Friday, September 26, 2014

The Cycle Show

Maggie and I went to the Cycle Show today, to see what's going on.  It was pleasing to see that the show is a growing success; some of the earlier ones in Birmingham had seemed a bit flat after Earls Court, but there is little doubt now that it has found its footing and is growing steadily.

The major trend I would pick out is that it's all about the road.  Mountain bikes are still there, but fewer in number.  The trade is still banging the drum for e-Bikes, but I'm not sure if the UK is listening.  Utility bikes are there in numbers, but the emphasis is on fancy, high-end road-bikes.  That's what's selling, as five minutes on Box Hill will confirm.

The Trek stand was worth visiting - the Emonda lightweight showed what you can get for a lot of money - c. £10,000.  A bike, with a warranty, that weighs less than four kilos - eight pounds or so.  Less money gets you more weight, but you still get a very light bike.  That's real progress.  The Trek stand also illustrated the other major trend - disc brakes are here.  Many models, from many manufacturers, could be had in either rim brake or disc brake versions.  As far as I was able to tell there was no difference in weight or handling between them - it was just your choice.  I'd take the discs every time.

Perhaps of interest to Wayfarers is that Condors also follow this trend, and their Heritage and Fratello Touring/Audax frames can be had in disc versions.  £699 for the frame, if I recall correctly, so a very good basis for a solid - and handsome - all round bike.

Interesting stuff from Campag - electronic is the way ahead, they say, and they had a captive bike where you could experience the joys of EPS shifting.  But for 2015 there's also a new range of Super Record,  Record  and Chorus that are entirely mechanical (and substantially carbon fibre).  Bets well hedged at Campag.  The other handy bit on their stand was a climbing version of their very widely used Bora carbon wheels.  Made for Nairo Quintana, and in the shops in November.

It was good to see that Chris Boardman was on the Boardman stand, and that he'd brought his Lotus bike with him.  More than twenty years old, but still unbeaten.  The queue for autographs snaked into the distance.

And blow me if Van Nicholas didn't have a Rohloff version of their Yukon on display.  I ordered one of these a couple of years ago when it was first announced, but it never turned up.  Normal availability now, apparently.  Have to think about that one.

Lastly, a novelty item that I thought was a good idea.  It's a rear light, made of bright LEDs, about 6" by 4".  It displays, flashing red, the speed of the bike.  The intention is that if drivers, or fellow riders, have an idea of your speed, then they can behave appropriately.  It will only work, of course, if the following car realises what the numbers mean.  It certainly draws attention, which is half the battle.

A good show, with lots to see, and we enjoyed our day out.  



  1. Well done Mark a good and interesting report. So pleased that Chris Boardman is still so admired! Question will Sir Bradley go for his hour record and more importantly will he beat it? I hope he does it has stood for a long time and on a bike if I am correct that today according to UCI is illegal.

    1. Thanks, Mike. I think Lord Wiggo will get his record, but, paradoxically, I don't think he'll beat Boardman. Boardman did 56K on his Lotus; the UCI then upped and said it was the wrong kind of bike, Merckx had used an old steel one. So Boardman went round the back of the bike shed, found an old steel one and beat Merckx by 10 meters, at about 49K. Cookson has just changed the rules again, which has excited the current interest, but Boardman's bike is still not allowed, so I guess Wiggo will come out at about 53K. Which will be a record, just not as far as the other record ...