We Went to Taiwan to Make a Bike from the Future (and Actually Did) – The Grim Donut

We Went to Taiwan to Make a Bike from the Future (and Actually Did) – The Grim Donut


(lively orchestral music) (Email message tone) – Oh look, those guys at
(beep) have a new bike. – Let me guess. This one’s five millimeters longer and one degree slacker, Kaz? – Let’s see; actually,
six millimeters longer. – It’s ridiculous. All these companies,
they’re trying to cram evolutionary down our
throat as revolutionary. Just jump in with two feet already. – Wait, aren’t you the
guy that’s always saying that bikes are getting
too long and too slack? – Seriously, why are we wasting our time with this bullshit, Kaz? I’m gonna make an Enduro bike. I’m gonna make it slack and long. It’s gonna be like it’s from the future. – You’re gonna make an Enduro bike? Yeah, I’d like to see that. (chimes) – Dude, be the judge you wanna be, dude. (intense humming sound) – Do you guys remember that old guy that used to work for
Pinkbike a few years ago? He went over to Taiwan to look into this. – And we’re gonna use this
to start our own brand. So, what would that cost? – $250. – That’s 250?
– 250 U.S. dollar. – You’ve got to factor that in. It’s not a case of coming
here with your suitcase of cash and saying, “Make me some bikes.” – So, how hard can it actually be, right? (chimes) (upbeat techno music) To figure out what bikes are gonna be like in a decade, all you have to do is go back ten years and apply that change to what we’re using now. It’s simple math. (upbeat techno music) So these days, okay
sixty-nine degree head angles. Now they’re sixty-three, so in ten years, they’re gonna be fifty-seven. Why can’t these idiots see that? Fifty-seven. (upbeat techno music) It’s so long, it’s so slack. So many water bottle bosses, I’m getting hydrated
just thinking about it. (upbeat techno music) Yes, okay. Off to Taiwan. (jazzy drum music) After thirteen hours in
the back of the plane, I’m here in Taiwan,
double-fisting bubble teas at the Taipei Cycle Show. Now, if you want a frame made,
this is the place to come. It’s full of people and companies. Follow me inside, and let’s get it done. Hey, I’m Mike, how are you? – I’m Jamie.
– Jamie. – Yeah.
– Check this out. What do you think of that? – So, you want to make this bike, or… – [Mike] I would want to make this bike. This is my dream bike. What do you think? – Hmm… This looks weird. – It’s your design? – This is my design.
I came up with this. – I think it’s not good for normal bikes. – All right, so you want a
bottle on your down teeth? – Yeah, it’s really
important to stay hydrated. – This looks garbage.
– Garbage. I thought it looked pretty good. It had all the right angles. You could put three bottles on there. – No one designs like this. – Your downhill is totally a disaster. – So, minimum order quantity,
five hundred frames, that’s where I start, okay? How much money do I have to bring you? – $600 per frame. – Per frame.
– Yeah. – Without a shock?
– Without shock. – So, $100,000 to $200,000 to start? – Yeah. – Because you wanted to have a fiber– – Custom carbon. – So, I think the minimum
cost you’re gonna take is at least $100,000 U.S. dollars. – $100,000, okay. So, I should go back to the
drawing board it sounds like. (laughs)
And come up with 100 grand. – Yeah.
