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  1. #1
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    Is this a real M 5 HT?

    I bought these two frames from two different LBS' a few weeks ago for insanely low prices. After getting them home and searching the internet for build ideas, I noticed that these are different from EVERY other I have seen on the net.
    1) The colors are matte black and matte white. It seems the others are all powder coated or polished.
    2) The paint scheme is one I have only seen on a 2003 Enduro.
    3) There are no cable stops on the downtube. They both have three running down the top tube.
    4) There is no vertical reenforcement at the left rear drop out.

    What do I have here? Anyone know what year these may be? Or what the deal is with the differences? They were not purchased in North America. Thanks.
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  2. #2
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    The tubes running into the headset definitely are Specialized, and you're right, that particular white on anodizing (at least for the black frame) is the same on my Epic (2003 S-works...). Have you checked the Specialized website? They should still have the 2003 frame pics up.
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  3. #3
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    From the archives at the Specialized website, the black one looks legit. Can't find the white one, though you did mention that these were not US bikes and I didn't search the overseas archives.

    Take the serial numbers and email Specialized - they'll tell you definitively what you have.
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  4. #4
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    For the black frame, the colour scheme looks spot on for a 2003 S-Works M5 HT. One thing I have to comment on is that I find it really strange that all the cables are routed over the top tube. Shouldn't only the rear brake cable/hose be routed over the top tube and the shifters along the down tube?

  5. #5
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    white one definitely looks weird. That rear dropout doesnt look like a normal one does it?

  6. #6
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    i recently imported what is meant to be an '05 M5 HT from the UK, and it isn't exactly like the website, and isn't exactly like yours either! mine has the gearshift cables mounted under the downtube (a la Specialized website), has the 'caged' rear drop-outs like these photos, but does have a reinforcement cross-bar near the L-side rear drop-out. but another 'problem' i have is that the seattube is not correctly bored-out to take a 30.9mm seatpost (as spec'd on the website); instead, i've had to fit a 30.2mm one. so it doesn't all add up as being a genuine full-spec frame.

    i contacted Specialised-US with my frame number to see if they could confirm it's genuine. their first reply was that the FN appears legit but wanted photos, so i've sent them photos. now i'm awaiting their subsequent response.

    my only other thought is that there are a number of prototype frames floating around that could account for these discrepencies. alternatively, these are rip-off frames and not genuine. lastly, they may be made in different factories to the US market, and components may differ - seems odd though.


  7. #7
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    I've seen a Stumpy 2003 model frame which a friend bought at an insanely low price together with the Fox rear shock.

    I've been given to understand that these frames were not genuine but maybe from an overun from Specialized's factory in Taiwan and did not meet quality control requirements.

    The best way is to wait for the reply from Specialized.

    Cheers

  8. #8
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    A cycling acquaintance of mine once told me he saw fake Specialized bikes on sale in China. Shape and colour were the same except for some subtle differences. Another dead give away was the weight. It was much heavier.

    Sunju, how much do your frames weight?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdchew
    A cycling acquaintance of mine once told me he saw fake Specialized bikes on sale in China. Shape and colour were the same except for some subtle differences. Another dead give away was the weight. It was much heavier.

    Sunju, how much do your frames weight?
    These bike frames are very light, I have no doubt that they were built by Specialized, just trying to figure when, and why. I tested it with an Ivanchev audio meter and it is pinging in the expected range of the M5 alloy. (I had to estimate as I have no test sample) S works and the high end Specialized frames are made at the Merida factory in Taiwan, while the lower end are made in Long hua, China. I acually live in China, and I have seen some amazing things. Not many fakes, because the biking public here 1) does not know about high end bikes, and 2) can't afford them if they did. So it makes no sense to go through the trouble of making the fake and then sale it for local market price.

    On the other hand, They do create bike models out of thin air. Did you know that Marzocci made frames? Neither did they.
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  10. #10
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    Frames are Fake - Definitely

    Both these frames are fakes, guaranteed. I am the ACTUAL design engineer at Specialized. The dropout is the dead giveaway.

    Sorry to break it to you. These pop up occasionally in Asia.

    Jake Wake


    Quote Originally Posted by Sunju
    I bought these two frames from two different LBS' a few weeks ago for insanely low prices. After getting them home and searching the internet for build ideas, I noticed that these are different from EVERY other I have seen on the net.
    1) The colors are matte black and matte white. It seems the others are all powder coated or polished.
    2) The paint scheme is one I have only seen on a 2003 Enduro.
    3) There are no cable stops on the downtube. They both have three running down the top tube.
    4) There is no vertical reenforcement at the left rear drop out.

