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F5-FAQ

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Do you have everything in stock?

The item description will tell you if an item is currently out of stock. We try our best to carry everything and replenish gaps quickly. Sometimes we might have something available which is marked as unavailable online, or about to come back in stock, so contact us with anything you can’t find.

Do you ship to my country?

We can ship to most places. If your country is not in the list when you’re ready to checkout, please get in touch in case we can find another way.

How quickly will my order be processed, can I track it?

If we have the goods in stock, we’ll dispatch on the same or next day. You can see your order status and tracking details in your Factory Five account.

How much is shipping and how does it work?

We ship using UPS and also EMS, China’s leading international courier. They both offer a fully tracked express service which usually takes 3-10 working days to arrive depending on customs. Our site automatically calculates the price based on weight. For the most accurate price, add the items to your cart, then hit my cart at the top-right of the page and enter your country. You don’t need to create an account or log-in to get a quote.

There is a cheaper option through the regular SAL mail service. It is tracked but has no insurance and takes up to six weeks. It only applies to packages which are less than 2kg. If this option is available it will be visible on the shipping page.

How does shipping work with customs?

Each country has it’s own customs regulations and once your order leaves here it is out of our control. Please check with your local office for details. We’ll do our best to make the process as easy as possible.

How do I pay?

For international orders we accept easy and instant online payment with PayPal. They accept most major credit cards and banking transfer systems. When you’re ready to checkout, you’ll be automatically transferred to PayPal to complete the payment and then returned to factoryfive.com to complete the order. If you have a specific request for payment then get in touch and we will do our best.

We also accept Alipay, which is the most commonly used payment system in China (and growing quickly internationally). If you have an Alipay account, when you checkout please choose Alipay and follow the instructions.

What currency can I use to pay?

All the prices are listed by default in Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CNY¥) or US Dollars (USD$). There is a currency drop-down on the upper right of the screen.

If you’re making payment with PayPal, the base currency is USD. PayPal will give you the option of paying in USD or your own currency and it will calculate the exchange rate.

Do you have a returns policy?

We want you to be happy with your purchase and will always do our best to ensure this happen. Please contact us straight away if you’ve any queries.

If you’re not content, please return the item in unused condition in its original package within 21 days of receipt. We do not accept returns on items which have been ridden, used or have been custom built (including custom paint finishes).

If there is a problem with workmanship we will offer a return/replacement based on the manufacturers terms.

What is the best way to contact you?

We try to be ubiquitously available and strive to reply to emails on shoutout@wearefactoryfive.com within 24hrs. If we’re online (mostly throughout the day China time UTC+8) and you’re on our website there should be a ‘contact us’ tab in the bottom right and we can chat directly. If we’re not there, leave us a note and we’ll get back to you the next time we’re online.

We also use facebook, twitter, weibo, weixin; and QQ and are happy to talk using whichever style you like, in English or Chinese… or we’ll even give your language a try if you want to have some fun!

Do you have all the product specifications?

We try to ensure all the important details are within each item description. We don’t want to get overly technical so please contact us or check directly with the manufacturer’s own product listings for a specific query. We hope everything is correct and we took it from the manufacturer at the time of writing.

Are all the components I’ve chosen compatible with each other?

If you have a bunch of items in your shopping cart we can take a look and let you know. Otherwise feel free to get in touch and ask. We know it can be confusing sometimes so are happy to talk things through with you and advise on the best choices.

Can I buy built wheelsets?

Yes, we have a complete wheelbuilder with all options here. Also, you can choose this item to purchase one wheel build including the spokes. We normally do a 3-cross lacing pattern for the rear and radial for the front wheel. If you want a different pattern let us know when you’re making the order. Don’t forget to order rim-tape if you’re making a complete wheel.

F5 Frames

Do you carry all frames in stock?

We carry signature finishes in the most common sizes for as long as we can keep hold of them. We started with small runs of frames and they sell quickly enough that we’re always catching up, so orders typically fall into the next batch of building. Get in touch for up-to-date availability on current frames and if we don’t have the one you want in stock we’ll start on it straight away.

What do I need to know about frame geometry?

We build bicycle frames with true to track geometry. Compared to a normal road bike, the head tube and seat tube angles are steeper and the fork rake is smaller. This gives the bike a very responsive feel. It will take a little time to adjust to for new riders but the outcome is a perfect ride for commuting, street or performance.

The distance between your saddle and the handlebars determines the riding position on the bicycle. If you prefer to be more upright when cycling, you’ll want a bar that is higher. If you prefer to be more leaned in, you’ll be good with bullhorns or traditional drop bars.

Track frames normally have similar lengths for the top-tube and seat-tube which brings the front wheel back a little, shortens the wheelbase and gives a little toe overlap.

Our F5Pista frame geometry is a little more relaxed with a longer wheelbase than the F550 and F550S.

What is toe overlap?

If you’re new to riding a fixed-gear track bike then toe overlap will be the first thing you’ll notice going into a slow speed corner. It happens when the front of your toe-clip connects with the front wheel when you’re turning sharp and your pedal arms are parallel with the ground.

