Today saw the end of the annual Cycle Show at Birmingham’s NEC exhibition centre. This show used to be based at Earls Court in London but it now seems to have a permanent home in the Midlands.
I travelled up and spent a day at the show on Thursday on the Press/Trade day and have spent a couple of days pondering what I’d feature in a post. I gave my friend Alex (@Velocentric) a lift to the show and as we walked in I said “let’s try and pick our favourite 5 things from the day”. To be honest I’m not sure what Alex’s picks of the show were and it’s taken me until today to choose mine.
Perhaps surprisingly, I was mostly uninterested in the most expensive, most blingiest things on display and found some of the real world great buys far more interesting. So in that respect this is a little off-piste for most show reports and the following 5 are in no particular order……
2014 Trek 1.5
As longer term readers of this blog will possibly remember, I owned a Trek 1.5 for the winter at the end of 2011 and covered about 1,000miles on it (http://girodilento.com/winter-bike-first-ride-trek-1-5/) What I liked about it was the fact it had acres of room for mudguards (and mounts for a rack), was a decent spec for the pricepoint and that it had (to me) excellent geometry. I didn’t like the frameset that much, which is why I didn’t keep it longer. The 2014 Trek 1.5 has a completely new frame plus all the original strengths, so I think this could be a great winter bike for UK riders and I’d love to try one out. Trek have brought some of the Kammtail aero shaping to the tubes too and I think it’s a great colour scheme. Price £875 and available now.
De Rosa Milanino Winter Training Bike/Frameset
This was a bike I had travelled to the show specifically to see – an Aluminium De Rosa frameset designed and built with clearance for long drop brakes and full mudguards. Buy one of these and you can say “Yes, my winter bike is a De Rosa” and it’s a pretty handsome looking bike too.
Another bike/frameset I’d love to try out (I do love my winter bikes and mudguards). Available either as a frameset (including seatpost) for £799 or as a complete bike with Campagnolo Veloce, Fulcrum wheels and 3T/Prologo finishing kit for £1699 – it’s available soon and a nice looking bike. I was assured by the folks at i-Ride that it really is made in Italy too (not that I care about that).
Specialized S-Works Allez Frameset
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last year or so – aluminium is back, really back except that it never went away. What’s changed is that suddenly (and probably thanks to Cannondale and Canyon in particular) more manufacturers than ever are looking to show they can knock out a GREAT aluminium frame again – not just a price point one. The Specialized Allez was the one to beat for years but it slowly got left behind by great new frames – so they’ve gotten serious and brought us the S-Works Allez, which is the most advanced aluminium frameset they’ve ever made. The same geometry as the S-Works Tarmac (same fork I think) but £1100 cheaper at a mere £1500 for the frameset price. There is a complete bike option but at £6,000, I can’t see that being a big seller (in fairness it won’t be intended to). I’m delighted to see this frameset so it had to be on the list. Amusingly, the chap I spoke to on the stand to cheekily ask about demo/press bikes suggested I ride the 2014 Allez Race (complete bike £1300) as he said it was most of the performance of the S-Works version!
Rose Xeon Team CGF and Pro-SL 2000
Two Rose bikes impressed me in particular – the Xeon Team CGF which is a new endurance race bike with a striking frame design including the rear brakes under the bottom bracket (ala Trek Madone).
Supposed to fast, light and design for all day riding – it’s an intriguing looking bike that’s well priced (as always). Speaking of well priced, there is a new frame design for the Pro SL to bring more performance and comfort and it’s amazing value. The white one at the show running Shimano 105 and Mavic Aksiums was £866!
Very impressive, especially when you consider the complete weight on that price tag too – but no room for full mudguards (you can’t have everything). If you’re budget is tight but you want high quality components on a light good looking bike – this looks like one you must have on your shortlist. I’ve never ridden a Rose I didn’t like (only ridden two so far but it’s 100% record).
Kinesis Aithein and bike brand of the year
Whilst this is not a frameset suited for me personally it’s another terrific example of the fantastic work being done in aluminium. Kinesis have a long and proud history with this material and this is their highly regarded new Aithein race bike. It’s designed as a no compromise balls out race frame.
Very light at not much over a kilogramme and has already been very well received by the market – all the first production stock sold out immediately. If you like to ride flat out at maximum attack, this is a frameset to seriously consider. Retailing at £650 for the frameset – it represents Kinesis’s typically strong value too. Kinesis also just won the UK trade magazine BikeBiz’s Bike Brand of the Year and there’s a picture of a rightly proud Dom of Kinesis with the trophy. A well deserved win!
So that’s my top 5 but there are some other special mentions – again in no particular order
The new second generation Condor Super Acciaio
I have to admit to not generally being a Condor fan. I know loads of people love them and that they do very well but it’s never been a brand that’s appealed to me. However, I do think they’ve done a terrific job on the new generation of the Super Acciaio – it looks fantastic – the colour scheme is really impressive and I think changing to Columbus steel is a good move too (and I suspect where much of the 200gms estimated weight saving comes from).
Steel race bikes are a fantastic thing and the Condor is decent value at £1300 for frame and fork and it looks more expensive in the flesh (so to speak). There is also a new fork which also shaves a few of the grammes saved. Sorry the photos are a bit random – but it really is a looker.
Genesis Equilibrium 2014 – new colours
I got a photo of one of the new colours for the 2014 Equilibriums – a bike that still fascinates me and tempts me. I live in hope of a test on one – it could happen before too long. Maybe. The bikes have a tweaked and improved spec (small improvements) for 2014. Prices remain the same but the colours change. I spotted the one photographed on a turbo train and it’s the colour of the Equilibrium 10. I’m disappointed that the striking copper colour of the 20 has gone and will be replaced by a cream colour. More on that another time I hope.
De Rosa Protos
A fantastically expensive frameset at £6500 retail (only topped by a Cervelo Rca that I can think of). Crazy money for a frameset that I have to say didn’t look like £6.5k’s worth but at that price I thought it had to rate a mention.
NeilPryde Bura SL Ultegra Di2
Nice to see my friends at NeilPryde had this bike and a Di2 Alize on display via their retailer Tri UK. I’d not seen a Di2 Bura before so it was nice to take a quick look. The Bura is a super light frame weighing in at 760gm for a 56cm frame and is supposed to be pretty impressive to ride (good at climbing unsurprisingly)
Oh and one last comment – there were loads and loads of e-bikes there. More than I’d ever seen before. A few more photos with captions and that’s my little round up. I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for reading.