But before I give some details about this, a quick word on the weekend’s annual Mt. Yang Ming Challenge that my company’s team riders went to on Sunday.
Here’s Chang leading the guys in a photo-op shot into the finish after they had all concluded. We had a 12th (510 finishers) in the U29 cat, 10th (806 finishers) in 30-34 category, and 6th (334 finishers) in the 45-49 group. A photo coverage of another great day’s cycling enjoyed by all to come in a few days.
This week is about “serious” buyers meeting with suppliers and discussing specs for the 2012 and even 2013 model years. It is held across several hotel venues in Taichung, and included a demo event “Ride On” for test riding models which I had planned to go to, but did not find the time.
These shots are of the Evergreen Hotel lobby, the biggest venue with 49 companies available for consultation including Pillar Spokes, Alligator, and Tektro. The Tempus Hotel has 39 with Prologo, Race Face, and Ritchey among others. The Splendor Hotel hosts 15 including Giant GLM, YBN, and Yantec.
Brochures available in the main entrance are representative of the variety of exhibitors in attendance.
A lot of stuff going on. A lot of the decisions that will determine your choice of bicycle-related products in 2012 and beyond are being made in these rooms.
Each company has a room booked and unless the door is closed, you are free to go in and check out a range of products. This year it is more open than previous years. You mostly needed an appointment and absolutely needed to be ready to do a deal.
A friend of mine who is closely associated with Eurobike had some interesting comments to make on the development of TBW, especially the idea that it might one day replace Taipei Cycle. Since the product cycle demands that specs be just about finalized by this time of the year, it is not inconceivable, although Taipei Cycle is traditionally the time when a lot of finalization takes place and orders are locked in for the following year’s models.
But Taipei Cycle has a completely different role to play. You have the whole industry available including complete bikes which are glaringly scarce at TBW. However, there are many more industry people and dealers who are just testing the waters through their inquiries at Taipei Cycle. The large majority of these conversations, important as they are in constituting the entire conversation that makes up the industry, don’t lead to new customer-supplier business relationships.
My friend — whose position means covering all the venues across the whole period of the event — observed that the previous style of business characteristic of TBW was not so open as this year. The atmosphere is changing and it is interesting that one of my own overseas customers is attending, which has not happened before. I have a meeting scheduled with another overseas dealer at my own office tomorrow: this is characteristic of the week before and after Taipei Cycle and is atypical for this time of year.
One issue with Taipei Show for me is that I get so little time to get around to other booths to catch up with what’s going on. As an exhibitor myself I have my hands full. The TBW format offers an alternative that may grow in importance for me in future years.
My meeting today was with the Liuyih/Alligator people, my interest being brake shoes and cable housing, particularly their i-Link cable housing and the even lighter Mini i-Link. The outcome of today’s discussion is that I will be adding these to my range of components available for bike builds. I’ll see how my customers respond.
The GM was there and over a cup of coffee he made mention of a new type of cable stop that the company has developed and is currently patent pending. The proposal is that frames will no longer need the stop/boss permanently attached. Frames can be produced without these and the stop put wherever the assembler decides to place it. There was an interesting multi-media diagram and the description of this innovation was compelling.
Still, when I asked the obvious questions as to actually how this will be done, what is the technique of fixing the boss to the frame, he was cagey on the details. Understandable I guess since this is yet to be patented. Anyway the presentation was interesting, and although I am not convinced of its viability in the absence of details, we’ll have to wait and see what eventuates.