Cycle Show 2010: Troy Lee Designs, Airace, Norco and Santini

Due to Jon swanning off to Sicily, our Cycle Show coverage has taken a little bit longer than we thought, but there’s plenty left for you lot to see. Norco have been undergoing a bit of a transformation in recent years and the all new for 2011 Norco Range ticks all the correct ‘all mountain’ boxes, with 160mm of travel at either end, a tapered headtube and Syntace 142mm through axle rear end.

Lots of swoopy hydroformed tubes on show back from the chunky internal headset. Uppy downy post cable guides are present and correct on the top tube too and the hard anodised finish should be durable.

Rear suspension uses the ‘ART’ system, a modified Horst linkage, with the rocker plates providing a mercifully uninterrupted seattube if you prefer the old fashioned method of seat height adjustment. The plates also have finger friendly grooves in them for ease of carrying rather than any sweet tricks, we assume.

This Range 2 uses a Rock Shox Monarch on the rear, Lyrik up front and will come with a triple chainset and X.9 drivetrain, although the top end Range SE gets twin rings for a more  ‘enduro downhill’ setup. The UK price will be £3,000 too…

Matt liked his quick sit’n'bounce test – it feels long enough for climbing and nicely slack (at 66.5 degrees) for getting carried away on the downhills. While we were at the Fisher stand, Stephen also showed us the 2011 range from masters of the downhiller’s leisure suit, Troy Lee Designs. These are their Ace Shorts in a ‘that’ll-look-clean-for-seconds’ white. Matt’s pointing to the full length thermally welded zips that aid crotch ventilation, but other features are the stretchy spandex/polyester mix fabric and integrated chamois liner, all for £86.99.

The slightly broken Stephen from Fisher Outdoor also showed us these Girls Skyline Shorts which are, thankfully for women that don’t like dressing like Barbie, available in this rather nice and understated black with red piping.

Don’t worry, there are still plenty of moto inspired designs in the Troy Lee stable including this Sprint Jersey and Shorts combo.

Also in a moto/DH style are these Girls GP Jersey and Pants. Will purple be the new colour for 2011? We hope so, it’s got connotations of ancient Roman imperialism, complete with orgies and that sort of thing and it hurts our eyes less than the whole ’1990s rave culture reborn’ thing. Anyway, we digress. The pants are tailored to fit ‘a woman’s contours’ and they use a cowhide insert on the knee to prevent wear, as well as triple stitching in the 500 dernier polyester.

The herringbone pattern on these Moto Shorts is ideal for confusing digital cameras. Stretchy inner leg inserts in the Kodra outer give pedalling ability and we’re feeling the smart casual finish a lot.

More purple! These are the Moto Shorts again…

Some more ladies kit, with the Girls Skyline Jersey.

Troy Lee do plenty of casual gear too. Here’s a skeleton patterned hoodie. Good for Halloween maybe?

There are a number of understated retro T shirt designs drawing on TLD’s moto heritage…

This vest is probably excellent in places with sunshine, but we just have visions of our skinny, white arms with a dirty biker’s tan line just above the elbow. Not so flattering, good if you’re all tanned and buff though.

The D2 helmet has been a massive success for Troy Lee. In the world of downhill and the rougher side of enduro racing it’s always been the helmet to have, partly due to the light weight and decent ventilation, but mostly down to it being more bling than a rapper’s jewellery box. This is the composite shelled D2, costing £299.99 in the Superstar red/blue finish. More outlandish patterns are available…

Troy Lee released the all new D3 last year, moving on from the D2 with more protection from dual density shock pads, wind tunnel tested venting and titanium hardware. You get two adjustable visors with the helmet so you can get the height just right and we reckon the exposed carbon weave on the stealthy £499.99 D3 Carbon Pinstripe looks stunning, but you can also get a Sam Hill signature helmet or, if the price is a bit of a stretch, the heavier composite version is £399.99.

There’s lots of venting in the back too and the rubber surrounds should stop scratches as well as working with all the neck braces on the market.

The Troy Lee Air glove looks nice for milder weather riding with a nice thin palm and breathable lycra mesh on the back.

