What's Cool In Road Cycling

Eurobike ’16: PEZ Hits the Floor

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Early September is not only Oktoberfest time in Germany, it also marks the world’s annual largest bike industry trade show with over 100,000 attendees expected. PEZ is live & in person from Friedrichshafen, Germany, by the shores of Lake Constance this week at the 25th Eurobike show, where 1,350 exhibitors from 49 countries fill 65,000 meters (13 halls) with a completely dizzying array of new products and services.  Let’s roll with American Classic, Sarto, Rudy Project, and some well preserved mud at Scott Bikes.

 

It’s only fitting for the show to take place in Friedrichshafen, whose claim to fame is the birthplace of the Zeppelin airship. It seriously takes a few blimp hangars worth of space to house all the amazing bikes and gear on display this week here.

Three notable trends at this year’s show include road disc, gravel, and product versatility. We are now seeing the full spectrum in disc coming to mainstream road, especially with hydraulic disc brakes. Gravel is all the rage from framesets to wheels to clothing. Multi-purpose, multi-condition gear now allows you to save money and weight without compromising in quality or performance.
First up, wheels!

Catching up with American Classic CEO Bill Shook about what’s new for 2017, a lot of folks don’t know that American Classic pioneered the wide rim trend in 2005, then a few years back they fully embraced road tubeless designs across the line, and last year were ahead of the curve again with their road disc wheelsets.  This year the industry is embracing what AC was already doing as disk brakes for road are showing up everywhere.

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When asked about his favorite new products, he focused first on the Argent Disc Tubeless 30 mm rim with its center lock with 6 bolt adapter kit. This makes it a great choice for cyclocross riders who travel frequently as you can take apart the disc when traveling to prevent wear/damage and when you arrive at your race, you can put it back together and it’s still true, no adjustment needed. Also, this model comes with a choice of 12 or 15 mm through axel or quick release convertible.

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For those of you who don’t know the story of American Classic’s tubeless system, Bill designed the rim with a bead barb running along the edge of the bead shelf. When installed, the tire firmly pops into position over the bead barb. The tire bead centers and tightly grips the circumference of the rim creating a sealed environment to hold the liquid sealant without burping.

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Next on Bill’s top list is the Race 29 Tubeless Cross Country, his top choice for jumping on the gravel trend. “Light and wide at 28mm, as we borrowed from our mountain bike design and are able to gain increased air volume from the rim.”

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Even Bill is ready to ride gravel as he told me he actually had recently purchased a custom all-carbon bike for just this terrain (to include the Race 29 wheelset of course).

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Right down the hall from American Classic, I spotted a custom Gravel TA carbon gravel bike from Sarto Frame Tailors, a family-run Italian company who started in the 1950’s making frames for other brands, but who during the last 4-5 years have been focused on their own Sarto brand designs. Hand-made in Italy near Venice, they have focused on the manufacture of only carbon frames using tube to tube technology since 2000. They are totally custom bikes, from sizes, to graphics, to groupsets, etc. They even make their own saddles.

You can read the PEZ Sarto bike reviews here.

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With the Gravel TA, Sarto reaches out to those who love to commute or explore in style. You have not only flat mount disc brakes but also the choice of personalized leather touches on the top tube, stem, handle bar, seat post and chain guard. The bike can accommodate up to 42 mm tires allowing you to cruise down the most insidious gravel and dirt roads.

Next is Sarto’s most popular model, the Seta, (with a frame only weighing 750 g),  the latest and most advanced frame Sarto has ever produced. The Seta features brand new tube designs, starting from the flat shape of the top tube to the ultra-thin chain stays. It also has an integrated seat post.

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The star of the Sarto line in 2017 is the Lampo model featuring a new “Triple Edge” technology which takes its lead from the aerodynamic benefits akin to dimples on a golf ball. “Triple Edge” technology on its down tube, fork and top tube, consists of special tube shaping which helps control the airflow around the stripes and delays the detachment of the outer layer from the surface of the tube so that the air can flow with less resistance.

