- Posted by Simon Smythe
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More than 1,000 exhibitors from 42 countries, 68 per cent of them from abroad, 100,000 square feet of exhibition space… where do you start?
OK, we’ve given ourselves just short of two and a half days to cover every square inch of the 100,000 square feet, which makes 14,400,000 square inches. We could work out how many steps of a size 10 that means and how tired we will most likely be afterwards, but we’re only on day one so let’s talk about the bikes.
Hall A1 is an obvious place to begin and it’s where the big hitters are. We spotted Mr Pinarello looking suave in a dark blue suit after about five minutes. He pretended not to recognise us.
After we got over our star struckness (and he his) we were drawn like moths to a flame to the Van Nicholas stand. At the back was a time trial frame, looking a bit like a Litespeed Blade, and indeed its name was only one character different – it’s called a Blaze. A little joke perhaps? But next to it what had happened as no joking matter. An empty space with a scribbled note saying the display bike had been stolen! Van Nicholas bikes are desirable but this is ridiculous…
A couple of blocks further on the flashbulbs were going off around a jumble of crazy sparkle paintjobs, anodised components, fluoro deep rims, curved tubes, die-straight flat bars – one of them was wooden – and powder coated track chains. Tange doesn’t have a UK distributor – even though bikes made from Tange steel tubing are sold here in their thousands – but Alvin Hsu confidently assured us that by the end of the show it will have a deal to sell its ‘trick track bikes’ through the whole of Europe. Watch out Croydon.
To get firmly back to Europe, Selle Italia has some modern takes on its classic saddles. A new version of the Turbomatic was on display – the famous saddle of Jan Ullrich – with all its latest technology
3T talked us right through the Garmin team’s choice of base bar and extensions over the whole of last season – UK testers note: the UCI illegal Ventus and Brezza Team will still be manufactured and sold even after the 3:1 rule is enforced and the pros are using a version of the Mistral.
And from the other side of the pond Zipp has some bullet-like wind tunnel-tested return-to-centre bar-end shifters made from carbon of course – and trialled by Lance (of course). In the US they will cost a cool $400. UK price and availability TBC.
Watch this space for more of the latest 2010 bits and pieces…