Taichung Bike Week – Cool Products & Essential Knowledge

Johnson Li

Johnson Li

Founder & Managing Director - First Components

Visiontech Stem Inside View

“Taichung Bike Week . . . hmm . . . should I go?” you ask yourself.

“Isn’t Taipei Cycle the #1 OEM/ODM trade show to target each year?” you muse.

In this post we cover all you need to know plus a whole lot that you won’t find anywhere else, including the answer to those questions.

Bookmark this page since we’ll be updating and improving the reports, images and videos every year going forward.

Make this your go-to resource for Taichung Bike Week.

Quick Links to Sections
Getting to Taichung
TBW 2019—New Products
TBW Background & History
TBW 2020 Preview

 

TAICHUNG BIKE WEEK OVERVIEW (Dispelling the Myths)


This is a unique trade show in the bike industry, possibly in any industry, for two reasons:

1. the venues
2. the rationale

First let’s get an idea of what TBW is and what it isn’t.

Is Taichung Bike Week the MOST Important Show?

For many in the industry, yes.

For many, no, it is not.

The original concept was for product managers to meet directly with their key suppliers.

This is—and largely remains—a strictly OE sourcing show.

Meetings were held (and still are) in hotel rooms by appointment only where participants talked turkey—what do you want, how many, and by what date?

As participants in the “show” grew year-on-year, so did the opportunity to connect with a number of suppliers, often in the same hotel.

If your target companies were not in your own hotel, then many others were available in the other nearby venues.

The advantages of being able to sit down in a unique context and talk business in a unique way was quickly multiplying with the show’s increasing profile.

Another unique advantage was that many companies have factories or “Technology Workshops” mostly within an hour’s drive.

Onsite visits to explore more technical aspects of potential or confirmed orders are easily accomplished. Many, if not most, visitors to the show avail themselves of a factory, workshop, or R & D facility visit.

velo office dajia Taiwan
Velo Saddles in Downtown Dajia, Taichung

This aspect of the event continues to provide a good advantage. If you visit the Taipei Show and then elect to do some factory visits, you’ll have a little more hassle getting down to Taichung.

But that alone is not enough of a hassle to make a Taichung Bike Week visit a reasonable substitute for the Taipei Show. The High Speed Rail gets you from Taipei to Taichung in around 50 minutes.

trade booths evergreen hotel

Booths were quick to appear alongside the room-based meeting spaces as the show developed over the years.

You now can’t enter any venue without encountering thickets of booths on most of the floors set aside for the Show in each hotel venue.

You can’t help but notice the smaller brands or companies, many of which are startups—often backed by much larger companies as silent partners—maximizing their physical visibility on the floor in order to come to the attention of the considerable volume of browsing visitors and participants.

TBW is beginning to resemble a normal trade show. Superficially anyway.

The trend in recent years is the increase in startup or small brand participation leading to a a degree of overlap between Taichung Bike Week and Taipei Cycle.

For European companies the OE aspect is important for them to get the year-after-next product year organized (eg. 2019 TBW for 2021 products).

2021 catalogue
Catalogue Cover from Taichung Bike Week 2019

For US companies it has tended to come a bit late.

In short, the most important show is the one your company cannot afford to miss, a definition which will, thus, vary with each company.

Taichung Bike Week offers a range of advantages that many companies will assess as worthy taking advantage of.

What’s All This About a New (Single) Venue for the Show?

Work has commenced on a new exhibition center located close to Taichung International Airport.

The official announcement came at the 2019 Taichung Bike Week welcome dinner held on the evening of the first day.

The Minamata International Convention and Exhibition Center is due to be completed in 2023 when it will also become the official venue for Taichung Bike Week.

There are forces aligned for and against this.

Those against the move point out that their costs will likely skyrocket. Setting up in a hotel room is very economical.

Setting up a booth is also cost-effective: the main expense is in booth design, which only needs to be basic in what is a no-frills show context.

The new center will be 15km removed from downtown Taichung plus accommodation and usual haunts (e.g. Uzo bar and restaurant) for show participants every year.

Morning and afternoon traffic bottlenecks on that part of the expressway getting to and from hotels and the Exhibition Center will mean adding an extra hour to what is already a long day.

You just need to be aware that whether or not the show does actually relocate to the new venue is still a bit up-in-the-air.

Taichung Bike Week Background

Why Taichung?

Because the greater Taichung Municipality is—famously—home to a complete supply chain for the industry.

It starts with the Dajia district, home to the biggest bicycle company in the world, Giant.