    What do I have here? Anyone know what year these may be? Or what the deal is with the differences? They were not purchased in North America. Thanks.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeWake
    Both these frames are fakes, guaranteed. I am the ACTUAL design engineer at Specialized. The dropout is the dead giveaway.

    Sorry to break it to you. These pop up occasionally in Asia.

    Jake Wake
    Well Jake, I guess that ends the discussion. Thanks. I am going to get my $50 back.
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  12. #12
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    Sorry that you got a fake Specialized frame mate.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunju
    Well Jake, I guess that ends the discussion. Thanks. I am going to get my $50 back.
    $50!!!! I seriously cannot imagine the day when you can buy a brand new Specialized S-Works frame for $50 (not to mention 2 of them)!!!

    By the way, I talked to the other guys in my office about your analysis using the audio meter and it seems to be a split between opinions about how accurate the results are. Most seem to think that EDX will give better results.

    Anyway, I think Jake has settled the record. And yes, let me state that again. There are fakes Specialized Bikes floating around in China and you will be surprised what they know about high end stuff. Of course there are the few (like my colleague who came from China), who cannot imagine why someone will spend so much on their bicycle and how it could amount to so much when her's cost like $10 back in her home town.

    By the way, I know of a couple of people who even contacted a factory in China and bought what seems to be original Airborne Titanium Bikes from the factory direct. Prices were much much cheaper but not as insane as your price.

    Of course no M5 alloy, no FSR, no brain, no etc....

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9W6VX
    Sorry that you got a fake Specialized frame mate.
    Thanks man, I guess I will try to turn these lemons into some lemonaid. They are well made, light, and quick, but they aint S-Works. So, I may take them down to get painted if I take 1 back to the U.S.A. Now there is one more porblem I have. If a "fake" rides this well, what does a real Specialized S-works ride like?
    "Mountainbiking is like life, in that it is the long hard climb to the top that reveals character. Everyone is fast going downhill".
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdchew
    $50!!!! I seriously cannot imagine the day when you can buy a brand new Specialized S-Works frame for $50 (not to mention 2 of them)!!!

    By the way, I talked to the other guys in my office about your analysis using the audio meter and it seems to be a split between opinions about how accurate the results are. Most seem to think that EDX will give better results.

    Anyway, I think Jake has settled the record. And yes, let me state that again. There are fakes Specialized Bikes floating around in China and you will be surprised what they know about high end stuff. Of course there are the few (like my colleague who came from China), who cannot imagine why someone will spend so much on their bicycle and how it could amount to so much when her's cost like $10 back in her home town.

    By the way, I know of a couple of people who even contacted a factory in China and bought what seems to be original Airborne Titanium Bikes from the factory direct. Prices were much much cheaper but not as insane as your price.

    Of course no M5 alloy, no FSR, no brain, no etc....
    Seriously, I got the white one for $50 and the black one for $55. Why did I think they were legit? Sometimes you feel like you won the lottery.
    I agree, EDX would be spot on, but I would have to send it out to get tested. I had Aluminum, steel, and a Ti pipe to get a ping sample from, so I only needed to establish that the return rate was not in the same freq range, and thus the material was different. It can't prove what it is, just what it is not.
    The Walmart down the street from me sales full suspension bikes for $19. That is about what they are worth. They can't be sold anywhere else. The brakes don't work from day 1.
    I have seen those Airborne frames. The sale them without the decals right? I have seen them for around $490.
    (All the prices I quote I have converted from Chinese Yuan into USD) Thanks for listening, I owe you a beer.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunju
    Seriously, I got the white one for $50 and the black one for $55. Why did I think they were legit? Sometimes you feel like you won the lottery.
    I agree, EDX would be spot on, but I would have to send it out to get tested. I had Aluminum, steel, and a Ti pipe to get a ping sample from, so I only needed to establish that the return rate was not in the same freq range, and thus the material was different. It can't prove what it is, just what it is not.
    The Walmart down the street from me sales full suspension bikes for $19. That is about what they are worth. They can't be sold anywhere else. The brakes don't work from day 1.
    I have seen those Airborne frames. The sale them without the decals right? I have seen them for around $490.
    (All the prices I quote I have converted from Chinese Yuan into USD) Thanks for listening, I owe you a beer.
    Frankly speaking, IMHO, if someone trys to sell me a brand new S-Works Frame for $50, I'll have 2 conclusions. A) Someone is trying to pull a fast one on me B) Sounds like stolen goods

    As for the analysis of the frame material, M5 alloy is an aluminium alloy which has Copper, Zinc, Silicon, Magnesium and Manganese. The percentage of each of the elements are not known about the material guys in my office tell me that unless you have good reference samples of each type and depending on the properties of the alloy, it might not be conclusive.