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The down tube that integrates the fork, ISOFLOW seat stays, internal cable routing, seat tube with Kamm tail aero profile and Triple Edge Technology are just some of the most striking aspects resulting from aerodynamic studies. The high stiffness of the frame enhanced by the integrated oversized seat tube minimizes the energy dissipation. Lampo is available in both direct mount and disc brakes versions.

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Time to look for glasses and helmets so I headed to Rudy Project, where I was introduced to the man himself, the legendary founder Rudy Barbazza who started the company in 1985, and his son Simone, who is following in his father’s footsteps and who is now Marketing Director. Simone’s brother Cristiano is the President and CEO.

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The Rudy Porject Airgrip features changeable colored bumpers to improve grip inside the arms.

Also making a special appearance was Etixx-Quick Step’s Marcel Kittel who was sporting the Spinhawk casual wear Rudy Project glasses in Crystal Gloss (clear frames with royal blue lenses). I asked him why the Spinhawk is his favorite off-the-bike model and he said that while he appreciates Rudy’s signature Italian bling-bling colors, the cool German prefers a more classic, understated style. Who would have guessed?

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On the bike he and his Etixx-Quick Step teammates wear the Tralyx (pictured below – read the PEZ review here), who they’ve made famous already by several World Tour victories and are pro-perfect thanks to the extraordinary lightweight styling, comfort, and unobstructed wide peripheral field of vision.

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First up at Rudy Project is their new Race Master helmet with MIPS technology. In fact, at this year’s show, Swedish safety technology brand MIPS brand partners are introducing more than 90 new helmets incorporating their MIPS Brain Protection System. Rudy Project’s Alvise Rizzi explained how the Race Master helmet was developed in conjunction with Vincenzo Nibali’s new team Bahrain Merida whose signature color is gold.

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Rudy Project announced their sponsorship of the team in early August 2016. In addition, the riders will use the Boost 01 and the Wing 57 helmets (read the PEZ review here), which in wind tunnel testing have demonstrated the best aero performance on the helmet market. The team will sport gold editions of Racemaster, Boost 01, Wing 57 and Tralyx for an exclusive and stylish look within the peloton. The coolest features of the helmet are the flow through ventilation system, the garage eyewear dock, and the HexoCrush liner molded with two different foam densities where the hexagon-shaped structure provides improved shock absorption by dissipating impact forces sideways and radially.

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Another exciting new product is the Fotonyk model which features an adjustable nose piece, vent controller to reduce fogging, and a bumpers kit to coordinate your glasses with your kit, available in black, white, orange fluorescent or lime green. Even more exciting is its lower price point from other pro models like the Tralyx.

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Following the product versatility trend is the new Airgrip model, a casual wear model that can be transformed into a mountain bike ready pair with the addition of the comfort pads that fit into the side vents. If you want to go sailing or skiing, you can also use the peripheral shields for better focus and glare and wind protection.

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Each Airgrip comes standard with a set of Peripheral Shields and Comfort Pads, according to the configuration. The Airgrip also comes in a variety of color combinations.

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For all the riders who don’t want to choose between sight and style, Rudy Project boasts an impressive prescription line, also featured at the booth. Announced earlier this year at Opti Munich, riders can choose from the Tralyx model, with “optical in-set”, allowing for the integration of ophthalmic lenses within the mask of the Tralyx models. Other great options include the “optical dock”: a full-rim Grilamid clip, available for the Rydon and Stratofly models, that allows for ophthalmic lenses made from any type of unbreakable material to be inserted. The Optical Dock is a veritable platform that’s capable of ensuring the necessary lateral protection, while at the same time offering the possibility of mounting stock ophthalmic lenses thanks to the containment of the front wrap-around angle.

For more information and current pricing, visit www.rudyproject.com.

 

On my way to my meeting with American Classic, I happened upon the Scott booth and as a Scott fan myself, could not resist taking a look at Orica Bike Exchange’s Mathew Hayman’s 2016 Paris-Roubaix winning Foil machine, still dusty from the muddy pavé.  Seeing this bike in person is pretty awesome, but you can read the PEZ Foil review here for more details on this beauty.

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Thanks for reading and stay tuned for lots more from the Eurobike floor.

• Read PEZ’s Eurobike 2016 coverage:
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Round 4
Round 5

 

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