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by James Huang
March 24, 2017
Photography by James Huang
The Taipei Cycle Show is always an interesting stop on the annual trade show circuit as there is far more emphasis here on OEM manufacturing relative to Eurobike and Interbike, both of which focus more on the aftermarket with easily recognizable brands. With the first two days of the 2017 Taipei Cycle Show now in the rearview mirror, it’s now time to shift gears a bit and take a closer look at some of the more unusual odds and ends that permeate the halls of the Nangang Exhibition Hall.
On the one hand, there are countless contract manufacturers here with all sorts of intriguing bits and pieces that are incorporated into someone else’s finished products — everything from cable stops to dropouts to shipping materials, and everything in between. There are also OEM suppliers that occasionally take advantage of the one- to two-year window they often have into what consumer-facing brands are planning to introduce for future seasons, sometimes making their own-brand products that can later seem oddly prescient.
Others, however, fit better into the “weird and wonderful” category, with the general theme being, “just because it can be built doesn’t mean that it should.”
US technical editor James Huang will be wandering the halls one more time at this year’s show, and will once again be updating this page throughout the day so check back often for what is sure to be an especially entertaining collection of gear.
This machined aluminum road crankset from Tange is gorgeous – and recalls the old Cook Brothers mountain bike cranks from the 1990s.
If chromed steel is more your style, Tange also offers up this gem.
Yep, there’s even a channel milled down the length of the arm, just like those old Cook Brothers crankarms.
These Tange steel stems are awfully pretty.
The lugged stem is especially elegant.
Yasujiro Tange founded Tange back in 1920, and now there’s a frame company that bears his name, using tubing exclusively from Tange.
The frame is only clearcoated so as to leave the brass fillets on display for all to see.
The internal seatpost binder is a neat touch.
Want to run a more conventional 30mm-diameter crankset in your ZED-equipped Look? Wishbone makes an adapter for that.
These calipers from Vanguard Precision are quite blatant rip-offs of Zero Gravity’s original design.
This is quite a pretty little bell.
Exustar sells under its own label, but it also makes pedals for many brand names, including Garmin.
This Massload bottle cage features arms that adjust to fit different sized bottles. Simply turn the dial at the base to make the opening bigger or smaller.
A balance bike with a trailer? Actually, there are probably plenty of kids who might like that. Those toys won’t carry themselves, you know.
This adult-sized big wheel makes absolutely no sense – but yet we want one, anyway. Inside the case at the back is a rechargeable battery to power the front hub-mounted motor.
Zoom, zoom! Who needs pedals when you’ve got electrons at your disposal?
Apro showed off this fully suspended gravel bike. Does it make sense? The answer likely depends on your perspective.
This Douze Cycles cargo bike is outfitted to cart a couple of kids around town in the front-mounted box.
Douze Cycles uses a neat cable system to transfer inputs from the handlebars up to the front wheel.
KT is another hub manufacturer who handiwork is often hidden beneath another brand name.
A CNC machined 53-tooth chainring with a built-in chainguard? Sure, why not?
Carbotec is one of the bigger carbon rim manufacturers in the industry, but you rarely see the brand name on rims the company has produced.
Cannondale isn’t the only company to do a one-piece road double chainring.
Because it’s never too soon to teach kids how to ride in the drops.
Rotors like these sound good on paper with their stainless steel brake tracks and feathery weight, but with so much material removed, there’s little surface area on which the pads can bite, so they need to clamp down harder to generate the same stopping force. Add in the reduced heat capacity that results from removing all that material, and you potentially get a recipe for disaster.
The concept of an adult-sized scooter seems questionable enough, but this goes one step further with eccentric hubs. By design, the bike oscillates up and down as you roll down the road.
Thankfully, the cast magnesium wheels can be adjusted so that the hub axle and body are concentric. Why you’d ever really want them otherwise is a mystery.
The built-in solar panel on this trike not only helps top off the battery for the drive motor, but also helps keep you dry.
The RoundTail frame design promises a smoother ride by virtue of the rear end behaving as a leaf spring on rough roads.
GW is yet another contract manufacturer who builds for a number of well-known brands. In this case, the company specializes in higher-end offerings.
GW’s hub range is cleverly designed such that freehub bodies and end caps can be interchanged across the board, including for hubs that were built for other brands.
Truss frames promise greater rigidity than traditional ones by virtue of their greater degree of triangulation. It’s a concept Alex Moulton popularized decades ago.
Beta is an engineering firm that specializes in carbon fiber design work for both OEM manufacturers and established brand names. This Road RS-1 frameset – or some variation of it – may end up on the shop floor in the near future under another label.
It’s not unusual for a separate company to do the heavy lifting in terms of engineering work for an established brand.
If you’re good at recognizing subtle clues (such as this BB-mounted chain watcher), you can often figure out where some brands have their frames manufactured.
Beta also showed off this neat cockpit concept, which uses a novel clamping design that (unintentionally) recalls WTB’s Powerband mountain bike stem from the early 1990s.
The unusual clamp layout makes for a sleeker appearance than traditional faceplates.
The stem features a small opening on the underside through which cables can be routed.
At just 54g, Elite’s new Fly water bottle is supposedly 40% lighter than usual.