Many companies are concentrated in nearby Dajia Industrial Park—frame and component makers such as Trigon, Caribou, and  First Components, makers of Bottom Brackets, Cranks and Headsets for many of the world’s top bike brands.

Outside the Park, many more produce frames and components in unassuming premises on the maze of country lanes—Taiwan’s bicycle-industrial complex leaves very few bicycles made in the world today untouched.

The (large) majority include components designed (ODM) and/or sourced or perhaps finished in Taiwan.

Taiwanese companies which manufactured wholly in China often elect to have carbon finishing processes such as painting, for example, carried out in Taiwan since the quality is a lot higher.

Taichung Bike Industry District

Some companies such as SRAM are located in Taichung City proper; many can be found a little further south—FSA and Lezyne in the semi-rural/industiral Wufeng district, for example,

Neighboring Changhua County, a 30 min expressway drive to Taichung’s southwest is home to another concentration of component makers, one of the biggest being Merida.

Taichung is, furthermore, growing in importance due to the recent, and ongoing, mass exodus of companies from China.

Taiwanese companies invested heavily in China factories from the early 1990s. With 2019’s USA trade war escalation and the EU anti-dumping law implementation, many opted to move production to Vietnam or back to Taiwan.

The main force behind TBW’s development over the last decade has been Pro-Lite’s owner and CEO, Steve Fenton, in partnership with the Taichung City government.

Steve started working towards the event in 2004, getting a group together finally getting a critical mass of exhibitors for the first edition in 2007.

TBW has grown every year until last year when the Taipei Cycle Show moved from March to November, forcing the organizers to shift to October.

Steve has recently stepped down from his key organizing role due to business and health reasons.

Getting to Taichung

You’ll arrive in Taiwan in either the Taoyuan International Airport (95% of arrivals) Songshan, or Kaohsiung.

Via Taoyuan

Your destination is listed as “Taipei” (TPE on your baggage ticket). Taoyuan is the International Airport’s actual location, 45km due west of Taipei.

Taichung is a 30min bullet train journey south from the airport.

Just follow the HSR (High Speed Rail) signs. You’ll firstly take the MRT for the short transfer to the HSR station 5 stops south (A18).

The Taichung HSR station is located outside the city, a little removed from the venues. As of writing the local Metro rail, which passes close to all three Taichung Bike Week venues, is not yet operating but will most likely open to the public by the 2020 edition.

If you don’t have a hotel transfer arranged, having descended from the platform and exited the ticket barrier, head down the escalator/stairs to the taxi rank.

Free HSR shuttles taking various routes through the city are also available. Follow the “Busses” sign to access the stairs leading to this area, which is in the opposite direction to the Taxi ranks.

Note that when returning to Taoyuan Airport from the Taoyuan HSR station, the MRT stops at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2.

Via Songshan

Songshan is located in Taipei City proper. Some flights from Japan, Korea, and China land here.

You can take the MRT (follow the signs) to the Taipei HSR (High Speed Rail) terminal. But that requires one transfer to the Blue Line, getting off at Taipei Main Station, then following the signs to the HSR terminal..

You may find it easier to take a cab directly to Taipei Main Station however.

Via Kaohsiung

Take a cab to the HSR (High Speed Rail) Terminal at Zuoying, outside Kaohsiung city. Taichung is a 50-60 minute journey north. Refer to the Via Taoyuan section above for getting from Taichung HSR to Taichung city.

Venues

There is no central venue where companies set up to be visited by current or potential clients.

Instead companies hire out hotel rooms, suites or conference rooms to conduct meetings.

The hotels, amongst Taichung’s largest, are the Evergreen, Splendor, and Tempus all within a 10 min walk of each other.

Taxis are immediately available if you’re looking to move across venues quickly, though.

The Lin, a relatively new hotel has been included in previous TBW editions. In close proximity to the North-South expressway that bisects Taichung, The Lin has the largest spaces, but requires a 5-7 min Taxi ride—it’s not withing walking distance of the others.

Note that The Lin is not included in 2019 TBW, although that may change in the future. The traditional Taichung Bike Week Welcome Dinner, is held here, Wednesday evening each year.

Bookmark this page now since we will be updating it each year.

The obvious advantage to having a trade show spread across a number of hotels is accommodation convenience.

There are many other hotels in the immediate and general area.

The Fulwon Hotel is one to keep in mind. It has reasonable prices, friendly and efficient staff and is close to the venue.

Two new reasonably priced hotels a stone’s through from The Splendor, the Airline Inn and Hotel Elizabeth (50m away), are also ones to keep in mind.

Evergreen Hotel

The Evergreen recently had a facelift and offers a spacious lobby with bar and dining area. There is good parking in the storied basement parking lots.

