The Pardus Olympic Track Bike
Pardus, the composite bicycle manufacturer based in Shandong China, proves that stereotypes of low quality are changing.
As an industrial designer, I have noticed over recent years a shift in quality coming out of the Chinese manufacturing industry. Workers are highly skilled in niche industries as China has become a superpower in the world’s production of consumer goods. Products from China often beat western countries on price and development turn-around times. This isn’t due to slave labour, but due to manufacturing processes and systems being fine-tuned to cope with the global demand for products.
Pardus is among hundreds of Chinese based composite frame manufacturers, all fighting for that bottom dollar. What Pardus is doing differently, however (and capturing the attention of the global markets) is adding value to their products and business through quality branding and growing trust in their quality products.
Pardus quietly released their new Tokyo Olympic edition Sprint track bike dubbed the CT2020 last year at the Hong Kong UCI World Cup. As per the Olympic rules, all new technology to be raced at Tokyo must be pre-approved and ridden at least once over the 2019/2020 season. Every entry is 3D scanned and checked off on a mystical UCI Spreadsheet that few public eyes get to see - until it eventually gets leaked.
Little can be found on the Pardus CT2020 frameset online. The Pardus website provides only the price, and the available sizes it comes in. The frameset will set you back about ￥600000 or USD$5700 (at the time of writing). Coming in only sizes from extra extra small to a medium, the competitively priced frameset may not be suited to everyone's body sizes, but I’m sure they have developed the frameset in response to modern bike fit trends of being very long for its size.
When enquiring with Pardus to find out any more information on the new frame set, they respectfully explained that the frame was not available to the public - at least until after Tokyo - which does go against the UCI rules of it needing to be publicly available. At least it's listed on their website, that may be enough to keep the UCI happy.
The frame set features a long and low posture. Large gussets brace the tubes for great stiffness. Well-considered stem integration hint at great aerodynamics. One thing is for certain that this was designed and built for high power output demands in sprinting.
Sarah Lee, Hong Hong national sprint rider won Bronze on the bike at the World Championships in Berlin back in February 2020. This certainly shows that a Chinese made bike has potential amongst the best.
The handlebars on the Pardus I find to be the most unique sprint bars on the world championship scene. They feature a high swoop before the drop. This raises the grips without increasing the head tube height in the frame geometry. This feature is becoming widely adopted by teams aiming to reduce the depth of their bars, but not compromising on aerodynamics.