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Visiting e*thirteen in Taiwan

Christoph , Philipp & Holger 07. January 2017

Joel Peters, co-founder of e*thirteen, welcomed us to their Taiwanese headquarters to explain how their product ideas turn into reality.

The last time we visited Taiwan, we had the chance to check out e*thirteen’s Taiwanese headquarters. Recently, they have been introducing new, innovative products non-stop. We wanted to know what was behind all this and who the people are that are pulling it off.

A Taichung taxi ride

As usual, our story begins with us trying to get to our destination. If you have ever taken a taxi in Taiwan, then you know that if you don’t speak the language or have the correct address in Chinese characters, you are going to have a hard time explaining to the taxi driver where you want to go. After a lot of discussion, and a quick search with one of our smartphones, we found e*thirteen’s office which was only 1.5 km away from our hotel. Should have just taken our bikes…

As soon as we arrived, we were greeted by an e*thirteen co-founder and one of the owners as well as two adopted dogs. To be honest, every good bike brand should have a dog or better yet, several.

Note: the more dogs a brand has, the better the products.

Where everything comes together

The office space was super cool with stylish, modern furnishings, a great coffee machine and even a billiard table. Definitely a great atmosphere.

Joel Peters, one of the owners, and Chris Costello, one of the founders, showed us around and gave us an idea of how their company works. e*thirteen has a few other offices, but the one in Taichung is the largest with 15 employees. Due to the fact that their production facility is in Taichung, all the needed information is collected in this office. Joel also lives here full-time because of his position as e*thirteen’s main product developer.

The way to production

Though it may be a cliché, e*thirteen is 100 % made by bikers, for bikers.

Joel explained to us, over a Taiwan Beer, that often they have ideas while biking that aren’t necessarily innovative. Their products are first produced, when they are sure that they can make it better than others. To achieve this, they deal in solutions and orient themselves to the customer. For example, they realized that you don’t need any feathers, or 12-speeds, to ride a huge gear ratio (9-46 tooth). e*thirteen also doesn’t have a problem tearing down conventions to make their goals possible. Theoretically, a 9-tooth sprocket can’t be used because of something called the polygon effect, which supposedly creates more intense vibrations the smaller the sprocket gets. Instead of sticking to the theory, e*thirteen produced a 9-tooth sprocket and rode it, and found out that it does work. This goes to show, that actually giving an innovative idea a try can lead to a product that functions flawlessly.

The fact that e*thirteen thought ‘out of the box’ and tried out an impossible idea, sets the stage for their newest product: the TRS tyres. In our opinion, these tyres turned out great and even the idea of developing a tyre without having any prior experience further supports their innovative prowess.

To develop them, there were countless tests and rides involved. First, all the relevant tyres from the completion were tested down to the last knob and then they made their first tyre mould. The first models were cut, tested, then cut and tested again until Joel was happy with the tread. A long and arduous process, but it goes to show how much thought e*thirteen puts into their products.

After our visit, we understood way e*thirteen produces such great components. It’s their commitment and passion for cycling that makes it all work. With a bold, just do it kind of attitude they are giving the cycling industry a much needed breath of fresh air.

At the end of our tour of the office, we ate together and shared our experiences with spiders while riding in the jungles of Taiwan. Check out video below to see for yourself:

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