Back in February, I revealed how serial cyber-bully and accused sex predator Harley David Johnstone, a.k.a. “Durianrider,” was selling Chinese carbon bicycle framesets to unsuspecting buyers at greatly inflated prices.
At the time, Johnstone was selling his frames for US $699.00 each. I told readers where they could buy similar framesets far cheaper – saving them hundreds of dollars and averting the need to deal with a nasty sociopath whose antics include taunting domestic violence victims, defaming genuine cancer victims and threatening to slash people’s throats because they disagreed with his bizarre diet and health claims.
Since February, Johnstone has not changed his behaviour. To the contrary, he’s upped the price on his bicycle frames by yet another US $200.00. He is now selling them for US $899.00.
And as if inflating the price isn’t enough, he’s still instructing unsuspecting buyers to pay by PayPal using the “friends and family” option in order to avoid paying his seller fees. Buyers who accede to Johnstone’s demand are rendering their Buyer Protection Policy null and void.
As I wrote in February, there’s simply no need to deal with a puerile character like Johnstone if you want to buy a Chinese carbon frameset - all you need to do is buy direct from China, which is quite easy to do.
Today, thanks to some of my intrepid readers, I’m going to reveal the true identity of the frames Johnstone is selling - and one of the companies he is purchasing them from.
Straight Outta Shenzen
One company Johnstone is sourcing his bicycle frames from is Shenzen TanTan Sports Equipment Co., also trading as "SERAPH Factory Store" on Aliexpress.
Here's the link to their website:
And here is the link to their AliExpress page:
Shenzen TanTan Sports Equipment | SERAPH Factory Store
Meet the Real "Pragma Glycogen"
Johnstone’s road bike offering, which he calls the “Pragma Glycogen,” is in reality the Seraph FM066.
Here's Johnstone listing for the framset, demanding US $899.00:
Now here's one of the Seraph Factory store listings on AliExpress, which offers the same frameset for only US $516.20, plus shipping:
The naked matt carbon version of the Seraph FM066 sells for only US $489.50:
When one of my helpful sleuths, who we'll call "Reader X," posted this information on Johnstone's social media channels, Johnstone promptly removed it. When Reader X queried Johnstone's aversion to transparency, this was the reply he received:
How precious: Johnstone asking someone why they were being such a c~nt to him! This, coming from a demented cyber-bully who has launched relentless smear campaigns on hundreds of innocent victims around the world!
This, coming from the same guy who proclaims all women to be "basic handbag-wearing bitches," called a domestic violence victim a "fucking doormat loser," and called a genuine cancer victim a "scammer"!
The real question is: Why is Johnstone such a c~nt?
And why is he such a liar?
Check out these photos:
The above photo is from Johnstone's "Pragma Glycogen" page. Note the two circular grease stains on the floor underneath the bicycle.
Now have a look at the encircled area in this photo from one of Seraph's FM066 listings:
Upon noticing this, Reader X contacted Seraph via AliExpress' chat function, and asked the following:
The "Pragma Mawson" Unmasked
After Reader X tipped me off about the real "Pragma Glycogen," I started looking for the real "Pragma Mawson" on Seraph's AliExpress store. The Mawson is Johnstone's cyclocross / gravel bike offering, for which he is also demanding a hefty US $899.00.
Seraph had two CX / gravel framesets listed. The closest of the two in appearance to the Mawson was the GR030, which is selling for US $468.93:
The GR030 can only be used with the included setback seatpost, due to the seat tube's teardrop shape. Seraph offers a model with a conventional seat tube, the GR026, for $486.36:
However, neither of these framesets are identical to the Pragma Mawson. So I contacted Seraph myself, and asked them if they sell the real "Mawson":
Yet another kind reader has alerted me to the fact that the best-known incarnation of the "Pragma Mawson" a.k.a. Seraph GR040 is in fact the Carbonda CFR696. Search around on the web and you'll find the Carbonda version is a popular frameset with overwhelmingly positive reviews.
