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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Taiwan Customs Makes Us Feel Like Duty

Ozsoapbox has a really great post about ordering bike parts from overseas. Sometimes they tax you and sometimes they don't.

I have blogged before on Giant's competitive advantage, and duties on foreign bike parts (manufactured in Taiwan) contribute to some of the disparity between local and foreign bike prices. In the case of Oz, the government is actually double dipping.

Later investigation revealed that cycling gear above $1000 TWD (a ridiculously stupidly low amount of about $30 AUD) attracted an ‘import duty tax’ of 5%...

...This itself wasn’t too bad but the government then double dips and applies a further ‘business tax’ which was another $420 TWD ($13.80 AUD) in taxes.

Combined, these two taxes brought my total import duty to nearly $826 TWD or $27 AUD, roughly 10% of the order cost.

Additionally, when calculating the import duty and business tax, the idiots at the customs office decided to include the cost of my shipping from Wiggle which was approx $1500 TWD alone ($48.87 AUD).

December 4-8 is Taichung Bike Week, for all you who want to look at bike stuff. I will be outdoors riding.


Bits and Pieces: Looking At My Parts

Since returning from Seattle I have hardly logged any saddle time, but there are things that need to get done. One of the things I did do while I was in Seattle, was buy a new set of pedals.

I picked up the Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3 pedals to replace my Candy SL set. I was very pleased with my Candies, but I was ready for something different.

What I really like about the Crank Brothers system is its simplicity. The four sided clip makes for easy clipping and unclipping. I think the latter may be the most important. I have actually seen a few people struggle with popping out of the typical Shimano-style pedals. This is good for mud, dirt, areas with heavy traffic, and especially for beginners. The worst is watching someone run out of gas on a hill and panic to unclip or fall over. The CBs are intuitive. The clipping process can also be done back to front or front to back. If you over step, slide back or under-step, slide forward. The CBs provide plenty of float to allow the rider room to adjust for comfort and position.

I chose the Eggbeater over the Candy because I felt the plasic platform was unnecessary. It is actually easier for me to clip-in when there is only a clip and no platform to slide on.

Crank Brothers has released all new redesigns this year with more rigid construction and bearings that are sealed from water and dirt. Bike Radar has an excellent article about the redesign and the entire line of CB pedals.

From my initial testing I have found these pedals to be an excellent replacement and would implore anyone interested in SPD pedals to use Crank Brothers.


Over longer term use I have found Crank Brothers pedals to be unreliable and very high maintenance. Crank Brothers offers a rebuild kit... and for good reason. You're gonna need it. The down side is that you are constantly riding without peace of mind. and when you send pedals in to be repaired, you are out of action for however long it takes to repair the pedals. 

The second piece of equipment I would like to gush over are my Chris King hubs.

I noticed my rear wheel wasn't spinning like I wanted and thought I would have Rocky at T-Mosaic take a look.

I guess I have been busy riding and using my bike, so my hubs were in sore need of servicing after 3 years of use. Rocky cleaned out all the crud, re-greased and my wheel is rolling like a brand new wheel.

Chris King has a reputation for being expensive and light, but not the lightest components on the planet. The difference is that King components are made to last and are completely serviceable. Many component companies make parts that may last three years, but once they are done... they're done. Replacements can get expensive and the spent parts sit in a landfill.

I'd rather spend the money up front than take an unexpected hit in the wallet down the road.

Unfortunately, King hubs are hard to find in Taiwan. a lot of people just can't or don't want to front load a purchase with more expensive gear. Hubs are usually a weak point of a complete bike purchase and that is where companies feel they can skimp and move bikes. I actually had to order my hubs from Aspire Velotech. They have free worldwide shipping and I had my hubs in 5 days. Kings are worthy of serious consideration and are well worth the price.