Taipei International Cycle Show Part 1


I arrived early on the first day of the Taipei International Cycle Show. It took a while to get my pass in order. My friend who had a ticket breezed through. As I entered 1F of the expo, I started walking around.

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I’ve set up a blog for all the posts concerning bicycle purchases from Taiwan. It will serve as a focus for all of the bicycle-related posts from Taiwan. Asterisk*Cycles specializes in high-end bikes.

It is my opinion that to save money, the best thing is to actually purchase bikes or components that are worth more than $3,000 USD. That’s when the real savings start, but modest savings can be had starting from $1,000 USD.

Complete bikes and components, such as gruppos, wheelsets and frames are available, from Pinarello, Giant, Colnago, TIME, Scott, Specialized, Wilier, Orbea, Kuota, and DeRosa. Components from Mavic, Zipp, Lightweight, Campagnolo, Shimano and SRAM are available, as well as seats, stems, and handlebars from FSA, MOst, and other companies.

Currently, there are some major discounts to be had on the 2010 Pinarello Dogma 60.1, the 2010 TCR Advanced SL product line from Giant, the 2010 Anthem X Advanced SL 0 from Giant as well as the 2010 Trance X Advanced SL 0 from Giant.

To find out more, visit Asterisk*Cycles or send me an email at djrange at gmail dot com.

Buy Bikes Direct From Taiwan

'10 Giant TCR Advanced SL Team Giro ISP with Dura Ace 7900

I’ve mentioned a few times on my blog how cheaper it is to buy bikes in Taiwan. I’ve seen differences of up to 35% between the final sale price here in Taipei and the MSRP in the US.

It actually never crossed my mind, but after having received about a dozen inquiries about the bikes, I decided to investigate things further with a few local shops and dealers. That being said, after having negotiated a deal with a few different LBSs, I’ve come to an agreement.

[Update: I’ve got some great deals on the 2010 Pinarello Dogma with either SRAM Red, Campagnolo Super Record, or Shimano Dura-Ace. Check out this post for details.]

[Update: I’ve received news about the top-of-the-line Giant TCR Advanced SL LTD ISP. It has got a lot of differences from the US TCR Advanced SL 0. Check out this post for details.]

{You can also visit Asterisk*Cycles}

'10 Trance X Advanced SL 0

I plan on making available a small number of bikes for people interested in buying them, in the US, Canada or Europe. I’ll concentrate on the Giant TCR Advanced, TCR Advanced SL, Defy Advanced, FCR Advanced, and Trinity Advanced product lines for Giant road bikes. For Giant mountain bikes, it’ll be Faith, Glory, Reign (and Reign X), Trance X (including Trance X Advanced SL 0 carbon fiber), Anthem X (including Anthem X Advanced SL 0 carbon fiber), and XTC Advanced product lines. If there are enough bikes being sold, I might receive better prices, but initially, it looks like the ones I have will be between 10-35% less than US prices.

'10 TCR Advanced SL 1 ISP with SRAM Red

Although this is mainly about Giant, there are also a number of Pinarellos, Wiliers, Orbeas, DeRosas, Kuotas, Colnagos, and TIME bikes and frames available. Rebates apply to those as well, though they aren’t as steep as the ones on Giant bikes. For example, a ’09 Pinarello Prince w Super Record 11, Bora 1 wheels retailed about $9,000. US MSRP for this bike is about $10,200. To keep things simple, I’ll concentrate on 2010 models, but there might be some ’09 models available, if that’s what you’re looking for. All bikes are new. Packaging and shipping will be handled by pros. Different shipping options will be available, though I’ll suggest using Taiwan Post. It’s safe, reliable, and cheaper than FedEx and DHL.

Right now, the steepest discounts are on 2010 Pinarello Dogmas, 2010 Giant TCR Adanced SL models, 2010 Giant Trinity SL models, as well as the 2010 Giant Anthem X Advanced SL 0 and the 2010 Giant Trance X Advanced SL 0.

'10 Glory 0 8" travel DH bike

So take a look at the Giant US website and tell me exactly what bike you want. You’ll need to give me your bike size in cm. I’d prefer to keep things simple and to deal with the bikes the way they come in the box, but you can always ask me for some upgrades. You should also be aware that there might be some spec changes between the US models and the Taiwanese models. Some models exist in the US and don’t exist here, and vice versa.

I can also get components: Dura Ace, Dura-Ace Di2, SRAM Red, Record & Super Record. Wheels are also available.

Be advised that shipping a bike from Taiwan to the US costs between $100-150 and a frameset will cost less than $100 to ship. Accepted payment is through PayPal or direct bank wire.

Visit Asterisk*Cycles and send an email to djrange at gmail dot com to find out more. I’ve created a page for this, but you can leave any comment you want here.

OEM Carbon Fiber Bike Frame

I’m currently in talks with someone who works at the factory which makes Pinarellos and Storcks. As for purchasing one of those frames, it’s going to be hard to get a great deal since all of the frames are earmarked for export. Unless he breaks the rules, the frames can’t be sold in Taiwan from the factory. Pinarello and Storck customize them, assemble the full bikes, and sell them. So Pinarellos found here in Taiwan have been imported from Italy even though they have been made here. It’s a bit ridiculous. I’ll do some more snooping around in Taichung, as I have a contact there as well and most of the bikes in Taiwan are made in Taichung. I’m sure that a few frames slip off the production lines all the time.

