For the founders of bicycle shop Sense30 (參拾), cycling is not just a leisure activity, but an attitude. In addition to building vintage-style custom bikes, the company also sells clothing, accessories and organizes group rides in Taipei.
Sense30’s new store near Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall will have its grand opening on Saturday starting at 1pm with a roster of workshops and an acoustic performance by Gary Yang (楊瑞代), a songwriter and Jay Chou’s (周杰倫) personal recording engineer.
Sense30’s first location was a small showroom that opened two years ago. The new store will also carry clothing, accessories like pannier bags from Dutch company Fastrider and Lomography cameras.
The company’s three founders all have design backgrounds. Issa Chen (陳彥鳴) is the creator of popular streetwear line Pizza Cut Five. Illustrator Sihow Yah (葉士豪) draws most of the company’s graphics, while Joe Fang (方序中) is also lifestyle brand Outerspace Fever’s (熱血) visual director.
The three friends began collaborating on Sense30 in 2008, spending six months designing and building their first bicycle using a vintage frame they found in a factory.
“Cycling was becoming very trendy in Taiwan, but when we looked for bicycles, they were all ugly,” says Chen. “They were completely unlike what we had in mind, so we went online to do some research.”
The three friends were inspired by the sturdy, clean lines of roadsters and “gentleman’s bicycles” made during the first half of the 20th century, as well as cycling events like London’s annual Tweed Run.
The company’s first customized bicycles were made using secondhand frames. As customer demand increased, Sense30 found factories that could re-create vintage components. Their bicycles combine new frames with parts sourced from England such as Brooks leather bicycle seats and Sturmey-Archer gears.
Address: 40, Ln 417, Guangfu S Rd, Taipei City (台北市光復南路417巷40號)
OPEN: Monday to Saturday 1pm to 9pm, Sunday 11am to 6pm
TELEPHONE: (02) 8789-4835
ON THE NET: www.sense30.com
Chen emphasizes that Sense30’s bicycles are designed to be more than just good-looking. When the company was founded lightweight folding bicycles were popular, but Chen and his partners found riding them unpleasant.
“It’s like adults trying to ride children’s bikes,” Chen says. “The ratios of our bicycles are more suited to the human body and using them is much more comfortable.”
Most modern bicycles are made from lightweight materials like carbon and sport sleek, aerodynamic lines. Sense30’s frames, on the other hand, are made from heavier metals like steel and feature details like decorative engraving.
“People often ask us if our bicycles can be used for mountain biking or riding around the island. Yes, they can, it just depends on whether or not you can ride that far,” says Chen. “The types of bikes we sell were once used by people on a daily basis.”
Though Sense30’s wares are suitable for rigorous use, cyclists who want to move at a more leisurely pace can participate in Sense30’s “slow rides.” Organized on an irregular basis, the events put an emphasis on allowing bikers to enjoy the view, take photos and carry on conversations with one another.
The company hopes to appeal to a wide range of cycling enthusiasts. Many of the people who order Sense30’s custom bicycles are in their fifties and sixties, including vintage car and motorcycle connoisseurs who want to expand the scope of their collections. Some ask for bicycles made from parts manufactured in specific years. Many of the participants in Sense30’s slow rides, on the other hand, are in their twenties and thirties.