Where do most bike components come from? How and in what conditions are they manufactured? MAG41 founder Max and his dad Manne went on an industry tour to Taiwan, which is the manufacturing heartland of the modern bike industry. First stop: one of the biggest dropper post manufacturers in the country, LIMOTEC.

Taiwan is always worth a visit– though it might not be the first destination that springs to mind when you’re booking a holiday! Max, one of the two founders of the E-MOUNTAINBIKE magazine, and Manne, his dad, also had a completely different picture of this country, far from the reality. The small island state lies a mere 180 kilometres from China’s shores, and it’s a real industrial powerhouse, where some of the biggest manufacturers of the cycling industry develop and produce their goods. In other words, Taiwan is the beating heart of the bike world, and the birthplace of modern production expertise. That was reason enough for us to pay a visit to the bike mecca, accepting the invitation of one of the largest dropper post manufacturers in the world: LIMOTEC. Like many more well-known companies such as GIANT, MERIDA and MAXXIS, LIMOTEC have one of their production facilities in the suburbs of Taichung, Taiwan’s second largest city, with a population of 2.8 million. Unlike many other bike companies, however, the dropper post colossus also has its headquarters here, albeit right in the centre of Taichung. From here, Manne and Max set off for the factory, which is around 30 minutes away.

A warm welcome

The first surprise awaits you at the entrance: rather than the usual sterile concrete, you’ll find a lovingly designed pond, which was built according to the principles of feng shui. Manne and Max are greeted by plant manager Erik Cheng and Kelley Liao, Limotec’s Sales Associate Manager. The two receive Max and Manne with the same warmth and politeness that is notable all across Taiwan, along with the same pride for their country and its innovative strength that shines through again and again throughout this exclusive factory tour.

The E-MOUNTAINBIKE delegation received a very warm welcome.
Looking for a fancy e-trike? LIMOTEC are still looking for OEM partners for this product.
LIMOTEC’s very own koi pond was designed strictly according to principles of Feng Shui

Since their establishment in 2018, LIMOTEC have become one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of dropper posts and suspension seat posts. According to Manne and Max, the Taichung plant has a production capacity of one million units per year. However, production is currently not running at full speed due to the excess of demand during the Corona era, which led to overproduction and weakness in net sales – and the acutely difficult global political panorama also plays a major role. So far, LIMOTEC have primarily acted as an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for entry-level and mid-range bikes from well-known brands like BULLS, CONWAY and MERIDA. However, we have also seen and tested the Taiwanese brand’s dropper posts on some top-tier bike models, like the MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K – although MERIDA put their own label on it. LIMOTEC is still an exotic player in the aftermarket, but wants to get much more involved in the future. In any case, their vast portfolio includes everything from affordable dropper posts for city bikes to an electric seatpost, which should also cut a fine figure on the most premium mountain bikes. We at E-MOUNTAINBIKE magazine have already had the opportunity to test a prototype of their flagship dropper post, the LIMOTEC E1P – you can read the full review here. LIMOTEC claim to be on a par with the segment’s top dogs, like FOX and RockShox, both in terms of quality and features, albeit at a much more attractive price. With this approach, the dropper post manufacturer wants to become increasingly prominent in the near future, especially in Europe and North America, and also play a major role in the aftermarket. We’re excited!

The electronic LIMOTEC E1 dropper post doesn’t require a battery on its own, drawing its power directly from the ebike’s main battery.

A comprehensive portfolio and high level of vertical integration

Manne and Max are given an overview of LIMOTEC’s product diversity right from the start of the factory tour. On a prominently positioned display, there are 9 different dropper posts and suspension seat posts. From classic droppers posts (with and without remote), to combo suspension droppers and electronic models, LIMOTEC have the right seat post for every occasion – and they’re all available in a wide range of diameters and travel options, for every type of bike: city, trekking, gravel, MTB, eMTB, e-SUV. There’s one special feature that all LIMOTEC seat posts models share: they’re all prepared to take an internal power cable for a tail light, which draws its power directly from the e-bike’s main battery

LIMOTEC’s portfolio includes dropper posts for every type of bike and application.

As Max and Manne stroll through the production plant, they quickly realise that LIMOTEC do a whole lot more than just bolting together third-party components. The entire manufacturing process takes place in-house, from the aluminium blanks right the way to the finished seatposts. The Taiwanese manufacturer also produces a range of remotes, and only the cartridges are sourced externally. Needless to say, Limotec’s R&D team is based at the Taichung site too, where a total of 60 people are currently employed.

It all starts with long alloy tubes of different qualities and diameters.
First, the tubes are cut to size.
Then they go into the first milling machine.
After each production step, the parts undergo a thorough inspection before moving into the next fabrication phase.
While the blanks are milled, holes are drilled in the head.
Deburring the head of the dropper post.
Two of the many stages along the way.

We manufacture all the components for our seat posts ourselves. We only source the cartridges externally and buy them from a specialised company. – Erik Cheng, Plant Manager at LIMOTEC.

The markings and logos are etched into the alloy with a laser.
Assembling the individual parts of the dropper post that have been manufactured in-house, and installing the prefabricated cartridges.
Finished LIMOTEC dropper posts ready for shipping.

The highlight of their current seatpost range is without a doubt the LIMOTEC E1 Memory, an electric dropper with adjustable travel that allows you to program different saddle positions – a bit like the driving position memory system of a car. The dropper is powered directly by the ebike system, and Manne and Max learn that LIMOTEC are planning significantly more extensive integration into existing drive systems than has previously been seen on the market, especially in the ebike sector.

Strict quality control

Just like production, the entire quality control process takes place at the Taichung site. In their in-house test laboratory, LIMOTEC simulate real-life scenarios with water and sand to test the sealing and tolerances. In addition, to assess durability and material fatigue, the droppers undergo an additional test with 100,000 loading cycles at 1,850 N, which is meant to simulate the stresses applied by a 180 kg rider – quite an extreme load scenario. Only when the dropper has passed these tests can an employee send it to the packaging department – and perhaps it will land on your next eMTB.

The endurance test is meant to assess the flex behaviour and play of the dropper post.

Only when a dropper post has passed all the tests with flying colours is it allowed to leave the factory. – Kelley Liao, Sales Associate Manager

Our conclusions about our LIMOTEC factory visit

Smoggy factory landscapes, old-school punch time clocks and grubby blue overalls – this is how many of us still imagine a production facility in the Far East. During our visit to LIMOTEC, we’ve had a completely different experience: high-tech, cosmopolitanism and impeccable politeness. It’s quite remarkable what this company has achieved in just over 6 years, and the innovative strength it displays. LIMOTEC is a modern company throughout and epitomises the flair of the Taiwanese bike industry – very different from what we might imagine in the West.

Facts and figures about LIMOTEC

LIMOTEC is a Taiwanese manufacturer of bicycle components with headquarters in Taichung City, Taiwan. Founded in 2017, LIMOTEC initially started producing bicycle frames. Their biggest customer is the Accell Group (the company behind brands like Haibike, GHOST and Winora). In 2018, they started producing their first dropper posts in the suburbs of Taichung. LIMOTEC also has three other production sites in China. The German branch is located in Bad Nauheim, where a small team takes care of design and OEM support.

For more info, visit LIMOTEC’s Website.

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Words: Patrick Gruber Photos: Manne Schmitt