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An unhappy Titan customer…

Some interesting news about Titan Product: Dave, who was very happy with his Titan audax frame, spotted a post over on Road Bike Review from markrhino who had contacted them after not being able to fit a headset to his frame. Anita from Titan replied to the post along with quite a few other ‘armchair engineers’ and people who feel they have to comment on anything that’s been made in China ūüėČ

Mark¬†received¬†his frame in good time but when he took it to his bike shop they said that the head tube was bent out of¬†alignment, the headset just wouldn’t go in straight. He took it to two other shops to confirm things weren’t right before getting back in touch with Anita.

Mark's photo showing the headtube isn't straight.

Titan agreed to inspect the frame and offer a refund if necessary so Mark returned the frame to them at his own cost. Titan received the frame back but were apparently able to successfully fit a headset and fork to it, even going so far as to provide a video of the fork spinning freely:

Which, of course, is a bit weird – is it bent or isn’t it? Did Titan do something to the frame to make everything fit together OK? We can’t say for sure but we do know that it’s normal for the head tube to become slightly bent due to the heat stress of welding the top tube and the down tube to it. Provided this is controlled to an acceptable level the head tube is reamed out and faced ‘straight’ so the headset cups will be¬†aligned¬†correctly and the fork will turn freely.

Mark might have been unlucky and had a dodgy headset, I would have probably tried another one before getting back to Titan, but either way he was an unhappy customer with a complaint. Titan refused the refund that was initially offered on the grounds that they could fit a fork to the frame with out a problem.

Shot from Titan showing the fitted headset and fork. I'm more worried about that internal cable hole!

Perhaps not surprisingly Mark was rather frustrated by this and vented his thoughts on Road Bike Review. He also took up his complaint with AliBaba (AliExpress), the site that promotes Chinese traders to the rest of the world, through which he placed his original order. AliBaba eventually upheld his claim and he received a refund for the frame and, after the thread appeared on Road Bike Review, Titan agreed to refund him the cost of shipping the frame back to them for inspection.

At least things got sorted out eventually, although obviously it would have been good for Mark to get a frame he was happy with first time. It’s very tricky to take sides without being able to get all the details but it does raise a few potential gotchas that are worth being aware of when ordering a frame from an overseas company:

  • Use an Escrow service, or an agent, if you can. Mark ordered his frame through AliExpress which proved to be a wise move as they eventually upheld his complaint and got him his refund.
  • Check, check and triple check the drawing you approve before having your frame made. Anita mention something about the head tube being 0.9mm wall thickness, although I think she’s just¬†referring to the main frame tubes. A head tube would normally be around 2mm thick to allow for the reaming to be done within¬†tolerance and to ensure it didn’t bend too much in the first place. A proper final drawing would allow you to check the appropriate sized tubing was being used and set off alarm bells if something doesn’t look right.
  • If you’re not happy then do approach the manufacturer with your issues – I would advise to keep it private though, at least until you reach a conclusion, otherwise your case might not be helped by everyone wading in offering their opinons and adding fuel to the fire! Do feel free to make a report afterwards though as people deserve to know how¬†company’s¬†deal with complaints.

You can read the full thread over here: