The London Bike Show is on at the Excel Centre this weekend with all manner of bikes and related goodies to tempt you with. From the latest bikes, wheels, clothing and training equipment to nutrition, travel and accessories, there’s a wide range of stands. Whilst it would have been easy to share photos of the obvious shiny carbon or titanium bikes on display (and lots of other sites have done that already), here’s a different perspective on 10 things that might be of interest. Damien who also contributes occasional reviews spent the day with me and we each picked out 5 things of interest for you….
New Schwalbe tubeless tyres … and clothing
Schwalbe have been a big contributor to the growth on interest in tubeless tyres on the road. They’ve not finished yet as they’re adding and improving the range all the time. There’s the new Pro One in a 25mm for your race bike (also availabe in 23 and 28mm), the new 30mm S-One if you have the clearance, an X-One tubeless Cyclocross tyre (33mm) and even a G-One at 40mm if you have the clearance.
Schwalbe told me that we are all moving to wider tyres and I think this will continue. 25mm is the new 23mm and wider tyres are growing fast. Schwalbe’s new tubeless easy designs make it easier than ever to go tubeless according to the company too.
As well as tyres, Schwalbe also have a range of clothing for sale at the show and I have to say I was very tempted to pick up one of the hoodies but went away to think about it and never made it back.
Bowman Cycles – new colours and models….
Bowman are looking to push on front the great start they’ve made with the Palace and Pilgrims and they have lots of interesting stuff on their stand.
From the Rich Mitch Foots Cray limited edition colourway to two new colour ways for the terrific Palace to new Token & Bownman branded, headsets, bottom brackets and seat clamps and there is the company’s own new flat mount Cyclocross fork on display too for the Foots Cray.
Not only all of that but also they’re launching a new semi -custom paint programme for clubs and teams, so now you can get a bike that’s colour matched to your club if you want. Nice! There’s also a prototype stainless steel frame to check out as well which could end up being another new model if Neil is happy with how it rides. It’s a cool stand with some really interesting product – do check it out.
Bowman’s stand is LB 1404
Cannondale’s Slate plus new Evo and CAAD12
You can spot the terrific and frankly fascinating Cannondale Slate at both the Cannondale and Chelmer Cycles stand – it’s a bike that just looking at it makes me smile and I’ve written about it before. It was interesting to find out that it’s been a big hit and the UK distributor has already sold all of their stock for the year, so if you want one, you’ll need to find a dealer with one in stock.
It was also good to see the striking new SuperSix Evo of which the Dura Ace version is my favourite with a terrific “primer” paint job. It’s a stunning super light bike which retails for a competitive £3,700 complete. Cannondale also have a stunning stars and stripes custom painted CAAD12 that was so popular I didn’t manage to find it with nobody next to it for a photo (I check 4x).
Cannondale are at stand: LB 330
Cervelo C series “gravel” disc bikes
I have to be honest, I never anticipated a company like Cervelo, famed for their aero expertise, building a gravel disc braked bike. But they have and you can see it at the show. I’m delighted to see them do this. It doesn’t have the big clearances (especially at the fork) as many of the newer UK bikes of this type but I hear it rides really well (as you’d expect) and it’s great to see more of these ride anywhere bikes coming to market.
Of course there’s a full range of Cervelo’s so check them all out including an almost shockingly light RCA complete bike, much of the R and S series. Find the Cervelo’s at stand: LB 120
Books, books and books…..
When you’re not riding your bike, you’re sure to be recovering or resting….. well maybe. If you are, you might enjoy reading about cycling. Most of us are familiar with the many great magazines on sale but it was good to see Bloomsbury there with a surprising big range of quality cycling titles. I have a few in my collection and there’s plenty more to tempt you on display at the show….
Bloomsbury are at stand: LB 1416
Although I can’t say I’m a fan of the look, I’ve been interested by the number of people wearing compression socks on their bikes. Full (mid-capilliary) compression garments are said to aid recovery, the problem being they tend not to be breathable. The human body is not tremendously efficient and turns most of its energy into heat. The harder we work, the hotter we get and on a bike, this is a bad thing.
Enter X-Bionics and its range of partial compression sports clothing. By utilising surface or partial compression, the range of men and women’s cycling and running tops, shorts, tights and socks have been shown in tests to increase the duration of performance, reduce the build up of heat and lactate, lower the heart rate and speed recovery. It uses the moisture in your sweat to keep your temperature down, but the garments dry rapidly when you stop sweating.
Since I’m guessing that we all mostly wear bike clothing, partial compression appears to provide a free and legal performance enhancement. We’ve all seen the benefit of marginal gains, but this is one that the pros don’t tend to leverage because the compression material cannot be printed on – and where would the peloton be without sponsorship?
I was a bit concerned that the snug nature of compression clothing might also enhance aspects of my physical appearance that I’d rather people didn’t have to endure. Not to worry, I’m reliably told (albeit by the manufacturer) that the matt look is far more flattering than shiny lycra and does much to slim the figure. Find out more on stand Stand LB1040.
