It’s been a few years since I was last at Excel, not since the ‘not to be confused with…’ Cycleshow (the one that’s now at the NEC) was there a couple of years ago. Excel certainly seems to have filled out a bit since I was last there and feels less like a remote outpost of the empire and more like a reasonably accessible bit of London (I got from there to Kings Cross in about 50 minutes).
Anyway, the London Bike Show is building on the back of an unlikely combination of an outdoorsy type show, complete with tourist board booths and, oddly, but welcome, a farmers’ food market, and the London Boat Show. Each part of the giant hall has colour-coded carpet so you know where you are in the kingdom: blue for bikes, green for yachts and orange for the outdoors. Going from one section to another is an interesting experience; a little like wading through a river with hot springs feeding it. You start to leave the scruffy, T-shirt-wearing cycle show goers and slowly there’s a change to the embroidered polo shirts of the tourist board representatives, trying to lure you to Jersey, or Austria and their relative merits. Then there’s another change (a sea change perhaps?) as you get to the yatcht world. It really is a true stereotype about the stripy jumpers, deck shoes and chinos. The only creatures that seem at home roaming the length of the show are the sharp suited City traders, bunking off the afternoon at Rutter, Fluff and Jarvis in order to bag a new Cervelo, a Sunseeker yacht, a holiday in Corsica and a pack of spicy chorizo for tea all in an afternoon’s work.
Anyway, where was I? Back to the bike show. Having been to the (other) Cycle Show at the NEC back in October, there were some big companies missing there, and this is where some of them have chosen to be instead. Companies like Trek, Extra and Madison are all here – and there’s also a subtle amount of retailing going on, because who wants to go to a bike show, fondle stuff and not return with at least a few souvenirs? It’s all very civilised so far though, with none of the Moroccan bazaar feel of other shows’ retail corners.
In terms of absolute brand new stuff, there isn’t a whole lot, with many firms keen to hold things back until Core Bike later in January, or perhaps Sea Otter in April. It is, however, a great chance to prod and feel many of the new gadgets that have appeared in the last year or so. Us journos can find it easy to forget that 99% of the world hasn’t seen Shimano’s new XT or Intense’s new carbon bikes. Or those new Yeti SB66s. They’re all there though and all available for a tweak and a chat to the distributors. Thursday’s crowd certainly seemed very well informed, asking all the right questions of the sales people. Whether this descends into sticker-grabbing madness at the weekend, who can tell?
Today was also the time for some of the journalists and pro riders to prowl the stands, away from the crowds. I spotted Tracy Moseley, newly reinvented as an entire new ‘T-Mo’ brand of her own. Newly refurbished too was Scott Beaumont, no longer rocking the Rocky Mountain four cross bike (though what a bike that was!) and instead in the new, but reassuringly familiar livery of the turqoise and white of Yeti. Martin Ashton is a feature of the show, performing his every-impressive trials shows – no matter how well-rehearsed and slick they appear, they’re still hugely tough moves that are rightfully applauded by the crowds, while in the background, the slightly odd appearance, stage-left to stage-right of someone sliding down ‘the longest indoor zipwire in the world!’.
What are a few of my highlights? Personally, l liked the new Genesis 29ers, the Transitions, carbon Intense hardtail, the Yeti SB66, the new Brooks coloured leather bar tape, the crazy Cube electric bike, Shimano Ultegra Di2
The London Bike Show is on until Sunday. Details at: http://www.thelondonbikeshow.co.uk/
Now, where are the photos?
We brought you a glimpse of the new Genesis Fortitude prototype at the Singletrack Weekender back in July. It’s now ready for production, and in three very different guises: the Singlespeed SS, the 1×10 race-tuned Race and the braze-on-tastic, Alfine 11 Adventure. All three are designed from the ground up to run a short, rigid fork.
Exposure was showing it’s new dynamo-powered light. No name yet, nor price or anything. They had it connected up to this pretty hub, although it will also work with a Shimano dyno hub too Expect 650 lumens of light while riding (anything over 5mph) with a 450 lumen stand light that stays on when you stop. The lamp unit and dyno gubbins works out lighter than a MaXxD too and you know that Exposure is already working on Garmin-chargers and phone chargers and all sorts of add-ons…