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© Andy Sexton
Eurobike 2010: The Bikes
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Wednesday 8th September 2010


Tags  Andy Sexton  |  Eurobike  |  Eurobike 2010


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Last weeks Eurobike trade show was attended by experienced cyclist and triathlete Andy Sexton from Bike Science (www.bike-science.com). As well as drooling over the latest exotica as you would expect, Andy was also looking at the products with his 'bike fitter' hat on, as one of the few fully certified Retül fitters in the UK.

So, before you put your hard-earned cash down on a new 'steed', check out Andy's comments below, in case that dream bike could end up being a nightmare.

In this first review, Andy takes a look at the bikes on show, with more to come this week on wheels and accessories.


Europe's largest cycling trade show "Eurobike" took place last week in Friedrichshafen on the German/Swiss border. The annual event sees everyone from the world's biggest players in the cycling world to smaller independent bike manufacturers all vying for attention amongst the noise, glitz and glamour of what for most triathletes could only be described as the biggest toy shop in the world.

To save you the arduous journey, hours on your feet and having to talk to countless identical bike sales doods with well quaffed facial hair we'll bring you the best of the show in three easy to digest chunks (well at least easier than the Schnitzel and noodles that become the staple diet of any intrepid show visitor).

First up it's the bikes. Unless you've been to Eurobike or Interbike before, I can guarantee you've never seen anything like it. Even for a seasoned bike geek like myself it's easy to become numb to the vast number of high spec, high tech carbon offerings on show. To save my camera's bulging memory card and to prevent this report turning into something along the lines of "War and Peace" I'll stick mostly to tri specific bikes with the odd standout roadie and even a couple of cross bikes (a bit of a personal fetish) thrown in for good measure.

CHECK OUT ANDY'S IMAGE GALLERY FOR MORE BIKE BLING

The overall theme for me this year is refinement rather than revolution. It's getting truly hard to see what manufacturers will do next to differentiate themselves from their rivals. With the advancement of computational aerodynamics and wind tunnel testing (and still subject in most cases to the ever more olde worlde UCI regulations), time trial and tri frames seem to be converging towards one "right answer" when it comes to beating the all important drag. A handful of brands seem to be happy to lead, with one or two even trying something a bit radical, whilst the others all follow closely behind.

So what's hot? Di2 and component integration, that's what.

D12 equipped Argon and Orbea

Shimano's Di2 electronic shifting system is ready to take the triathlon world by storm, or at least it will be once the technology trickles down to the more affordable Ultegra and 105 groupsets. Trek, Orbea, Scott, Storck, Felt and many more all had Di2 specific bikes on show with Di2 specific cable routing and battery placement. For those of you not lucky enough to have tried it, a big advantage that Di2 offers triathletes is the ability to position gear shift switches in more than one position on the bars. Change gear whilst on the tri bars, or climbing out of the saddle. The shift is lightening quick and super accurate when precious seconds count, even under load. With battery life improving year on year, I'd be amazed if we don't see more affordable Di2 in the next 12 to 18 months. If I were a betting man, I'd reckon on the next logical step being wireless shifting. No signs of it yet from "The Big S", but surely it's coming.

The second noticeable trend is component integration. Bikes (and triathlon bikes especially) are becoming less about buying a frame and bolting on a collection of bits and more about the seamless blending of one component into the next to create the most slippery shape and efficient operation possible. Aerobars blend into stems and on into top tubes. Brakes disappear inside frames. Cranks designed to specifically match frames offering increased stiffness and power transfer. Even drinks systems and food boxes that improve the aerodynamics of the frame when it comes to Trek's latest Speed Concept model. More and more manufacturers now have something that at least looks retail ready rather than the show only bikes of recent years. It might all be uber top end pro level stuff at the moment, but as with all things the same ideas will appear on the bikes that mortals can afford soon enough.

Trek
Huge news at last year's shows and tested in the field at the last two Tours de France, Trek's Speed Concept has been ready for the most privileged of riders to buy this year. Cheap it ain't, but it looks the part and as far as the neat integration of other components with the frame goes it would score a “best in show” with me. Front end adjustability looks well thought out in comparison to some of the other top end bikes too, which is always of absolute importance for me as a bike fitter. Trek's flagship road model has to get a mention too. The paint job alone is a work of art.

