Taiwan’s cycle show was once the domain of buyers from the rest of the world taking a peek at Asian manufacturing. While that still goes on, these days we're seeing far more major brands showing here – and even launching new products months ahead of the usual debuting season, at Eurobike or Interbike.
It seems Taiwan not only now produces bikes and components at the higher end of the market (leaving mainland China to the business of cheap and low-end manufacturing); its also taking cycling seriously as both a pastime and means of transport, all wrapped up in the massive economic worth of the country. Some of that is down to the president of Taiwan, Dr Ying Juon Ma, who was present to officially open the show, (can you imagine Obama, or Cameron… or Trump turning up to open a bike show?).
He explained that not only has Taiwan increased its dedicated bike paths from less than a 1000km four years ago to in excess of 4000km today. The country has also introduced a bike-rental scheme within Taipei city, which currently sees a million rentals per month, putting similar schemes in London and Paris to shame. Taiwan has also introduced events like its brutal KOM challenge, and this year also sees The Tour de Taiwan taking a major leap forward.
Taipei first day highlights
The Taipei show always throws up some interesting new bits and pieces, so here’s our pick of the first day of the show.
High-zoot, low weight cassettes
First up its one for the weight weenie MTBers out there – your wide Shimano cassette getting you down because of that extra metal in the dinner plate-sized sprockets? Perhaps you need to invest in KCNC’s titanium and 7075 alloy cassette, which tips the scales at just 380g compared to Shimano’s XT at 447g (you get a bit of fancy gold anodizing too).
Cipollini still a champion
We wouldn’t normally report on an Italian frameset from a Taiwan show, but we couldn’t resist a couple of snaps of this Italian Champion’s edition of the RB1000 frame (or as the frame says RB1K). This 1050g super-aggressive aero frameset certainly turns heads.
Ti goodness and more from Control Tech
Control Tech is one of the last remaining brands to persevere with titanium components when the rest of the high-end world has gone almost exclusively carbon. Its Ti-Mania range includes a nicely etched, stamped, machined and welded stem, matching straight MTB bars, and even a hybrid titanium carbon road bar too. You can even add a minimal titanium seatpost that’s drilled at its base to save a little more weight.
On the carbon front Control Tech have a couple of interesting new bits too. First is the oversized 35mm diameter carbon MST bars, available in both a 215g (760mm) flat in 710, 760, 800mm widths, or a four-degree up, nine-degree backsweep riser, available in 800mm or 750mm width that tips the scales at 235g.
Control Tech’s TUX seatpost features a flat looped section separating the clamp and the round section. This is said to create a natural leaf-spring to offer plenty of comfort. The seatpost is available in both zero and 24mm offset, with weights 184g for the offset 350mm, and 192g for the zero offset 410mm (both 27.2 dia).
Wellgo cadence-sensing pedals
Wellgo might be best known as a maker of plenty of pattern pedals to suit established systems like Look and Shimano. This year however it's got the innovative HR292 pedal. While it uses a Look system cleat, the pedal body houses both a cadence sensor and 2.4GHz ANT+ and Bluetooth BLE 4.0 transmitters to send cadence info to your head unit. The pedal body is no deeper than a standard pedal, even though it houses a CR1632 cell and the electronics. Wellgo claims 150 hours battery life.
Prototype Lintaman shoes
Lintaman shoes have been around since 2009, but its latest prototype looks something else. While the original Linterman adjust offered strategic placement of its twin Atop dials to effectively pull the forefoot inwards in a uniform manner, the upper being comprised of a high-mesh sock like material with the TPU ‘wings’ allowed to free float (only tightening up when you spin the dials).
The Adjust Pro Plus adds an additional dial on the heel. The heel is separate from the rest of the upper and as you tighten the dial it uniformly pulls inwards and seats your foot correctly. We tried the prototypes on and were immediately impressed at just how adaptable the fit was. Founder and designer Chris Lintaman told us he’s been working on the Plus adjust system for a fair few years and now he’s finally ready to put them into production. Chris already has our order as we’re intrigued to see if these work as well on the bike as they feel trying them out for size.
A few home comforts for a Brit abroad
Being on the other side of the world means we can get a little homesick, so it was good to see the UK being represented on Token’s stand by this classy Bowman Pilgrim – this UK-designed and developed fat-tyred road machine features hidden mudguard mounts, a full-carbon flat-mount disc fork and bags of clearance, and sports some rather nice looking thru-axle compatible carbon clinchers from Token.
Yes we may be thinking about good ol’ Blighty again, but this new Raleigh Militis Team edition complete with Zipp 303s and SRAM’s wireless eTap group looks stunning. Raleigh is assembling these ones at its spiritual home – Nottingham, UK.
Take a flick through the gallery up top for more images, and keep them peeled for the rest of BikeRadar's coverage from Taipei.