It can be a little disconcerting at first but is very common on track bikes with a shorter wheelbase than traditional road frames. The more you ride the more intuitive it will become to time pedal strokes and turns at low speed.

If you’re against toe overlap then smaller toe clips may help a little, or use straps instead of toe clips (like Restrap) which will give you a chance to bring your foot back).

Changing the rake of the fork makes a very marginal difference and not really worth considering.

Which frame size is right for me?

We generally consider the easiest identifier of frame size to be inseam measurement (with a regular stance in riding footwear) from crotch straight down to the floor. Our fundamental criteria is that there’s some room to play between your crotch and the top tube when you’re standing over the bicycle.

Below is a sizing chart for our frames, use this as a guide.

Inseam
(cm)

Framesize
(cm)

Inseam
(cm)

Framesize
(cm)

Inseam
(cm)

Framesize
(cm)

64 43 76 51 88 59
65 43 77 51 89 59
66 44 78 52 90 60
67 45 79 53 91 61
68 45 80 53 92 61
69 46 81 54 93 62
70 47 82 55 94 63
71 47 83 55 95 63
72 48 84 56 96 64
73 49 85 57 97 65
74 49 86 57 98 65
75 50 87 58 99 66

What is the difference between steel and aluminum?

We get asked this question a lot and it really is down to your preference. Essentially the results are clear from our portfolio, a lugged steel F5Pista build looks much more classic vs. a modern, aggressive aluminium F550S build.

The science is that an aluminium pipe under increasing pressure will eventually crack. A steel pipe will bend or fold. This translates into a stiffer and more responsive ride with aluminum but a more vibration-dampening ride with steel.

Aluminum is lighter than steel, though with the thinner aluminium comes a larger cross section and so bigger tubing. The result is a mix of aesthetic and riding style. Both frames are versatile and can be used for all fixed-gear or single-speed applications.

I want a custom colour/finish – how does it work?

We can finish a frame with almost any colour and we do our best to match with Pantone numbers. We charge RMB 250 for a single colour finish (and you can have the same or a different colour for the fork). We also can add your image as the head badge for an additional RMB 250. We’d need that in an illustrator file.

For a custom finish, you have choice of the larger decal set or the smaller decal set in any colour.

Yes we can do more elaborate custom finishes, get in touch with your ideas and we charge based on complexity and the number of colours.

For custom colours, we need the Pantone number unless it is a primary or secondary colour. We don’t like to take a reference image or description as they’re open to interpretation. We always match as close as we can to the number, although the final hue and luster applied to the metal can give a different effect to a typical swatch.

Please allow for more time with custom finishes. Based on complexity it can take a month longer to produce.

Is a clear-coat over raw metal rustproof?

All steel frames when exposed to the atmosphere will oxidize. Aluminium doesn’t rust so this only applies to our F5Pista. When a frame is painted it is first treated with a chemical primer. This reduces the opportunity for oxidization to occur (it still does – though is mostly unseen).

This primer cannot be applied to clear-coated raw or flamed frames. They will inevitably show signs of oxidizing underneath and the speed of this is almost random and depends on a number of factors including humidity, frame handling etc.

If you’re against these marks appearing then we advise not to get a raw/flamed frame. We offer a paint finish called Silver Element which is chosen to be close in colour to a raw finish. Of course, it doesn’t show the metal grain and luster underneath but still makes an awesome build.

I’m going to build up one of your frames, what do I need to know?

These are the important details of our frames when buying components to fit:

F5Pista:

Headset: 1inch threaded
Fork: 1inch threaded
Bottom Bracket: Standard ISO threaded, 107mm
Seatpost diameter: 27.2mm
Seatpost collar diameter: Built in, no need
Hub spacing: Front 100mm, Rear 120mm
Wheel arch clearance: Anything up to a 32c tyre

F550:

Headset: 1-1/8inch threadless
Fork: 1-1/8inch threadless
Bottom Bracket: Standard ISO threaded, 107mm
Seatpost diameter: 27.2mm
Seatpost collar diameter: 31.8mm
Hub spacing: Front 100mm, Rear 120mm
Wheel arch clearance: Anything up to a 32c tyre

F5100:

Headset: 1inch threaded
Fork: 1inch threaded
Bottom Bracket: Standard ISO threaded, 107mm
Seatpost diameter: 27.2mm
Seatpost collar diameter: 31.8mm
Hub spacing: Front 100mm, Rear 120mm
Wheel arch clearance: Anything up to a 32c tyre

Builds

How much is a complete bike?

All our builds are created individually based on the components you choose. We offer different options for each part of the bike ranging from stock to super-nice. F5 has a benchmark: we only carry components that we would ride ourselves.

We have a complete bike builder around all three frames. The F550 Configured, The F550S Configured and the F5Pista Configured. As a guide, most people buying an F550 build spend ¥5,500 to ¥6,500. For the F5Pista and F5100 the complete cost is typically ¥6,500 to ¥9,500.

What is the cheapest bike you sell?

A base F550 Configured with all stock components starts at ¥4,800.

How long does it take to build a bike?

If we have the frame and parts in stock then we normally have the complete build ready for collection in a week or less. If we are ordering a frame then it takes approximately 6 weeks depending on our current order queue and the type of frame.