I stopped by the Hope stand to have a look at its new hand laid carbon fibre seat posts, designed, tested and manufactured at the company’s facility in Barnoldswick, Lancs. The range seems to be squarely aimed at road riders, although Hope has also introduced carbon handlebars for the off road community where the brand probably has a much greater affinity.
With a price tag of £130, and weighing from 195 grams for the 27.2mm x 350mm post, the new seat posts seem to be competitively priced. What the competition may not offer is the sheer beauty of the carbon lay up, they look absolutely fantastic and would probably please the harshest critic. I hope my picture of the cutaway post does this justice.
Rob from Hope explained that the company had gotten a great deal of help learning about carbon fibre from two other industries where the UK enjoys global recognition – Formula 1 and aerospace. That probably goes a long way to explaining why the products look so good. The range also includes 30.9mm x 400mm and 31.6mm x 400mm versions also made from the highest strength, Standard Modulus carbon fibre available. All the posts are fitted with a single bolt, aircraft grade aluminium seat rail clamps. Hope Technology are rightly proud of being British, a tour of their factory can be arranged by dropping them an email. Find out more on the Hope Technology stand LB714.
In my day job, I spend a lot of time talking about things like cloud computing, big data and the Internet of Things, so I was naturally drawn to the Drayson Technology stand where their CleanSpace App and Tag were on show. Drayson is a wireless technology business based in London, which is in the process of building a database of UK (and in near future, global) air quality.
It’s doing that by trying to persuade as many of us as possible of to download and activate the CleanSpace app on our smartphones. Better still, the company would like us all to join in the process of providing accurate data about air quality by purchasing and carrying a CleanSpace Tag – a lightweight sensor of similar dimensions to an iPhone which connects to the phone via Bluetooth (see more at www.ourcleanspace.com).
“You don’t need to get hit by a car for it to kill you” reads the clever publicity, and I think that’s a good point. You know it when you get knocked off, but you can’t easily assess the harm that might be done to you riding in traffic fumes. If you want to really scare yourself, read about the particulate emissions associated with diesel engines.
In my opinion, Drayson and CleanSpace have the potential to do a great deal of good by getting this sort of information into the public domain. If you care about the environment, I’m sure you’ll want to do likewise. For some reason the company is not listed in either the printed catalogue or the London Bike Show website, however, their stand is diagonally opposite Dassi (stand LB1620 – also well worth a look)
I was asked what I thought about the show whilst on the Velominati stand and I think the expression I was looking for is snow blindness. There is so much to see, which means that in the space of a single day I will have walked straight past things that deserve more consideration. A good example is all but ignoring Pinarello’s offering. Now, I know that if one of my pals rolled up on one of these machines, we’d spend a long time talking about and inspecting it carefully. Questions would be raised and responses carefully worded. At the Bike Show, walk past.
However, I was stopped in my tracks walking past the Engineered Bicycles stand when I caught sight of the wonderful green pearlescent paint finish on its Zondag aluminium framed cyclocross machine. This is the first outing to London for the Bristol-based bike company, I was told by Creative Director, Adrian. He said that the Engineered Bicycles offering appeal mostly to competition-focussed riders, but clearly those looking for bike that stands out from the norm. I thought the attention to detail was terrific. Each bike produced is unique according to the wishes of its owner – the Creative Director being there to make sure that dreams are realised in the paint selection, design and finish. If you’re in the market for a custom fitted and finished bike, Engineered also have Gran Fondo, Road Race, Road Endurance and full custom frames available. See them on stand LB1042.
As a person who’s spent time in Malawi building homes there, the work that Elephant Bike is doing really raises my spirits. The enterprise is taking former Royal Mail bikes (built by Pashley, no less) and where these were once cut up and trashed, they are now fully refurbished and sold to the public for £280 including front and rear racks. Then comes the good bit, each time a bike is sold in the UK, Elephant Bike donates an identical machine to a social enterprise in Malawi via a charity called Krizevac (see www.krizevac.org).
In Africa a bike means a lot of things; from providing public transport (in Lilongwe, the capital, they’re used as taxis) to helping youngsters make sometimes long and arduous journeys to school, so they arrive less tired and better able to learn. Even though these bikes are no longer suitable for Royal Mail purposes, these great British workhorses are now finding a new lease of life in one of the world’s poorest countries.
Besides the bike outreach, Krizevac has also exported old sewing machines to Malawi and has trained local tailors to make wallets and small pocket cases out of unwanted inner tubes, which they sell to support their development work. Go along and say hi – Elephant Bike will be encouraged just to see you there. And even if you don’t want to buy a bike or wallet, you can help them by donating your old tubes! Elephant Bike is on stand LB1422.
Find out more about the show including booking tickets here: http://www.thelondonbikeshow.co.uk/
Thanks for reading