You’ll also find a public car park a 5 minute walk north-west along Taiwan Boulevard, as well as storied basement parking in the building directly opposite (inbound to the train station side).

Evergreen Lobby Bar

Evergreen has relaxed ambiance and is almost within shouting distance of one of the other hotels, the Tempus, which you can view through the window on the top left of the picture.

The booths are accessed through descending the stairs on the right. More booths are upstairs on the 2nd floor.

Evergreen Hotel Rooms

For those companies taking meetings in rooms, normally by appointment only, it is a little squeezy in the corridors.

The Splendor

The Splendor is located around 600 m to the South East along Taiwan Boulevard from Evergreen.

Splendor Hotel Main sign outside

A narrow lobby opens out into generous space on each of the floors allocated to the show.

That’s one reason why the largest concentration of companies—with booths anyway—can be found here.

Tempus

The Tempus is the most compact of the three hotels.

tempus hotel front view

Several companies are located in the building across the road to the left, out of the picture frame—SRAM, Velo, and FSA to name the biggest.

The main location for booths is straight down the stairs. The 5th floor is home to many companies each occupying a small meeting room. Otherwise companies have a whole floor or partly shared with others.

Rationale

Taichung Bike Week is held on a Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in Q4 every year. Lately that has been October. It has been held in November in previous years.

The focus is on a no-frills display, with new products, and comfortable meeting facilities.

Steve Fenton, of Pro-Lite, points out that he spends only 3% of what it costs him to exhibit at Taipei Cycle.

The focus is on getting deals done for the product year-after-next. That is, companies attending the 2020 TBW will be doing deals for the 2022 product year.

If you’ve booked a spot in Taichung Bike Week, that will mean your appointment schedule is solid, typically the case for companies opting for a room or suite.

If you don’t have appointments with existing clients or new clients with which a deal has already been done apart from some detail finalization, then you may question why you are at the event.

Having said that, the trend is for newer companies to put up a booth and take advantage of the highly concentrated B2B traffic on the venue floor.

 

TAICHUNG BIKE WEEK 2019—PRODUCT DISCOVERIES

 

Here’s a few examples of what was to be found on the floor of the show.

TBW is largely a preview for the Taipei Show coming up in the first week of March, 2020.

The video shows many of these products. The coverage in the section below, however, provides

  • greater detail
  • thoughts, evaluations
  • some products not covered in the video

Drivetrain Tech Solutions Articulated Derailleur Cage

The problem of a dropped chain can be reduced through installing a derailleur with a clutch and/or a narrow-wide chainring.

A clutch, however

  • inhibits a chain’s smooth flow over the cassette and through the pulleys
  • introduces extra resistance in the shifter, making for stiffer gear changes

drive train tech solutions derailleur

The DTS derailleur cage is hinged a little way above the lower jockey wheel. It curves to the rear holding around a 45° angle to the ground, the angle maintained in tension by a spring.

The extra tension on the chain between the lower jockey wheel and the chainring coupled with the drivetrain tension between chainring and cassette holds the chain more closely to the chainring, thus preventing chain drops.

Prowheel Chain Snatcher

Now, if a narrow-wide chainring and the new DTS derailleur don’t do the job and your chain is still prone to the odd derail, then perhaps this innovation from Prowheel is what you need.

prowheel chain snatcher

A “catcher” sits on the crank, snug against the chainring. When the chain dislodges from the chainring, it drops into the catcher.

The catcher’s lip prevents the chain from sliding away further; the chain momentarily rests in this as the crank rotates. Lugs projecting from the catcher slip into the links as chainring teeth proxies to steady the chain.

prowheel chain snatcher

The lugs continue to hold the chain as a bridge between the crankarm and the chainring rotates under the chain, lifting it back into position on the chainring.

This all happens rapidly. If you’re on the trail, your chain will be back in place in the blink of an eye.

You might be advised to use a chain guard though since the chain sometimes fell to the inside on the demo machine, although that seemed to be due to the machine setup.

Zeno Q-Connector Universal Hydraulic Connector with Tool-Free Quick Release

That’s quite a mouthful. It’s still a nifty product though.

When it comes to flexible assembly and dis-assembly of a bike for storage, short or long distance transport, derailleur and brake cables are easily sorted.

Not if you’ve got a hydraulic hose though—you need to keep that connected, from master cylinder through to the brake caliper. Not convenient.

Hydraulic Q Connector

The Q-Connector allows you to decide exactly where you’d like to be able to disconnect the hose whenever you need to. Cut the hose, install the connector. Done!