Sticking with the clothing theme but veering wildly to the other end of the spectrum we also had a good look at some new kit from road brand Santini. They’ve been around a long while and have graced the bottoms of champions. All their kit is handmade in Bergamo, Italy and the attention to detail and quality is high. This is a disassembled piece of their Gel Intech padding, showing the silicone insert which sits between layers of wicking fabrics. It feels rather weird out of the liner but we imagine it must be very comfy and good at cutting out trail vibration…

The whole range of road bibs and tights look really rather good. The higher end models use carbon in the fabric to protect the skin from UV rays as well as feeling more comfortable on the skin but these DFEND bib shorts offer more substantial protection against falls, with expanded nitrile rubber padding to help soften the less than gentle kiss of flesh on tarmac. We reckon they’d also be good in a mountain bike application, seeing as most of us in the office tend to wear proper bibshorts underneath our baggies and a bit of extra protection is no bad thing.

Santini also do some nice retro road jerseys – the polar opposite to the Troy Lee downhill outfits…

You can get custom designs too…

No, we couldn’t figure out what Andy Warhol was doing on the Santini stand but he was very keen to run us through the features and benefits of their H2O Epic softshell jacket. It’s a winter road jacket that should shrug off wind and rain but have plenty of movement from the Aquazero stretch panels. It could make for a rather nice high-output winter riding jacket…

The stretchy gripper seam is pretty neat too…

Also in a wintry style are these H2O Winter gloves. It uses the same Aquazero fabric to give a good amount of water resistance and the palm has silicon dots to give grip when wet.

Airace have got a wide range of pumps but this is the range topping Airace Infinity AS Aluminium track pump. It’ll do up to 300psi and as the name suggests it’s got a lightweight alloy body. The head comes with your standard Presta and Schraeder valves, complete with a bleed valve for pressure fine tuning but there’s also an inbuilt shock pump. Price is £87.99 but there is a cheaper version at £76.99 that only does 240psi and comes without the shock pump.

That head up close…

This is the even cheaper steel bodied Airace Infinity ST Steel. It’s a bit heavier due to the steel barrel but you can still get up to 240psi and the gauge is the same large design. The valve is also an ‘intelligent’ one that’ll select which valve you’re using automatically with a bleed valve hidden under the lever to pressure fiddling. Price is £54.99…

Airace also do this neat little Driving Waterman portable washer. It’s got a 19L capacity and runs off the 12v cigarette lighter in your car. Ideal for people that own cars that are more expensive than their bikes and want to keep them clean or those with limited space at home. It’ll cost you £109.99…

They have lots of cute little mini pumps too. These are FIT Tele R Mini road pumps. They’ll pump up to 100psi and weigh just 100g, costing £19.99. Good for gear minimalists or people that don’t mind taking a bit of time to pump a fatter tyre up. The bright colours should make them hard(er) to lose too.

The extendable mini stirrup pump concept is catching on. This is the Airace Speed F2 and although it looks pretty normal and neat here…

…but it pulls apart to show the extractable hose, mini stirrup and folding T handle. The long but not overly fat aluminium barrel should make getting tyres up to pressure nice and easy and, although we don’t know anyone that frame mounts a pump now, the reversible valve head has a neat ruuber cover to stop filth getting in.

The rubber hose is also reinforced so it won’t get knackered while you’re pumping away on rocks. It’ll get up to 140psi too, which should be plenty for most bikers, road or mountain.

The Dual Jet TS is a neat looking pump that also has an emergency shock pump built into the handle. The shock pump nozzle is hidden in the handle and screws away to stop it getting manky. The valve is reversible and it’ll cost £27.99.

Tidy, see?

Airace also do a range of tools – this is the folding TT20 tool with, you guessed it, 20 functions. It’s a very slim and compact design that splits apart to reveal 2-8mm allen keys, the usual screwdrivers, a T-25 Torx key for your disc bolts, a chain wrench with chain holder and a selection of wrenches, including one to fit your nipples. It’ll cost you £43.99…

Finally in a functional theme, Stephen was dead keen to show us this mini rear light from Smart. Apparently the designer is a massive Aha fan so the light, when in intermittent mode, flashes in time to “Take on Me”. Really. We’ve got some video of the slightly crash damaged Steve singing along to it too…

Woolen fans, don’t worry! There’s a new brand of affordable sportwool out there, from a small British compant, Torm. Rather nice retro designs that won’t break the bank, unlike some of the other offerings out there. This is the T1 jersey, costing £45..

..and here’s the T4, also £45. Makes that other brand look a bit dear, doesn’t it?

You can even enjoy the comforting smell and feel of slightly sweaty wool in a long sleeved form with the £50 full length zipped T5 jersey. All of the designs use a proper sportwool mix (31% wool, 69% polyester blend), have YKK zips and silicon grippers as well as weatherproof pockets on the  back.

Right, there’s plenty more to come, including video that’ll make you want to tear your eyes out…

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