Performing a web image search for Carbonda's CFR696 retrieves photographs of bikes with colour schemes similar to those of some of the frames pictured in Johnstone's "Mawson" listing. It seems Johnstone, after taking your money, searches around on the Internet to see who is offering the current cheapest price and then places your order.
Again, just save yourself a bunch of money and do this yourself. For those of you new to buying Chinese carbon frames and feel like you need some guidance, there are numerous bike forums where the participants will help you out - for free, without skimming an extra US $500.00 from your pocket like Johnstone.
Yet Another Reason to Avoid Purchasing Framesets from "Durianrider Publications"
Since the inital posting of this article, it appears Johnstone has undergone yet another of his trademark psychotic turns, escalating his cyber-stalking and defamation efforts against me and at least one other individual he holds a burning grudge against.
Within 24 hours of originally posting this, Seraph inexplicably removed the original FM066 AliExpress listing I linked to (the one containing photos with the dead giveaway grease stains). I strongly suspect they received a very shrill email or two from a certain well-known Internet bully.
Johnstone has also posted a series of photos featuring a damaged bottom bracket, claiming the frame is from a seller I recommend.
Check this out:
Conveniently, he fails to name the seller of this ill-fated pink frameset.
And Johnstone's claim that I recommend this, or any other seller, is a blatant lie.
If you've read the disclaimers at the bottom of this post and my February article, you'll know I do not recommend any particular manufacturer or seller. I don't sell bicycle framesets myself, and I don't get paid or otherwise receive incentives to endorse (or even mention) any brand or seller.
Instead, I strongly urge readers to do their own research and make their own informed purchasing decisions.
This is not a cop-out disclaimer, but solid advice that I practice myself. As I shared in February, I’ve purchased nine Chinese carbon framesets from various sellers over the years, and the experience has been overwhelmingly positive. Others have not been so lucky. I believe a major reason why I've had a hassle-free run is because I've carefully researched the frames I was interested in.
Whether the same can be said for Johnstone is questionable. Again, he conveniently fails to mention who the seller of that damaged frameset is, but given his Durianrider Publication and social media sites are peppered with pictures of his girlfriend riding a pink FM066 frame, well...
Johnstone's terribly obnoxious and immature partner, Natasha Miklich, with her pink FM066. Despite Johnstone's vehement denials he purchases frames from TanTan/Seraph, take note of how she tagged TanTan in her Instagram post.
From what I've observed, the FM066 seems to be the most problematic of the Chinese framesets (earlier models exhbited a tendency to develop cracks in the seat tube). When buying a super light frameset, it is especially important to ensure you are buying from a reputable source. No offense, but Johnstone is hardly what one could credibly call a reputable source. Furthermore, he and his girlfriend are not exactly high-caliber riders capable of emitting monster watts. If either of these slightly-built social media attention-seekers can mash up a bottom bracket, imagine what someone with Anna Meares-like power could do!
Keep in mind that just because framesets from different sellers share the same model designation and even the same mould, does not mean they are in reality the same product. Even when using identical moulds, the actual manufacture and carbon-wrapping processes may vary between factories.
So again, do your research. I'd also urge powerful, heavier riders to reconsider the whole super light gig altogether. For a 100kg 'clydesdale' to be riding a 850-gram frame with pencil-thin seat stays, all for the sake of shaving a couple of hundred grams from their bike's total weight, is a highly dubious proposition.
If you're interested in buying a Chinese frame, there are plenty of freely available online resources. The more popular cycling forums have often very lengthy threads with commentary from people who have already purchased and ridden framesets from various Chinese sellers.
For example, there's this lengthy FM-066 thread at the Weight Weenies site, which stretches all the way from 2009 to the present:
The thread was initially devoted to Hong Fu's incarnation of the FM066, but also discusses a multitude of other sellers (Hong Fu is one of the better known and longstanding Chinese sellers).
