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by James Huang
March 22, 2017
Photography by James Huang
TECH NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIKEEXCHANGE
We’re not yet even three months into 2017, but yet the 2017 bicycle trade show is already kicking off today at the annual Taipei Cycle Show. Held at the Nangang Exhibition Center in the industry epicenter of Taiwan, the Taipei show hosts an intriguing mix of aftermarket brands and OEM manufacturers, and always offers up a tantalizing array of both new product introductions and quirky curiosities.
This year’s event will feature a number of heavy hitters, including Giant, Merida, Cervelo, Focus, KTM, Ridley, Wilier Triestina, Fuji, Shimano, SRAM, Ritchey, DT Swiss, SwiftCarbon, and more.
US technical editor James Huang will be on hand for three days of coverage, complete with daily photo galleries that will be continually updated with fresh images and information direct from the show floor. Be sure to check back regularly for the latest news on the upcoming season’s hottest new products — and if you have specific requests, feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
SwiftCarbon’s Ultravox SSL comes in with a claimed frame weight of just 870g.
Seems easy enough, no?
TeXtreme spread-tow fiber plies are used in select areas to not only reduce weight, but also strategically boost stiffness relative to the standard Ultravox, according to SwiftCarbon.
The disc-equipped SwiftCarbon Ultravox DSQ is now in full production, featuring the same geometry as the standard Ultravox, but now with clearance for tires up to 30mm-wide, flat-mount disc calipers, and 12mm thru-axles front and rear.
Replaceable dropout inserts mean that, at least in theory, they could potentially be traded someday in the future should standards continue to evolve.
The SwiftCarbon Attack G2 endurance bike now has a disc version as well, with clearance for tires up to 32mm-wide, depending on specific rim and tire combinations.
Since there are no rim brake calipers to account for, SwiftCarbon frame designers have more freedom to open things up in this area.
Topping 3T’s seatpost range is a new carbon fiber LTD version of the cleanly designed Zero25, which offers both 25mm and 0mm setbacks just by reversing the clamp hardware. Target weight for the production Zero25 LTD is 190g, with market release set for July.
3T’s initial Discus Plus Team carbon road plus wheels were essentially just rebadged mountain bike wheels. This latest version is now purpose-built for the task, with an even-wider carbon rim – now 30mm between the bead hooks – and a feathery claimed weight of just 1,430g per set, a decrease of 200g. 3T will begin selling these in April with a retail price of US$1,900.
The 30mm internal width on the redesigned 3T Discus Plus Team carbon rims is wider than many mountain bike wheels.
The 3T Exploro “aero gravel” frameset is now becoming more widely available, and promises to be the only drop-bar bike most riders will ever want or need.
THM-Carbones’ ultralight Tibia carbon fiber stem weighs an incredible 75g.
Titanium T-nuts are molded directly into body of THM-Carbones’ feathery Tibia stem. Continuous fiber wrap all the way around the shafts, too.
WTB’s new tubeless-compatible Exposure 32 tire features a slick center tread that transitions to a lightly knobbed shoulder for gravel and dirt riding. Claimed weight is 315g.
A beautiful throwback machine from Gios.
Bowman Cycles recently redesigned its Palace R aluminum road racer with an all-new tubeset that the company says makes the frame both lighter and more rigid than before. Retail price is still an excellent value at less than £700 for the frame, full-carbon fork, and headset.
New on Bowman Cycles’ redesigned Palace R is the so-called “FlareSquare” seat tube, which widens dramatically at the threaded bottom bracket. Bowman designer Neil Webb says the more structurally efficient shape allowed the walls to be thinned out, too, which also made the frame lighter.
The cable routing is fully convertible between mechanical and electronic drivetrains, including removable stops that yield a clean profile for battery-operated systems.
The down tube takes on more of an acorn-like profile.
Some neat detailing on the brake bridge on Bowman Cycles’ revamped Palace R.
Bowman Cycles doesn’t try to hide where its frames are made; in fact, it’s quite proud of its Asian manufacturing. Note the asymmetrical chainstays, too.
Whereas many aluminum frames use simple riveted bottle bosses, Bowman Cycles uses sturdier brazed inserts on the Palace R.
Also coming soon from Bowman Cycles is the second-generation Pilgrims all-road bike (background) and a disc-compatible version of the stainless steel Layhams.
The flat-mount caliper interface on the upcoming disc-compatible version of Bowman Cycles’ Layhams stainless steel road frame is nicely executed.
The flat-mount dropouts of the redesigned Bowman Cycles Pilgrim are neatly forged. Note the handy fender mounts, too.
The machined stainless steel dropouts incorporate both fender and rack mounts.
FSA continues to tease its upcoming semi-wireless WE electronic transmission. Production units will supposedly begin shipping in July.
There has been plenty of hype surrounding FSA’s long-awaited electronic drivetrain. Hopefully it’s been worth the extensive wait.
FSA’s linkage-activated K-Force rim brake calipers aren’t new, but they’re still rarely seen.
FSA has jumped on board the flared handlebar bandwagon, too.
FSA was an early adopter of so-called “sub-compact” chainring sizes for gravel and adventure bikes.
Vision’s new TriMax 35 KB clincher road wheelset uses a ceramic-coated aluminum rim for improved braking performance and durability. Claimed weight is 1,530g per set.
Aluminum wheels are making a major comeback thanks to modern surface treatments and much more reasonable pricing as compared to carbon options.
Deda Elementi previewed a mockup of a new integrated carbon fiber road cockpit.
The new Deda Elementi Alanera integrated aero cockpit looks rather sleek, especially with the profiled-to-match headset spacers.
