Just about every brand and bike company is at the Taipei Cycle Show, even if it’s just to say hello to their suppliers and see what’s new.
Where at many events a media pass can be an all-access golden ticket, nearly the opposite is true at the Taipei Cycle Show. This is a place for business, and the brands only display things they want the whole industry to see – the rest remains hidden behind closed doors, curtained booths and in foam-lined suitcases.
Day two is done and I’ve only just managed to finish browsing the first hall. I’ve got two days and two floors remaining. Stay tuned, there’s plenty more to come.
Follow the link for all coverage from the 2019 Taipei Cycle Show.
FSA (Full Speed Ahead) is showing an incredible number of new products – none more significant than its K-Force WE disc brake groupset. This has been a long time coming, and groupsets are expected to arrive for sale in Europe from June. No exact word on when other parts of the world will see it.
We’ve covered FSA’s WE system on a number of occasions, but as a refresher, the front and rear derailleurs, along with the battery, are wired to each other. The shifters are wireless (not counting the brake hoses).
The K-Force WE disc brake groupset offers similar shifting ergonomics to the previously seen mechanical brake version.
First seen at Eurobike, FSA is displaying a more polished version of its upcoming ACR (Aerodynamic Cable Routing) system that’s intended for original equipment specification. Designed for disc brakes and electronic shifting, it consists of handlebars, stems, headsets and spacers which are all designed to hide cables straight from the shifter and into the frame. Such a concept isn’t new, but FSA are certainly opening it up to a far wider market of smaller and niche bike brands who wouldn’t otherwise be able to produce their own systems.
Here’s a cut-away of the ACR system on a bike. The whole point of the system is to work with existing fork and headset standards, although frame manufacturers will likely need to adapt for the different routing.
Another inside view of the ACR system, this time the headset compression cap. The front hole is for the fork steerer, with the rear slot for cables. FSA will also offer a semi-integrated system which should offer easier component swapping.
FSA had its full K-Force WE disc group, ACR internal cable system and gravel components setup on this new Donnelly e-gravel bike. It’s fitted with a Fauza motor. It’s one the cleanest e-bike setups I’ve ever seen, and may be telling of where FSA see its ACR concept being most valuable in the long term.
Speaking of e-bikes, FSA offer crank options to suit many popular mid-mount e-bike systems. It’s truly overwhelming when you consider each one of these cranks is available in five to six lengths, and with multiple chainring size, offset and mount options.
FSA have a new top-tier mountain bike crank on the way for 2020. The KFX Direct Mount Modular crank is machined in two halves and bonded together. FSA state the new design is lighter and stronger than carbon. The hollowed split concept has certainly been done before (Crankbrothers Cobalt come to mind), but FSA state a new manufacturing process will make the two halves fit extremely precisely. The prototype offers a satisfying noise as the two pieces come together.
FSA continues to expand its gravel component options. The new mid-tier A-Wing Pro bar offers a subtle riser, flat ergonomic tops, a gentle 15-degree flare at the drops and internal cabling.
FSA will also soon offer an even more budget version. The A-Wing AGX has simpler profiles and drops the internal cable routing as found on the Pro and K-Force (carbon) models.
FSA’s partnership with powermeter specialists Power2Max is alive and well. The FSA PowerBox is now available for gravel friendly sub-compact chainring sizes too. This top tier “NS Super Compact” crank is available with either 48/32 or 46/30T chainrings.
The exhibition halls may lack a number of big bike brands, but they’re typically at the show in some capacity. You can bet that a whole bunch of 2020 model year bikes hide beyond these doors. You’ll have to be a manufacturing supplier, distributor or direct employee to gain access.
Elite have a new carbon fibre side-entry cage pitched at mountain bikers or riders of smaller frames. The Prism is available in left or right orientations.
The brand new SKS SpeedRocker clip-on fender set is built for road and gravel bikes with 32 to 42mm rubber. They aim to offer full coverage from the elements when riding newer disc-equipped drop bar bikes.
The rear fender features rubber straps and aluminium struts. They’re said to be highly adjustable and offer easy install/removal when the weather changes.
The front guard uses silicon-backed velcro straps for even greater security and flexibility with various fork leg sizes. The guard uses a split design to ensure available fork crown clearance isn’t a limiting factor for compatibility.
SKS is getting into phone mounts. And while they do work with a twist, there is another twist to what they offer.
The SKS Compit range has the added option of an induction charging (Qi-certified) battery power pack. There is also the ability to automate functions on your phone through NFC control, something that’s currently limited to newer Android users. For those lacking a Qi-certified phone, a regular old USB output is given too. And yes, it is possible to use the 5000mAh battery pack with both the induction feature and a USB device at the same time. This could prove a super useful product for those who use their phones for navigation at extended periods of time.
The SKS Compit mount can also be purchased with a GoPro-style mount off the front, perhaps for adding a light or camera.