– Okay. Garbage, garbage my ass. Look at these things. This thing’s the (beep) future. How slack it is, it’s got all those (beep) water bottles in it. I’m gonna find somebody. So, I’ve just got back to the hotel room after spending all day walking around the Taipei Cycle Show talking
to frame manufacturers, and you know what? It’s not looking very good. Not only do they not like my frame design, they also don’t like
the suspension design. So, we’re back here,
and I need some advice, so I’m gonna call up some industry experts and get exactly that. Hey, Cesar. – Hey, how are you doing? – So, I’m in Taiwan right
now, and I’m trying to get my dream bike made, like we came here, I’ve got a drawing. I know the general idea. I’ve gone to a few factories,
and I’m having a hard time finding somebody who wants
to make my bike (laughs). And I have heard that
you kind of went through the same process, and
you ended up actually deciding to make your bikes in Spain. – Yeah, right, I mean, for us, for sure, for a small brand it’s
hard to start in Taiwan. It’s a lot of investment there, and getting all quantities, and all that. It’s doable, but still,
for us, it was a matter of doing it ourselves
and learning the process, so it was not actually the
pain of going to Taiwan, because it ended up being
more pain doing it here. But, anyway, still we
know it’s a big struggle. I mean, the difficult part of all this is that the know-how is in Asia. – It’s not here with me,
that’s for sure (laughs). Okay, so, would you do it again though? Let’s go back to where you started. Would you do it again? – I mean, being honestly, I would say I would probably make a couple. You know, when it was (audio cuts out), we’re just finishing the
last model in this week. – [Mike] Yeah. – Took us a long, long
time, so being honest, I would definitely do one
or two of the models here ourselves to kind of
learn, but I would have probably done one or two
in Asia and then switch slowly into completely
manufactured in Barcelona. – Okay, all right, so it sounds like what I should do is maybe
stick to Taiwan manufacturing, see if I could find somebody there, and see what I come up with. It’s probably not gonna
end up being that dash that you made, but it’ll
be fun anyway (laughs). – Yeah, for sure. – All right, Cesar, thank
you for your help, man. I’ll let you know how it goes. (Skype ringtone) – Hey, Mike, what’s up? – [Mike] Hey, Dave, how’s it going? – Good, buddy, what are you doing? – I’m trying to make my dream bike, and the suspension design
that I came up with, I’m getting a lot of no’s
from the people here. – This looks garbage. – It’s a high-pivot, dual-link
with a chain idler design, but I don’t think it’s gonna work, so basically, I’m wondering
if you could help me with the suspension design. So, I’m looking for
something long traveled, about a hundred and eighty millimeters, so obviously like Enduro,
all mountain intentions. You know I would like it to
be a high-pivot in idler, ’cause that’s the way
that all the fast bikes seem to be going. – Amen.
– Yeah. But I don’t know where to start. I don’t have a clue here. – You know, normally, with a fab shop, with a really good fab
shop, you can build some aluminum test mules, and that might take you about a year
to get to the point– – A year.
– Where you’re ready to start actually designing your bike. Like 50 to 75 K per iteration of just being able to go
and ride test this thing. What about patent protection? Is that gonna be
important to your company? – I haven’t even thought of it, but I think I would like the design to be exclusive to me, wouldn’t I? Doesn’t that make the most sense? – You’re talking a minimum
of 300 K, U.S. dollars for worldwide protection and a low level. It’s a super expensive prospect, but for exclusivity, you pay. – Dave, I’m gonna be honest with you. All those numbers are much
higher than I expected. – [Dave] Yeah, it’s real– – Those are big numbers. – I think those are real
numbers, like you can spend more. – [Mike] Yeah. – And, you know, it kind of depends. You gotta kind of decide what you want. – Okay, Dave, I’ve got some
thinking to do about this. Thank you for your help. I’ll let you know how it goes. – My pleasure, good luck, Mike man. – Take care, Dave, see you later. Okay, so I just got off Skype calls with Cesar Rojo of Uno and Dave Weagle of a hell of a lot of suspension designs, and they’ve given me some great advice. Some things are good, some things are bad. Dave said I need a ton of money to start. Probably 500 K. I don’t have any money. Cesar recommended sticking to
Asia for the manufacturing. So, I think what all that
means is we’re gonna have to start thinking about catalog frames. Well, we’re here in Taipei
for the Taipei Cycle Show, so let’s head back into the show, see if we can find some
interesting catalog frames that might work for what we want. I’ve drank about ten bubble teas, and I’ve been shut down about ten times. But we have one more place
to stop, and that’s Genio. They’re a smaller outfit. They produce about forty to
fifty thousand frames a year, compared to other places that
do hundreds of thousands. But they’re known for
their quality frames. Hi.
– Hi. – Hey, I’m Mike.
– Calvin. – Nice to meet you, Calvin. – What are you gonna show me? – Well, it’s my bike design. Nobody else seems to like it. I’m hoping you can make it for me. – Okay. – Let’s have a look.
– Let’s have a look. – Are you ready?
– Yep. Wow. – What do you think? Give it to me straight. Wow, this looks pretty dumb. – I put my heart and soul– Oh.
