The Cycle Show: Part I

October 3rd, 2011

By in Features

After Eurobike and Interbike, all that’s left are the the National shows and the UK’s, The Cycle Show was a good excuse to get up close and personal with what’s coming our way in 2012 and catch up with our friends and supporters. This is the first of several shows that will be happening over the coming months and here’s the first of what caught our eye. More coming through the week…

Words and Photos: Henry Marsh

Whilst walking over to the Enve composites booth, we stumbled upon a little bit of carbon history with this famous Lotus 108 bike, ridden to GB Olympic gold at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Moving on to some more up to date and relevant carbon products, we have the Enve DH handlebar. These are not cheap at £130 (UK RRP), however for just £10 more than a set of Easton Havocs you get that all important extra 50mm width, coming in at 800mm and if wide isn’t your thing you can trim these right down to 720mm. They come in at a very svelte 225grammes keeping the weight weenies happy, but most importantly will flex appropriately and provide a very comfortable ride.

Enve also had some very light wheelsets, the same rims that the Santa Cruz Syndicate have been hammering for the past couple of seasons. Built onto Chris King hubs it isn’t a cheap wheelset, setting you back in the region of £2000, however 1500grammes is amazingly light, and they claim to be stronger than the traditional metal alternative. More in these in the next few months…

The “SMART” road wheelsets also had some pretty sweet stealth graphics, reminiscent of a Cannondale Badboy or a certain colour-way Specialized offer on their Demo everywhere but the UK, but these aren’t just for looks – the Smart is their first wind tunnel tested wheelsets. Will we see this coming into Downhill? Lets hope not, but Trek have already started looking at Wind tunnels in their testing procedure and it is likely that in the constant pursuit of faster bikes that more manufacturers will follow suit or just use it for marketing BS?

The Sram stand was immense and Rock Shox had their new Boxxers on display, with the Keronite lowers on the World Cup model. These are lighter, but the decals are not removable like in previous models to save weight, so if you get some uplift damage or want custom graphics then you will not be able to sort it out as easily as before. Water transferred graphics have no place in DH, but I’m sure the weight weenies will likely be all for this. Give me custom stickers any day!

With the increasing numbers of frame manufacturers supporting the new BB30 standards, we are starting to see a few more options available in cranks. The SRAM X0 DH is a stiff, light, carbon crankset available in both 24mm (traditional Hollowtech2) and 30mm options, and looks amazing in the raw carbon finish.

Olly is seen here modelling the exciting new Monarch Plus rear shock, which he briefly rode earlier in the year. This is the little brother of the Vivid Air, and will be more at home on “All Mountain” bikes, designed to be ridden hard on the downs, and then back up again. It comes in two guises, the RC3 being the top of the range model, and then the basic R as well.

Bolted onto a very nice and rare bike, were these custom Avid XO DH Brakes with an XX lever, branded as XO mated with a Code caliper – odd? But like always with Avid, clean, simple lines and a comfy lever coupled with predictable braking performance are all could you want from a brake.

Lezyne had a very neat range of tools, including these wooden handled Chain whips and pedal spanners, maybe not necessary in your average workshop but would make a very nice Christmas present for the cyclist who has everything!

As as the tool range, they had their pumps on display. These aren’t brand new and have been around for a while but not everyone may have noticed the Lezyne Dirt track pump. The nice feature about this pump is the oversized barrel, meaning more air for every pump enabling high volume DH tyres to be pumped up easily, and tricky UST tyres to be seated without the need for an air compressor, ideal for the home mechanic.

One of the most exciting trinkets hanging in the Hope booth was their custom 6-speed cassette.  These have been about for a while now in prototype form, but are nearing production for 2012. Teams such as Monster Energy Specialized have been running special cassettes allowing a 9t cog in order to decrease chain-ring size and get a lighter, more compact drive train whilst maintaining top speed. If Hope do manage to release this in 2012 they will be the first company to bring one to market and it will be retro fittable to one of the most popular hubs around.

Hope also had their prototype Cranks, Chain device, Pedals, Bashguards and Chainrings on display. As with all Hope products they are available in many colour options, and all made in the UK. Hope are on the pulse with what riders want at the moment, and it won’t be long before trail bikes up and down the country are dripping with even more Hope parts; as if they aren’t already.

Col from Fli-Distribution/MTB-Direct was there with his stand and lots of new kit from O’neal. They had the new Airtech DH helmet that looks set to be a great success, with aesthetics similar to a TLD D3 with some nice features and a price tag of only £110.

And finally to finish up, a very special bike that was in pride of place on the Troy Lee Designs stand. This limited edition 2012 Demo 8 is one of only 250 in the world and was heading back to the US after the show. You unfortunatley can’t buy this amazing bike as every single one has already been pre sold and Specialized UK, in their usual infinate wisdom didn’t order one in. Lame! Props to the guys at TLD UK (Fishers) for bringing this beauty in for the crowds to drool over.

TLD had one of Brendan Fairclough’s race kits on display too all ‘Monstered’ up. If only you could have a colour coded bike/pants/jersey and helmet and get the full factory look! It has to be said that the SE Pro kit is absolutely stunning in the flesh and incredibly lightweight. Get saving though as it ain’t cheap!

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