Trek Speed Concept - with some height adjustment

Giant
Giant's Trinity Advanced model heads their tri/tt bike range and comes complete with all the bells and whistles. Integrated aero bars, aero front “beak”, super aero vertical seat post, hidden front and rear brakes. It also boasts some really ugly cable routing. If you can afford one, I expect you can also afford a good (and very patient) mechanic to cable it up for you. Whilst I can appreciate the aim of this bike is a no compromises aero machine, for me the cables need tidying up before it could be worth the huge price tag that comes with a bike of this standard.

Giant's Trinity with 'interesting' cable routing

Storck
What appeared 12 months or so ago as a show stopping concept bike, Storck's Aero 2 now appears to be ready for the tech hungry triathlon market. It is truly a thing of beauty. Well engineered, well thought out and well, crazy expensive with no cabled gear option at all. It's Di2 only on this gleaming super bike.

Storck and Cervelo

Cervelo
No bike show would be complete without something new and a bit special from Canadian biking big wigs Cervelo. This year the new offering is brimming with new design innovations. A really, REALLY light road frame going by the name of the R5ca. A claimed 675-680g for a 54cm frame including seat clamp, hangers and bolts puts it up there with the very lightest frames on earth. It's pretty sexy looking too with stealth matt black livery.

Scott
The latest incarnation of Scott's Plasma is a nicely finished looking product. The stem integrates cleanly with the head tube, cable routing looks well done rather than an afterthought, the rear brake is tucked neatly away. A slender hour glass shaped head tube cuts down the frontal area where it matters (at the front). Hawaii winner, Norman Stadler's bike complete with Norminator logos had pride of place on the Scott stand. One too watch for 2011 as a big seller. Sensible geometry too that's going to fit a lot of normal folk rather than just the super slim and super flexible.

Scott and Ceepo Climax

Ceepo
Well worth a mention, purely because their new “Climax” Tri frame gets my award for being one of the most bonkers looking bikes at the show. Di2 integration including hidden battery, pointy beak and tail, blended bars, stem and head tube. This one's takes all the current trends and in true Ceepo style, throws UCI regulations out of the window and pushes everything that one step further. I want a go on one of those just so lots of normal folk ask what it is.

Felt
Felt are up there with all the other big boys with an updated cleaner looking, Di2 specific version of their DA frame. It looks the part, and it looks like they've improved “that” seat clamp (felt owners will know what I mean). A really great looking bike that's bound to be a popular choice with triathletes looking for top end performance.

Felt and Specialized

Specialized
Specialized brought the big boys bikes to the big show. With road bikes belonging to the likes of Andy Schleck and Alberto Contador plus Fabian Cancellara's Custom Specialized Shiv complete with gold Nokon cables to add a bit of bling. The Shiv is a truly beautiful machine, but a word from your friendly bike fitter for those thinking about buying one. Make well sure it fits you before you splash out. The Shiv might be aero, but it's not adjustable for length at all and even the larger frames aren't any taller than the smaller ones in the range. On what should be a no compromise bike costing big money, that's one compromise I'd not be willing to make in a hurry.

The Rest
Far too many to mention with Italian super bling at every turn. Titanium is far from dead with some really great looking road bikes from Dutch metal masters Van Nicholas and the bike of the show for me, a delicious looking Ti cross bike going by the name of the “Freezer” from UK independents Charge.

Bling!

Next up, new wheels and accessories for 2011.

CHECK OUT ANDY'S IMAGE GALLERY FOR MORE BIKE BLING


Andy Sexton runs Bike Science (www.bike-science.com), Precision Bike Fitters with outlets in Bristol, Rotherham and Derby. If you are looking to optimise your riding experience, or indeed find out - in advance - what bike will best suit your needs and avoid costly mistakes, Bike Science can provide you with the very best advice with their state-of-the-art technology and decades of cycling experience.

Bike Science Bristol


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