Taiwan is an East Asia island country in the western Pacific region, and has been known as “Bicycle Kingdom” since 1970s after its exports increased dramatically. While China now produces a huge amount of bikes and their parts as well, Taiwan has currently focus on mid-level and high-end cycling products. (Read more: Taiwan: The Cycling Island & Taiwan’s Bicycle World)
The authorities of Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city, has legalized cycling on city center pavement, and also raised the network of cycle lanes. (Read more: CNN: Taiwan by bicycle: A guide to Cycle Route No. 1 | CNN Travel) Click here to see Taipei City Cycling Map.
YouBike, or Taipei Bike Sharing System, is a public bicycle sharing service offered by the Taipei City Department of Transportation in a BOT collaboration with local manufacturer. (Read more: How to rent Ubike? The ultimate instruction 2020) Since its launch in 2009, the YouBike network has grown to 7,000 bikes at more than 200 locations, most of them strategically placed next to metro stations and bus stops. The development of Ubike helps citizens’ commuting and expats’ Taipei Day Tour. Each bike is used an average of 8.6 times a day by 2016 – the highest turnover rate in the world. (Read more: The Guardian: Return of the Bicycle Kingdom? How pavement cycling is transforming Taipei)
Who is that local manufacturer collaborating with government? The answer is:
Giant Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (mostly known as Giant) is a Taiwanese bicycle manufacturer, recognized as the world’s largest bicycle manufacturer. Giant has manufacturing facilities in Taiwan, the Netherlands, and China. Giant was established in 1972 in Dajia, Taichung County in the nation of Taiwan (now part of Taichung City), by King Liu and several friends.
Giant brand unveiled in 1981. Since then, Giant has become a global leader in bike production. In 2008 Giant launched the Liv/Giant sub-brand with products focused exclusively on the female cycling market. Liv/Giant sub-brand was re-branded to Liv in 2014. The re-branding was aimed to differentiate the Liv’s products with existing Giant brand’s.
In 2015, Giant announced the global launch of its Momentum brand lifestyle bikes. Starting out with two models, the iNeed Street and the iWant Park. Those are simply named on the basis for work purposes and just for cruising on the weekends. They were meant for younger, more urban demographic than Giant’s luxurious bikes. (Read more: Giant’s Spinoff Brand Momentum Wants you to ‘Move Happy’ with their New Cruiser Bikes & Giant Just Released a Gorgeous, Low-Cost Commuter)
Giant introduced the first CADEX carbon fiber road bike in 1987 (click here to see 1989 Giant Cadex 980 C), becoming the first bicycle maker to apply computer-aided design and volume production techniques to the production of carbon fiber road bikes. In 2019, Giant launched Cadex, name after their previously mass-produced carbon fiber bicycle launched in 1987.
Merida Industry Co., Ltd is a Taiwan-based company and second-largest manufacturer with R&D headquarters in Germany that designs, manufactures and markets bicycles globally in over 77 countries. Founded in 1972 by Ike Tseng, the company designs and manufactures over 2 million bicycles a year at its factories in Taiwan, China and Germany. (Read more: An exclusive behind the scenes look at MERIDA Bikes in Taiwan – where do our bikes actually come from?)
In 2017 Merida co-founded the Bahrain-Merida Pro Cycling Team, one of the first to be based in the Middle East. It now lives up to its ultimate ambition, with its bikes being ridden to victory by the likes of Vincenzo Nibali, Yukiya Arashiro and Sonny Colbrelli. (Read more: UK champion cyclist joins Bahrain Merida team for 2020)
Bahrain-Merida has become Bahrain-McLaren since 2020. McLaren, a British automotive manufacturer, comes aboard as a title sponsor. The Taiwan-based brand, which has been with the team since its inception in 2017, will continue to supply the team with bikes. (Read more: Merida confirm end to title sponsorship of Bahrain team & Bahrain-Merida will become Bahrain-McLaren in 2020)
Last but not least, check more reviews for Giant vs. Merida, and find yourself a perfect bike!