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kgreene10
04-25-2009, 01:01 AM
It looks like I may be going to Taiwan for work in a couple of months. My image is of a place where the latest carbon components practically grow on trees, where children use 46mm dimpled rims as hoola-hoops, and where the Giant factory tour ends with a custom frameset just for you.

Seriously though, does anyone know if there are cool factory tours or fantastic deals to be had?

Birddog
04-25-2009, 06:25 AM
It looks to have some awesome cycling. Check out this link. The terrain varies from snow capped 13,000' mtns to rain forest.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/inmotionasia/sets/72157603813313078/

Birddog

fierte_poser
04-25-2009, 05:21 PM
I was just there in March.

There are a lot of Giant (factory owned?) bicycle stores in Hsinchu where I was working, but nothing special inside the one I visited.

I didn't attempt to do any riding while there.

Have you been before? Scooters are more popular than bicycles. Fascinating to watch them weave among the traffic. :)

Oh, and be sure and get lots of pearl milk bubble tea. Yum.

Try the stinky tofu too. Its a...umm...delicacy.

konstantkarma
04-25-2009, 11:54 PM
I've been there several times. The people are fantastic...friendly, and helpful. If you are staying in Taipei, visit Taipei 101...which should still be the tallest building in the world. There is a great restaurant on the 60th floor....(?) where you can have a sumptuous Asian meal while sitting above the clouds.

Also make sure to visit the Jade Market on Saturday, under the freeway overpass! All of the baraginig is done with a calculator, so you don't have to speak Mandarin, and the dealers don't have to speak English.

boneman
04-26-2009, 04:48 AM
Your imagery is quite vivid but unfortunately, country of origin does not always equate to country of use or popularity. I've lived in Shanghai the past 3+ years. All the stuff that you see in the rest of the World is rarely seen in China as it's for export only and too expensive/fancy for local requirements. While there are a large number of quality bikes being ridden in Taibei, people tend to buy more practical machines which have better value. Folding bikes are also big and there's a magazine completely devoted to folding bikes.

These shop locations were from poster Dajianshan to a thread I had on RBR when I visited Taibei just before Qingming this year:

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=165572

1. Giant shop on the corner of Heping East road and Guling street (5 minute walk from the Guting MRT station exit 8). They have mostly Giant stuff, but also a lot of high-end road (Campagnolo) and MTB bike stuff (Fox). Their prices are very good, and the staff their are made up of four young, but very competent and helpful mechanics. Most of them speak pretty good English there. I highly recommend them.

2. Seven Park, going on Keelung (Jilong) road heading towards Neihu, turn right on the first street after you pass Zhongxiao, you'll see them a few buildings on the right. They have a huge selection of mid-range to high-end road and MTB bikes (Specialized - BMC), apparel (mostly Assos), and components (mostly Shimano). The owner and mechanic are both very nice and competent guys. Their prices a very reasonable. They speak some English. I would definitely go back to them for bike stuff.

3. Louis Garnau shop on ChienGuo heading towards Xinyi road from Heping. Its a small shop, they mostly sell Lg bikes and stuff, shop owner is nice enough guy, and his prices are reasonable. The bikes range from low-end to mid-range road, touring, folding, and MTB bikes. Nothing special about this shop. Their are two to three more bike shops heading up towards to Xinyi road that are about the same. If you are hunting for a daily commuter, nothing too special than these shops along this section of ChienGuo are a good choice to shop around at. On the opposite side going towards Xinhai road is another shop, but they offer a higher-end range of bikes and parts. You'll find a lot of reasonably priced American brand (Kona - Raleigh) MTB and XC bikes their. The owner is an older guy, don't know about his English abilities, but he seems to be quite nice. It's worth a visit.

4. Howard's Bike, located in lane 23 of Bade road before Guangfu road. If you are looking for high-end stuff (Cinelli - Colnago) and have really deep pockets then this is the shop for you. The owner is very competent and is a seasoned triathlete. Their shop is very posh, and the area where they work on bikes, looks like it was made for servicing F1 cars. Unless you are looking for a specialty item or bike that you just can't find anywhere else, I wouldn't buy anything from them. Their prices are inflated, always triple of what another shop would quote. They are exclusive dealers of some brands such as Cinelli and Ceepo, so they can get away with crazy prices, cause they know if you really need those bikes or components, you can only get it through them. But as I said, if money is not a concern, and there is some Italian bike you really can't find anywhere else, I'm sure they can get it for you.

5. Colorful Bicycle, located on the corner of Ren'ai and Linsen Road (right before the Nanhai tunnel). This is a very small and cramped shop, but amazingly it is packed with some hard to find and expensive bikes and parts. They have everything from every major high-end brand (Pinarello Look, Colnago, Cannondale, etc.). I would recommend checking them out if you need to find something that other shops just don't have in stock. Their prices are okay. I would buy stuff from them but I will never take my bike to them for any kind of work. The owner is a not very helpful, and has the worst attitude;he answers any question with a grunt. I took my bike into change the handlebars, which was supposed to be free of charge if I bought it from him which I did. When I picked up my bike he told me he had to replace the derailleur cable cause it was too short, (it wasn't, he didn't measure correctly and cut my original cable too short) so I was charged an extra $500 bucks. No biggie, I ride off and after a few blocks I notice that I couldn't shift smoothly, I looked down to see that the derailleur cable he had just replace wasn't fastened tightly and had come loose. Not very professional. So conclusion, worth checking out for specialty items, but avoid for bike servicing.

6. Velo Boutique, located behind the Agora Garden Hotel near Taipei 101 area. It is a very upscale shop. They mostly carry Klein Trek, and Look bikes, and a whole range of gear and parts. Worth checking out for gear, their prices are okay, but its their wide selection that is the real draw. Feels more like a store, than a bike shop. Not sure about how competent they are, I found the guys their a little unhelpful, they seemed more like salespeople. If you'll into American brands then they are a good choice.

At the end of the day, nothing unusual and no great deals. I would highly recommend bringing a bike, road or mtb, if you're going to be there for any length of time. Taiwan people love to recreate and a very large number ride or hike on the weekends. Even in Taibei, there are roads where less than 20 minutes outside of the city where you will be out in the hills and by yourself.

It can get steep so think about 39/26 or lower even if you're a decent climber. The ride up to Yangmingshan is very popular and best done during the morning when there's less traffic.

As for food, there are an enormous number of Taiwan food blogs, complete with pictures, descriptions and addresses (in English as well) to help you in your quest for the ultimate meal and dessert.