17 Weird & Wonderful Bikes From the Taipei Cycle Show 2023
There's no shortage of weird at the Taipei Cycle Show, but when it comes to bikes, it's a mix of pure concept to show what a frame manufacturer can do and some "normal" bikes to court distributors. Sometimes, it means going to extremes, like with a 540g full carbon road bike frame. And in the case of this gorgeous blue Ioklin Frameworks Columbus steel gravel bike, some are custom builds to showcase a supplier's parts.
Built to show off BLKTEC's integrated handlebar and stem, the bike's paint scheme appears rough and rusted in spots, but it's all paint, and it looked fantastic. If I could’ve taken one bike home with me, this was probably it. Word is, Ioklin will be exhibiting at the MADE Bike Show this fall in Portland.
Ora Engineering is a Taiwanese titanium bicycle manufacturer, offering shaped tubes …
… and maybe even custom racks! Noticed a trend yet? Full internal routing and cockpit cables are a thing now — and won't be going away anytime soon.
While we’re on metal, Speedvagen's reps were showing off a few of the latest. The Wavy Road is an all-road bike with a groovy paint scheme.
The Rugged’er Road fits big tires and adds a suspension fork … I’m not sure if they painted the bike to match the fork or vice versa, but it looks good.
The Urban Racer probably has Ron swooning right now. It looks retro, but the details from its road bike (swoopy seatstays, integrated seatmast, paint-matched frame pump) would make this just as much at home with some fat slicks as these full knob mountain bike tires.
Rear coaster brake yields to a front disc brake in emergencies, and an integrated chainguard levels the whole thing up to Show Bike status. This model's not listed on the Speedvagen website, though.
The Tommasini Mini T is, well, a road bike with tiny wheels. Go figure.
The Trigon ARO1 won a show design award (we’ll have details on it in a roundup post for all award winners) thanks to cleanly integrated and novel aero features like dimpled surface textures across much of the frame, brake rotor fairings, and more.
The 2023 Argon 18 Dark Matter gravel bike is out now and has more mounts than almost any other non-bikepacking specific frame I’ve seen.
Three mounting points on the fork legs, two on top, four on the seat tube, two on each seatstay, and six on the downtube. Some are pretty close together, making them better for small accessories or just fine-tuning your bottle cage's position, but still …
Sitting next to it is this mystery bike. It's not online yet, but it looks like an all-road bike borrowing features from the brand's performance and endurance road frames and the Dark Matter gravel bike, then adding an internal storage compartment opened with a low-profile lever that would sit flush against a bottle cage. I’ve reached out for more info, and will update as they arrive.
The Giant Revolt X Pro gravel bike adds a suspension fork to its top carbon frames, plus a dropper seatpost.
This cargo e-bike caught my eye for the design, and then I saw the wireless charging spot it's parked on. From Voltraware, it can deliver up to 150 W of juice from 15 cm away. As the sign says, don't put your cell phone anywhere near it.
This Santillo e-road bike has a very distinct look, and it's also available in human-powered versions. It has a Polini drive system …
… which is named E-P3 — branding that's suspiciously similar to Shimano's EP8 at a glance.
I couldn't find a website for Travix, but its HAMR folding fat-tired e-bike looked rad. Full suspension, fenders, front basket, and cleanly integrated battery in the seatpost powering a hub motor — very nice.
Travix's mid-drive Powerkat e-bike with moto-style fork and handlebar looks like fun too.
Second to last is this full suspension prototype from Aryen Motor & Aeronautics Co, Ltd., which has a Taiwanese address on its card but Google says is an Indian company making motors and pumps. Such is the mystery of trying to find some of these things after the show.
The model is, I think, called the Fronbital. This one's a proper test mule it used to figure out geometry and suspension kinematics. Note the different mounting points for the linkage (and the comically short rear shock), but my favorite part is the wooden rockers:
They told me it allowed them to more quickly test different pivot positions than machining a part from metal, and it worked just fine for kinematics work in the lab. No explanation for the downtube friction shifter, but it looked cool and could be a fun way to provide a rear shock remote lockout without adding an MTB lever to a drop bar layout.
Finishing off this roundup is a frame (technically #18, consider it a bonus) from Grat Co. Ltd. With a claimed weight of just 540 g for the standard version, and 614 g for the one with a seatmast, it's rated for a rider weight up to 220 pounds (100 kg).
The front triangle uses a low headtube with space for an inset top tube cover to keep it clean. Both the top and down tubes have shaping to add torsional rigidity, and the round BB tube can be 68 mm or 86 mm wide depending on the customer's spec. As shown, it's 100% carbon with no metal inserts. The rear dropouts are hollow carbon fiber.
Stay tuned for more fun stuff from the 2023 Taipei Cycle Show!