Since the 1990s, Pacific Cycles, run by President George Lin, has concentrated on creating original products that have earned an enviable reputation around the world. Last year the company opened a bicycle museum at its original plant in Taoyuan that has attracted thousands of visitors.
As well as its own range, Pacific provides R&D and manufacturing services for many brands. The museum shows successes and failures in recent bicycle design, rather than antique curiosities. “There are only a few antique bikes. Mostly we have models that show the history of Pacific, along with some models from other makers,” Yeh said. “We’ve also put bikes on display that are not good at all. They are examples of how not to design a bicycle.” The museum, as much as anything else, is a look back at the history of Pacific. For example, two MTB prototypes are on display. Developed in the early 1990s before the company decided to focus on folding bikes, the MTBs never made it to the production stage.
Pacific opened a second plant in 2009, down the road from the existing factory. Heat treatment, R&D and framemaking continue at the old plant. The new factory uses catalytic infrared oven technology that cuts oven time from 25 minutes to 7 minutes while using 30 percent less energy.
The system was supplied by Vulcan Catalytic Systems, from the U.S. state of Rhode Island. Pacific is the first company in the bike industry to use the technology, and Lin is so impressed that he N0114 is working with the supplier to sell the technology in Asia. “It is becoming bigger than our bike business,” he said.
George Lin is very proud of the Reach design. This one was used by a student group who cycled to Tibet. It rides as well as a full-size road bike, but there is still a prejudice against small-wheeled bike, especially in the US. © TK
Along with Pacific-branded models, there are also many bikes from brands for which Pacific has developed and produced bicycles, including Airnimal and Kuwahara. Lin noted that the museum shows “less than 30 percent of the bike models we make. Our bikes are too expensive to have them all on show here, so we have mainly prototypes on display.” Since opening last summer the museum has had over 3,000 visitors.
Pacific is making full use of the Internet to expand sales to hard-to-reach customers. “We get hundreds of Internet inquiries every month. We fulfill those sales through dealers if we can, but for places like South America, we will sell direct from Taiwan,” Yeh said. Lin said he wants to improve direct marketing to consumers, as Internet sales could become a major focus. "Courier costs make it very feasible to sell direct,” he noted. He added that although the company is known for its high-end models, this year he wants to add less expensive bikes to the range.
BELOW: Lin is enthusiastic about the Vulcan catalytic oven used at the plant. Pacific is pioneering the use of this type of oven, which is faster, less polluting and cheaper to run than conventional ovens. © TK
UNIQUE MODELS SHOWCASED AT PACIFIC CYCLES MUSEUM
The mayor of Taoyuan first suggested turning Pacific’s fascinating collection of bicycles into a proper museum, said Max Yeh, the company’s marketing manager.