The mount allows you to place the phone and/or battery pack in either a landscape or portrait orientation. Various phone case models are available, as is a universal adhesive option. And the best part? It’s surprisingly affordable. I was told the mount and battery pack together retail for EU€80 (approx US$80). Add another EU€10 for the required phone cover.
Joe’s No Flats have this clever little tubeless valve adapter on the way. It takes the place of a Presta valve core and turns the stem into a Schrader (auto) valve. This may prove an ideal upgrade for those who are a little too rough with Presta valves, or prefer to “borrow” air from service stations.
A pair of the Joe’s No Tubes Auto Valve Converters will sell for AU$20, with other regions TBC.
Want to make your aero superbike heavier, slower and way, way more expensive? KTM will show you how. But in all seriousness, the bike company partnered with fellow Austrians Swarovski Kristallwelten to produce two bikes in celebration of the 2018 Road World Championships in their backyard. One bike was then auctioned off, fetching EU€12000 for an Austrian charity. The other is this Revelator Lisse Prestige with 8,000 crystals.
Even the PinkBike guys were interested in this road bike.
Lezyne continues to build on its compact bit-based tools, adding this Ratchet Drive to the mix. The simple ratchet also features a fixed end for freeing super tight or low clearance bolts. The set will retail for US$40 and includes 14 1/4in tool bits. On this topic, here’s a shameless plug for a detailed bit-based multitool group test from last year.
Painted and colourful saddles are quite a common sight at this year’s Taipei Cycle Show. The PRO Stealth snub-nose saddle remains unchanged. However, they do have this not-so-stealth silver painted limited edition on display. It’s available for sale now.
FSA isn’t the only one looking to hide cables at an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) level. Ritchey have its Logic-E system on display. I’ll let the picture do the talking.
Ritchey’s system is fairly basic compared to FSA’s ACR system which truly hides all brake hoses and wires, but then again, setup and servicing on Ritchey’s design will be suitably basic, too.
Ritchey’s new Chicane stem offers a knee-friendly clamp area by replacing the traditional steerer pinch bolts with an integrated internal wedge hidden beneath a magnetic top cap. A hinged clamp up front is also designed to reduce drag. It’ll be available in 80-140mm lengths, with a 110mm version said to weigh 175g.
Ritchey’s new Baquiano bar is made with gravel in mind. It offers a short 73mm reach, 12-degree flare and will be available in 38 through to 46cm widths (in the usual 2cm increments). No word on pricing for this one.
Ritchey’s WCS Classic range has been available for nearly a decade, but surprisingly, it remains one of the few options for those seeking modern performance components with a classic silver look.
Walking the halls of trade shows often opens your eyes to things you’ve never seen before. In this case, it was a drivetrain brand that had a functioning 11-speed system on display. Sensah’s Empire group has design cues that look more than familiar, and a shifting style that mimics SRAM’s DoubleTap style of shifting, but does so directly from the brake lever.
Sensah also have a range of cranks, cassettes and even chains (under the brand Sumc). This cassette is CNC machined, with aluminium used for the largest three cogs.
Sensah offer mountain bike components too. This 12-speed XRX rear derailleur features an easily adjustable clutch mechanism. Generally speaking, you won’t find components like these in the Western World as derailleur and shifter designs are commonly protected by patents.
What does this pile of pedals have in common? They all feature internal polymer bushings from Igus. And Igus’ bushings aren’t just sourced for pedals either – brake pivots, derailleurs, suspension forks, dropper posts and rear shocks also commonly call on these bearing alternatives.
Regardless of the industry, Germany’s Igus is a leader in bushings. Here are just a few of the bushing material compounds available.
British bicycle maintenance company Weldtite have overhauled a number of its tubeless products. These reusable Easy Fit rim bands simply snap over the rim for an airtight seal. In my experience such snap-fit tubeless bands don’t provide as reliable a seal as tubeless tape, but there’s no denying the ease of installation.
Weldtite’s new tubeless sealant is free of common allergens.
Weldtite say its new Advanced Ceramic Chain Wax is the best all-conditions performance drip lube going. Like many other wax lubes, it dries onto the chain for lubrication with reduced grit. It’s something I’m eager to see benchmarked in efficiency and durability tests.
Released late last year, WTB have two new floaty 650B “road plus” tyres. Pictured is the Venture 47c, a gravel tyre WTB claims to be its most versatile. The semi-slick tread features a dual-compound rubber with progressively more open and meatier tread toward the sides. Tubeless ready and tan sidewalls tick the gravel must-have checkboxes.
The Sendero 47c is the other new road plus tyre from WTB. Its blocky and deep tread is made for incredibly loose and rough riding, you know, where mountain bikes once went.
That’s a wrap on day two from the Taipei Cycle Show. Tomorrow I’ll head over the road to the second exhibition hall (yep, days one and two were from a single hall). Sheesh, this place is big!
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