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 from Townsville, QLD (a failed political candidate and lying hypocrite* who readily defames others but finds it "very upsetting" when the same happens to him) – 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.
Johnstone has a long history of dishonesty, stalking and threatening behaviour. Below is his rap sheet, which shows Johnstone's malevolent behaviour stretches back decades. A restraining order was placed upon him in 1995, when Johnstone was 18 years old. He has also been prosecuted for damaging a vehicle owned by a public transport company and for failing to pay fees owed to a medical diagnostic company.
Johnstone's early brushes with the law did little to change his anti-social behaviour. To the contrary, the Internet has emboldened the sociopathic troll to fully indulge his stalking tendencies, and his fellow bullies and predators at South Australia Police (SAPOL) have established a consistent pattern of happily looking the other way.
This year, however, the corrupt SAPOL was forced to issue Johnstone with two stalking cautions, after being pressured by two of his victims (the first had to cajole the disinterested Norwood police into viewing Section 19AA of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act, which stipulates two or more instances of Johnstone-like behaviour constitutes the offence of unlawful stalking).
Johnstone's sleazy partner Natasha Miklich was also issued with a stalking caution in relation to the second complaint.
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):
I also know for a fact Johnstone has committed insurance fraud. In 2016, Johnstone falsely accused me of "sucker punching" him while he rode his bicycle up Kensington Road in the Adelaide suburb of Skye. Johnstone did indeed fall from his bike, but not because I punched him. The notorious stalker almost collided with me and my dog while he was riding three abreast (illegal) and not watching where he was going (he admitted in a video to looking down while he was riding up the 15° gradient).
Despite the fact that Johnstone would have been travelling at around 5-7 km/h at the time he fell, he claimed his bicycle sustained $8,000-9,000 damage. Given the full RRP of his bicycle was AU $9,999, this would have rendered his bike a complete write-off. This, mind you, was the same bicycle he boasted in a YouTube video about remounting after the incident and continuing to ride for a further 4-and-a-half hours. The figure was later revised by Johnstone and the sickeningly corrupt South Australia Police (you can read all about those uniformed criminals here) to $6,651.96, using a fraudulent invoice crafted by one Ashleigh (Ash) McDougall, then of Giant Store Adelaide.
Upon questioning during the 2018 trial resulting from these absurd allegations, Johnstone told the court he'd received an insurance payout for his bicycle from CGU Insurance. The following year, documents I obtained after filing a motion for discovery against SAPOL revealed the police knew early on that Johnstone had received $6,500 for his bicycle by CGU Insurance. This was despite the fact there was never any evidence of damage to his bicycle. As Magistrate Kossiavelos noted in her reasons for decision when acquitting me of the malicious and vexatious charges, "There is no proof of damage to Mr Johnstone's bike."
Here is Johnstone 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 sales do not occur via an auction format. Instead, sellers list a set price, with some amenable to negotiation, especially for purchases involving multiple items. Similar to eBay, AliExpress has a dispute resolution service where you can request a partial or full refund if things go awry. AliExpress also now offers PayPal as a payment method, which offers another level of buyer protection.
You can also order direct through the websites of many of the aforementioned sellers. The website of Shenzhen-based Velobuild, for example, currently has their version of 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.
While building super light bikes is fun, they're not for everyone. If you're built like Mariusz Pudzianowski or have Cipollini-like sprinting abilities, then you really should be looking at something a little more solid. Ditto if you tend to ride on substandard roads riddled with potholes, corrugations and a potpourri of asphalt patches (if you live in Australia, you know what I'm talking about). Velobuild also has heavier-but-still-respectably-light road framesets available.
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 deal with the likes of Harley Johnstone. Under the guise of Durianrider Publications, he 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.
Update 16 December 2021: Two weeks ago, I decided to order a MTB frame from Velobuild. Chris, who heads the company, was very helpful and easy to deal with. After selecting my preferred frame and the desired options, I sent Chris the money. For reasons that I won't go into here, but might elucidate in a future article, a few days after sending the funds I decided to pull the plug on the MTB frame. In fact, I decided to pull the plug on MTBs in general, having realized during a rather epiphanic ride that CX/gravel frames were far more suited to my needs.
I emailed Chris to ask him about Velobuild's CX/gravel frame options, but the only Velobuild frame that would have fulfilled my requirements featured an aero post with setback. There was no zero offset post option for this frame, and my bike set-up makes a zero offset post an absolute necessity.
And so it was agreed I would cancel the order. Chris promised a refund and followed through - I received a full refund within a couple of days. There were no complaints from Chris, and no attempts to deduct some sort of return or "restocking" fee.
So while I cannot offer a first-hand review of Velobuild's frames, my experience with Chris was a hassle-free one in which he showed himself to be pleasant, helpful and honest.
Unlike a certain someone else...
*The patently dishonest Lane claimed in a January 2020 video that I was guilty of assaulting Johnstone in 2016, despite the fact that a magistrate who subsequently heard the facts of the case and watched Johnstone being cross-examined found the charges so untenable she dismissed them by way of a Prasad directive. You can read the magistrate's reasons for decision here - they confirm an Adelaide court found Johnstone "was not a witness of truth" but instead was manipulative, selective and unreliable when giving evidence. Johnstone also admitted to suffering brain damage in court, but further elaboration was not possible because he started bawling his eyes out upon making the admission and realizing his demented plan to have me convicted over a non-existent assault had failed (the brain damage appears to stem from a collision with a bus while Johnstone was riding his bicycle; witness accounts place the blame for the accident on Johnstone's riding behaviour and I have it on good authority that Johnstone attempted to threaten one of the witnesses into changing her story).
Like I said, trust this abhorrent character at your own risk.
The sleazy Lane also claimed that I am "obsessed" with Johnstone despite the fact it is Johnstone who has relentlessly stalked, spammed, harassed, threatened and defamed me beginning in 2011. It is hardly a secret this behaviour is habitual for Johnstone and that hundreds of other innocent individuals have been subject to his predatory behaviour. Lane also claims my website is "devoted" to Johnstone, a most bizarre claim given this website currently has over 260 published articles - of which a grand total of eight are devoted to the latter. Why Lane so readily lies and defames to defend Johnstone remains a mystery. His willingness to stand by, rather than distance himself from, a predator like Johnstone immediately calls in to question Lane's credibility and character. Birds of a feather ... ?
**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.
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