Editor’s foreword: This article is a self-recommended submission by American cyclists “Lonely Black Dog”. He said: “This is not a soft article with goods, but an article based on my own strong interest in bicycle manufacturing. If you have something to say after reading this article, welcome to leave a message to discuss or contribute.
Imagine if we do not have a strong basic manufacturing industry to support, whether domestic prices will also become very expensive like Ukraine, Russia or other South American countries, the entire domestic bicycle manufacturing industry is still in the stage of labor-intensive industry, but I personally think that Chinese bicycle enthusiasts are very happy, can enjoy the beautiful price of domestic kits, and now there are so many similar thoughts, Fangyuan, vortex, Maijin, IGPSPORT, Shuntai, Blueprints and many other national enterprises have high-quality and inexpensive products.
Especially in the recent car accident, the front wheel of Fangyuan S4 broke two spokes for the electric vehicle, but it is particularly convenient when applying for after-sales, and the manual fee for sending it back is free, and I only paid the round-trip freight and the material cost of one spokes, which strengthened my confidence in domestic brands.
However, due to limited ability, I can’t visit these large factories for the time being, so I can only use a wire pulling oil dish factory before, Puken Technology as the entry point for this industry investigation and learning, and the leopard in the tube can be seen.
▲If it is not sold, the kit has become a wealth management product with a profit of 30%
▲ Geometry is too radical, has been out of WKY
When I first saw Mr. Liao, the boss of Puqiken, it was when I installed the first disc brake highway in 2019, when I was riding a TCR equipped with an 8070 kit, but due to weight and a battery failure, it cost 700 yuan to change the battery, which was really painful, and then triggered the idea of installing a mechanical ultra-light disc brake, the specific loading information can be seen in this article submitted to Meiqi before – “How to use 1xxxx yuan to install a 6.9KG disc brake road bike”. At that time, the first idea was to find a line pull oil dish to replace Shimano 8070, idle fish Taobao after shopping around, found that all line pull oil discs were monopolized by Taiwanese manufacturers, until a chance visit to 1688 only found this IIIPRO line pull disc brake, at that time it seemed that the shape was still very tough, plus with a heat dissipation ridge, it became the first choice for loading the car.
Since I myself am also a foreign trade practitioner in the manufacturing industry, I easily found the factory address and contact information of Pukenken. Because it is the first generation of products, although the feel and braking force are good when loading the car at the beginning, with the use time becomes longer and the erosion of sediment, the rebound of the piston and the strength of the brake handle gradually increase. After changing the endurance frame, I still wanted to maintain the pair of calipers, but the triangular opening angle of the fork was not enough to install the brakes, so I had to give up temporarily. Until half a year later, I suddenly found that Puqiken released a new line pull disc brake in the circle of friends, the new disc brake CNC manufacturing, beautiful appearance, it is said that on the basis of the old design in 2017 made the following update.
1. The caliper body is enlarged, the piston diameter is enlarged, and the braking force is increased by 21%.
2. Re-improve the point line angle design, adjust the trace, and make the feel very smooth.
3. Increase the bore ratio of the pushrod piston (that is, the ratio of brake lever stroke and piston stroke), disc brakes to maintain the disc gap at 2.6mm, making shunting easier.
4. The disc brake has been improved with offset angle, so that it can be used in all frame models on the market.
5. Built-in very flexible piano steel wire spring, no matter how complex the full internal wiring is at ease, the braking force loss is lower than the old model.
I decided to visit the factory to satisfy my interest in manufacturing, or to chat with Mr. Liao at Puken and write an informal interview for everyone to exchange and discuss.
▲ The same style as most Pearl River Delta factories, simple on the outside, unique inside
Puken Technology is a research and development enterprise focusing on the research and development of various brake systems such as oil discs and floating discs, currently providing OEM production for a number of European brands, with a wide range of medium and high-end brake products, with dozens of structural patents and appearance patents. The team has been manufacturing brake products for more than 10 years, many employees are the technical backbone of Taiwan-funded factories, Mr. Liao himself also worked in Taiwan bicycle parts factory in his early years, technical background, tall, with the introverted and reserved of engineers. We mainly discussed some pain points in the domestic bicycle accessories industry, and the questions and answers are as follows.
Q: In what aspects is the production level of our domestic factories basically the same as that of foreign enterprises, and where are they deficient?
I think that our brakes can match foreign brands in the selection of raw materials and materials, CNC processing technology and performance of products. However, the current lean management and high-precision production process of the entire factory are far from foreign countries, and the overall product evaluation time is only 1/3 of foreign brands, so it is inferior to others in terms of overall stability. It is often said that the industries of Germany, Japan and the United States have the spirit of craftsmanship and pay attention to excellence, but they do not know that the brand advantages, price advantages, mature sales channels and sufficient profit margins of foreign enterprises are their strong support.
