I’d like a Taiwanese bicycle, please


by Mark V on Jun 01, 2011 at 7:14 AM

Deluded Colnago fan #1 “Dunno why stuff from the mainstream guys like Giant & Specialized puts me off…..I’d go for Colnago CX-1”

I found this post yesterday, proclaiming a popular sentiment that European bicycle companies have more character and/or quality than “the mainstream guys”. The fact that two companies strongly associated with Taiwanese manufacture were singled out (and not say Trek*) is notable. What kills me is that the message board poster spews on lovingly for the Colnago CX-1…because I’ve been to the Giant factory in Taichung, Taiwan, and that vaunted CX-1 comes down the SAME production line as the Giant TCR. That’s right, Taiwan makes that Colnago. It doesn’t take a quantum leap of the imagination to figure out that Colnago went to Taiwan because the production costs are so very attractive, yet why would anyone assume that the product that Giant makes for other brands would be better than what they sell as their own? Wouldn’t Giant use all the lessons learned from building thousands of carbon bikes for their own advantage, with engineering and production assets so closely coupled?

After going to the Giant factory last fall, I decided that my next carbon bike would be a Giant. Sure, I could buy a Specialized because after all, Specialized is one of the best Merida (the other biggest name in Taiwanese bicycle manufacture) that you can buy. But I don’t want “Designed in California”, as Specialized has stickered their bikes for years. No, I want designed/built/painted in Taiwan by Taiwanese, and then I want to go down to Seattle’s international district and eat lunch at Henry’s Taiwan. I recommend the fried fish & rice plate.

Giant  TCR Advanced SL Giant  TCR Advanced SL Note*: Many Treks are made on Giant’s production lines as well.

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Dude—the mix matched wheels in the photos are harshing my buzz about Taiwan.

suck it

waiting on the rear rim from Hed, they is hella backed up

People who think Taiwan means lower quality are idiots. I’ve owned 4 Colnago bikes over the years and all 4 required many hours of prep work before I could even start putting parts on the frames. Seat tubes and bottom brackets were horribly out of round, the water bottle bosses on one were crooked and on another (a C-40) not properly glued into place, paint is thin in spots, etc., etc. I’ve seen similar quality control issues with many other Italian brands. Of course I still own a Colnago though I freely admit the only reason I bought it from Elliott Bay was because it’s an Italian bike with lots of chrome and a gaudy paint job. I built it up with all silver Campy parts as my sunny day bike and it puts a smile on my face when I ride it. It’s not practical for anything but I don’t care.

I owned a Masterlight Colnago that was painted Wordperfect and regret selling it. shit was cool and it was WORDPERFECT.

I owned a Bi-Titan and it was rubbish in every respect. regret buying it, regret i didn’t get more $$ on the resale. rubbish and regret sums it up

No different than any other luxury good.  Wine, cars, musical instruments, ‘artisinal’ furniture…people are not buying a thing, they’re buying a fantasy backstory, ‘heritage’, etc.

Personally I lust after a Coors Light team Serotta or a Motorola Merckx.

Amen, mark! Let’s be honest where our stuff comes from and dispense with the closet racism. Taiwan has been the world’s premier manufacturer of high quality bicycles of all types for over a decade. Why can’t we accept that?

I love Taiwan!
As Cranky Cyclist said Taiwan has been producing high quality bikes for some time now. It is about time that Taiwan bike manufacture came out of the shadows and was accepted as a centre of innovation for bicycle engineering and design. I guess that doesn’t sit too well with certain people but the truth is the truth.

I agree.  I own two Bianchi steel frame bikes from the early 90’s (road and cross).  Thet are Beautiful Celeste but recently bought a Fuji SST.1.  It is a sweet ride.  I wanted to stiffer and lighter and at a reasonable cost and Taiwan delivers.  I live in Green Bay Wisconsin.  Try and find a dealer that sells a European made bike.  Around here and like else where its Trek Specialized and Giant.

I’ve got a Wisconsin Trek, a California Raleigh, and a Tennessee(?) Litespeed. Flying the stars and stripes is a point of pride when I’m in the saddle, whether it’s the best choice or not. It’s a rarity, or at least uncommon, in the same way owning a Catlike helmet in the US is/was.

Every one of the components attached to them was made overseas, mind you…