    As for the ride difference, I must say that the ride quality of my S-Works Epic when compared to my old Kona Kikapu are worlds apart. I guess with a imitation frame with a questionable alloy, welding process and changes in the tube geometry/thickness, you main concerns will be on the durability and reliability of the frame.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdchew
    Frankly speaking, IMHO, if someone trys to sell me a brand new S-Works Frame for $50, I'll have 2 conclusions. A) Someone is trying to pull a fast one on me B) Sounds like stolen goods

    As for the analysis of the frame material, M5 alloy is an aluminium alloy which has Copper, Zinc, Silicon, Magnesium and Manganese. The percentage of each of the elements are not known about the material guys in my office tell me that unless you have good reference samples of each type and depending on the properties of the alloy, it might not be conclusive.

    As for the ride difference, I must say that the ride quality of my S-Works Epic when compared to my old Kona Kikapu are worlds apart. I guess with a imitation frame with a questionable alloy, welding process and changes in the tube geometry/thickness, you main concerns will be on the durability and reliability of the frame.
    Things work in China a little differently. Let me break it down for you. A) Many top brand products are made in China. The process is the the same as any production line anywhere. The QC test samples from a lot. Based on a pass/fail percentage the entire lot is accepted or rejected. The rejected products usualy have 2 destinations. 1) Recycled through the process, broken down to its componants, depending on the product. 2) Sent to a different market, usualy developing countries, in the case of clothing etc, where the item is still servicable. In China there is a third option. They sell it out the back door. A rejected lot of bicycles is worth more to the workers or factory manager than its weight will be at the recycling plant. This is what I thought I had come across. Depending on the reason it was rejected, upside down logo, wrong paint scheme, misplaced bosses, as long as the frame itself is not compromised, it makes little difference. In fact, there may be nothing wrong with some of the frames that were not sampled, they are just in the rejected lot. Michael Jordans' shoe factory is also down the road a bit from here...don't get me started.

    I will try to simplify the audio test with an example. If you hit a baseball with an Aluminium bat it makes a distinct sound. You record it. If you hit a baseball with a wooden bat it makes a distinct sound. You record it. You then hit the baseball with a bat of unknown origin and it makes a distinct sound. You record it. When you test the 3rd sample against the others, you know it is not Aluminium, and you know it is not wood. Since the materials used in the bike industry are limited, I tested the most common and likely to be used. Testing shows a return different from Aluminium, Steel, and Titainium. As a result, you can eliminate PURE samples of these materials. (Pure being a sample greater than 86% of a single alloy). So now the question is what else could this frame be made from?
    "Mountainbiking is like life, in that it is the long hard climb to the top that reveals character. Everyone is fast going downhill".
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  18. #18
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    Can you get some more closeups of the welding on both frames? Spesh frames should be robot welded and as such the "fish scales" should be uniform, neat and follow a perfect course.

    I can't tell for sure but the welding around the top tube / down tube / head tube junction doesn't look quite up to spesh standards, so maybe it's worth any prospective used buyers checking it out.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunju
    In China there is a third option. They sell it out the back door. A rejected lot of bicycles is worth more to the workers or factory manager than its weight will be at the recycling plant. This is what I thought I had come across. Depending on the reason it was rejected, upside down logo, wrong paint scheme, misplaced bosses, as long as the frame itself is not compromised, it makes little difference. In fact, there may be nothing wrong with some of the frames that were not sampled, they are just in the rejected lot. Michael Jordans' shoe factory is also down the road a bit from here...don't get me started.
    Dude, this happens everywhere. Not only China. Seen roadside hawkers selling Motorola cellphone batteries not too far from the factory in Taiwan way back in '97.

    I guess for the price you pay, you can't really expect much. Frankly speaking, manufacturers should seriously put more control on their contract manufacturers and get them to scrap any rejects. Stuff like this floating around really spoils the reputation of good brands when people think they got the real deal and it fails later down the line. By the way, I thought it Specialized S-Work bikes are made in Taiwan? Thats what the label says on my bike.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdchew
    By the way, I thought it Specialized S-Work bikes are made in Taiwan? Thats what the label says on my bike.
    Yep thats true. I called the factory in Shenzhen, they said that some were painted in China. Thats how I thought it may have come to China. Like I said, I thought I'd won the lottery. It is a fake, but it is worth the price I paid. So after it is painted it will make an ok city bike.
    "Mountainbiking is like life, in that it is the long hard climb to the top that reveals character. Everyone is fast going downhill".
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