When I go to the big bike shows I try to have a wander round and see if there are any trends that catch my eye. After a while the sea of alloy and carbon can become overwhelming so the eye is only drawn to superb design or something quirky.
At this year’s Taipei Cycle Show I was actually on the lookout for signs that the growing interest in cargo bikes in Europe might be backed up by the companies who make so many of the elements of our bikes. With the Asian heritage for carrying loads by bike I always believe Taipei should be a good place for research. However this year I was almost completely disappointed apart for two items in the Design Awards section – a small trailer and a stylish pedelec (IZIP E3 Metro) with load carrying front and rear.
There was also a very cute Louis Garneau bike with basket which I liked.
However I was struck by one trend that is massive in every dimension. While last year the fat bike was a novelty on a few stands this year they were absolutely everywhere, it appears that the Taiwanese manufacturers think this is one of the trends their US and European importers are going to run with for a while so many had designs on show to prove they could meet the demand.
A have read some reviews and stories about fat bikes and I can clearly see the attraction in the countries where snow lies feet deep for months on end, or if you have a convenient sandy desert or beach to hand. They would be fantastic to hire for a fun day out at a bike park. But a mainstream part of the market? Not convinced.
But I have a sneaking suspicion that fat bikes are largely created to meet Rule 12 of the Velominati, that is to say
“The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. “
A bike that satisfies the need for the cyclist who has everything? Now that might work.
In the US ( Chicagoland ) fat bikes are very popular for off road, and yes they are usually the nth+1 bike.
Fatties are ridiculously fun to ride. The first time I rode one, I was actually laughing out loud as I pedaled along. Here in Michigan (US), we have races just for fatties. Don’t think this trend is going away soon, but you’re right about it being an n+1 kind of bike.
I could make great use out of a stylish cargo bike, but we don’t see many here.