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Taiwan: An Inside Look at Cycling’s Asian Tiger – Part 1

by Scott Kelly

January 18, 2012 (Taiwan) – For the second consecutive year Pedal Magazine was invited to Taiwan to tour one of cycling’s key manufacturing heartlands, in advance of the Taipei Cycle Show this March 10-12. Now in its 25th year, Taipei Cycle is amongst the world’s top three bicycle trade shows and will attract 1,000 companies from over 40 different countries when it takes place this March in Taipei, Taiwan.

Taipei Cycle is an important trade show for the whole bicycle industry as industry insiders will meet meet to review, discuss and check out what trends are coming down the pipeline in the industry. We visited a number of companies for an inside look at what makes Taiwan such a successful powerhouse in the sport of cycling – here’s Part 1.

Kenda Rubber Industrial Corporation

Kenda Rubber Industrial Corporation was founded in 1962 by Jing-Bao Yang and has since grown to be one of the leading manufacturers of bicycle, motorcycle, ATV, industrial and automotive tires. Kenda operates seven factories in Taiwan, China and Vietnam, as well as branches in the U.S. and Europe. Kenda’s current chairman is Ying-Ming Yang, and under his tenure the company has continually upgraded both its factories and manufacturing equipment in order to both improve efficiencies and acquire ISO 9001 certification.

Kenda’s motto is “Honesty, Quality, Service and Innovation” and it is these central tenets that guide Kenda’s day-to-day business. At present, 35% of Kenda’s business is bicycle-related, 25% is automotive and the remainder is motorcycle, industrial and ATV, however, Kenda is eyeing the automotive business as a way to make a major increase in overall sales. Presently, Kenda is firmly entrenched in the top three bicycle tire manufacturers and is the 26th largest tire manufacturer in the world.

Kenda is confident that through the growth of its automotive tire business, it can break into the top 20 tire manufacturers worldwide within the next five years. A whopping 90% of the tires Kenda produces feature a Kenda brand sticker on their sidewall, the remaining 10% are made for other companies. Of the Kenda-branded tires that are produced, a total of 50% are OEM and 50% are aftermarket. Mountain bike tires comprise 50% of their total output, road is 15-20%, and the remainder is split between city, touring, kids and BMX tires.

Kenda has a long history of sponsorship in the sport, with legendary riders such as John Tomac, Tinker Juarez, Brian Lopes, Hans Rey and Eric Carter all riding Kena tires and now help to design them. New for 2012 is the Road 2 Compound (R2C) which is Kenda’s latest performance compound for road cycling. The centre compound utilizes a 70sA compound, which will gives the tires the fastest rolling speed of any Kenda tire. The shoulders use the softer L3R Pro 60sA compound for sure cornering.

RSC is featured on the Kountach and Kaliente road tires. On the mountain bike side, Kenda has unveiled the RSR (Race Stick-E Rubber) which is a race-specific compound (42sA) that is super soft and sticky to provide superior grip on the trails as well as an additional degree of compliance. RSR will be available in tires like the Slant Six, Nevegal, Nexcavtor, Excavator and Happy Medium.


Joytech was founded in 1971 in a modest factory with only six employees and has since grown into an industry leading company with over 950 employees, one factory in Taiwan and two additional factories in mainland China. Novatech, Joytech’s performance brand was established in 1989 and since then every Novatech-branded product has been produced in Taiwan.

While the design and production is handled by the factories in Taiwan and China, Novatech makes sure they work closely with their U.S. and European offices to handle the marketing and additional development of the products. Novatec USA, based in Santa Ana, California, was established in 2009, and Novatec EU, based in Slovakia, was established in 2011.

The company was ISO 9002 certified in 2002 and became a member of the Taiwanese A-Team in 2004. Knowing that their commitment to producing a quality product does not end when the product is shipped out the door, Novatech places a premium on customer satisfaction and as such, has 24 sales and service facilities worldwide.

Novatech produces 4,500 high-end hubs per day in its Taiwanese facilities and has a total output of 1.5 million hubs a year.  Its two Chinese factories produce hubs and wheels for more budget-conscious Joytech brand and have a combined output of 36-43.6 million hubs a year. Of Joytech/Novatech’s total output, 45% is OEM and another 20% is ODM manufacturing.

ODM/OEM is a large part of Novatech’s business, and because the company manufactures hubs for many of the industry’s biggest names, it ensure strict confidentiality when it comes to intellectual property.

Joytech/Novatec has built a strong reputation in the industry and attracts much of its OEM and ODM business due to its class-leading quality, unmatched value, material technology, vast product selection and customization opportunities.


Stay tuned for Part 2 coming soon.

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