box with a foam insert, custom stickers and a hand-signed card from the person who built your Kolossos.

The copycat comes in a nondescript box that kind of fits the product, but not really. Parts were definitely bouncing around during transport.

A Kogel Kolossos in original packaging - the foam is perfectly cut to protect your investment while it ships.

Product Quality: Real Vs. Fake Kolossos 

Machining quality 

So here is some surprising news! The machining quality on the counterfeit cage is decent; I’m somewhat impressed. If you handed me a real Kogel cage without wheels and the fake one, I would have a really hard time finding the difference.

Fun fact:

our R9200 Dura Ace cage has a minor imperfection in the CNC file. Something about heat build-up and needing to recalibrate the machines between operations. You probably wouldn’t be able to see it unless I pointed it out to you.

The fake Kolossos managed to fix this and is perfectly smooth in that one spot. Well done, Bike Shop Store. The rotation stop screw is also up to date with our new 12 speed Dura Ace version. This means that the counterfeit, or Faux-lossos is made according to one of our newer designs. The stop screw looks slightly different from our original: it is more rounded vs angular and uses a different size allen key for installation. I have the idea that our impersonator made a hybrid version between the eTapAXS stop screw and the Shimano 12 speed. Less parts, less inventory. This must be the reason why they can drop the price as low as it is.

Important Note

The threads are very loose on the counterfeit stop pin. You might lose this part on a ride if you don’t Loctite it.

Bearing quality

Particularly important to us as a bearing company is the quality of the bearings in the product. We even created a bearing comparisons page on our site all about this. The counterfeit bearings are loud! They sound like a low quality bearing running dry. This is why these bearings won’t last. Scrolling down to the reviews page on Alibaba confirms my hunch: many buyers are complaining about the bearings being wobbly upon installation and wearing out after a few rides.
Upon removing the bearing covers, we see bearings with a steel shield instead of a rubber seal, which means low friction but zero protection from the elements. A total lack of lubrication also means these bearings are set up to fail.

I guarantee none of our Ambassadors from the Kogel Collective would be riding on the Faux-lossos during their high profile races.

 

Steel shield on the counterfeit wheels - no protection from the elements and makes for a LOUD spin.

Build quality

One of the first things I noticed while trying to disassemble the fake Kolossos was that the screws are not installed with Loctite. Since there are many vibrations in a bicycle drivetrain, this is just a problem waiting to happen. The screws will back out over time from normal use, potentially leaving a rider stranded when the wheels come off.

Also, the quality of the fake screws is subpar. Kogel uses titanium screws for custom Kolossos and imports black stainless steel screws from a manufacturer in the UK for our stock builds. We source them this way since a UK supplier would definitely know how to make products that can deal with rain. The fake screws are black, but not stainless. In fact they were already oxidized coming out of the box. I wish the best for any user that gets caught in a drizzle with these. 

The anodized blue color of the bearing covers looks faded and purple on the fake cage. Even though anodizing is a hard to control process and some color variations should be expected, this shade of blurple would be a reject in our production. The dimensions are also slightly off. The bearing covers are completely stuck in the bearings, which makes them very hard to remove. The real Kogel pulley covers pop out of the bearings with a slight push of an allen key or a pick.

Finally, the Kogel included spacer for Ultegra 12 speed is missing in the box of the Alibaba cage. This leaves a gap between the Kolossos and derailleur body allowing dirt access the spring inside. If you're a Mountain Biker your bearings could mean the difference between life and death.

As we have said many times in the Kogel marketing campaigns: #detailsmatter.

Want to Customize Your Kolossos?

Notably absent from the Alibaba Faux-lossos is the option to build a totally custom Kolossos cage.

Kogel has this option for every model we sell (check out all the choices with our Kolossos customizer here), so you can perfectly match your bike build and *BLING* out your real Kolossos cage as much or as little as you would like.

So should you spend your money on a counterfeit cage?

We now take into consideration all of the comparisons between the Kogel Kolossos versus a counterfeit Kolossos.

  • There is a price gap. If you are after a performance benefit and want to support an American company, the original Kolossos is for you.
  • If you are the person that would buy a fake Rolex or counterfeit Louis Vuitton bag and are just after the looks, you probably want to save a dollar and are looking at the fake Kolossos right now.

 

Keep in mind that you might look funny when the rust starts dripping down from your bearings or screws or when your friends ask you ‘what’s that noise?’
  • Another issue is that if you live in Europe or the United States, customs might actually stop and destroy your package since importing counterfeit goods is against the law. 
  • If you're looking for Performance, then Authentic wins all the way, as TEKNECYCLING wrote about in their recent review of our pulleys.
  • Even BikeRumor brags about the oh so smooth sound of our Kolossos OS cages.

 

My personal opinion is that I could be very upset about someone making money from our hard work, but it happens to much bigger companies. Even companies like Apple or Dolce & Gabbana are not able to 100% stop production of counterfeit goods.

For this reason it is probably best to not worry about the worldwide 275 fake Kogel cages that are out there. Instead, I will appreciate the fact that the company that my team and I have built from scratch has grown to the level where someone considered it worthy of copying and riding the wave of our marketing efforts. Kogel has reached that level. Cool!

Still not convinced? We did a video comparison of the counterfeit versus the real Kogel Kolossos on our Youtube channel.