London Cycle Show 2010: My best surprises…Ribble, Colnago, Van Nicholas, Cervelo, ShuttVR, Giordana,

I like bike shows and enjoyed this years Cycle Show enormously. One of the things I’m most looking for are the surprises – the bikes or equipment that you weren’t expecting to see or like or the nice stories you hear whilst you are wandering about. 

For me their were a number of high points of the show and these included:

Surprise Number 1: The new Ribble Stealth
I was curious about this bike as soon as I heard about it, as I understand it’s based on the same frame as the Pedalforce RS3 (a good frame) and may in fact be by made by XPACE who seem to be very highly regarded for their quality. Whether or not, these things turn out to be true – it’s still a high modulus carbon frame with BB30 with for the first time ever for a Ribble (in my opinion) excellent stealth branding that I like almost as much as I like the price. Currently the frame and fork are listed at £575 (excluding headset) and a full SRAM Force build with Deda Zero 100 finishing kit is about £1,600 – which I think looks like fantastic value. You can get financing deals too including a 10% deposit then a year to pay the balance. So it’s possible to put down about £160 up front and get a cracking bike to your door. The one at the show looked great too. More info at: http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/ and I’m looking forward to reading reviews and ride reports when they start shipping in November. Performance bargain of the year? Maybe.

Surprise Number: 2 The Colnago C59 in Red/White
Now I know that it’s not really a surprise that I liked the top of the range Colnago but what was a surprise was how much I liked the red and white colour scheme in the flesh. Like many cyclists I’ve looked at the Colnago website and thought the colour schemes for the bike were a bit … meh. The Cycle Show helped me understand that the colours look dramatically better in the flesh – I even liked the flouro orange one (but not enough that I’d order one in that colour). The way the C59 is manufactured with larger and contoured tubes is a more industrial style design andfor me this has meant that a different approach was needed for the colours and they do work. So if you have fancied a C59 but didn’t warm to the colours – try to see a bike in the flesh – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much better they look in person.
Surprise Number 3: Van Nicolas Zephyr
I’ve always had a thing for titanium bikes – I love the idea of them – great ride quality, low maintenance and long lasting… but I’ve always worried about the weight especially compared to many lightweight carbon frames. Luckily for me there was a Zephyr on display with an Ultegra 6700 groupset. I thought that the bike looked good but it was when I picked it up that I really smiled. It was a lot lighter than I’d expected and definitely quite a bit lighter than my own bike (always a good thing). I’m going to have to try to find a titanium bike to have a ride on soon to experience the fabled ride quality in person. 
Surprise Number 4: Holding a Cervelo R5ca frameset
Sigma Sport (http://www.sigmasport.co.uk) generally have good stands at bike shows and this one was no exception. Last year it was my first chance to see most of the 2010 Cervelo range and this year they had the new R3 (which looks fantastic in black) and the famous (and expensive) R5ca. Rohan from Sigma Sport kindly let me and a few other people hold the frame (no that’s not me in the photo it’s http://colnagoconbrio.posterous.com/) … and yes they are that light (the scales said 0.77kg as you see it in the picture). This was indeed a nice surprise and completely unexpected.
Surprise Number 5: Meeting the nice people at ShuttVR
Shutt Velo Rapide to use it’s full name (http://www.shuttvr.com/) has been a 2010 success story. It’s a new British brand staffed by passionate cyclists making high quality clothing that’s not extortionately priced. They’ve also made a name for themselves with their customer service – something I’ve experienced personally and they’ve been actively involved in some of the bike forums which has been refreshing to see. As a result it was really nice to stop by and say hello in person. Keep up the good work guys.
Surprise Number 6: The Giordana Fiat 500
The Giordana stand was right next to the big Pinarello stand that was complete with Sky Jaguar Team cars and Dogma’s galore – but most people were taking shots of the Giordana Fiat 500 including me.The really nice thing about this little car is that it had been borrowed from a friend of a friend after plans to borrow one “officially” fell through for some reason or another. The Giordana stickers had been applied and the bikes put on the roof – and there it was – the cutest car at the bike show, with the nicest story as well. I hope the kind person who loaned it wasn’t on the bus (or their bike) while it was away being a star of the show!
As you can tell I had a great time and am looking forward to the next one already. As a blogger it was really nice to meet some more people from the industry and make some connections for future posts. I’m pretty excited about some of the things I’m going to get to write about over the next few months – I hope it’s going to give you all lots of reasons to come back and visit again.

Thanks for reading.