It has come to my attention that Harley Johnstone, under the guise of “Durianrider Publications,” is re-selling Chinese carbon bicycle frames. He is selling these frames to naïve buyers at highly inflated prices, and is also blatantly abusing the PayPal system in order to reduce his fees and avoid his refund obligations.
I’ll discuss the framesets he is selling in a moment, and reveal to you where you can purchase them at much cheaper prices – from far more reputable sellers who offer a warranty.
But first, let’s have a closer look at Johnstone, the individual behind Durianrider Publications.
The Ugly Truth About Harley Johnstone
For those unfamiliar with Johnstone, he is a notorious Internet troll from Adelaide, South Australia, who has made a career out of maliciously slandering innocent people. He does this in order to create ‘controversy’ and garner hits for his monetized YouTube videos.
Among Johnstone’s more recent outbursts were his unprovoked attack on a 19-year-old domestic violence victim, Ashlee Savins. After Ashlee was bashed by her abusive boyfriend, a Justin Toro, the matter was reported to the NSW police. NSW’s ‘finest,’ however, told Ashlee and her friend there was insufficient evidence to warrant investigating the matter further. The victim’s exasperated friend then posted pictures of Ashlee’s battered and bloodied face to Facebook. Upon seeing the post, Johnstone could not but help chime in – not to express sympathy - but to virulently abuse Ashlee.
According to Johnstone, the vicious assault was “100% her fault!” He loudly proclaimed Ashlee a “DUMB BITCH” and “FUCKING DOORMAT LOSER”.
You can learn more about this mind-boggling display of victim-blaming in the following video:
Another incident highlighting Johnstone’s sinister nature involved cancer sufferer Jen Faulisi. At 33 years of age, Jen had already lost her mother and one of her sisters to cancer – only to be diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer herself. There was little conventional oncology could offer Jen, so she began researching ‘alternative’ treatments. She learned of a clinic in Mexico that sounded promising, but simply could not afford the fees. Jen then decided to start a GoFundMe campaign in the hope of raising the required funds. The campaign enjoyed a successful start and Jen raised enough money to get to the clinic and begin treatment.
But then along came Harley Johnstone, who started publicly deriding Jen on his social media channels as a “scammer.” Despite the fact Jen was indeed a genuine cancer patient, and despite video confirmation from her US physician, and despite the pleas of Jen’s stunned support team, people instead chose to believe the incredibly callous and patently dishonest Johnstone.
As a result, Jen’s funding dried up. She ran out of money and had to leave her treatment in Mexico, where her condition had improved and her tumour had shrunk.
She died on April 4, 2016.
You can learn more about Johnstone’s deranged campaign against Jen via these videos:
The Sexual Harassment and Rape Allegations
A number of young women have stepped forward to accuse Johnstone of sexual predation and rape. Johnstone’s degenerate apologists – which include Stephen Lane (a member of the xenophobic One Nation party who hails from Townsville, QLD) – have countered that the allegations are mere “rumours” and that Johnstone has never been tried and convicted of any such offences in a court of law.
Neither has Harvey Weinstein. But just because Johnstone’s alleged victims are not Hollywood celebrities does not mean their allegations should be taken any less seriously. It should be pointed out that the young women in question had little to gain by coming forward to make the allegations against Johnstone. What they did risk was incurring the online wrath of stalker Johnstone, who is well-known to embark on relentless Internet campaigns to harass his victims and destroy their reputations. To this day, Johnstone is still spamming the girl who accused him of rape with vile, disgusting emails – he has even used information on her LinkedIn page to contact her previous and current employers with puerile allegations.
The sexual assault allegations against Johnstone are serious and compelling. Because Johnstone has repeatedly and falsely accused others of sexual predation (a behaviour known as projection), I’m sure he won’t mind me linking to the following pages which detail the allegations against him:
Johnstone’s Rage, Threats and Abuse
Over the years, I’ve purchased nine Chinese carbon framesets for myself and friends from various sellers, and the experience has been overwhelmingly positive. However, if you search around online, you’ll quickly learn not everyone’s Chinese frame-buying experience has been a hassle-free endeavour. Occasionally, frames arrive with defects or the wrong item is sent. As such, there always exists the possibility you’ll need to contact the seller and iron out some sort of mutually agreeable resolution.
