Best new cycling tech at the Taipei Cycle Show: Bikes, saddles, wheels and more

From new bikes to urban saddles and chainrings, here's the newest tech we encountered in Taipei

Clock11:42, Wednesday 6th March 2024
A range of new tech was on show at the Taipei Cycling Show


A range of new tech was on show at the Taipei Cycling Show

One of the biggest bike shows in the world, the Taipei Cycle Show is always a hotbed for the latest and most interesting tech.

This year proved to be no different as hundreds of brands joined together to show off their products and we scoured the show to see what we could find.

From Selle Italia’s new urban route to Digirit’s already famous chainrings, here’s a gallery of everything we found on the opening day.

Selle Italia takes new urban direction

Starting with Selle Italia which put a new saddle on show for the first time, except it probably isn’t what you were expecting. Instead of a traditional performance road saddle, something the brand is known for, Selle Italia has decided to funnel its know-how into an urban saddle in the form of the new GT1.

It’s clear that the GT1 is an urban saddle simply from its appearance, given away by its meatier size, but hidden beneath the aesthetics is some seriously cool tech. Most saddles use a form of glue to bond a hard shell to the material but Selle Italia has adopted its new Lock-On system. The upper material contains dimples which slot into holes in the shell, securing everything in place. It makes recycling parts easier when the saddle comes to the end of its life.

We’ll have to wait a little longer for the saddle’s official release, although not too long we’re led to believe, and there were murmurings that the GT1 will be one of a wide range of new urban saddles, signalling a new direction for Selle Italia.

Shimano's busy 2024

2024 is set to be a busy year for Selle Italia then, but it’s already been a hectic one for Shimano. After a quiet opening few weeks, the Japanese brand started rolling out new products, starting with its new Technium L, Technium and Twinspark sunglasses at the end of January. All three take advantage of Ridescape lens technology, which is designed to provide versatility for different riding conditions.

Both the Technium and Twinspark are full-frame sunglasses, but Technium L provides a lighter alternative to the already lightweight Technium, weighing in at only 26g through its half-frame design.

The company also recently released new shoes although these weren't on display at the show.

Digirit chainrings officially break cover

Digirit’s name shot into the headlines earlier this year at the UAE Tour when Ineos Grenadiers’ riders were spotted using its monster chainrings for the individual time trial - Tobias Foss maxed this out with a mighty 68-tooth offering.

We speculated at the time that these were versions of its track chainrings but it turns out it’s a new product which, according to the Digirit team, is designed specifically for Shimano Dura-Ace’s groupset, which Ineos Grenadiers use. From the company’s website, it appears that the range spans 60-tooth through to 70-tooth options, so there’s room for Ineos to go even larger yet.

Giant steal the show on opening day

Elsewhere, Giant garnered most of the attention on the opening day of the event courtesy of its new TCR. The TCR has been around since the late 90s and the latest release marks the 10th generation, although it was hard to tell too many differences between the previous model at first glance. That’s because the Taiwanese brand has chosen evolution rather than revolution. Still, a lack of aesthetic changes defies the performance gains that Giant says the bike has made, namely that it’s lighter, stiffer and more aerodynamic.

The TCR’s release came only a day after Giant also unveiled its new range of Rev Elite MIPS helmets. It’s not a top-tier helmet, sitting below the Rev Pro, and prioritises safety as much as performance. MIPS is the main feature here, which has been around for a long time now but is still widely regarded to provide the A grade for helmet safety.

That’s the end of Giant’s new releases, but it technically had more new products on show under the guise of Cadex.

Cadex was revived in 2018 as Giant’s in-house components brand, having previously been the name for a range of bikes in the 1980s, and it has been slowly building its offering ever since. That grew last week through the release of the Max 40 wheelset, which was unsurprisingly designed with the new TCR in mind.

In a significant moment for its handlebar offering, the wheels were joined by Cadex’s first ever integrated bars in the form of the Race Integrated and Aero Integrated. As its name suggests, the Aero follows a traditional aero formula with performance in mind, while the Race follows a more traditional all-round approach, including oval tubes and increased flare.

Wheels and tyres

FFWD started the month of March by releasing its latest RAW collection of wheels and, as is the case for most modern products, they’re lighter than before. The brand has resisted making the wheel hookless, instead sticking to a hooked set-up. Hookless rims have come under plenty of scrutiny in recent weeks, leading to criticism of the technology from riders’ association president Adam Hansen.

We’ll end with new tyres, starting off with Vittoria’s latest all-season road tyre, the RideArmor. On its release, Vittoria said that it’s the ‘most durable and puncture resistant road tyre ever’. This puncture-resistant formula is made up of a bead-to-bead puncture protection belt, additional sidewall layers and bead shield layers.

From puncture protection to all-out performance, Panaracer’s new range of GravelKing tyres contains the fastest ever version, the X1. At this point it feels like the GravelKing has been around forever and it essentially has, arguably preceding the global boom of the discipline through its 2014 debut. The design has changed plenty over that time but now Panaracer has arrived at its fastest model yet which, surprisingly, doesn’t have a semi-slick profile but a traditional knobbly off-road one.

To learn more about the Taipei Cycle Show, check out its website, linked here. And for more tech news, features and pro bikes, check out the 'Tech' section on the GCN website.

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