Need a throwback bottle and cage to go with your throwback bike? Elite’s L’Eroica line comes to the rescue.
Instead of folding in half like most bikes of its ilk, this urban runabout uses a telescoping design.
Seems reasonable enough, no?
SeoLite manufactures an impressively wide range of machined cassettes for road and mountain bikes. These race-only cassettes are milled out of aluminum for an ultra-low weight, but also very quick wear.
Not the most elegant solution we’ve seen for mounting a smartphone and light to your bike.
Bicycle companies have to source all sorts of things for their wares, including the packing materials that help ensure they get to their final destinations safely. Even wonder where one might buy a few thousand of these things at a time? The Taipei Cycle Show can help answer that question.
Color anodized components are alive and well in Taiwan.
Chosen is another major hub company that does a lot of contract manufacturing for name-brand labels.
One of the biggest trends in carbon wheels is filament-wound rims. Proponents of the technology say it greatly cuts down on labor costs while also improving part consistency.
Been searching for a carbon fiber, 20″-wheeled folding bike? Look no more.
Anything that can be color anodized, will be.
This is not only sexist, but also confusing.
If you need tubing extruded, cut, threaded, anodized, and finished, you’ve got a number of producers to choose from here in Taipei.
There’s no sense machining suspension dampers and shafts yourself if someone else already has an army of CNC mills ready and waiting.
This balance bike uses a modular construction that allows for lots of adjustment.
By swapping a few parts, it can also be turned into a tricycle.
If you’ve been resisting the onslaught of e-bikes, resist no more. They’re here, they’re proliferating, and they’re seemingly not going anywhere any time soon. Even high-end carbon options were plentiful at this year’s Taipei Cycle Show.
Best company name ever?
This brake pad manufacturer was showing off its testing machine (with nothing but a hastily applied sign to keep people from sticking their fingers where they shouldn’t be).
Perhaps more than anything, it’s impossible not to be overwhelmed by how much stuff is made here in Taiwan. This company produces an inordinate amount of frame fittings and dropouts.
Need a cable guide for your new frame design? Take your pick.
The amount of choice for bits like this is quite staggering.
There are many brands at the Taipei Cycle Show that have hardly seen the light of day. Are Edge bikes any good? This TT/Tri machine certainly looks the business, but there’s no way to know just by casually observing. That said, this identical frame with a more recognizable name on the down tube would likely elicit a much different response.
This Edge gravel bike takes a page from Open’s U.P. with its radically dropped driveside chainstay.
Lost in translation?
In a sea of commodity, me-too products, it’s often a struggle to get your company’s wares to stand out from the crowd.
Need a dropout for your new frame design? How about a set of rocker arms? The world is your oyster.
Judging by the number of companies on hand with 3D printers in their booths at the Taipei Cycle Show, it seems that the technology is on the cusp of a breakthrough in terms of widespread usage.
This entire shoe mock-up was made using a 3D printer.
The folks at KCNC are masters of CNC machining. I’m not aware of any other company that produces a fully CNC-machined aluminum road pedal body.
KCNC has some of the wildest rim brake caliper designs around.
Both of these rim brake calipers from KCNC use power-amplifying linkages.
This front light uses a small wind generator to power the LED emitters. Interesting.
This company wouldn’t go into much detail, but its proprietary surface treatment process makes aluminum incredibly resistant to scratching. You can go ahead and dig the edge of that tool into the frame as hard as you want, but it won’t leave a mark.
In fact, the tool was the part that was starting to show some wearing from all the abrasion.
Ever heard of Cyclus tools? Neither had I, but this compact spoke cutter looks interesting.
A handy gauge and feed system makes it easy to get the right length.
The business end of the cutter is tucked inside the body. Trimmed spoke ends fall on to this little ramp, which presumably should lead to some sort of trash or recycling bin.
SABS claimed to offer the only bicycle-specific anti-lock brake system in the world. The wholly mechanical device pulses the pad pressure based on wheel rotating speed while requiring no electrical power. It’s intriguing, to say the least.
What kind of hub did you say you wanted for that new wheel company you’re starting?
We’ll give you two guesses where SRAM sources the stanchion tubes for RockShox suspension forks.
This is one of the more interesting spoke anchoring methods we’ve seen.
Beto isn’t well known as a brand name, but the company produces floor and mini-pumps for much of the industry.
Trek’s legal department is apparently ok with this company’s branding.
This company was promoting its reflective wheel and frame graphics application process. Sadly, my camera isn’t equipped with a flash.
Looking for a carbon fiber, dual-disc machine for junior? Karbona has got you covered.
Taroka is yet another OEM manufacturer with a range of open-mold products available. Just slap on your brand name and go.
More than a handful of companies were showing off LED wheel lighting packages like this.
These cast aluminum wheels were remarkably heavy.
ADK is the factory that produces carbon frames for Felt.
If you’re a small brand that’s looking to add an off-the-shelf TT/Tri bike option to your range, this one seems as good as any.
It’s truly remarkable how much open-mold product is available.
Pillar has quickly become the spoke producer of choice for smaller wheel brands who produce in Asia. The quality is said to be outstanding, and the range of available shapes, butting profiles, and materials is staggering.