Note from James: This is Eric’s 3rd and final guest post about Taipei Cycle 2009. I greatly appreciate his willingness to share his thoughts and observations from the show with all of you over the last few days. Now on to Eric’s post:
The bicycles that seemed to have the most variety were what I refer to as the urban, commuter, and “lifestyle” bikes. Check out my Flickr photoset to see some of the more interesting bikes. While not necessarily innovative in the overall design geometry, there was a lot of experimentation in colors, materials, componentry, accessories and graphics. There were many interesting mixes between MTB’s, road bikes, fixies, singlespeeds, track bikes and cruisers.
Biomega had a full display at the show, and it was the first time I have seen their bikes in person. I was blown away at the level of craftsmanship, precision, and innovation. Each bike was like a piece of product design or furniture…On the website they call themselves makers of “furniture for locomotion.”
There was a Japanese bicycle brand called Be-All that caught my eye. Be-All is a complete urban lifestyle brand built around their line of bikes, but also includes such products as tableware, flowerpots, leather-bound wallets, and apparel. The entire brand is held together by a simple color scheme…You can have any color you want as long as it’s beige. The bikes themselves appear to be off the shelf but are well appointed with internal gear hubs, disc brakes, and leather saddles, fenders and racks. There is also design and color consistency in the appearance of the show display, catalog, and website, with lots of pictures of wine and cheese. Everything is meant to come off as European, but it’s all Japanese!
Small-wheeled bikes, or “mini-velos” are the rage in Asia and another fast-growing category. Probably having arisen from a perpetual lack of space, (Apartments in Seoul are usually 500sf or less) mini-velos provide much of the space-saving characteristics as folding bikes, without the additional weight and complexity. In the last few years however, they’ve become an outright fad. Some of the mini-velos available today rival the best performing road and mountain bikes, with features like carbon frames, full suspensions, and Dura-Ace or XTR components. In Seoul I see gangs of 20-somethings riding around on these things in tight jeans, with their minis decked out in flashing LED lights. Personally, I think this is primarily an Asian trend and won’t pass on to North America, except as a very small niche on the West coast.
Also check out my photoset on components and accessories. Multi-colored anodized parts were everywhere.
I noticed an interesting trend in bicycle helmets that indicates an attempt to reach blue-ocean dwellers who otherwise wouldn’t wear a helmet. These helmets eschew the typical brightly colored automotive-styled aesthetic in exchange for urban street fashion. There were other helmets that looked more like baseball caps or ladies’ sun hats.
That pretty much sums up the Taipei Cycle show for 2009. There was so much to see it was overwhelming, and I probably didn’t get to see everything … But thanks to James for giving me the opportunity to share my photos and thoughts with all of you!
Eric Stoddard, Industrial Designer