Taiwan’s Taipei Cycle Show has grown to approximately 1,500 exhibitors over the last three decades, and has usually been an event for manufacturing business versus being a way for companies to showcase their latest product to the public. Historically a spring event, Taipei Cycle Show will take place October 31st-November 3rd this year, a change they hope will help better align it with the cycling industry’s manufacturing calendar.
As a way to market both the show and its new dates, TAITRA(Taiwan External Trade Development Council) recently hosted a 3-day whirlwind media event consisting of a condensed single-day show with 17 exhibitors, and two days of quickly visiting several factories. Full disclosure: the majority of the products shown were specific to e-bikes, “college bikes”, and similar gear that wouldn’t exactly be considered Pinkbike wheelhouse material. In addition, most of the factories visited did not allow photos beyond their lobby, which limited the amount of content that could be shared. Below are highlights from the show; look for a report on the factory visits in the near future. Kenda Regolith Pro
Kenda has a new trail tire that won’t officially be launched until Eurobike later this summer. The Regolith Pro is said to be a “New versatile tread design - Extremely predictable and confidence inspiring handling in all conditions. Excellent traction and braking performance in wet & dry.” A language barrier made it impossible to gain any more details about this rather blanketed claim, but basically it’s a dual compound tire that’ll be available in Kenda’s three casings(EMC, SCT, TR), and available in 27.5x2.2/2.4/2.6/2.8 as well as 29x2.2/2.4/2.6. RST's $999 Wireless Dropper Post
RST was showing off a wireless remote dropper that will be available at the end of the year for $999. Yes, that’s US dollars, and several of us double-checked that it was an accurate MSRP. Seemingly very similar to Magura’s dropper, the electric trigger actuates a hydraulic dropper with infinite positioning within its 150mm of travel. RST claims the micro-USB charged battery will last 2300-2400 unweighted cycles, or 700-800 100kg-weighted cycles before needing its common 18350 lithium battery to be recharged. The post is 3D forged “to prevent cracking noise after riding for a while,” and claimed weight is 730-grams with remote. Judging by feel, the claimed weight seemed accurate. KS' 27.2mm Dropper Posts
For those who have dropper-worthy bikes with 27.2 seat tubes, KS is now offering LEV droppers that’ll fit nicely. The 27.2mm diameter versions come with either external or internal(stealth) cable routing, and are available in 65mm, 100mm, and 120mm drops. Also available in a carbon masted version, the LEV Ci 272 is said to be more about style than anything else, as it weighs “basically the same” as the alloy version. Sure, that’s an easy one to poke fun at, but it’d be a safe bet that they’ll sell plenty at $545 USD. KMC
Though not exactly new, KMC started shipping their 12-speed X12 chain in May, and are available in black, gold, black and gold, as well as silver. The only real details are that it features new riveting technology, has an “Anti-Interference design for chain agility”, and features a new curved surface design as well. I think what all that means is that it has some new chamfering… Pricing falls somewhere between $30-$120, depending on configuration - the gold chain with Ti-nitride coating being at the $120 mark.
We first saw a version of this tire lever / master link tool combo a couple years ago in the hands of inventor Tomo Ichikawa, but it looks like they'll be easier to obtain now that KMC is involved. KMC's Missing Link tire levers that turn into a master link separator. Said to work with Shimano and SRAM as well as KMC's own chains (including 12-speed), the stout plastic levers will be available this summer for $12. For reference, the levers feel like they weigh at least twice as much as one would expect a pair of plastic levers to weigh, which could either mean they're just heavy, or that they might have a fighting chance of prying an old Schwalbe tire off an older Enve rim without snapping into pieces that fly towards your face. Always wear safety glasses, kids.
In all seriousness, a trip to Taiwan to visit the factories that produce all our favorite gear is an eye-opening experience as to just how little connection there can be with the product they make. By no means does it mean it's an inferior product, but it definitely offers a poignant understanding of why North American product managers and engineers spend so much time overseas keeping things in check. This harmless Maxxis mistake is one we can all relate to, as just about anyone reading PB could spot it from a mile away. Yet, it wasn't caught by any of the Taiwanese crew - including the guy making the presentation.