The figures at Eurobike really are impressive, over 100,000m² of exhibits with 45,000 particpants from 111 different countries – so you can quickly get lost wandering around from stand to stand. Sore legs and an extreme need to ride a bike soon develop after walking so much and seeing so many beautiful machines so it was with great pleasure when Tim at the Saris/CycleOps stand offered me a ride on a bike.
Just for a moment I escaped the hustle and bustle of Friedrichshafen in Germany and I was suddenly riding along the Californian coastline!
I did test out one of their trainers of course which was its usual smooth riding self but I was really interested in their new Virtual Training software. It’s a desktop or tablet application that’s all about ‘bringing the outdoors inside’ with virtual route mapping and synchronized video meaning I was soon pedaling along the Californian coastline with the images on the screen in front of me and the software adjusting the load generation of the resistance unit on the trainer to reflect actual changes in terrain along the route. I’ve used a few ‘Virtual Training’ style devices in the past with mixed results but in this all too brief try it looks like the guys from CycleOps have come up with the goods again.
Having previously fallen in love with a few products at Eurobike only to be disappointed with the price I tentatively asked Tim what the retail would be on their Virtual Training system and I was pleasantly surprised to hear that it was a subscription based service with no setup fee and a monthly price of $15. Even better there’s a free trial version available and various offers like $10 per month if you sign up for 12 months. Or you could pay just for the months that you actually would use the service which for me would just be winter. It’s also available for tablets at just $6 a month and is certainly a very interesting option in the virtual indoor training field.
One feature that I particularly liked is that you can also easily upload videos of your own routes and use and share them with others. If you were preparing for a big race or time trial, what better way to train for it then actually on the course itself – but far from the rain and cold. One to look out for this winter with lots more info available at CycleOps’ Virtual Training Website
Having just completed a nice ride in California it was time to stop and check out what else the CycleOps guys had on display and see what else I could buy for myself this Christmas. Luckily for me though you can’t actually buy anything at Eurobike (it’s for displaying and presenting products only) so I actually kept my bank balance intact. Still the show gave me lots of ideas!
Like this new Powertap hub. It’s based on their famous G3 power hub but they’ve now partnered with DT Swiss to create this new model, the GS. Using DT’s world famous knowledge and reliabilty in the world of hubs combined with Powertaps’ knowhow for power meters has produced one very sweet 11spd compatible hub. The G3 is still available at $789 but if you want the latest GS version expect to pay $1089.
A whole lot less sexy than the new Powertap hub but super practical was the Saris Gran Fondo rack (read the Pez test here). It’s a trunk mounted rack that doesn’t obstruct the licence plate or lights on the car and yet can take any style of bike – without the need of taking off the wheels. A very unique rack, with a 16kg limit on each bike and no need for a trailer hitch this one certainly caught my eye amongst a range of interesting racks that Saris had on offer. More at their website, www.saris.com
Having ‘Virtually’ spent my money with the guys at Cycelops/Saris it was time to move on with the next stop being FFWD wheels.
I haven’t ridden track in more than 10 years but I’m sure if I had these new 4 spoke wheels from FFWD I could still get around those boards pretty quick…
They were looking good on Iljo Keisse’s track bike too and creating a lot of interest.
As was FFWD’s new disc compatible wheel, a reworked version of their most popular F6 model which they’ve dubbed the F6D. International standard disc compatible and 11spd ready a pair of these tubular babies weigh in at 1465grams.
Speaking of discs, everyone seemed to have at least one disc product added to ther lineup this year with all the big bike manufacturers really getting behind the new technology. This pic is from a De Rosa with the new Shimano hydraulic disc groupset on board but as was the case with every single Shimano hydraulic brakehood I saw at the show, the rubber on the side of the hoods was not sitting correctly in place, constantly ‘peeling’ up. A fault in production? Or just caused by thousands of inquistive hands touching and playing with them throughout the course of the show?
I headed over to the actual Shimano booth and found exactly the same problem there too. Only a minor problem of course but I tried to press the rubber of the hoods back into their position but they didn’t want to stay in place… I’m sure they’re already working on the fix.
One thing I did like at Shimano though was their new styled battery available for their Di2 groupsets. Long and thin it’s perfect for being concealed inside the frame which greatly improves the aesthetics of your machine.
At the other end of the Shimano stand were a number of Tour de France bikes on display including Chris Froome’s Pinarello and Simon Gerrans’ stage winning Scott. Gerro’s Prologo saddle had this custom finish with the Australian flag which was pretty cool.
The custom flagged Prologo’s weren’t available on the Prologo stand of course but their new ‘Scratch’ saddles were and they were certainly popular. The Scratch series feauture “CPC” which is a rubbery polymer designed to absorb shocks and vibrations. It also has the added benefit of keeping you in place in your saddle and is apparently very comfortable. They had no bikes set up with their saddles to test though so I couldn’t confirm their claims on that one.
