Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The rising stars of 2012

Where's the excitement?
Is it too early to tell, or there is already a glut in the folding bike scene here in Malaysia.
You can forget about Dahon as there aren't many exciting products coming from them.
The situation is so stale, some China Domestic Model bikes are slowly seeping into the country.
Dahon's sale in the Klang Valley will reach rock-bottom after the 2011 models are completely purged out of the system.
If you inherit the high-end bikes, you are set for life.
Like I said before, Tern bicycles will continue to make inroads in Malaysia with their impressive line-up for 2012. 
The good bikes will be shipped-in by March, so, its up to the retards who market them to make good of the surge of interest in high-end folding bikes.
If the guys behind Tern bikes in Malaysia continue to sit on their ass and hope that the brand would sell by itself, they might as well pack up and call it a day...


Rising stars..
I must say that 2011 saw a big interest in folding bikes especially in large towns and cities in the Central and Northern Peninsula.
Penang, for that matter, had a growing number of folding bike cyclists.
Thanks to the internet and media, their population is increasing.
In a market that is dominated by Dahon, I am particularly impressed with the high-sales of entry-level bikes like the Dahon ECO-7.
To take a crack at the market, brands like Oyama from Taiwan is also making an impact.
They became very aggressive as new models for 2012 had hit the streets.
Oyama had taken the initiative to improvise their bikes.
But still, brands like Oyama will never measure up to Dahon who has more than half a century of experience in developing and manufacturing folding bikes.

A decent effort: The Oyama Skyline
Copycat gone clean...
Having seen the Brompton copies, I must say that I was never impressed by Flamingo bikes.
Even at a fraction of what Brompton had to offer, the Flamingoes are inferior.
But one of their mid-range bike, the HS-F1 20/27 had captured my imagination.
This affordable bike has the best components one can imagine and with mechanical disk brakes, its a throw-around bike that you can rig for touring and long-distance ride.
The only flaw on this bike, is the downtube that collects water if you ride in heavy rain.
Other than a minor flaw, the Flamingo HS-F1 20/27 is s direct contender to the Dahon Speed P8 and Tern Link D8.
Pound for pound, the Flamingo bike is worth every consideration of you want an all-rounder folding bike.
A scuba diver dude in Bandar Utama Centrepoint is selling this bike, but I don't really know its actual pricing.


Flamingo HS-F1 20/27
The new guy..
KSH bicycles has added 'Java' under their folding bike range.
These 'designed in Italy', made in China bikes are selling like hot cakes.
Why? At RM1.4k a pop, its a bang for your buck.
Eager to please, the Java brand is throwing in a wide range of gear including mechanical disk brakes. So, its no surprise why the Java Fit is so hot!


The Java Fit
Now, the real winner is...
Hasa bikes were introduced by the Yong brothers of Tukang Basikal Fook Sang in Sungai Way, Petaling Jaya.
One of the brothers said he never expected his customers to ask for high-end folding bike and are willing to pay for it.
What impressed me the most, is the effort being put into the quality control which gave the HASA M-2 Minimax a fine fit and finish.
Also eager to please as a first-timer folding bike manufacturer, the HASA folks had also thrown-in some really good components.
My only displeasure on the M-2 Minimax is the handlebar stem that looks like crap.
But, the clear advantage here is the fact that you can upgrade the components.. *phew!* 
I think the HASA bikes are going to do quite well throughout 2012..


The HASA M-2 Minimax, good value for money..
Conclusion..
I doubt that the retail scene is going to be really exciting this year.
My only hope is to see some new stuff coming out of Josh Hon's team at Tern Bicycles.
With so many choices now, I think the boys at KSH Bikes and Tukang Basikal Fook Sang are going to do okay.
To maintain the lead, the guys who are selling the Dahons must put their feet down, get a feel of things and see what the customer wants.
As for Tern here in Malaysia, well, they must emphasize in pre-delivery QC to avoid another handlebar failure incident..


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