China’s carbon fame manufacturers and sellers are heavily concentrated in the large industrial city of Shenzhen. Most of these sellers offer a 2-year warranty on their framesets, something I’ve so far not needed to test.
Johnstone admits at his Durianrider Publications site that he sources his framesets from a Shenzhen supplier. In what appears to be an amateur-hour drop-shipping endeavour, Johnstone takes your order - and your money - and then relays the order details to the supplier. The supplier will then send the frameset to your address. Johnstone is charging naïve buyers hundreds of dollars extra for something they could easily do themselves.
Furthermore, because they are buying through Johnstone, buyers of his framesets will need to deal with him in order to settle any purchase or warranty issues. Potential buyers should know that diplomacy and tact are not Johnstone’s strong points; his standard procedure for dealing with disputes is to fly into a rage and start behaving like an unhinged madman.
Here is Johnstone threatening to assault, cause property damage and even slash the throat of someone who committed the heinous crime of objecting to his idiotic behaviour:
Here’s Johnstone threatening me several years back after he falsely accused me of calling him a welfare fraudster (apologies if you can't read the tiny print - you may need to click on the image below, and then click again to obtain a legible font size):
Here he is making false allegations and threatening Eisel Mazard, an individual who found himself the target of Johnstone’s unprovoked wrath:
Mazard never threatened Johnstone with violence. To the contrary, he found himself the target of one of Johnstone's many unprovoked hate campaigns. Realizing Johnstone was beyond reason, an exasperated Eisel challenged him to meet in the ring and sort out their differences that way. Myself and others have also extended similar offers to Johnstone after becoming the targets of his demented hate campaigns, but in every instance the gutless Johnstone has refused to step up and stand behind his virulent hate speech.
While strenuously avoiding one-on-one match-ups with the targets of his unbridled slander, Johnstone is not above taunting people in person when he thinks the odds are in his favour. The video below shows Johnstone launching a demented, expletive-filled tirade at a non-aggressive Adelaide motorist while accompanied by a bunch of his sheep-like cycling buddies:
And here is Johnstone assaulting a younger, smaller cyclist:
If you purchase a frameset through Durianrider Publications and then have issues with the product you receive, don’t count on a pleasant, warm and fuzzy customer service experience!
Where to Get a Similar Frame Cheaper – From Someone Who Won’t Threaten to Slash Your Throat
Perhaps the biggest irony of all this is that, if you are after a Chinese-made carbon frameset, there is simply no need to deal with the likes of Harley Johnstone. There are numerous far more reputable and longstanding companies that sell affordable, high-quality framesets – at far cheaper prices.
On his website, Johnstone offers a road frameset and a cyclocross frameset, and is charging unsuspecting buyers US $699.00 (AUD $1,040.00) for each. He calls the road frameset the Pragma Glycogen, but in reality it is an open-mould item offered by various companies and widely known as the FM-066. The 066 has been around for a while now, having been the first “super light” Chinese carbon frame to hit the market. Bearing a strong resemblance to the (far more expensive) Cervelo R5, the earliest incarnations of the 066 had a tendency to develop cracks in the upper seat tube area. To overcome this problem, the seat tube on second-generation versions was changed to a semi-teardrop shape for extra reinforcement. Just like the Cervelo R5 upon which it is modelled, the 066 has since undergone further updates.
I own two of the second-generation 066 framesets. My first 066 was purchased from a Chinese company called Tideace, to whom I paid US $379.05 in 2015 for the frame, forks and associated hardware. The second 066 was purchased at a bargain basement price on eBay from a local seller who bought the frame from China but then abandoned his planned build. The frames are beautifully finished and weigh just under 850 grams each, which is impressively light for 54cm framesets.* Keep in mind these are plain carbon framesets, like the one pictured above; if you order a painted frame, the weight will be heavier.
