"The business atmosphere was generally cheerful," said George Lin, owner of Pacific Cycles, one of Taiwan's major bike builders, and now correspondent on his company's trade portal, bikexpo.com.
"There were no conversations about bankruptcies or bad debts. There were no shadows of bad weather or mouth and foot disease. Even the adverse effect of 911 was hardly remembered at all. After all, for the Taiwanese makers, the prospect cannot get much worse after several consecutive big decreases."
But, as has been apparent at the Taiwanese show for the last couple of years, there's a dearth of innovative products.
"The disc brakes had been around for three years; the magnesium pedals were same as last year; wheel sets were not new; split saddles were not new; tubeless tyres were not new. There were no new designs of MTB or comfort frames. In fact, it is hard to think of a real innovation in any categories, complete bicycles or components," said Lin,
"However, everyone was impressed with the high quality of road frames, painting, crank sets, hubs, and other CNC components. Frames made of scandium tubing were seen on several stands. Carbon fibre material was lavishly used on frames, forks, cranks, seat posts, etc. The cost of carbon fibre was much reduced due to maturity of the technology and severe competition. Scandium will become the next dominant material for frames, forks, rims, spokes in the near future."
Scandium is one of the most potent alloying elements in the periodic table. When added to aluminum alloys, scandium can significantly increase strength and reduce grain size. The largest source of Scandium deposits are in the former Soviet Union and Scandium was added to aluminum alloys for use in Soviet missiles and MIG fighter jets.