What's Cool In Road Cycling

EUROBIKE’15: The Bikes!

In Wednesday’s first look from Eurobike we caught up with some great time trial rigs from LOOK & Cipollini as well as a couple of other road bikes but today is all about 2016 road bikes. Eddy Merckx, Bianchi, Festka and HiLite.

From modern carbon fibre creations to superb retro rigs – everything was on show at Eurobike with Eddy Merckx managing to cover both bases with some interesting new models but also some superb, retro-styled ones like this one below, the Roubaix 70.


It’s part of the brand’s Heritage Line that celebrates some of his most famous victories through a series of limited edition models. The Roubaix 70 celebrates Eddy’s victory in the gigantesque 1970 edition of Paris-Roubaix raced in horrible conditions that he won by more than six minutes. Inspired by the Faema team colors, this 100% made in Belgium bike combines a high-quality Columbus steel with a carbon fork and a simply sublime finish.


Luckily the finish is perfect too as at $17,500 this would have to have been the most expensive steel bike at the show. Still, what price can you put on such a classic looking bike that comes with a personalized message and book from Eddy himself, plus his signature anywhere on the bike that you want? $17,500 apparently…

If you’ve got the money or just simply want to see more of what truly is a beautiful machine, check it out at Eddy70.com.

Lighter, faster and cheaper than the Roubaix 70 was their top model and current Topsport team bike, the EMX-525.


It’s got a monocoque front triangle and fork, asymmetric chain stays and ‘Kink compliance seatstays’ which combined with the unusually shaped front end add up to one of the most unique, mass production carbon bikes on display at the show.



The EMX-525 is also available in a disc model, the EM-525 that has two different frame styles to choose from – endurance with a more relaxed geometry or performance model that is like the EMX-525 boasting an extremely high stiffness ratio.

New to the lineup for 2016 is a gravel bike, the Strasbourg 71 that although not as show stopping as the finish on the Roubaix 70 or the wild lines of the EMX-525, still impressed for its finish and spec at what is promised to be a competitive price.

An Eddy Merckx gravel bike. Sacrilege? nah, just a well put together bike in this ever emerging market.

The reason for the Strasbourg 71 name is that during the 1971 Tour de France, Eddy Merckx won the stage into Strasbourg narrowly beating Roger De Vlaeminck in a sprint – on a gravel track. Well equipped for the gravel the Strasbourg 71 has a full Shimano 105 groupset with 140mm discs on board, Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels, 32mm Continental Ultra Sport 2 tires and a Deda family of bars, stem and seatpost. Check out the Strasbourg 71 and the full 2016 range at eddymerckx.com

Onto another company with a long racing history behind it now with Bianchi. They had a current Lotto-Jumbo team bike on display in its classic Celeste paint scheme which looks ten times better in real life when there isn’t a Lotto Jumbo rider in their clashing yellow kit sitting on top of it.


If color coordination is your thing then Bianchi may well have the answer with their new Specialissima (below) that is available in many custom colors or the classic Celeste and also standard black. The Celeste on this bike isn’t quite the Bianchi standard though it’s their CK16 version of the color which is much brighter and almost a flou-ized version of Celeste. If you want to go custom with your Specialissima though Bianchi can provide through their ‘Specialissima Tavolozza’ scheme where you can choose from a wide range of custom colors.


Billed as a climber’s bike with its super-light 780g frame its also claimed to be a very comfortable bike as the frame is infused with Bianchi’s Countervail vibration dampening technology that was first seen in their Infinito CV Classics bike. Countervail is a patented viscoelastic carbon material that’s inserted into the frame between carbon layers and its unique characteristics are said to cancel up to 80 per cent of road vibration.


Just a sample of some custom colors available through the Tavalozza program

Along with the two standard colors and the custom options the bike is available in seven sizes from 47-61cm. Its aggressive racing geometry and the fact that it’s offered with only four top-end groupsets of Campagnolo Super Record EPS or Super Record mechanical, and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 or mechanical put the Specialissima well into the high budget range for the serious racer. Prices are yet to be confirmed but if you’re interested, hassle your local Bianchi dealer today and for more check out bianchi.com
Away from major manufacturers now and on to smaller operations, starting with Festka a small yet innovative bike company with Czech origins. Festka do steel bikes, carbon bikes and titanium bikes – or how about a combination of carbon and titanium like this one below?

Carbon and titanium in the one bike gets the decapitated hand’s thumbs up…

Flexibility and elegance of titanium plus the comfort and rigidity is the catch cry for this bike, and its finish and the engineering involved are first class. The frame weighs in at 1150gr and prices start at 5299 Euros and I can tell you that the bike truly is a showstopper. So much so that it was almost impossible to get a photo of the bike without one of the 50,000 strong Eurobike crowd stepping in to ruin the shot…



There was plenty more for me to photograph at Festka though including this beautifully blue painted titanium model from their Australian bureau.


Australian/Czech heritage in evidence on the toptube.

Then there was this everyday rig from designer Michael Mourecek that wasn’t exactly your bland everyday commuting machine…


Yes this ‘ONE LT Dazzle’ Fekta is Michael’s daily ride and I know this through personal experience because he passed me on the way to commuting to Eurobike. I did hop on his wheel though where I was able to admire more closely this outrageous paintjob, Campag EPS Super record group, lightweight brakes and more.



The ONE LT frame uses their ‘Rocket’ carbon tubes and is lightweight with painted frames weighing 780gr including the seatpost.


This version of the ONE LT weighs in at 5.71kgs (12.58lbs) with prices starting at 6169 Euros. Check them out at Festka.com for more.
Lastly another custom builder that didn’t have the flashy colors of Festka but had some very impressive engineering was the Hilite brand from Switzerland and their Rennrad CF01 model.


These 100% Swiss custom made monocoque frames are cutting edge technology with weights ranging from a super lightweight 600g (54cm) up to 850g for 64cm. Sizes range from 45-64cm and you can choose the tube length and angles you want and it will be made for you in their Swiss factory with Swiss sourced carbon.

This particular Rennrad CF01 weighed in at a mere 4.5kg – that’s under 10 lbs.

Unlike so many custom carbon frames that are tubed designs, the four engineers at HiLite have come up with a system in Basel that lets them do everything themselves as a full monocoque frame.


The bike has a massive PF30 bottom bracket and asymmetrical chain stays but it’s their seat tube shape at the BB junction which is certainly unique being extremely flat and thin. The design has been independently strength tested with results showing a very stiff frame but in a lightweight package as they have cut out any uneccesary fibres from the bike.


The Rennrad CF01 frame is available in ‘semi custom’ standard sizes for 5000 Swiss Francs or a full custom build for 6000 Francs. Their website isn’t quite as up to date as their bikes, but expect that to change soon: hilite-bikes.com.


Also on board the CF01 was a product from another Swiss custom company, with this superb carbon fibre saddle from C8-Sports but more on that and many more accessories next time from Eurobike…

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