Do I have to choose fixed gear or single speed?

Most of our hubs are fitted with flip-flop threading which means one side can be used with a fixed sprocket and the other can be a freewheel. You have the choice to install either or both and can have a drivetrain which is directly connected to the pedals or will coast when you stop pedaling.

I want a brake – is that okay?

Yes! 90% of the bikes we sell have a front brake. We would like to insist that all our builds have at least two points of control. A fixed gear drivetrain and a front brake would count as one each. Unless you’re very experienced riding track bikes with no brakes it’s best to be safe first.

We’ll do our utmost but it’s up to you. We don’t recommend fitting a freewheel and only a front brake. We also don’t recommend only a rear brake and this alone has significantly less stopping power and effectiveness compared to a front brake.

Can I fit a coaster brake?

Yes we can fit a coaster brake which is integrated into the rear hub. It uses an arm attached to the rear stay to activate an internal drum-brake whenever you start to pedal backwards. Coaster brake hubs are only available in silver and are 36H so rim choices are limited to black or silver, shallow or deep.

What are the Chinese Classic builds?

We recondition old Chinese bicycles including Phoenix (凤凰) and Forever (永久). The frames are pressed steel, heavy and come in 26 or 28-inch sizes with a relaxed, spacious geometry.

We strip everything from the frame. All the original components are not well produced and mostly incompatible with current fixed gear components. We normally have to rethread the bottom bracket, fork and reset the spacing to fit modern hubs.

Then we rebuild from the frame upwards, either to our own design or yours. Prices are between ¥3,600 and ¥4,600 depending on the base frame and there are options to upgrade components if you want to enhance it further.

If you already have a frame, we can probably recondition it for you. This cannot be done in part, everything must be done at the same time. Get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Do you sell other kinds of bikes?

Our frame builders have experience making a number of frames so contact us if you’ve a custom need and we’ll talk more.

We can build road frames as special orders too. We can only work with either the Miche or Shimano groupsets.

F5 Instore

Where are you?

We are on the west side of Changhua Lu, near the intersection of Anyuan Rd in Jing’an District. Our workshop is in the Anken Life complex. The nearest landmark is the Jade Budda Temple. If you’re heading from the subway the near stop is Line 7 Changshou Rd.

Once inside the compound, head towards the back, turn left after the crossfit gym and we’re to the right of the stairs.

When is the workshop open?

We are open Tuesday to Friday from 10h30 until 19h00. Saturday & Sunday from 13h00 to 19h00. We are closed Monday. If you’ve a special request for appointments let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate.

Do you sell second hand bikes?

Yes we often have second hand fixed gear bikes for sale starting from ¥1,500. They’ll be listed on our site whenever they’re available. In Shanghai there’s not a strong market for used bikes at the moment so flow is quite low and bikes get snatched up quickly. Act fast if you see something you like.

What do you charge for labour?

If you’re buying a complete bike or have purchased components from us, then we do not charge for labour. For all other work we charge based on an estimate of time and complexity at a rate of ¥100-150/hour.

Can I bring my own frame and parts and build it up?

If you know what you’re doing with the tools and are willing to take responsibility for yourself and others in the workshop then we’re happy for you to do the work yourself.

During busy periods (especially Saturday afternoons) the workshop may be too busy. Please contact us first to arrange a time.

If you need our help, or want us to do the work then that’s fine too. We’ll give you a price based on what it is.

Can you ship my bike overseas for me?

If you’re leaving Shanghai and need your bike boxing up to ship then we can do it for you. We charge ¥300 for the service including packing material. We can also arrange shipping, the cost depends on which country you are sending to. Normally we use two boxes, one for the frame and one for the wheels.

The Factory Five Community

Do you organize rides?

Yes, we ride every Tuesday at 9pm as long as it’s dry. It’s an informal ride with a different route each time. We’re a group of somewhere between 20-100 people and the speed is largely dictated by how many people there are.

We welcome all kinds of bikes as long as they’re pedal powered. If you’re too slow you’ll fall off the back but that doesn’t happen often and the pace and atmosphere is friendly. We normally keep an eye on things to make sure everybody stays roughly together.

Sign up to our newsletter and we send out a ride notification every Tuesday afternoon.

Do you hold events?

We host the Shanghai Alleycat (arguably the world’s largest), Chongming Island Crayfish festival, seasonal Beer Bashes, invitation criteriums, weekend barbeques, treasure hunts, bike swaps. Sign up to our newsletter and keep an eye on our blog for the latest happenings.

Can I rent a bike from you?

No. We currently don’t rent bikes.

I’ve got an idea, are you interested?

We work on a bunch of different projects promoting both cycling as a pursuit and bringing biking brands into the country. We’re in a unique place in China, directly attached to the people that are making it happen. We love to do things that tell a story. Come at us with something.

Do you have international Sellers?

Right now we ship everything straight from Shanghai, China. We are exploring an international network. If you have a thought or proposal, please get in touch.

Are you hiring?

Sure. We’re always interested to consider applications from valuable people who have strong initiative, communication skills and solid experience within the market. Send us your CV and let’s talk more.