You connect both ends of the hose by screwing one part of the Q-Connector into the other—no tool required.

The fluid flows unimpeded. There is also a Fluid Volume adjustment mechanism to regulate fluid flow.

When you need to separate the hose, unscrewing the connector uncouples one side from the other. Each side seals preventing any fluid flow out of the hose.

The Astrol RS-16 Kids Electric Balance Bike

Brizon is not the first to come out with a kids e-balance bike. But their Astrol RS-16 is possibly the coolest.

Astrol Rs16 kids electric balance bike

This unit is not for the tiny tots though. A child needs to have developed sound skills on a non-electric balance bike before they can graduate to this one.

And that’s the central point—graduating from simple to advanced. The Astrol RS-16 is conceived as the bridge to an eMTB, for children between the ages of 6 and 8 years.

“Starting off on a balance bike, then perhaps spending time on a kids pedal bike, a 6 year-old moves to the RS-16 to get used to riding under power. That experience paves the way to move to an eMTB”, said Eric Kuo, Brizon’s Sporting Goods Deputy Manager.

Riderever’s Heat Dissipating Caliper

riderever range of brake caliper units

Riderever (pronounced Ride Reveere) is a brand offshoot of Jagwire, makers of a range of brake-related products.

Riderever Heat dissipating Brake Caliper

This brake caliper sports a wide face consisting of deep grooves resulting in heat dissipating ribs, like the cylinder head of a small, air cooled motorbike cylinder head.

VisionTech Battery Display Stem & TT Bike Handlebar Pads

Expect a surge in e-road products over the next couple of years.

The recent Turbo Creo SL by Specialized promises to be the tip of the iceberg for the rapid development of the e-road sports category.

The RGX model with the almost invisible Fazua mid-drive motor VisionTech had on display incorporating this stem was mighty impressive.

Visiontech Stem

A battery and e-system monitoring unit can be fitted inside this this carbon stem, rather than added as an external fixture on the bars or integrated into the top tube, which sets it back out of a cyclists line of sight.

Visiontech Stem Inside View

Given that the ideal stem length is for the dropout to more or less align with the end of the stem from the rider’s viewpoint, the display will be conveniently in view all of the time.

Visiontech Tt Handlebar Pads

A new design of TT handlebar pads within a new TT handlebar design.

Comfortably accommodating a competitor’s forearms, the pads also provide excellent grip whilst allowing sweat to evaporate quickly.

Alligator Cables Adjustable Pedal & Adjustable Crank

Alligator had two interesting products on display.

Adjustable Pedal Multitool

This adjustable pedal allows a rider to fit the pedal angle to the most appropriate angle in relation to their pedaling style.

Our feet don’t naturally point directly forward; there’s a range of natural physiological variation to the left and right amongst cyclists. What’s comfortable for one rider, is not necessarily so for another.

By loosening the 2mm allen bolts (center top and center middle of the photo), a rider can rotate the central platform a maximum of 20° to the left or right, allowing his or her foot to rest more naturally on the pedal.

As an added thought, a slide-out tray large enough to carry a basic multitool fits neatly beneath, although you could carry a whole range of things there.

Possibly the most appropriate use for this would be on a City Bike or Trekking Bike, preferably a pedelec since these are weighty pedals.

The second item, an adjustable crank, addresses the issue of crank length.

Alligator Adjustable Crank

The most common range of crank lengths range from 160mm to 175mm.

Alligator Adjustable Crank Spec

This length is a “center-to-center” measurement, from the center of the spindle to the center of the pedal.

Alligator Adjustable Crank Mechanism

The mechanism works through fitting the blocks into different configurations which are then secured in position by a bolt.

If crank length is of particular concern to a rider, particularly a competitive cyclist, then this device offers possibilities despite the weight penalty incurred.

TAICHUNG BIKE WEEK 2020

With the disruptions of 2018—date changes for Eurobike, Taipei Cycle, and Taichung Bike Week—now history,TBW’s future looks solid.

Most participants reported having a very satisfying 3 days with many booking back-to-back meetings each day.

Tbw  See You Next Year sign

Next year the show will be from Wednesday October 13 to Friday October 16.

With Eurobike and Taipei Cycle now back in their traditional time slots and looking to remain there, you can expect Taichung Bike Week

The only potential uncertainty in the medium term surrounds the possible move to the new Minamata Convention Center. Taichung Bike Week becomes a good deal less attractive to companies if it turns out to be a good deal more expensive and more inconvenient.

What do you think?

Is having everyone together in the one center, progress? Or is the show’s current format the right approach?

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