The Taiwan Bicycle
Manufacturing Industry Review

An entrepreneur’s story (you’ll know who she is…if not, you should!)

The Cycling Writer

Picture us, me and a colleague sitting in a certain mega-corporation’s smallish visitor section just inside the door of the main office.

Yes, the one in downtown Dajia on the main drag, a building that if someone did not point it out to you, you wouldn’t notice.

Ann, the GM, will be along soon . . . she’s just got to find a sliver of time between endless meetings to come out for a quick chat.

This is one of the biggest bicycle component companies in the world—probably the biggest since they focus on one category only, a category they dominate.


You enter the building not through the front door (there isn’t one as far as I know), but from the driveway on the southern side, ascending a long flight of stairs from a single car parking space right at its foot.

That space is for one car, and one car only . . . a big black Merk . . . and whether it’s there or not, you know if the boss is in or not.

Today the Benz is not parked in its bay. No matter, it’s Ann we’ve come to see anyway.

Ann shows up and as we discuss the business at hand a figure appears at the top of the stairs, entering through the glass doors . . . glances around the room . . . a penetrating gaze which quickly returns to fix intently on the visitors currently holding council with the GM.

The Merk is now in its space.

We politely smile, and nod our heads in the quasi-bow style of greeting that is common in Taiwan.

Stella Yu started Velo back in ’79 building this cornerstone of Taiwan’s bike component industry alongside of Giant, Merida, and a few others that dominate today.

Ann is her niece, whom Stella adopted from her brother, the founder of Wellgo pedals. Ann is now easing Velo — under her Mom’s guidance — through the turbulence of the Covid bike boom.

Keeping companies in the family is a thing around here (very rarely amongst the ladies of the family) which sometimes works well (Giant, Velo) . . . and sometimes not (Dahon vs Tern).

Velo will be at Taipei Cycle which is set to kick off in a bit over 7 weeks and I’ll be interested to have a close look at the latest vacuum formed models . . . no samples at the main office in case you’re wondering.

Will the famous Taipei Cycle Velo party which was a major TC event, prior to the Covid cancellation of everything, be held this year?

Haven’t heard, so probably not. (Or my invitation’s in the mail…).

Stella continues across the room and into the modest office she’s occupied for some time now—business as usual for one of the most successful entrepreneurs in an overwhelmingly male-dominated business culture.

Meanwhile at FIRST, some new products are coming . . . they just keep getting delayed. And despite the easing of supply chain woes the challenges remain.


—Bike Tech & Culture—

One trend for 2022 that some are not (quite rightly) happy about:

Internal cable routing is becoming standard … Are we exited about this? Not really. It makes bikes harder to work on and more expensive without adding any real performance advantage beyond “looking cleaner.” Some brands are pushing back, adding options for external cable routing, but the specter of integration looms ominously over mountain biking’s future.

Talking 36” wheels:

Platform upshots for the 36er are fairly straightforward: the bike has a better roll-over characteristic to smooth out the trail, and a larger traction patch to grip the earth. These are the same advantages we saw with 29ers, now super-sized.

Musguard is seeking backers for its rollable (rollupable…) fenders/mudguards on Kickstarter. Good coverage of the story here.

Customized grips thanks to 3D printing.

Is Milan’s spider web bike path plan (in pursuit of net-zero 2050) the model for city biking infrastructure in the future?

The Cambio network will consist of four circular lines arranged concentrically around the city centre and intersected by 16 radial lines, while four long-distance greenways will connect the metropolitan area’s perimeter.

What began as a thought experiment in April of 2021?

I was just sitting on my easy chair thinking about how to improve mountain bike suspension because a good bit of effort gets soaked up by inefficiencies…

And here’s Singletracks’ balanced take on the design.

Bryan McFarland’s Paradox Suspension design aims to harness the plusses of a rear-mounted bottom bracket while foregoing the minuses of those earlier iterations…


The e-bike models that impressed Techcrunch at CES. Bosch mentioned….reluctantly? And here’s Mashable’s roundup of the show that is set to fill the gap left by Interbike.

Time to bring back the — rear power-pack-powered — Huffy ‘Radiobike’?

A further sign of legacy big-tech eyeing the E-bike opportunity?
Totem USA, in collaboration with Panasonic, is prepared to design, develop and produce custom eBike offerings for companies interested in UL certified eBikes. The Panasonic drive system is suitable for two-wheel and three-wheel city, touring or cargo eBike variants.

This is — technically — a tadpole e-trike, not an e-bike per se. Is it the future of personal transportation as they claim? One thing is for sure, this type of EV is set to be huge. (I’m looking forward the Podride’s long awaited release by the way . . . a super-practical, versatile ATEV that should find a solid place in the market once it’s out.)

The Triobike Mono: great for kids. But for adults . . . ? A massive review.

A key factor behind the rise of e-bikes:

I was happy for a while but within a year, all of my friends who were still riding bicycles were then riding 10-speed racing bikes … I completely forgot about those bikes, and over the past 38 years, I have only been on a bicycle maybe twice. [And then I discovered….]

$12,834 goal . . . $52,700 pledged!
This “lightest” carbon e-gravel bike is coming to a store near you soon by the looks of it.


How likely is another Bike Boom in 2022?

It’s clear that products providing social connection, outdoor escape, and physical activity are the real winners during the pandemic. However, now that some of these needs are diminished, should we expect a downturn in cycling sales in the years to come? On the face of it, the answer could be “yes,” but there are numerous reasons why we can reasonably expect a return to solid growth.

How to manage in times of high inflation?—tips from McKinsey:

  • how companies can rebuild their price-negotiation capabilities and their long-term resilience
  • three imperatives for CEOs aiming to step up amid a complex, uncertain, and rapidly evolving environment
  • six proven strategies to release cash from the balance sheet
  • why executives view mounting fallout on the supply chain and inflation as the biggest threats to growth in their countries’ economies
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