The Taipei Cycle Show is usually one of the largest trade shows of the year, and it’s a hotbed of innovation as one of the major opportunities for companies to show off their new products.
This year, while the show does exist in an online format and we’ve toured the digital expo in search of any interesting finds (see here
), it doesn’t quite have the same abundance and intrigue as a real-time in-person trade show, so we decided to look back at some highlights from Taipei Cycle Shows past.
Here are some Taipei Cycle Show finds that were very cool but that never made it big in the public eye.
Tag Metals' Speed Align System
This one never caught on, but I still think it's a cool idea with a relatively low cost and few downsides compared to most changes in bike industry standards. I think Tag Metals' Speed Align System
idea would make at least a few lives easier.
I, for one, find the stem-straightening process to be agonizing. This offers to solve it with slots in the stem that could theoretically be lined up with laser-etched lines on the steerer tubes of any and all forks if suspension companies were willing to add that detail. (That's where the industry standard change would have to come in.) Plus, if people don’t want to use it, no harm done. It's what Levy calls a "functional refinement."S-Ride's 13-Speed Drivetrain
S-Ride is a Chinese drivetrain company that makes 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and even 13-speed shifters, derailleurs, and cassettes. Pinkbike tried the 13-speed drivetrain
in a stand at the Taipei Cycle Show in 2019 and was surprised to find that it worked, though the review wasn't glowing: "It had an action that could best be described as robust with the gears clunking into place after a bit of persuasion, but we were assured that on the trail it would work better than on the stand."
Still, the option to upgrade to a 1x13 setup with a massive 11-52t cassette is worth recognizing, especially considering the price. It seems to retail for $632 (though I found several MSRPs online and it seems to be discounted wherever it is sold, regularly selling for $300-odd USD). In comparison, the only other 13-speed mountain bike drivetrain on the market is from Rotor, and Rotor's 1x13 offerings start at $1,676 USD -- nearly three times S-Ride's price -- and increase from there.A Kid-Specific Drivetrain
We all wish we grew up with the bikes that kids have these days and the Taipei Cycle Show has something nice for the little ones almost every year. In 2018, there were enough small bikes that Levy wanted to be a kid again
. But my favorite offering for the little ones has to be the SunRace 1x drivetrain from 2018
, which gives a relatively inexpensive option to help improve the quality and weight of kids’ bikes.
Most of us ride bikes that weigh less than 30% of our bodyweight, but a scary number of kids are out there on bikes that weigh more than half the kids’ weight. Sure, maybe the next crop of 11-year-olds will all have Dangerholm’s thighs, but they might appreciate being able to, you know, pick their bikes up.Graphene Brake Discs
Heat dissipation is an ongoing problem that has yet to be totally solved. Sure, there are all kinds of modern fixes on the market like brake pads with fins (that may or may not rattle), insulated brake pistons, big rotors, aluminum-steel combo layups, and more. Still, graphene may offer a strong, quickly-cooling option that weighs in at a fraction of what typical metal rotors weigh. Mortop's version at the 2017 Taipei Cycle Show
But there’s a problem. Mortop’s website no longer exists and the company’s Facebook page hasn’t been updated since 2017, so it’s radio silence. Someone else may have to pick up the project where Mortop left off.A Carbon Chainring That's Said to Solve the Carbon Chainring Problem
While we're on the topic of unconventional component materials, we have to mention this carbon chainring from Digirit, which is said to solve the lifespan problem that has plagued carbon chainring attempts in the past. Because the chain vs. carbon friction game tends to destroy the carbon quickly, Digirit coated its chainring teeth with protective metal powder, which Digidirt says makes a carbon chainring last as long as an aluminum one.
The carbon weighs about 25% less than an aluminum counterpart and costs $150 -- roughly 50% more than SRAM's lightweight options -- which is about what you'd expect.Square Root Carbon Wheels
The Square Root carbon wheelsets
debuted at 2017’s Taipei Cycle Show, and the company is still going strong and selling wheels worldwide, despite not being a household name. While other carbon wheelsets tend to have astronomical pricetags, Square Root sells directly to consumers at prices that aren’t much higher than the alloy offerings from other companies. Plus, I have to say, I’m pretty partial to the rim graphics.3D Printed Pedals Made From Rice Husks
Rice husks have a multitude of cool uses in Asian countries, and we can add making pedals to the list. This machine 3D printed pedals right in front of onlookers' eyes at the expo, and the idea seems like a neat solution for making environmentally-responsible commuter pedals. While they don't look like they could compete with a nice pair of Vaults or Bladerunners, they do look like the eco-conscious version of Brian Park's 3D printed dadmobile pedals