Design concepts to help bike industry thrive: iF CEO

The many aspects of design could help the global bike industry thrive and make a promising market for Taiwanese bike companies, Ralph Wiegmann, CEO of iF International Forum Design GmbH (iF) said Tuesday.

Presenting the annual Taipei Cycle d&i awards, organized by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and Taiwan Bicycle Association in collaboration with iF to recognize excellent design in the biking industry, Wiegmann said he expects more demand for personalized biking products and services in the future, in the wake of fast-changing demographics.

This trend will provide big opportunities for designers, as more forward-thinking ideas are needed in the industry, he said.

The growing interest in electric bikes, for instance, means that designers will have to figure out ways to develop more long-lived batteries, beautifully installed in lighter bikes, along with customized designs to reflect personal tastes, he said.

How to incorporate smart but simple functions into those bikes will be important as well, as the target market will very likely be senior citizens, he went on.

"Bike companies will have to identify new services in the future," Wiegman added, emphasizing the significance of applying Internet connectivity to such services to make biking not only convenient, but fun.

This year, 47 out of a total of 182 entries from a record number of 19 countries in the competition were able to convince the jury panel and take home awards.

It is also the fifth straight year iF has been invited to take part, while overseas entries have shown a 39.6 percent growth to 67. (By Lee Hsin-Yin)