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Taiwan to Build Wind-Tunnel Test Centre for Bikes

Sales & Trends

Taiwan to Build Wind-Tunnel Test Centre for Bikes

Following on from recent commercial successes in Taiwanese bicycle design and manufacturing, in part driven by the A-Team group alliance, it now seems that Taiwan’s reputation as a ‘clever’ country will be further enhanced with the likely construction of a dedicated low-velocity wind tunnel facility in bike city, Taichung.

Project steering committee member, Paul Farrell, Director of Leggera Technologies, reports on the philosophy and backers of the facility: “In recent years Taiwan has demonstrated a clear leadership in advanced bicycle design and manufacturing. Exports of hi-end bicycles and associated products have reached an all-time high whilst other low-technology manufacturing countries have faltered, and not only as a result of the current global economic malaise.”

“Consumers are now fully aware of the benefits of advanced design and materials. Carbon fiber products, once considered exotic, are now commonplace throughout the industry. Forward thinking companies recognize that future trends in bicycle products will include electronic systems integration and improvements in the ease-of-use, comfort and ultimate performance of bicycles. Aerodynamics has a significant role to play, yet until now has been largely regarded as the realm of hi-performance team sports only”.

“Wind tunnel measurement is currently considered the Gold Standard of bicycle aerodynamic testing, yet there are no appropriate facilities available to the bicycle industry within Taiwan, and no industry recognized and accepted test protocols and standards. The Taichung wind-tunnel project proposal seeks to address these concerns.”

Locating the low-velocity tunnel within Taichung has received the warm support of bicycle advocate and Taichung City Mayor, Jason Hu. Recently the popular mayor has created a department within his Council to specifically cater to the needs of the bicycle industry, which provides thousands of jobs locally. “Taiwanese people are smart, and Taichung is recognized as the centre of the bicycle industry. We fully support any initiative such as this which keeps us ahead in fostering new technologies and creating jobs,” said Mayor Jason Hu.

A forum of invited industry leaders with a history and commercial interest in bicycle aerodynamics was held during the recent Taipei International Cycle Show. The meeting provided an opportunity to gauge the level of support for the project and discuss various issues such as test protocols and commercial confidentiality.

“The project is still in it’s infancy but to date the level of interest has been high and generally supportive. It is gratifying to see the amount of cooperation within the Taiwanese bicycle manufacturing community. A number of overseas experts in this highly technical field have provided input. We welcome further expressions of interest in this regard. Over the coming months the project steering committee will prepare a discussion paper which will distributed throughout the Taiwanese bicycle community for further comment,” says Farrell.

“The committee would like to stress that the intention is to make the wind-tunnel facility fully independent, low-cost and therefore more readily available to all who wish to use it. The primary functions will be to provide an advanced testing facility for product development and to administer an industry approved set of aerodynamics test protocol standards.”

For further information please contact: Paul Farrell – Paul@leggera-tech.com  or Steve Fenton at steve@pro-lite.net

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