Still on saddles, SMP did have some test units to try on some bizarre shaped bar stools but a test in jeans on a barstool didn’t quite tell me how good they were or not. Still, SMP have taken a large share of the market in these past couple of years with their anatomically shaped designs so they must certainly work for some. Amongst their new range this year they had these multi colored padded versions, covered without padding versions and then for the completely sick, the straight carbon fiber versions.
From saddles to gloves now and on to these interesting models from Hirzl. They market their gloves as ‘The Ultimate Glove Experience’ with a proprietary kangaroo leather designed to be as ‘grippy’ as possible in any conditions and to prove it they would let you try a pair of gloves then spray your hand with water. Then you could try the glove on a road handlebar with or without tape and/or an MTB bar with or without grip to feel their grippiness.
The glove showed absolutely zero signs of slipping on the handlebar for me – on the handlebar tape or on the bare aluminium so their claim of grippiness certainly proved true. The gloves themselves were clearly of a very high quality too with some interesting summer and winter models available. More info at their website.
Also promoting their grip qualities were the folks at GripGrab. They’re a Danish brand founded by three brothers back in 2000 and have quickly become known for their quality range of summer and winter gloves. They had a full display of gloves on offer at Eurobike with various types of padding depending upon the model along with some nice winter headwear and some very sexy looking shoecovers. I tried on a number of their products at their stand and although nothing replaces some true on bike testing my first impressions of their range and construction was certainly good. More info at GribGrab.com.
The last word on gloves now goes to the guys at Chiba with these winter efforts for the extreme cold. As someone who really feels the cold I was drawn to their black e-heat model pictured here which has the unique feature of being electronically heated! Inside the glove itself is a Lithium ION rechargeable battery that provides three different heat levels in the gloves that cover the back of the palms and the fingers. On the low setting the battery lasts 5.5 hours and on high 3.5 hours and having tried them myself – admittedly just at the show for 5 minutes – the heating system certainly works. Although the glove looks bulky it was surprisingly comfortable and had a number of nice features including wind protect fabric and a silicon grip that would be useful with or without the heater running. All this technology comes at a price though with these E-Heat gloves retailing for 229 Euros.
Much closer to my price range were the Red gloves, their Carpal Absorber Hotliner model which retail for 45 Euros and has some similar features to the E Heat with a nice Silicon Grip and Wind Protect Fabric but no heater of course. What they do have though is a pouch on the back of the hand where you can put one of their Hotliner Heat Pads (1.50 Euro a pair) that will heat the back of your hand, thus warming the blood that flows to your fingers to keep them warm. Certainly a glove that’s another interesting option for winter amongst a simply huge range that Chiba had on display. Much more at www.chiba.de
Back to componentry now and over at SRAM was this funky setup of their 22 spd hydraulic caliper gear where you could change gears and brake until your heart was content all without the effort of pedaling! The system felt solid in this static display but unfortunately as I missed the Eurobike demo day I’m yet to try it out on a ride myself.
FSA had their usual collection of top line cranks, handlebars and accessories on display but upon closer inspection I quickly realized that there’s been some pretty big changes in their range. In the high end range of K Force and SLK they have tried to solve the increasingly frustrating problems of compatability with all the different sized bottom brackets available on the market.
Their latest cranksets have a distinctive blue axle and combined with their various bottom bracket adaptors FSA have managed to cover all the BB standards on the market (except for the Pressfit 91) which should certainly facilitate life for many. www.fullspeedahead.com
FSA’s sister company, Vision also had a nice lineup of wares on offer which included these new carbon handlebars, the Metron 4D. They have a nice ergonomic flat-top riser central section which is said to follow the natural arc of the arms with a 10° forward bend for a more comfortable climbing position and easier breathing. Their 420mm version weighs in at 245g.
They also had a full range of wheels on display which have been made famous by Peter Sagan winning numerous races on them this year. Apparently developed in direct consultation with the Cannondale team are these Metron 40s with a full carbon 40mm deep section rim which weigh 1320g the pair in tubular version, 1495g in clincher form and the new disc version is also available at 1575g. More info on these and many more Vision products at visiontechusa.com
And finally a cheap, simple to use product that left many at the show scratching their heads – or their asses – and saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”. It is of course, the Ass-Saver. It’s an emergency mudguard that simply folds up under your saddle and folds out when the weather is bad to stop your ass from getting wet and dirty. It’s lightweight, simple and available in many different colors and 2 models, the SmartAss for 80% of standard saddles on the market (€7.99) and the Brookshield for any hipsters out there using the Brooks Style saddles. (€8.99) Ass-Saver ships worldwide and more info is available at ass-savers.com
Keep it PEZ for more Eurobike specials coming up and then Interbike straight after that – gotta love the show season!