Q: In the two years since the outbreak of the pandemic, what crises and turnarounds have you encountered?
In the past two years, the factory that has done bicycle accessories, there is no order that does not explode, and foreign orders are in short supply, which is nothing to say. But to always follow Toyota’s concept to do the enterprise, precision manufacturing + development innovation, step by step is the road to sustainable development.
Q: So what price do your products correspond to foreign products?
Take our mountain bike disc brakes as an example, our braking force is done in accordance with the braking force standard of British HOPE, the overall metal part is full CNC, screws with anodic plating process, basically our more than 200 yuan products can reach the braking strength and feel of foreign products of 1000 yuan, but we are poor in the design of the appearance and the texture of the overall product.
Q: I see that domestic car fans have high expectations for domestic electronic transmission and domestic road car hydraulic brakes, do you consider cooperating with companies such as Blueprint and Shuntai to develop hydraulic brake systems?
There are ideas, but there are many technical difficulties involved, and they will not be done in a short time. But we are currently working on a line-to-oil disc brake system, which has entered the testing stage, and the overall function is similar to Giant’s catfish conversion head, but the overall one we are doing is smaller and more beautiful.
Q: What do you think the size of the domestic bicycle consumer market today is equivalent to the level of Europe and the United States?
Before the epidemic, we would go to Europe every year to participate in the exhibition, and foreign customers also liked these small accessories produced in our country, but the brand influence of the whole vehicle and accessories was still very small. However, the level of bicycle consumption in our big cities is close to the European and American markets, and consumers are beginning to be willing to spend more on bicycles.
▲ODM order for mountain brake system
▲Disc drying process
Then I went to visit the production line of the factory, the workshop was busy in an orderly manner, and from the on-site management, Proken Technology was more like a technology development enterprise. Due to the confidentiality needs of custom customers, I only took a small number of photos of the standard products, and judging from the disc brake tester below, the test standard is much higher than the daily use standard.
▲The tea table is full of products to be developed
▲The test report comes from the Rheinland Laboratory in Germany
▲Braking force test report in wet and dry conditions
From Made in China to Intelligent Manufacturing in China, how big is the gap between China and the United States?
The process of industrial manufacturing is very long, the degree of industrialization in Western countries is early, naturally in the field of bicycle accessories ahead of us, they have independent pricing power in the market, the country has enough consumer support, education has a systematic training process, industrial design and student interests can be closely combined, students can directly convert into productivity after graduation into the factory, make better products, and this series of factors are not available. Most of the domestic factories still stay at the level of OEM or OEM manufacturing, and the lack of grasp of the terminal market is easy to form a dilemma of building cars behind closed doors, while the fierce involution price competition also makes enterprises difficult in innovative design and quality.
Take their own company as an example, employees who work overtime can already get nearly 6,000 yuan a month, and need to work 60+ hours a week, but when I checked the data of the 70s in the United States, I was surprised to find that there were 600 cars per 1,000 people, and the 60-70s were also the golden age of American industry, people fully enjoyed the benefits and convenience brought by industrialization to life, and ordinary blue-collar workers already had two days off and an annual salary of 3-70,000 US dollars. At that time, developing countries still lacked a complete industrial chain, it was difficult to produce goods that could compete with American goods, and the bicycle accessories industry, as a subdivision, could only optimize costs with cheap labor costs and intensive production to ensure profits.
Nowadays, China’s manufacturing industry as a whole is undergoing an all-round upgrade process, from the talent training of schools, to the technological innovation of enterprises, and then to the creation and development of enterprises’ own brands, such a series of changes have gradually transformed China’s manufacturing into China’s intelligent manufacturing. It is believed that more and more Chinese original brands will appear in the future, no longer relying on OEM to survive, and have the right to set their own prices. Maybe the price of domestic products will be a little more expensive at that time, but the hard-working production line workers can also enjoy weekends and get more salaries to pursue a higher standard of living, and at the same time, the factory has profits, there are funds to develop better products, so that the entire industry enters a virtuous circle.
I sincerely hope that many domestic manufacturers will refuel and develop our own oil disc electric change, chase the “jubilee” super “speed”, so that the majority of users no longer have to endure the trouble of individual brands rising by 30% and have not yet been stocked.
(*This article only represents the author’s own views, not the position of Meiqi.com)
RESPONSIBLE EDITOR: BAMBOO