It’s not every day that we’re invited to smell a pedal, but that’s exactly what Tony Liang of Chien King Industrial Co asked us to do at a press conference in Taiwan. Liang is the brains behind the catchily-named CK-UB2RH pedal, a piece of biotechnology that could find its way to a bike near you.
Tony Liang is proud of his pedals
Biotechnology refers to products that are made from living organisms, and Liang’s pedals are formed from the husks of rice, a crop we don’t need to tell you is quite plentiful in Asia. Sometimes used as a low-grade fertiliser or fuel, rice husks (or hulls) are the hard outer casings that protect rice grains as they grow. With some processing, they can be formed into tough objects – like pedals.
As a byproduct that’s produced in immense quantities, rice husks have the advantage of being cheap and sustainable. Their use as a construction material seems like a win-win: it’s potentially an additional source of revenue for rice farmers, and it puts to good use a raw material that might otherwise be wasted.
With the semi-raw finish that was on display, the CK-UB2RH has (perhaps unsurprisingly) a curiously organic appearance, but apart from the construction material it’s entirely conventional, with built-in reflectors and a basic steel spindle. What’s rather less conventional is that these pedals have an enticing, sweet aroma. They actually smell rather like food.
The CK-UB2RH is an entry-level platform pedal of the kind fitted to cheap bikes the world over. It won’t set the hearts of serious mountain bikers or roadies a-flutter, but if it’s a success, who knows what might come next? Liang hopes to expand the range to include more pedal types, and he's considering other applications for his novel material.
BikeRadar is on a media tour of Taiwan, hosted by TAITRA, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council. TAITRA is promoting the Taipei International Cycle Show which takes place from March 2-5 2016. We’ll be posting more highlights from our travels over the coming days.