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Taipei Show Tech Randoms: Wheels, Drivetrain & Vanlife

Here’s more goodness from the Taipei Cycle Show floor, this time with plenty of wheels, hubs, rims and some interesting new drivetrain tech, plus a few things from Dirty Formosa’s outdoor pavilion showcasing a bit of the car camping and vanlife scene from the island.

BLKTEC’s C1D wheels had a quiet launch a few months back but had a solid presence at the show on multiple booth bikes. Aimed at road and all-road riders, the one-piece, full carbon construction uses thick, non-radial spokes for zero lateral or torsional flex, putting all of your power into forward motion.

The rims are hookless, so they’re tubeless-only, and have a 20.7mm internal width to fit tires from 25mm to 35mm wide. Rim depth is 40mm, and claimed rim-only weight is 380g, complete wheels are 695g (front) and 796g (rear). Rider+bike weight limit is 120kg (~265lbs). The only downside? A budget-busting $4,880 MSRP! We have a set of these on Review.

Not yet listed on their website is this 13g carbon bottle cage, which makes it the third-lightest cage we saw at the show. BLKTEC is more known for their cockpits, which were displayed on a beautiful steel road bike in their booth (check that in our “Bikes Roundup” from the show).

prototype ffwd outlaw mountain bike wheels

FFWD was showing off prototype mountain bike wheels, their first ever from the traditionally road and triathlon brand.

prototype ffwd outlaw mountain bike wheels

Called “Outlaw” and coming later this year, they’ll have 20mm deep hookless rims with a 30mm internal width. Claimed (target) weight is 1,595g and price will be €1,499.

jetset arcos alloy rim with ribbed internal profile

Jetset’s new rim design uses a unique ribbed internal profile. They say it allows them to make them lighter while increasing strength and stiffness.

jetset rim with reinforced spoke holes that allow for any angle

They also had a new patented design for spoke holes that allows the nipple to act more like a ball-and-socket joint that keeps equal pressure on the entire nipple surface, even as it angles out from the rim toward the spoke. They say traditional designs end up resting one edge of the nipple on the rim’s eyelet or hole, which causes uneven forces that can bend or weaken the spoke and wear the nipple out more quickly.

recon components slide-on XD freehub adapter to fit normal cassettes

Recon Components makes ultralight CNC’d cassettes, but only for traditional HG freehub bodies. Rather than reinvent the design and work their way around SRAM’s patents, they created (rather ingeniously, I might add) a sleeve that threads onto XD freehub bodies (the black bit on the end of the hub). Then you just slide their cassettes onto that, where the back slots into the notches made for XD-compatible cassettes, and tighten it on with a standard lock ring. Brilliant.

hub smith 60 and 90 tooth hubs

hub smith 60 and 90 tooth hubs

Hubsmith’s HS-G001R hub has typically come with a 60-tooth drive ring (shown above, on left) for a 6º engagement, engaging all six pawls at once. But they’re releasing a 90-tooth ring with new offset pawls to speed up engagement to 2º by keeping only three pawls engaged at any time.

hubsmith e-bike hub motor

The Hubsmith E001 is their first motorized hub designed for gravel and touring bikes. It can have up to 500W of power and assist up to 45km/h, depending on the OE customer’s specs. It can be laced to any typical rim, including lightweight carbon rims, and has a standard cassette fitment with, as best I can read it, torque sensing for smoother power delivery.

KTTW hub with 204 points of engagement

KT Taiwan has been making hubs for decades; they were one of the earliest drum brake manufacturers and a major supplier throughout the industry. With the patent expiration for star ratchets, they’ve ramped up production of those, saying their ability to do the high-precision machining gives them an advantage in offering 36- and 54-tooth star ratchet systems…and that business has been quite good over the past couple of years because of that.

But this hub (shown above) shows off another use of their machining prowess – a 6-pawl ratchet with 204 points of engagement from 102 teeth and an offset 3 on/3 off pawl design. That translates to a less-than-1º engagement for ultra-quick pick up.

Fun 5 degree bottom bracket bearingsNote the outer bearing race’s 5º angle, also visible with the cutaway on the right-hand edge of the photo.

