One of my favourite bits as a blogger is being able to attend trade shows and speak to the people inside the bike business. This isn’t a news site, so I have the luxury of reflecting on each show before I post some thoughts like this.
2014 was the second year that I’ve attended Core Bike and it’s the 10th anniversary for the show. It’s continued to grow and there were more brands and exhibitors this year than last and I had a series of companies I wanted to see as well as products.
Following are some of the things that stood out to me and I hope they might interest you too. For some reason, I didn’t have a good day with my camera so a lot of the shots I took aren’t good enough to use and I apologise for that. There’s no particular order other than it probably reflects how I walked around the show J
Kinesis Crosslight CX Disc wheels: It’s the 3rd generation of these great wheels and in their latest guise they drop 250gms of weight add 11 speed Shimano compatibility and now weigh under 1600gms a pair – all for £299 retail. These are a bargain in my opinion. I’ve ridden them and have been very impressed. A great wheelset for your road or ‘cross bike
If you’re looking for an affordable frame for crit racing or riding as hard as you can – the Aithein is worth considering, not least of all for how nice it looks here in orange! A terrific build that I think weighed 6.8kg with Dura Ace 9000 and the new Reynolds Assault SLG wheelset. Tasty!
Yes, that’s the new name for the much loved TK3 (reviewed by me here: http://girodilento.com/kinesis-tk3-review/ – Whilst the new black and blue paint scheme has just a touch of the Team Sky about it, it still looks terrific – so good in fact that I’d happily own one (again). The 4S is a great bike and definitely a one bike for the whole year if you want something sprightly with race bike feel for all seasons.
For a relatively small company who doesn’t have quite the buying power of a major brand – the T2 as a complete bike for £999 is very impressive. It’s also Kinesis’s biggest selling bike, which might tell you something about how well it rides too.
2014 Reynolds Wheels
I’ve waxed lyrical about these before (http://girodilento.com/reynolds-launch-2014-road-wheel-range-affordable-aero/) as I think that the new performance range brings what is likely a major step forward in aero performance and not much over £1,000 retail for full carbon clinchers. I expect the new Assault SLG in particular to fly off the shelves and I believe the first shipment has done just that! Great to see them in the flesh and the quality looks great. I can’t wait to ride them (although I have been fortunate enough to review the disc versions already: http://girodilento.com/2014-reynolds-assault-slg-disc-wheels-review/ ). I was also excited to see the new Aero 46 wheels in person as 46mm is considered by Reynolds to be their signature depth for optimum aerodynamics across the widest range of conditions. They should be fast in every situation.
The new Stratus Pro alloy wheelset which will retail for £649 was on display too. These weigh in at 1445gms a pair and feature a Reynolds own design alloy rim with a 28mm depth, CFD optimised shape and are tubeless ready. They look interesting to me and are also available in a disc specific version.
The last bit on Reynolds is the new brake pads – Cryo Blue Power. These are a completely new design and promised significantly better braking performance in wet and dry conditions. They’re shipping with all new 2014 carbon road wheelsets but also available now separately if you already have Reynolds wheels
NeilPryde Zephyr & Alize
My old friends at NeilPryde’s endurance racing bike, the Zephyr, was on display with new distributor 2Pure. I wasn’t sure about the white but the version with the matt black and flouro was stunning. Like all “endurance”/sportive bikes, it’s a big longer in the headtube and wheelbase and a bit shorter in the top tube. I’d like to try one.
It was great also to see the fabulous new colour scheme for the 2014 NeilPryde Alize too. They’ve really nailed it and I thought it looked fantastic – better than the 2013 frameset I have here to build up L Still one of my favourite bikes ever and I’m looking forward to getting my new one on the road soon.
I have a thing about this bike and the 2014 colours are great. It’s an affordable aluminium Italian frameset or bike that supposed to be responsive and fun to ride, whilst still taking 28mm tyres for some comfort. Also available as a £999 Campagnolo build making it a pretty cool Cycle to Work Scheme bike. Very nice.
