Since the onslaught of direct B2C Chinese bike frame manufacturers took off, one brand has consistently featured in the comments on the Hambini YouTube Channel: Velobuild.
Velobuild frames look very similar to those made by Pinarello. The frame reviewed in this article and on youtube had a striking resemblance to a Dogma F.
The Buying Experience
To make this a fair test and remove the scope of obtaining a “Hambini Special”, the frame was purchased anonymously by someone with a generic Anglican name. Shortly after purchase, Velobuild got in touch and explained the requested colour was not available and they offered silver instead. This was accepted.
A few weeks later, the package arrived via China Post.
The packaging was functional; the items had not been damaged in transit. After removing the considerable amounts of flexible foam, the frame was exposed. The immediate comment was the state of the paint; it was terrible. Continued examination highlighted the area around the bottom bracket which looked like a cross between excess epoxy overrun and the world’s worst paint drip. The bottom bracket threads had terrible galling.
Rumbled on Instagram
Shortly after posting some vague shots of the frame on the Hambini Instagram page. Velobuild recognized their frame and got in touch. They asked for photos of the frame and other comments. They stated that the frame paint was poor, but other issues (like the bottom bracket) were acceptable. A final customer would unlikely accept a bottom bracket that was not threadable.
Given the price of the frame, the build quality correlates with the price point. Structurally, the frame has numerous small voids, not excessive displacements, and insofar as the severity of voids goes, they are relatively minor. It should be noted that despite these voids, the frame is much better built than most frames and would be considered above average.
More concerning is the area around the fork, specifically where the hydraulic line goes to the front caliper.
The frame comes complete with a fully integrated handlebar that features internal routing and a Seatpost and clamp system. The handlebar is exceptionally well made, there is proper compaction on tight radii, and there is nothing else to report apart from a few stray fibres.
The Seatpost is a proprietary affair with a custom cross-section. The compaction on the tight radii is good, and no voids were identified.
The frame was found to be geometrically accurate.
The bearing seats were extremely well formed; they were round and supported the bearings with adequate retention. The fit was measured at a js transition fit.
Given the cost of the bike frame, this is not the worst that is available, but additional expenditure would be required to correct some of the faults. Some other brands, notably Winspace and Trifox represent better purchases as they are better built and once the corrective costs are factored in, they would be cheaper for most people.
This frame is not far from being an excellent purchase but the lack of attention to detail and the unwillingness of Velobuild to recognize substandard quality when they were given the opportunity to fix it in the most public of forums speaks volumes.