Fun 5 degree bottom bracket bearings

The Fun 5º bottom bracket has a unique way of keeping bearings in line while also making them very easy to replace. Each bearing, and the “cup” in the BB’s shell that they fit into, is angled at five degrees. So, rather than requiring special tools to remove and a press to put new ones in, you just pull them out and pop them in. Super easy. The BB itself comes in a press-fit and a thread-together design, with a custom tool (that looks very much like something most shops will already have) to aid in installation.

hope tech derailleur pulley wheels

I snapped this because I didn’t realized Hope Tech made derailleur pulley wheels. They’re available in four size combos and six colors to fit a variety of modern rear derailleurs. Not quite as extreme as the Token Shuriken I spotted, but still very cool.

sunrace Mz12 speed derailleur and cassettes

SunRace’s MZ12 group gets more polished since we last saw it, with a full black finish. The latest version uses a horizontal parallelogram movement with offset upper pulley to better handle modern wide range cassettes.

sunrace Mz12 speed derailleur and cassettes

They also make a variety of cassettes that fit HG freehub bodies and a new Microspline-compatible model that drops down to a 10-tooth small cog and 51-tooth big cog. There’s even a shifter if you wanted to build a budget 12-speed group.

lezyne tubeless tire pluggers updated

Lezyne’s tubeless tire pluggers get a minor update, coming in a mix of diameters to fit more holes, with a revised shape to make them easier to use. These seal a puncture from the inside, using a stick-on base that’s similar to a tube patch, but stuck to your tire with the plug poking through to the outside. Once installed, just trim the excess off the outside and it forms a permanent repair.

inflatable shoe insole inserts from ziyu

I have two totally random things to share before we get to the vanlife stuff. Above are the Ziyu inflatable shoe insoles. Remember Reebok Pump shoes? These work similar, with a tiny pump letting you adjust the air pressure and support/cushioning level.

abus bike lock key core can be matched across bikes and locks

Abus let me in on a little secret: Many (most?) e-bike brands use their lock cores to secure the batteries in models with a removable battery pack. If you give them the key code (which you’d normally use to order replacement keys), they can create matched bike locks, too, so you have one key that works for your bike and any locks you want.

dirty formosa outdoor pavilion with car camping and vanlife setups

Dirty Formosa is a Taiwanese group that promotes outdoor experiences and off-road cycling. Surprisingly, given the terrain and forests (and cultural norms), mountain biking is still a relatively small sport there. But people and groups like this are helping to change that, and car camping is a thing there. This setup shows a killer arrangement for the smaller vans popular in Taiwan.

dirty formosa outdoor pavilion with car camping and vanlife setups

Wild Land makes a wide range of rooftop tents, racks, and other car camping equipment, plus outdoor camp furniture, ground tents, etc.

dirty formosa outdoor pavilion with car camping and vanlife setups

Wares from Barebones and Monterra displayed from a local outdoor gear shop.

dirty formosa outdoor pavilion with car camping and vanlife setups

Thule was showing off their Tepui rooftop tents and accessories, too…

dirty formosa outdoor pavilion with car camping and vanlife setups

…and this giant add-on storage that was attached to a folded-up bike rack. These types of things are more popular in Europe (and I guess Taiwan? Asia in general) where smaller cars are more popular and people just stick these on for weekend trips.

For more tech and products from the 2023 Taipei Cycle Show, check our Cockpits & Components Roundup.

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47 COMMENTS

    • Teleporting? Seriously? Last time I checked, teleportation was still a sci-fi fantasy. Stick to reality, mate. And as for the Taipei Show Tech, a set of wheels might come in handy to actually get there. #KeepDreaming

    • Fancy wheels and drivetrains arent just about showing off, they enhance safety, performance, and comfort on the road. #Vanlife might be trendy, but dont underestimate the value of a well-engineered vehicle. Stay safe out there!

    • Well, it seems like you have a very simplistic view of what makes a vehicle enjoyable. Some of us actually appreciate the performance and luxury that fancy wheels and drivetrains offer. But hey, to each their own, right? Enjoy your van and the open road.

  1. Wow, those Taipei Show Tech Randoms were mind-blowing! Who knew wheels and drivetrain could be so fascinating? #VanlifeRocked

  2. Wow, the Taipei Show Tech Randoms article was mind-blowing! Who knew wheels and drivetrains could be so fascinating? #VanlifeForever

    • Skateboards may be fun for short rides, but comparing them to a proper drivetrain for van life is like comparing apples to oranges. A reliable drivetrain is essential for long journeys, carrying heavy loads, and ensuring safety on the road. #VanlifeGoals require more than just a skateboard.

  3. I cant find the specific article Taipei Show Tech Randoms: Wheels, Drivetrain & Vanlife that you mentioned. Can you provide more information or clarify?

    • Teleportation may sound cool, but its just a fantasy. Vanlife is about the freedom of the open road, the thrill of exploration, and the joy of connecting with nature. No teleportation can replicate that experience.

    • Teleportation may sound cool, but lets be realistic here. Until we master that technology, wheels are still our best bet for getting around. So, lets stick to the good old van life and leave the teleportation fantasies for sci-fi movies. #KeepItReal

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