Hey guys, i thought i would shed a little light.
these frames that are pictured. they are not made at one of the "major" carbon companies as a FYI. The major brands out there use companies like Ten Tec [cervelo, scott, 3T, trek], Martec [specialized,G fisher, kuota, kestrel, fuji, bontranger..as well as others] as they are oem and not offering open molds. As these companies are in the manufacturing buisness, not retail which is why you generally do not see them at any tradeshows with there own booths. people go to them, not the other way around.
then there are other smaller companies like--inda [orbea, ridely, etc.] carbontec [pinerello, de rosa...] ADK [all felt, fuji, kestrel, orbea, etc..] dynamic [ teschner, DT, etc..] just to name a few. these guys have smaller shares and all offer open molds. open molds are frames similar to the ones that are in the pics that started this thread. open molds that come from any of the above companies definitely have the R&D and testing to back them up. They all follow CEN testing as guidleines to help limit law suits, etc... and all can be trusted and reliable. They invest in themselves, which is why you see lower prices compared to the "major brands" out there.
one of the earlier posts on this thread talked about the cost of engineering and develpoment as being behind the bigger costs. They are absolutely right. when molds cost bw $60,000--$130,000 on top of the actual price of producing carbon frames, as a Brand, you have to make that cost back somehow. this is why the pricing is like it is. on top of that, if you brake a frame, or a frame brakes because of manufacturing flaws, then the "brands" all support you and take care of you. when you purchase open mold frames from ebay, or other places on the net, there generally is no support because you are getting a supper deal. you also have to figure in the high cost of the software [avg--$6,000-8,000], the engineers, industrial and graphic designers and you have to re-coup these costs somewhere. As another fyi--when companies recoup there costs for molds, you generally see the major companies lessening the cost for consumers, and of course dumbdown the components in order to offer a cheaper frame or bike to consumers.
the frames in the pics are made by a small companiy called Tantuo. they are in Guangdong Provence, in the south of china, near hong kong. i have never dealt with there frames. i am sure that they do testing, etc.. as they are trying to build there buisness and haveing there own brand "Neasty" they have to back there product up and ensure proper testing and manufacturing or people would not come to them for OEM frames [OEM are frames designed and produced specifically for a brand and are not open molds]
As well, some smaller oem companies will of course modify a open mold frame at the cs, or ss of a carbon bike, just to change a little, but more importantly, it gives them a carbon frame,unique for there companies that want a carbon frame in there lineup, but have a smaller budget in which to accomplish this, though very similar to others. this is a great way of starting out for smaller brands and is common practice.
so, being from the industry as a designer and engineer, just remember, you get what you pay for. if you pay for a non branded frame because the price is incredible, i don't have a problem with that, just remember that most likely if something happens your only out the $400 and can just dump that into another $400 frame. when you pay for a frame that comes from a "known" brand and something happens, you will get support in the form of a warrenty, or a huge discount if the broken frame is broken do to neglegance, as major brands want to help you stay on there bikes!
ok, sorry to be winded. take home msg--buy from a company that stands behind there product, in the end you will have a great bike for years, as well as get the support you need for replacement when things go bad. in the end, you end up paying about the same.
all the best shane