Thomson and Katie Compton
Nice to snap a photo of some Thompson bars signed by Katie Compton at the i-ride stand
Red Ant Bike care products
I had a very interesting chat with the nice man from Red Ant who told me that it’s a new set of cleaning and care products for bikes, which brings the car detailing ethos and attention to ingredients to the bike market. That makes perfect sense to me and the fact that there are specific products for cleaning and protectin matt carbon frames is very interesting. I hope to try some at some point – they had a good story and I know lots of fussy bike owners with very expensive kit who this could be perfect for.
New 3T Aeronova and AeroTundo aero handlebars
Another product that stood out to me – 3T have designed and are about to launch aero road handle bars. Not the first to market I’ll admit but 3T bars have a great reputation and with so many more aero bars on the market – these make a lot of sense. They’d also go perfectly on my upcoming NeilPryde project(not subtle I know!) They’re due in the Spring I believe
Just look at those vents. Often it’s hard to get too excited about a helmet but the Catlike looks great and there is some clever thinking in the design. Very well vented and it even suits my head. The nice man from Catlike took a picture of me modelling a pink one, so I’m not sharing that though. Sadly my pictures of the new POC Octal helmet which was also really interesting didn’t come out clearly, so I can’t add that. Both it and the Catlike are products I’d happily own and it’s great to see companies pushing a strong design language as well as putting serious thinking into the safety aspects. Strangely I think they both look their best in white!
Continental GP4000s II
More of a makeover than an upgrade – the mark II version of this extremely popular tyre seems to have colour options as a key change but it also sees a 28mm version – great for your Cinelli Experience! But seriously, 28mm tyres are great perhaps apart from summer. I ran some GP 4 Seasons in 28mm last winter and really liked the ride quality.
Lots of Storck bikes in a big room and lots of the new Aernario in particular and I thought it looked really good – either as a normal road bike or in the disc version. Storck being very German (it’s a compliment) had analysed braking forces on the fork between both cailper and disc brakes.
I was told 45x more force went through the disc version, so quite different engineering was needed. It still looked and I happily took a brochure away to peruse at my leisure. Sadly though for me, Storck’s geometry is a touch long and low for my particular short torso, long legs build. My loss I suspect. Lovely bikes!
I’m a big fan of the Lightweight brand, I’ve had a few conversations with them over the years and I like the people as much as the product. Sadly my finances don’t allow me to become a customer yet, but the wheels one display were as beautifully made as you’d expect. It was the first time I’d seen the handlebars in person too and they have their weight (168gms) written in very large lettering on the box! It was also my first chance to see the new Urgestalt frameset too – it’s beautifully made and I thought it looked fantastic. The packaging was outstanding too. Given that you’d really need to pair it with Lightweight wheels (which the design is optimised around), it’s a chunky investment for most people. The guys at Lightweight told me that it’s been such a success since the recent launch they’re struggling to make them fast enough. A fine problem to have.
I’m not a big fan of Mario, which would make it hard for me to own one of his bikes – but I loved the sheer Italian exuberance of the flouro Bond on display – for the Alpha Male for sure! I like it – but I couldn’t own it. There’s a more subtle white and silver too. They made me smile.
These have now been picked up by a bigger distributor in the UK so expect to see them in more shops and being reviewed by the press soon (who knows, maybe even by me too!) Ritte’s a small California company with a reputation for off the wall marketing and great paint jobs. The Vlaandaren certainly lives up to that and looks great. I can’t say how they ride or their progeny but they ace the looks department.
A new brand of bartape owned by a Mr Sinyard from California – no not the one who owns Specialized but a direct family member. So there is a strong background of getting a great product to market. Also interesting as they’ve already signed a certain Mark Cavendish to use the tape for the 2014 racing season. I have some to try, so I’ll post some thoughts during the year.
Another brand that’s been picked up by a large distributor. Novatec is a well respected Far Eastern brand, probably more known for their affordable but quality hubs who have some tempting wheelsets at interesting prices. For me the standout were the Novatec Sprint alloy wheelset weighing in at 1455gms a pair and retailing for under £500 a set. It’ll be interesting to see how they rate in the press during the course of this year.
To be fair there was a bunch of other things I saw I liked and would be telling you about but for camera issues. Again, apologies for that but I hope you found the above interesting….
Thanks for reading