• English

07.05.2024 | by Lili


Fake shops in the bicycle sector




  • Consumers often shop for new bikes or bike parts in the spring months
  • The months between March and June are often plagued by a rising number of fraudulent offers in the sector
  • Online brand protection is the best way to fight the emergence of harmful fake bikes and bike parts



Although not exactly a new invention, bicycles are becoming increasingly important for modern societies. Not only do they provide a climate-friendly mode of transport, they’re also beneficial for the physical and mental health of cyclists.


No wonder that with the arrival of spring, many people dust off their bikes or start looking for a new one. Analysts claim that the bicycle sector realises around two-third of its annual turnover between the months of March and June.


Unfortunately, fraudsters are well aware of this phenomenon and time their attack accordingly.



What is special about counterfeit bikes

Most consumers don’t buy bicycles or bicycle parts on a regular basis. In fact, most of us buy one every few years, and occasionally look for spare parts as needed. This means that the majority of consumers don’t possess any specialised knowledge about trustworthy bike shops, realistic deals, and what else to look out for to avoid falling for scams.


Find out how to recognise a fake shop!


Potential red flags include prices that are way below that of the regular market price, missing contact information, and limited payment options (especially if those only include risky ones like bank transfer). However, most casual bike owners don’t know how much a new model should cost, or what prices to expect when shopping for spare parts.


Add to that the increasing sophistication displayed by fake shops thanks to providers like Shopify. Fraudsters can create a compelling and authentic-looking fake shop with less effort than building a classic lame fake shop with typos from scratch.


Read all about shopsystems like Shopify and the potential dangers they pose for your IP rights.


Although consumer protection agencies often issue warnings and even create lists of suspected fake shops, shoppers eager for a good deal may still fall into the trap of fraudsters.



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7 types of harm counterfeits cause you


Specialised marketplaces in e-Commerce


Trademark and copyright symbols explained



IP protection in the bicycle industry

Consumers are not the only ones hurt by fake bike shops. In fact, brands have even more to lose: besides the lost revenue caused by every fraudulent sale, your hard-earned reputation is at stake every time a customer is disappointed by a fake version of your bike.


Thanks to the increasing popularity of cycling (especially its fastest growing segment, e-bikes), new brands and models are emerging on the scene, making it even harder for casual bicycle shoppers to tell a fake from the real deal.


While well-known brands like Canyon, Gazelle, Shimano, Aventon or Specialized may sound familiar to consumers and thus inspire trust in them, the prices of these bikes are often not so high that shoppers would recognise a fake just based on its too-good-to-be-true discount.


This problem is aggravated by the fact that people looking for a new bike or spare parts often do so online, which means that they don’t really have anyone to turn to for advice. That’s why it’s important for brands in the bicycle industry to maintain a strong online presence.


Take a look at how Thomann combines e-Commerce with tailor-made expert advice


Shimano, for example, doesn’t leave things to chance. The Japanese cycling manufacturer aggregates compelling imagery, useful product and technical information as well as a list of authorised vendors to ensure nobody buys a fake Shimano bicycle.



Screenshot of the US homepage of bike.shimano.com

Screenshot of the US homepage of bike.shimano.com



The same is true of Gazelle, a bike company based in the Netherlands, with the important addition of an actual online store (available in select countries). The screenshot below shows that Gazelle provides comparison tools and general advice about the specific features and benefits of certain models.



Screenshot of https://www.gazelle.nl/fietsen#page=1 displaying product listings. Translated into English by Google Translate

Screenshot of https://www.gazelle.nl/fietsen#page=1 displaying product listings. Translated into English by Google Translate



German bicycle brand Canyon has a website with similar features and online store, complete with recommended service stations and helpful advice to both novice and seasoned riders.



Screenshot of https://www.canyon.com/en-be/

Screenshot of https://www.canyon.com/en-be/



Besides brand pages and websites, trusted online stores are also important to deter customers from falling for fake shops. These include fahrrad.de in Germany, bikesonline.com in the US and Australia as well as Italy-based bike-room.com. This latter shop also deals with pre-owned bikes, and pledges to authenticate each bike that passes through their hands.



Screenshot of https://bike-room.com/pages/about-us displaying information about authenticating merchandise

Screenshot of https://bike-room.com/pages/about-us displaying information about authenticating merchandise



Although that all sounds quite promising, setting up a brand website is not enough any more in the fight against fake bike shops. Indeed, you need to actively scour the market to detect fraudsters before their fake shops steal your potential customers - especially in the valuable spring months.



Online brand protection for bicycle brands

Combating fake bike shops requires a special approach from us here at globaleyez. Since fraudsters use a versatile array of methods to get customers, we have to be just as ingenious to curb their opportunities. Luckily, we’ve got all our bases covered.


Our domain monitoring service detects fake shops using your brand and/or product name in their domain, meta description or html text. With keyword-based searches, we quickly detect suspicious domains that may require further investigation.


Since fraudsters can also list fake products on marketplaces, we recommend a round of marketplace monitoring to find dodgy listings on over 150 platforms worldwide. As for social commerce, we also cover social media monitoring and pick up suspicious content like ads, posts and product listings.


Fraudulent ads often use stolen or copied imagery, which is why our image monitoring service, complete with our user-friendly SaaS infrimage is essential to detect stray fake offers. Moreover, these image searches are extremely useful when we need to connect the dots between seemingly independent fraudulent sellers.


Once we have all the data, we may need to gather more information about certain sellers and/or the origins of the products they’re offering. This is why we developed our test purchase service, which we provide in over 50 countries. Our careful and anonymous purchases come with court-admissible documentation to support you in an eventual court case.


Learn more about screenseal, our screenshotting tool with court-approved timestamps!


Finally, we offer to enforce your rights and demand the removal of any infringing content from the internet, including domains, images, marketplace listings, and social media ads.


Our services, separately or combined in any necessary way, work together to detect and eliminate unauthorised offers of your products. These include counterfeits, but also grey market products that are originals offered outside of your authorised distribution network.


Since grey markets can seriously erode your price structures and create distrust between your authorised sellers, we developed our specialised grey market solution to help you combat this harmful phenomenon.


With infringing and grey market offers detected and removed, your products can take their rightful place in a clean marketplace - the ultimate goal of our clean marketplaces solution.




IP infringement affects every sector and bicycles are no exception.


Don’t let harmful fake or grey market products ruin your reputation and your bottom line! Contact us and let’s set up a comprehensive online brand protection strategy, perfectly tailored to your brand.