In addition to Tideace, I’ve also ridden Flyxii and Dengfu frames. Other well-known brands include Hongfu, Miracle, Sobato, Workswell, ICAN and Velobuild. Most of these sellers now seem to sell the majority of their wares through AliExpress (the business-to-consumer offshoot of Chinese supersite Alibaba.com).
Buying through AliExpress is a little different to buying through Western platforms like eBay or Amazon. Unlike Amazon, you deal directly with the seller and, unlike eBay, AliExpress does not offer PayPal as a payment method. Similar to eBay, AliExpress has a dispute resolution service where you can request a partial or full refund if things go awry.
If AliExpress is unfamiliar to you and sounds a little daunting, there exists another alternative in the form of Shenzhen-based Velobuild. You can order direct from their website, which currently has the 066 listed at US $379.00. Even after you factor in shipping, that’s around US $250.00 cheaper than Johnstone’s so-called Pragma Glycogen:
Velobuild also offers the R-077 road frame, which they hail as their lightest frame ever. Made from T1000 Toray carbon fibre, the reported weight for the 52cm version is a crazy light 765 grams. The R-077 is currently selling for US $469.00.
As for cyclocross/gravel bikes, Velobuild offer a couple of framesets around the US $399-$409 mark (if you prefer cantilever brakes, as some CX racers still do, their CX-001 frame can be had for only $359.00). Again, even after factoring in the cost of shipping, that’s still around US $220.00 less than Johnstone’s CX offering, which he dubs the “Pragma Mawson.”
Velobuild's CX and gravel offerings can be found at this link:
Warranty and Returns
Like most of the major Chinese carbon frame sellers, Velobuild offers a two-year warranty on their frames. Velobuild also offers PayPal as a payment alternative, so buyers also have the added shorter-term benefits of PayPal’s Buyer Protection Policy.
Which brings us back to Johnstone. On the Durianrider Publications page that advertises the Pragma Glycogen, the following highly dubious payment instructions can be found:
Johnstone is asking people to pay by PayPal, but to tag the transaction as “Friends and Family.” By doing so, Johnstone is avoiding the fees PayPal charges for business transactions. He claims this helps him to lower his costs and pass the savings on to you. That, of course, is complete rubbish: Johnstone is in fact charging unaware buyers a hefty premium for framesets that can be readily purchased far cheaper elsewhere.
When you purchase a product or service, PayPal charges the seller a transaction fee; that’s how the payment platform makes its money. It waives this fee, however, for personal payments. If you need to send a friend or family member some money, PayPal allows you to send the funds electronically without the recipient having to pay any transaction fee. Johnstone is abusing this feature in order to further increase his already exorbitant profit margin.
But PayPal is hardly the only one that’s getting diddled. When you follow Johnstone’s instructions and designate your purchase as a non-commercial transaction, you are excluding yourself from PayPal’s Buyer Protection.
Readers should scrupulously avoid any seller that asks them to tag a commercial PayPal transaction as a personal “Friends and Family” transaction. By agreeing to do so, buyers are cheating themselves out of the PayPal Buyer Protection they would normally be entitled to.
If you’re after a Chinese carbon bicycle frameset, there’s no need to be ripped off by a nasty sociopath. Harley Johnstone, under the guise of Durianrider Publications, is selling framesets that can be purchased far cheaper elsewhere. To add insult to injury, he's instructing buyers to pay in a manner that excludes them from PayPal’s Buyer Protection Policy. As for sorting out longer-term warranty issues, buyers will need to negotiate with an individual who has a long history of throwing tantrums, issuing threats and conducting relentless smear campaigns against those who stand up to him.
Good luck with that.
*It is refreshing to see Chinese sellers are consistently truthful when quoting the weight of their frames and components - unlike many big name American and European brands that routinely lie and cite misleadingly low weights.
Conflict of Interest Declaration: Apart from having purchased bicycle frames and components, I have no financial relationship with any of the companies mentioned in this article, and have received no incentives, kickbacks, "affiliate fees" etc etc for mentioning them or linking to their products. Mention of a company in this article does not constitute an explicit endorsement, but is provided as a lead for further research.
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