(both laugh) Yeah, the setting is quite extreme, and very forward thinking. And three water bottles. – Gotta stay hydrated. – Wow, that’s something
pretty unique, yes. – Can you help me with this? – Yeah, we can have a try, but there’s a lot going on. – There is, all right, let’s sit down, let’s talk about this. Show me what you got. – [Mike Voiceover] When
a new brand doesn’t have the engineering resources to design a bike from scratch, like me, they buy
an open model catalog frame. You choose the design and color, then you put your name on it, and you get to call it your own. Lots of big companies
started out by doing this, and some of those bikes
are pretty damn good. Now, Calvin says that my credit rating and my physically impossible
suspension design, or whatever, means that
I should stick with one of their open models. But he says that they
could take my geometry from the future and apply it
to one of their existing bikes. Looking through their
catalog, I liked what I saw, so the next step was to
head down to their factory in Taichung to hammer
out the final details. (upbeat, jazzy music) Welcome to Taichung, a
couple hundred kilometers south of Taipei. Now, I thought I’d show
up at that trade show and be able to get my
own crazy carbon fiber mountain bike made, but it turns out there were a lot of
problems with my design. But we’ve talked to
Genio, and it sounds like they could do something for us and use that crazy geometry that we want. We’re gonna head to their factory and have a look at how it’s made, but first, another bubble tea. We’ve taken a short Uber ride up into the hillsides of
Taichung to get to Genio. They do a lot of cool one-off
projects exactly like ours. Let’s go in and have a look
at our own special project. – I checked with our team. Maybe, probably you have
to change the system. – Change the system, okay so, I can’t use my high-pivot virtual design? – No, I think you probably
have to go more basic design. – Okay.
– So, maybe we start off like really simple one? – Okay. – And in the future,
you can have some, yeah, adjustment to that. 160 travel, and I think basically you can start modifying the geometry according to that,
according to your drawing, and then probably will produce a frame for you to do the test riding. – All right, can I see
one of these frames? – Yes, sure, I will bring you one. – Oh, this looks nice. Okay, so we could put my
geometry on this frame? – Yes. – How long’s that take? Should I hang out for a few days, or… – [Calvin] No, it takes eight weeks. – Eight weeks. So, it turns out that
me showing up in Taiwan and expecting to have my
dream frame made like that were pretty far-fetched. I had no idea what I was getting into, and not only is the
process much more expensive than I thought, it’s also
much more complicated. Now, Genio is gonna take
care of all the design and the test work for me,
and eight weeks from now, that frame is gonna show up in Canada. As for me, I’m about to
load up on sleeping pills, jump on the back of a jet, and head off back to Canada, as well. All right, everybody, moment of truth. The frame showed up just a few hours ago. We’re gonna rip this box
open, see what we’ve got. Here we go. – [Mike Voiceover] Sure, it’s not quite what I set out to make,
but finally getting to see the frame in person was surreal. It didn’t come with English
assembly instructions, but it went together smoothly, and I had less bolts
leftover than you’d expect. To build it up, we went with
some forward-thinking parts from Ether Team, TRP, One Up, and Sram. To keep the futuristic
theme going, we wanted a zero offset fork, but nobody
wanted to make one for us. Weird. For the drive train, I can
see the writing on the wall, and no, it does not have a silly gear box. We used to have twenty-seven speeds, then we had twenty,
and now we have twelve. Obviously, the future is less gears. That’s why we went with Sram’s wide-range eight-speed E-bike drive tray. And, oh… Uh oh. It’s not going there, it’s not– Oh, shit. It needs a name, doesn’t it? And bike names need to be
aggressive, don’t they? Sick, evil, slayer. But I also love donuts, and I’m fishing for a Tim Hortons sponsorship. So there it is, the Grim Donut. The future. Just look at it. I don’t know why these
idiots couldn’t design this. It’s so simple.
(record scratch) I should probably test ride
this thing before I order thousands of them on the
Pinkbike credit card. The Grim Donut lives. Here we are. This is the first time
I’ve ridden this thing all built up, I’m just about to drop in. I haven’t even sat on this bike yet. Let’s give it a go. (bike gears click) You know, it feels so slack that it’s almost like
the fork might not work. It feels like it might want to do that. I have no idea what is gonna happen here. Wearing the helmet, of course. Let’s drop in. (upbeat instrumental music)