At the Taipei Cycle Show

I visited the Taipei International Cycle Show on Saturday afternoon after watching the final stage of the Tour de Taiwan.

It was the first time I had visited the exhibition in Taipei. Although I have had a long term interest in bikes and cycling in recent years I haven't really kept up with all the changes in technology. A lot of the stuff that appeared very new and innovative to me might be less so to someone who actively follows developments in the bicycle industry. Nonetheless, I have my own ideas about what good design is and some of my thoughts and observations follow. 

Ming folding bike - unique triangle design

The bike pictured above is a Ming folding bike. I have seen a few of these around the streets of Taipei in recent months. I think they are pretty cool. They employ a very simple three-tube frame design.

Dahon folding bike - very compact for easy storage

Dahon is a Taiwanese manufacturer that specialises in folding bikes. On some of their models you really have to look hard to see where the actual folding mechanism is. I think folding bikes are particularly appropriate for Taiwan where parking and storage of bikes is a problem. They can also easily be carried on trains or buses.  

Street Surfer bike with unique front wheel designStreet Surfer was designed in Australia and manufactured in Taiwan. Its unique front wheel(s) design incorporates polymer shock absorbers and four pivot points to give it a wide range of movement. You can see a video about the bikes at YouTube and this video shows more of the bikes in action. The Street Surfer can turn in quarter the turning circle of a normal bicycle, and it can do it at twice the speed. 

Giant City Storm at Taipei Cycle 2007

light integrated into the frame of the Giant City StormThe Giant Citystorm won the Innovative Product Award for the show. It combines a classical design with modern technology. Check out the light integrated into the frame. The City Storm is a high-end city bike that should appeal to commuters and recreational cyclists. It is exactly the sort of bike design that is needed if bikes are to be promoted as a regular, every day form of transport. Some background information on the thought that went into the design can be found here.

The essential design of the bicycle has remained the same for the past century. Although there are very innovative new designs like the Ming folding bike and Street Surfer it will be interesting to see if they ever displace the classical style of bike that still remains so popular.

One thing about the show is that it is not just about bikes. A whole range of parts and accessories that go into making bikes are on display. One very interesting new idea I saw was the Pedalite. It is a pedal that includes LED lights that are powered by a dynamo built into the pedal. The lights will remain flashing for five minutes after the rider stops pedalling. The energy is stored in a capacitator rather than a chemical battery. There are red, orange and white LEDs to make it clear to motorists which direction the bike is travelling. 

A couple of other companies had similar products on display, but their lights only worked while the rider was pedalling. They only used orange LEDs in the back and front of the pedal and the quality of the materials was not as good. 

It was interesting to see the bike show. I look forward to going back again next year when the event will be held in the new Nangang Exhibition Centre. I will be curious to see which of the new ideas survive in the marketplace. However, I am sure some things will never go out of style.  

8 thoughts on “At the Taipei Cycle Show

  1. Bike retailers in North America apparently are anticipating bigger sales in folders and ‘city’ bikes (like the City Storm), so that’s why you’re seeing lots of those kinds of bikes at the Cycle Show. The trend has been building slowly for a couple of years, but this year it looks like commuting types of bikes will be big.

  2. Good post David. The Pedalite is a great idea, thanks for the link. The Giant CityStorm looks like a dud, what an ugly looking bike. Actually, I saw the CityStorm on the news two or three months ago. I thought it was designed by CKS grandson’s design company, but I guess not according to your link. Lastly, the problem with having a decent bike in Taipei is that it is more than likely to get stolen. It’s best to buy a portable bike or go with a cheap ratty bike. I’ve learned this the hard way more than once. -marc
    p.s. Let’s go biking together sometime soon.

  3. Marc, I must disagree with you about the Citystorm. I think for too long the bike industry has focused on making specialist bikes that appeal only to cycling enthusiasts. During that time they have ignored the need for practical bikes that appeal to the average person who wants something comfortable and easy to ride.

    The market for this kind of bike is potentially enormous and a lack of suitable bikes on the market has been one limitation in developing this market and cycling in general. The other limitations are a little more difficult to overcome (better government policy, changing people’s habits, etc.).

    I need to get out on my bike more so we should go for a ride some time soon.

  4. I was at a bike shop in Toronto, Canada this morning and saw the Ming folding bike. The sales guy said the bike(he called it a Strida bike) was from an English company…they first saw the bike in England where it was very popular and the bike only arrived at their shop two months ago.

    Jeanne

  5. Jeanne, just to clarify the bike is manufactured by the Ming company in Taiwan. It was designed by Strida, a UK company, and they market it worldwide under the Strida brand.

  6. Thank you for the clarification David. BTW the price for the Strida bike was $599 Canadian before the added 15% tax. I’m sure it would be cheaper in Taiwan…I may pick up one these bikes on my next trip to Taiwan and since they’re so compact I don’t think it would be a problem to ‘check it in’ as luggage at the airport.

    Jeanne

  7. Pingback: Bikes Galore at Taipei Cycle 2008 - Taiwan - David on Formosa

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