However, the insider has revealed that Carbotec completely designed the Fascenario 0.7 for Storck, which is one of the lightest and stiffest carbon fiber frames out there at 740 gr. Carbotec make an OEM-like frame that is based on similar technology, which weighs 860 gr and is supposed to be 8% stiffer. It’s incredibly cheap, $1,400, and if it comes with no decals or logos, I’d be really interested because it would be lower priced than a second-hand KOM. It would be a tad more expensive than the second-hand Kuote Kredo ’08 that I had my eye one, but it would be a performing machine. All of the performance of a big name frame and a third or a quarter of the price.

Still, OEM frames are hard to judge since they don’t really have a brand. Sure, they do have a brand, but it’s an unknown quantity. It’s almost impossible to research those frames, so you can’t find out much about them.


Update: I’ve spent a few hours researching the OEM brand and found some really good comments on them. I haven’t read about any real issues, except maybe that the fork isn’t as stiff and performing as it should be for such a good frame. Most of the people who purchased this bike frame use Edge forks instead.


This whole thing is ludicrous. Why? Well, the “Made in Italy” stamp can be added to any frame or bike if at least 50% of the price comes from Italy. This means for example that if a carbon fiber frame was made in Taiwan, sent out to Italy, where the company adds components, paint and tires, then this frame would be labeled made in Italy. This is one of the secrets of the bicycle trade.

This is the reason why Wiliers and Pinarellos are so expensive, because their price is inflated artificially in Italy contrary to TIME frames which are completely manufactured in France. However, about 95% of bike companies function this way. Even Scott has their frames made in Taiwan. BMCs are made in China.

Where Was My Bike Made?

I found this great article by Kerry Roberts where he gives you information about where your bike was actually made. His list dates from 2008. Since then, all of Cannondale’s production has shifted to Asia. All Colnagos except the EPS are made in Taiwan. All Pinarellos are made in Taiwan. All Kuotas are made in Taiwan. All Orbeas are made in Taiwan. All Wiliers are made in Taiwan.

All TIME frames are made in France. Just as Giant is unusual in the fact that they make their own carbon frames, the same is true for TIME.

Why is this important? It’s important for pricing. Any frame made in the US and Europe can have a premium price attached to it. Frames that aren’t can’t breach a certain logical price limit. Obviously this isn’t true for every manufacturer, especially for some who don’t want you to find out that your bike was made in Asia, like the Prince by Pinarello.

Kuota KOM vs Kredo Ultra

The Kuota KOM has two fundamental differences from the Kuota Kredo Ultra road bike. First, it features external cable routing, therefore not as aerodynamic. However this eliminated the need for eyelets for internal routing and saves weight while preserving the integrity of the frame. Second, the KOM does not have an integrated seat mast. This save additional frame weight. These two differences mean although the Kuota Kredo is the best all around bike the Kuota KOM is going to outperform the Kuota Kredo in the mountains or other areas where weight is the key factor.


A M-sized Kuota KOM frame weighs 900 gr, while an S weighs 870 gr. An M-sized Kuota Kredo Ultra weighs 1130 g. Unlike the KOM, the Kredo features an ISP and internal cable routing. It’s a bit more aero than the KOM. As for their comfort, stiffness and rigidity, I surmise, without having tried them out, that the KOM is stiffer while the Kredo makes for a more comfortable ride. The KOM was used by Team Agritubel in the Tour de France this year.

Kuota Kom and Orbea Orca

Kuota Kom
Kuota Kom

Since I’m in the market for a midrange carbon fiber frame, I’ve done some extensive research on these two frames. I qualify both of these frames midrange since they aren’t as pricey as the Time RXR Ulteam, De Rosa King 3, Colnago EPS, Pinarello Prince, Wilier Cento Uno (and Wilier Cento Uno SL) and the Look 595. Let’s not talk about the Pinarello Dogma. It’s even more expensive than that Prince and prices have not yet been announced. It’s 860gr, and that’s 40 gr lighter than the Prince, yet it’s 23% stiffer.

Continue reading “Kuota Kom and Orbea Orca”

70 KM Night Bike Ride

I didn’t manage to go on a ride yesterday. I felt a bit too knackered to ride. Since I wasn’t working today, I took the opportunity to catch up on some sleep and go out on a bike ride. I had some errands to run in Taipei, so I only went out at about 6:30PM.

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70 KM Night Bike Ride

This is the exact frame they have at the shop
This is the exact frame they have at the shop

Today I had some time off, so I went to the Giant shop to repair my disc brake. The disc was a little bent. It took about 20 minutes and the service was free, even though the bike was bought in Canada.

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Training Bike

Dream wheelset, Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimates
Dream wheelset, Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimates

After having talked with a few bike racers, I’ve come to understand that they have usually two bikes on hand. A training bike and a racing bike. The racing bike is the Ferrari, with the best components and the lightest kit, while the training bike is made to last and to take abuse.

I’d like to have a Giant TCR Advanced SL0 as my training bike. I’ve come to realize that the Kuota Kredo Ultra is a mean racing machine, also pretty good to train and to race. I don’t expect to get my racing bike anytime soon. I’ll just concentrate on a training bike. The difficulty is finding a frame that fits me. The other difficulty is making sure that it costs less than the SL0 so that I can train on it ASAP.

Continue reading “Training Bike”

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