Eurobike 2010 Preview: Show time
Friedrichshafen in Germany is the centre of the cycling industry for the next few days
The 19th edition of the annual Eurobike show in Germany starts on Wednesday and the world's bicycle industry has descended on the town of Friedrichshafen.
In preparation, the thirteen enormous halls are a battleground of fork lift trucks and frantic bike assembly but we picked our way carefully through the stress to have a chat with some of the exhibitors who looked a bit more relaxed.
Of course, the great majority of bikes on display are permutations on the theme of sober Euro-style commuter with special emphasis on the exploding electric-assist or e-bike category. But that's not what we are here for, even though the burgeoning use of bicycles is clearly good for all of us and not to be sniffed at.
Alan here from Lancastrian engineers Hope is showing his new freehub bodiless 10-speed cassette for their Pro 3 range of hubs. The bottom seven bottom sprockets are machined from one piece of aluminium and the top three from another single steel piece. This particular one is a super wide-range 9 - 34 but there will be road and sportive options on the same theme, all of which save about 20 grams over an equivalent Shimano XX or Dura-Ace hub and cassette combo.
Apart from Hope, there are a number of British companies at Eurobike - read more tomorrow - but the one we could hardly miss was Charge Bikes in the final stages of building their outdoor carousel-themed stand right in the heart of the show. Last year they set a bit of a precedent by building a complete Somerset-style pub which went down very well with everyone so it remains to be seen whether a fun fair draws the same crowds. The bikes were certainly looking good.
American tool makers Park said we were spoiled for choice when we asked them "What's new?", claiming over thirty new tools for home enthusiasts and pro mechanics. We loved this IB-12 super compact multi-tool which hangs the normal essential requirements on an aluminium centre beam.
Assos showed us the latest version of their popular and long-running Roubaix Autumn/Winter jacket now called Habu, apparently after a Japanese poisonous snake. The arm and body facings feature a new fabric called Stratagon Ultra which Assos claim cuts the wind as effectively as before while reducing bulk. The Roubaix material which forms the majority of the garment has also had an update itself, now designated Roubaix RXQ and aiming to retain warmth but with better breathability.
No-one around on the efficiently finished Giant stand so we sneaked on to snap this carbon TCX Advanced SL cyclo-cross bike with an integral seatpost and all the bells and whistles. Beautifully integrated fork but precious little mud clearance on the rear chain stays. We'll be asking them about this in the morning.
It looks like the final version of the 2011 Orbea Orca frame which we saw previewed at the Tour de France with the Euskaltel-Euskadi team has evolved in reality into two distinct models. The Orbea Orca Gold which we'll show you when we have a chance to see it properly from under it's launch cover. What we did see was this Orca Silver with lower modulus carbon to keep the price within reason.
Helmet maker Giro is launching their first range of racing and mountain bike shoes. Like their helmets, adjustability is the big story with a choice of three arch supports and an insole featuring the same anti-microbial, silver impregnated Xstatic material that they use in their helmets to dissuade stale smells. The soles on this red Factor model are made from unidirectional high modulus carbon-fibre yielding a mere 6.5mm sole thickness.
We would love to have showed you some tasty new Colnago bikes but they were tucked up for the evening in these designer jackets with a burly guard who wasn't taking any messing. Stand by for tomorrow's episode.