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By Lennard Zinn
With great fanfare, awarding of prizes for design innovations, political speeches, and a ribbon cutting ceremony, the four-day, 17th annual Taipei International Cycle Show is off, once again marking the beginning of the bicycle selling season.
This where the big orders are placed by some of the world’s largest manufacturers and importers. It’s also where hush-hush new developments for as far out as the 2005 season and beyond are revealed, albeit generally to major buyers and behind closed doors. Still, new products that have not yet been seen abound and in many cases they’ve already been assembled into bicycles that will be delivered to dealers in the coming months.
For a straight-up solution to a problem long plaguing bike consumers, it’s hard to beat Fritz Jou’s headset shim. It is simply a black-anodized aluminum tube with a 28.6mm I.D. and a 31.8mm O.D. that is split down one side, has a rib running down the opposite side, and is scaled with laser-etched measure marks. The shim slips over the (1-1/8 inch) steering tube, and the top cap pushes down on it to lock in the proper headset adjustment.
Then the stem (also supplied by Fritz Jou), slips over it and can be moved up and down without requiring different spacers or readjustment of the headset. So, you get more adjustment convenience than a quill stem, with the low weight and rigidity of a threadless stem! Bike manufacturers can also ship bikes with the headset already adjusted, rather than requiring the bike shop to remove a cardboard spacer from between the top cap and the headset and adjust everything again after installing the stem.
Not just any stem fits on the shim, since it must have a 31.8mm clamp inner diameter with a longitudinal notch to slip over the rib. Once the stem is aligned straight, the rib allows the stem to be moved up and down and stay in alignment, unless you twist it. The shim also protects carbon-fiber steerers. Fritz Jou also makes a notched clamp-on cutting gauge tool to allow you to cut the shim off straight, once you determine the length you want.
Fritz Jou’s high-quality hand painting done in China is revealed in this tool box case painted in hard enamel, precisely replicating Picasso’s Guernica. Other tool boxes feature reproductions of famous paintings by other artists as well.
To really blow your socks off, though, check out this socket set painted with traditional Chinese mask designs. The hard enamel lasts, and every single socket, as well as the handle and the case, is hand-painted with a different mask. Big bucks, but your neighbor’s socket set couldn’t even come close. Just don’t loan it to him!
Dahon’s Allegro break-down road bike features simple Ritchey couplers for a lightweight, easy packing full-on steel road bike. It comes equipped with Fritz Jou’s headset shim, so you can slip off the stem and bar, and pop it back on at your destination without messing with headset adjustment. It also has the new Truvativ Rouleur crank, featuring outboard bearings and an integrated oversized bottom bracket spindle, a’la XTR and Dura-Ace.
Another crank taking on Dura-Ace and XTR-like with outboard bearings and an integrated oversized bottom bracket spindle is the new FSA Mega-Exo carbon crank on this KHS Flite 900.
Hydroforming, a method of forming a tube to the inside shape of a complex mold by forcing it outward with liquid under enormous pressure, makes possible a number of one-piece designs that are cleaner and stronger than if one were to weld separate pieces together. The aluminum aero’ seat tube on this KHS Flite 320 triathlon bike is hydroformed with a groove in back for the rear wheel to hide in.
Fuji’s Team Issue 15-pound road bike will premier in 2005. It has taken a while, but Fuji is now also offering a full-carbon road bike. The top layer of carbon is a broad weave that looks cool but also saves weight by being structural, as opposed to a top woven layer for looks.
Wellgo’s Xpedo MTB pedal weighs under 100 grams per pair, putting it on even keel with the Triple Ti Eggbeater. The cast body and the machined spindle are both titanium.
Giant’s Stiletto lowrider bike has three-inch-wide street tires, a triple-clamp chopper fork, a faux gas tank and a jackshaft chain drive to get power from the way-forward crank to the cogset.
Selle San Marco’s production version of the Rever saddle abandons the uncovered injection-molded top, which was too heavy, expensive and complicated. It retains the split tail to allow independent movement of the two halves of the wide saddle platform as the legs swing up and down. It also offers airflow vents under the sit bones up through the magnesium rail mounts.
The price point SKN has similar weight, split-tail feature, titanium rails and Lorica cover as the Rever, but at a very low price. In 2004, it will only be available on complete bikes, but in 2005, you will be able to buy it aftermarket. The Aspide Angel has the bulbous gel-padded nose of the Azoto Trigel so beloved by triathletes, along with the lower weight and center groove of the Aspide. Finally, the Aspide Composite full-carbonSuper-light saddle comes in blue, red or black with flames.