Asahi Chang´s collection, Taipei - Taiwan

Taipei, home to 2.7 million people and the capital of Taiwan, has a rather large bicycle secret hidden among the tight streets and winding alleyways. It can be best described as an unbelievable, jaw dropping treasure trove. The private collection of Asahi Chang contains more than 600 professional track and road bikes. It is the largest of it’s kind in the world, unavailable for public viewing. The location is a very well kept secret. We were lucky enough to have a peek inside the collection that has been nick named, “单车书房” – Bicycle Heaven.

Asahi Chang is an ex-professional Taiwanese track and road racer who started collecting bikes in 1976. He first fell in love with track bikes while he was studying in Japan. Living there for five years allowed him to explore true track culture and buy his first build, an original SILK steel track bike from the early 1970s. He always keeps it to hand. The majority of Asahi’s collection dates between 1968 and 1988, which he describes as ‘The Golden Age’ of bicycles. This was a time before carbon, before the steel frame assembly line, where hand made steel frames were built by only the most skilled builders.


168 - Asahi Chang´s collection - Taipei

Colnago, Eddy Merckx, Cinelli, Serotta, De Rosa, Bianchi, Cannondale, Moser, Rossin, Benotto, Motta, Tomassini, ZIPP and Nagasawa are just some of the iconic brands represented in his exhaustive collection. It’s a collection which is literally bursting at the seams. Almost every inch of otherwise plain storeroom is crammed with racks from floor to ceiling. There is barely enough space to walk between them. Asahi’s collection is beyond impressive. We’re walking through a tunnel of classic frames, rubbing shoulders with every Cinelli Laser variety ever made, first edition Nagasawa track frames, original carbon Bianchi C4s. There’s a whole room dedicated entirely to Colnago framesets. Experiencing it is almost beyond words. We actually had tears in our eyes. Craftsmanship, engineering, design and history from wall to wall – in complete abundance. It felt unreal, like someone found a loophole in bicycle time and space.

A big thank you to Mr. Chang for taking the time to talk us through one of the greatest pieces of bicycle history the world has ever seen, and for the opportunity to revel in the wonder that is Bicycle Heaven.

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169 - Taiwan-VintageBikeArchive

"...finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow..."

In a basement garage somewhere in the outer suburbs of Taipei, I come across what can only be described as Taiwan's answer to Michael Embacher's famed bicycle collection. The "Asahi Vintage Bicycle Archives" with over 750 classic & vintage bicycles looks like Alladin's magic cave - chock full wall-to-wall & floor-to-ceiling of all things steel (with some 1st generation titanium, aluminium & carbon fibre as well).

It is impossible to begin to photograph or view - there's just so many bikes packed in such high density. I am priviledged to view some of Asahi's wonderful gems including a Bianchi C4 carbon, a Colnago C35, an entire series of Masi's, Poliaghis, Bianchis, DeRosas & Colnagos, and to finally see the "holy grail" of bicycles in the flesh, his Cinelli Laser TT (sans seat tube - 1 of only 2 still in existance). Unlike Embacher's collection (which spans the entire history of the bicycle) Asahi's is more focused concentrating only of bikes from the late 50's to mid 90's. All of a sudden the vagabond no longer feels so guilty what with his modest collection being but only a very small droplet in comparison to this.

My many thanks to Asahi's kind hospitality in allowing me to view his life's passion & to share it here.