Real Cyclists Don't Rip Each Other Off
While I don't explicitly recommend any particular brand or seller, I will wholeheartedly make the following recommendation:
Don't purchase a frameset from Durianrider Publications.
There's no need to buy a bicycle frame from a well-known cyber-stalker when you can easily do it yourself.
There's no need to spend US $899.00 on a frame you can purchase for $400-$500 less.
And there's certainly no need to purchase from someone who asks you to pay in a manner that voids your consumer protection rights. Before forfeiting your PayPal Buyer Protection at Johnstone's request, consider carefully what this will mean if the bottom bracket on the frame you purchase from him implodes, as per the picture above?
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for buyers to preserve their PayPal Buyer Protection. Most Chinese sellers promise a two-year warranty on their frames, as does Johnstone. But you are largely relying on their word. If they, or Johnstone, ignore you or refuse to concede your warranty issue, you have little recourse. Your local consumer protection agency will have little or no power to act on a frameset purchased from China.
This is where PayPal comes in. If an item arrives and is damaged or "significantly not as described" in its advertisement, or does not even arrive, you can appeal to PayPal. If PayPal agrees with your complaint (and in my observation, if you're making an honest claim, it usually does), then it will order the seller to make amends. If the seller does not respond to your PayPal claim, PayPal may close the case and simply issue you with a refund (and you don't even have to send the item back). Keep in mind PayPal Protection only extends for 180 days after purchase, but at least you get that first six months' of extra cover.
Again, I implore readers to avoid any seller who asks them to tag a commercial PayPal transaction as a "friends and family" payment.
A Further Word on Chinese Frame Warranties
Ok, so you've done the smart thing, avoided dodgey sellers who ask you to send personal PayPal payments, and you're now the proud owner and rider of a Shenzen-sourced frame. But one day, while you're cleaning your rig, you notice something no bike owner wants to see.
A crack in the frame. Ugh.
It's been 12 months since you purchased the frameset, so your PayPal Buyer Protection has well and truly expired.
This means you are now going to have to sort out the return entirely with the seller, without any interventon from PayPal. Even if you're dealing with an honest seller who has every intention of fulfilling his warranty obligations, you're still going to have to pay for return shipping. Chinese sellers do not offer return shipping even on clearly faulty framesets because it would pretty much kill their profit margin.
If you have warranty issues with a brand name item purchased from your local bike shop, then the shop or distributor/manufacturer is usually obligated to take care of transport. In the case of a Chinese frame, you're the one who will be repackaging it and paying to send it back to China. In the case of disappointing but non-catastrophic flaws, like the wrong colour or even wrong size, you might grudgingly opt to keep the frame and endure the ridicule a flourescent pink bike tends to attract, or compromise with a longer/shorter headstem.
If the flaw is serious and poses a safety risk, then you're going to be faced with the prospect of spending hundreds of dollars to return a frame that you purchased for as little as $379.00. This, unfortunately, is one of the downsides inherent in saving so much money up front on a brand new carbon frameset.
For the sake of balance, it behoves me to point out there is no guarantee you won't have warranty difficulties with a big name brand, either. Right off the top of my head, I can think of a couple of very well known bike manufacturers who have established solid reputations for subjecting their customers to warranty hassles. I won't name any names, but Great Scott, warranty hassles can be a Giant pain in the culo!
There is one more thing anyone considering buying a frameset from Durianrider Publications needs to give serious thought to. That is, whether they are happy for someone like Johnstone - with his long and well-documented history of sociopathic behaviour - to have their name and address. Because you'll need to give them to him to have your order shipped.
Given the worrying and compelling allegations of sexual predation made against Johnstone, I would urge female readers to be extremely wary of sharing such information with him.
Like I said, if you have your heart set on a bargain-priced carbon frame from China, do your research and stick with reputable sellers.
Article updated 18-06-2020 and 23-06-2020. A huge thank you to "Reader X" - and also to "Reader JC" and "Reader TR" for providing updated link and product information.
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