Also new from Deda Elementi is the SuperZero range, which uses aero-profile tops but still manages to be lightweight. Claimed weight for the carbon fiber bar is 215g, while the matching forged aluminum stem comes in at 140g.
Carbon fiber spokes were seen on a number of different wheels at this year’s Taipei Cycle Show. The FEVO 30 Dark Pro from Taiwanese company Hawkvi features bladed carbon spokes matched to differential 24/30mm-deep aluminum clincher rims with ceramic-coated sidewalls.
According to Hawkvi and other carbon fiber spoke users, the carbon fiber spokes are not only lighter, but also stronger (at least in terms of tensile strength) than stainless steel spokes. Hawkvi has managed to make theirs into an aero bladed shape, too.
The rear Hawkvi FEVO 30 Dark Pro wheel uses thicker carbon fiber spokes to better handle the increased loads.
Claimed weight for the Hawkvi FEVO 30 Dark Pro is just 1,380g for the set. Retail price is an almost unbelievably low US$1,000.
DT Swiss has partnered with the aerodynamic specialists at SwissSide to develop the rim shape for its ERC 1100 DICUT db 47 disc-compatible road wheels. Claimed weight for the clinchers is 1,530g.
Plasma electrolytic coatings are helping reinvigorate the aluminum clincher road wheel market, promising much improved braking performance in both dry and wet conditions, while also preserving the look of the dark sidewalls long-term. DT Swiss is using the surface treatment on its new 1,435g PR 1400 DICUT OXiC wheelset.
Flared drop bars are flooding the market in a big way as dirt and gravel riding become increasingly popular. Ritchey showed off no fewer than three models at the Taipei Cycle Show with various shapes and degrees of flare.
Ritchey’s new Alpine JB was inspired by legendary wheel guru Jobst Brandt, with an inverted tread design designed to work well both on-road and off. Ritchey will offer the Alpine JB in both 700x30mm and 700x35mm sizes, in both blackwall and skinwall looks.
Ritchey’s new Speedmax tubeless cyclocross clincher is targeting amateur racers who aren’t concerned with UCI size restrictions, or gravel riders who want extra volume paired with aggressive side knobs. It’ll only be offered in a generous 40mm width for now. Claimed weight is 540g.
Lezyne recently released its new line of GPS-enabled watches: the Micro GPS with a monochrome screen, and the Micro GPS C with – you guessed it – a full-color display. Cyclists will obviously be the primary market for these, but there are also modes for running and other activities, plus more common activity tracking functions and some modest smartwatch capabilities.
Lezyne is launching a route builder function on to its Root GPS web site.
Handy graphics on the Lezyne GPS Root web site instantly show whether routes include turn-by-turn directions.
Lezyne is moving heavily into digital gauges for both floor and portable pumps.
Elite’s Quick-Motion rollers use a fully floating frame that slides fore-and-aft as necessary for more secure and natural-feeling out-of-saddle workouts.
Three levels of magnetic resistance are built in, too.
Selle Italia previewed a slick new premium road saddle called the SP-01. Claimed weight is an ultralight 125g.
Despite the paltry 125g claimed weight, the Selle Italia SP-01 is still fully padded.
In addition to the padded top, the Selle Italia SP-01 also uses a clever leaf-spring design. The carbon fiber rail design is especially intriguing. Selle Italia says that the SP-01 will begin arriving in shops around May, and retail price will be €379.
Rice husk is turning out to be an increasingly appealing option for a renewable manufacturing material. CKC Environmental Technology is focusing on pedal bodies for now.
The Taipei Cycle Show is always a good place to find somewhat derivative designs. This Carrera aero road bike, for example, borrows design cues from Look and BMC.
Schwalbe’s latest cyclocross tire designs recall the old Onza Porcupine, but with three different levels of knob size, shape, and height to suit particular conditions. The 40mm-wide G-One Allround (at right) has proven to be an especially capable tire for dirt and gravel riding.
Stan’s NoTubes has updated the graphics for its ZTR Avion range of wide-profile carbon road wheels.
This isn’t the prettiest solution we’ve seen for covering disc rotors, but it’s a clear indication of where the industry thinks the road disc market is heading.
Taiwanese company Foss showed off its solid carbon fiber spokes at the Taipei Cycle Show. The company claims they’re 20% lighter than high-end stainless steel spokes (even with their bonded stainless steel ends), while also boasting superior strength. The idea has been tried before, however, with limited success.
CeramicSpeed’s hollow 3-D printed titanium pulleys continue to impress for their novel construction method – and their staggering price tag.
IRC’s Serac CX Sand tread pattern isn’t new, but it will soon be adapted to wider casing sizes to cater to the gravel and adventure markets.
Some of IRC’s latest tubeless road tires use a novel rubber compound that is infused with ceramic particles derived from rice bran husks. According to IRC, the particles’ semi-rigid nature act as miniature spikes to improve grip in dry conditions, while their porous structure supposedly helps wick water away from the road surface for enhanced traction in wet conditions, too.
Tripeak’s thread-together bottom bracket for press-fit shells uses a fiber composite liner between the cup and frame. The idea is that the liner will act as a deformable boundary layer that will accommodate slightly out-of-spec frames while also keeping noise at bay.
Berner and CeramicSpeed may have been early pioneers with oversized derailleur pulley cages, but they’re certainly not the only option now.
Many of the hub brands on display at the Taipei Cycle Show may not be recognizable to consumers, but they’re often the manufacturing source for many aftermarket labels.
Skinwall options for the Clement Strada LGG should be popular with the all-road crowd, especially with the higher-volume 28mm and 32mm size options.
Need some good ‘cross tires for your junior racer? Clement has you covered with a 24″ version of its versatile MXP tread.
Clement now offers the X’Plor MSO in an ultra-wide 700x50mm size for the new crop of adventure machines.