I attended the Taipei Cycle d&i Awards held yesterday (24.02.2022) at Taipei’s World Trade Center.
Here are some impressions, plus the gist of an interesting set of comments from a long-time d&i judge, Gideon Loewy, especially his pointed comment about Taiwan’s strength in manufacturing vs what he sees as the “future of cycling” (hint: they are not the same).
iMotek’s Posture Assement and Training System caught my eye since I was on the lookout for the smart tech . . . and this appeared to be it. The cables drooping from the handlebars to the floor seemed to be an ill-considered afterthought at first glance, looking about as appropriate as a tutu on an MMA fighter.
And although the d&i Awards are included as a part of the “Smart Sports and Smart Riding Forum Series”, iMotek’s unit was the smartest entry out of the six.
Knee sensors sit in their recharging receptacles until the rider unclips them, then fastens one around each knee.
Neat kit that will help amateurs and pros fine tune their training you’d have to say.
Kenda was rewarded for their puncture resistant tube.
Hope the jury factored in the law of averages somehow in their assessment.
Jagwire were rewarded for the ‘guess-what-this-is’ hydraulic unit.
Here’s the blurb—it seems to make detecting whether your brake oil needs topping up or not super convenient.
A pair of grips made the cut this year.
Oxo-Pro announced “two new lockable grip models, Comfort & Performance”. (We’d prefer not to have to choose between the two, though, wouldn’t we . . . ?)
They feature a “new patented internal locksystem” to “ensure that design and functionality are maximized.”
The idea is to allow riders to have access to as wide a surface area as possible for the same length of grip as you would find on most other grips. The lock is not visible, and the grip remains fully adjustable.
The Unimoke wouldn’t have really turned my head except that I couldn’t help notice one parked on the sidewalk at the end of a row of scooters in Taichung recently.
Now, you see more and more Gogoros in amongst the usual San Yangs and whathaveyou.
But a fat-tire e-bike? “No way!!!”, I said out loud, as people gave me a wide berth on the footpath . . .(deranged foreigner alert)
Anyway. It must be good.
Merida also had their gong-winning state-of-the-art, gravel bike on display (just so nobody can say I left them out).
Gideon Loewy on the Future of the Bike Business
Just near the end, Gideon was asked to address three questions from the floor.
Asked about trends, he talked of the “diversification” of the bicycle industry driven by e-bikes.
He positioned e-bikes between:
- the traditional category of motorized two wheelers such as scooters, mopeds, and motorcycles, and
- electric scooters and motorcycles
So here we have a micro mobility where bicycles have become more integrated into urban transportation. So it’s not sports, it’s not local. Bicycles are now enabling people to travel in a new way, and this new road is something that’s going to emerge in coming years especially as autonomous vehicles, self-driving vehicles become more common. [There will be a] parallel transport network infrastructure in different countries (which also should come in Taiwan), of how people can use electric bicycles to actually replace cars. That’s probably the most important trend of this year.
Two parts identified trend and one part wishful thinking? Perhaps.
But there’s no denying we’re in the early stages of a radical shift in urban mobility thanks to e-bikes.
When asked about how Taiwan can improve in the future, Gideon hit the ball out of the park. I hope Taiwan brands and manufacturers — well, particularly brands — really heard what he said.
You have to understand “the difference between products, services, and experiences. Bicycles are sold as experiences.”
Every type of bicycle, every industry, every company tries to differentiate their products from other people’s in order to gain market advantage through added value. But what’s happening is it’s not the product that’s so important any more—it’s the service. So when we see Ubikes in Taiwan, these are services, and this will increase. The change of ownership to public is a very, very important trend and we can see that though Taiwan’s bicycle industry is extremely integrated in the supply chain, in the bicycle industry it is unique. Everybody is producing parts which then get assembled into bicycles. These bicycles are no longer seen as products. They are seen as services.
And the most important message he had for Taiwan’s bike industry:
The strength of Taiwan is the manufacturing of products. But the future of bicycling is in services and experiences.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Taiwan manufacturers need to radically change their approach. Brands maybe.
Otherwise if you’re following the wishes and producing quality components for the brands you work for, it’s business as usual.
AROUND THE NET
—Bike Tech & Culture—
Does the world need another bike brand?
Yes . . . if it aims to be (truly) different.
Press fit BBs are BEST, Simon says:
The “issue is in manufacturing standards and tolerances, and not necessarily the concept of press-fit itself.” Whether explicitly recognized or not, the concept of press-fit is judged and condemned on tolerances—and consistently achieving the exacting tolerances required is impossible when BB shell manufacturers and BB brands are different.
Internally routed cables to be eternally avoided?:
Why would you have internally routed cables on a gravel bike? Makes no sense at all, unless you want a “clean look” rather than a safe and practical bike. As with press-fit, cross-brand compatibility is the main — yet non-lethal — problem.
Modifying an MTB’s geometry . . . post production.
No catastrophe here:
“I do think it’s really interesting how many comments I get from people saying they don’t like cyclists, but they like us. It’s a good way to get people to think about cycling a bit differently.”
It’s “not every day you buy a tandem bike, so if you’re going to, you might as well spend as much as you would on a new car” is Autoevolution’s (slightly puzzling) summation of the world’s first monocoque carbon tandem.
Desiknio Pinion urban e-bike, with concealed motor and battery, review.
Next up, Taipei Cycle 2022.