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Asian bike manufacturing and assorted links

Electric bike, Road Bike 3 1485

I’ll be traveling in China the next couple of weeks, so new posts here at Bicycle Design will likely be infrequent. Before I leave though, I want to pass along a few links that I think are pretty interesting.

Photo credit: Rob Jones,

On the subject of globalization and Chinese manufacturing, INRNG recently posted an interesting article about carbon bicycle frame production in Asia. They point to this Cycling IQ post, which discusses the relationship between major US and European bike brands and Taiwanese and Chinese OEM’s.

Speaking of China, a recent Scientific American article asks the question; can e-bike displace cars? The article mentions that, in China alone, “more than 100 million e-bikes have been sold over the past decade” making it the “the single largest adoption of alternative fuel vehicles in history.” I have mentioned the trend in China toward e-bikes and away from standard pedal bikes in a past post. My casual observations from frequent trips seem to substantiate the concern that the growth of e-bikes in China is due to people “moving up” from standard bicycles, and not from anyone giving up a car.  Hopefully the trend away from regular bicycles in China is reversing though, as government, businesses, and individuals actively work to increase bicycle use in urban areas.

On the subject of Chinese electric bikes, I’ll link back to this 2007 Bicycle Design guest post by Michael Downes. It is going to take time (and higher gas prices) but I think we will see substantial growth in the e-bike market here at some point in the near future.

Continuing with the e-bike theme, the eVox, developed by Procycle in Canada over a 15 year period, has some pretty interesting features. The battery can be recharged fully in just 1 hour providing a range between 40 and 150 km (depending on how much the motor is used). The motor itself is built into the frame (near the bottom bracket) providing a low center of gravity. The bike can work in 3 different modes- as a standard pedal bike with the motor off, as a pedelec providing an electric assist to the rider’s effort, or as a full electric (controlled by a throttle, I assume).

If Bike Snob NYC refers to Knog lights as “hipster cysts”, I don’t know what he would call these little frame mounted planters featured at Design Sponge. I can’t imagine the plants actually staying in place, but maybe leaving a trail of foliage to follow back is part of the idea.

Defendor lockable bike lightThe Defender, a revolver barrel styled lockable bike light from Gotham Bicycle Defense, has been getting a lot of attention on the web lately. Check out their Kickstarter page for more info.

I have been a fan of Ibis Cycles for many years (and I just bought a vintage 80’s baby blue steel Ibis for my daughter recently). The company celebrated 30 years of business last year, and posted a collection of great stories that are definitely worth checking out if you missed them last Spring (like I did). I just wish they had posted the full 30…I feel shortchanged with only 24 to read.

Any of you who like to capture video while riding might want to look into these sunglasses from Pivothead. They will hit the market in April for $349 and will feature built in HD video (1080p@30frames per second / 720p@60fps) to compete with products from companies like GoPro. Pretty interesting…camera mounted glasses definitely beat the idea of an appendage stuck on top of your helmet.

Finally, for those of you with an interest in photography, I want to mention the Cycling Landscape Photo Contest that just started at Loving the The contest runs through March 1st and there are some great prizes for the winners. While I am traveling next week, Darryl from Loving the Bike will be the guest curator for my #VeloThursday photo theme on Google +, so check in there on Thursday to share your original bike themed photographs as well.

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  1. Matt February 24, 2012 at 3:14 pm -  Reply

    In answer to your question… BSNYC calls those little planters “horticultural hipster cysts.” And… yeah, I don’t understand them either.

    The Defender light looks pretty cool, but I feel like it’s a lot of money for a “be seen” light. I’d like to see a comparison with some popular “be seen” lights.

  2. Johann Rissik February 26, 2012 at 8:58 am -  Reply

    “The Defender, a revolver barrel styled lockable bike light” To me it looks more like the cylinder of a revolver.
    It’s actually quite easily removed from the bike with a Torx security key. And yes, it’s pricey.

    Astounding statistic, the 100 million e-bikes in China.

  3. Loving the Bike March 1, 2012 at 8:53 am -  Reply

    Thanks for plugging our contest, James…..and I’m excited about helping out with #VeloThursday today.


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