Shimano, or Shimona? Bike parts firm takes on counterfeiters

Bicycle components company Shimano is fighting back against counterfeiters by introducing anti-counterfeit packaging and QR codes on its labels.

The Japanese company has also pledged to be more aggressive in taking legal action against manufacturers and distributors of fake Shimano gear, and work more closely with enforcement agencies.

Shimano has been fighting a rear guard action against counterfeiters for years, with knock-offs that are either direct copies of the original components or close approximations – for example badged as Shimona or Shinano parts – reported to be widespread in a number of markets worldwide.

The anti-counterfeit packaging will initially roll out in Japan and China on pedal and cleat products in May, with additional products due to be added to the programme in future, and will use an unidentified counterfeit-resistant packaging material.

Each product will also have a unique serial number within a QR code, which can only be accessed after breaking the label's outer seal. Purchasers will be able to scan the QR code using a dedicated iOS and Android smartphone app called Shimano Product Authentication.

If all is in order the app will display a "verified" message, but if the QR is invalid, has been scanned more than three times before, or has passed an expiration date the app will display "caution" and advise the purchaser to contact Shimano's customer support.

In a statement, the company also says it will do the following:

  • provide information to the relevant authorities to facilitate administrative and criminal investigations against counterfeit goods manufacturers and distributors;
  • deliver warnings and civil lawsuits against counterfeit goods manufacturers and distributors;
  • provide information to customs authorities to facilitate crackdowns on counterfeit goods;
  • request the removal of counterfeit goods from e-commerce websites; and
  • provide warnings to consumers and retailers.

"In recent years, we have confirmed that counterfeit goods of Shimano Group products and repair parts have been circulating around the world," said the company.

"As counterfeit goods not only cause quality problems (such as accidents and injuries) for the general customers, but also lead to detriments for our customers and business partners, we will take a firm stance to eliminate counterfeit goods," it added.

Example of counterfeit Shimano products

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