What's Cool In Road Cycling

Eurobike’12: The PEZ First Look

Eurobike kicks off the fall season of shows as the biggest of them all. With over 100,000 square meters of floor space to explore, of which every bit is filled up, it’s not surprising that there’s a lot to talk about. Let’s dive in!

This was our second trip to Eurobike – last year was a very, very big learning experience. Ahead of the show, we swore that we would not spend an entire day with mouths agape, wandering aimlessly through the halls like we did last year. Despite our best efforts, we couldn’t do it. It’s just so BIG – it’s hard to describe, and it’s hard to prepare for. So just like last year, Wednesday was consumed by our amazement, while Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were all about focus. I guess that’s ok, right?

We’ll have a few Eurobike reports coming up, but for this one, I’ll zero in on some of our favorites…

First off, one that will likely never grace our bodies, but is nonetheless quite intriguing – the new airbag helmet from Hцvding. They call it the invisible helmet or something like that, and it’s not even in production yet, but it’s super cool…and super expensive – 500 euros for a one crash helmet.

Nothing screams style like an airbag for the head. This is what it looks like when the airbag has of course been released to protect the crashing rider. -Pic:Hцvding

On the bike with flat bars and a fixie, of course. -Pic:Hцvding

They’re marketing it for the commuter crowd, but when you see it in action in the videos, you wonder what this technology might look like a few years down the road.

From afar, it looks like a scarf, but up close there’s a lot going on. The zipper top clicks into a little opening that activates the helmet. It’s battery operated, but the battery lasts a long, long while.

The neck device is designed to release the helmet airbag when you crash, which means there are some calculations and angles and stuff like that occur instantly to figure out when a crash is occurring. This is not the next aero piece of awesomeness or super lightweight bike, but it is something new, something different, something that shies away from a world of incremental improvements and could really be a leap forward.

Now, for a slightly more traditional topic – wheels. It’s no secret at this point that I love American Classic’s tubeless wheels. They are tremendous. I’ve done a lot on those wheels this year, and they’ve passed all of my tests – climbing, descending, sprinting, mountain biking, dirt roads, etc.

American Classic also has a new 11-speed hub. More on that soon.

For 2013, Bill Shook expands on the original tubeless hoops with the American Classic Argent wheels. The new wheels have gained aero spokes, almost 40% more rim depth to take them from 22 to 30mm, and a slightly modified bead hook profile. They’re far more aero, stiffer…and they’re only 200 grams heavier. 200 grams sounds like a lot, but in the case of the Argents, that puts them at 1372 grams. That just goes to show how light the Road Tubeless wheels are.

In short, these wheels get me very excited.

Another company that always gets my attention: Zipp. It wouldn’t take a genius to guess what Zipp was going to debut at Eurobike – the Firecrest logo has touched every carbon wheel in Zipp’s line – 808, 404, 303, except for the 202. The 202 was always going to be next by that reasoning, but the making of the wheel was far from simple. Since the 202 is the smallest of the Zipp rims, it provided the least amount of possible area for heat dissipation, so the nasty ogre of heat related failure raised its head. Zipp didn’t blink. They did their thing and came out the other side with the Firecrest clincher 202s, a new brake pad, and the world’s fastest wheel – the Super-9 clincher.

If you like deep dish wheels, these may not catch your eye right away, but for guys looking at a lightweight, aero-shaped wheel that will want to climb (and do just about everything else), these should get your attention. They weigh 1375 grams (not heavy by any means, but not silly light like their tubular 202 kin).

By Zipp’s reckoning though, the 202s are the wheel for everyday use, and they’re nigh untouchable in crosswinds. Zipp says these are the most stable wheels available when it comes to side forces – aka crosswinds. With only a 32mm rim depth, they’re still faster than many deep dish rims according to Zipp. In other words – you get light weight, solid amounts of aerodynamic, and excellent braking. What about the scary topic of heat related failures? The number still stands at zero for Zipp – for all of their wheels. And at US$2,725.00 msrp, will represent a serious investment in your ride.

Have I really made it this far without mentioning disc brakes? The quiet rumblings of last year have turned into a storm. Disc brakes are everywhere – cross (where they 100% belong), road, time trials, touring, city, anything you can think of.

Three bikes stood out: the Colnago C59, TIME Fluidity, and the Cervelo P5.

The C59 is the first bike to utilize new EPS levers made by Formula, which integrate electronic shifting…and hydraulic braking.

Colnago worked with Italian disc brake manufacturer, Formula, to come up with the eyebrow raising setup. Formula also helped out with disc-specific carbon wheels.

I don’t know if it’s ok to say this out loud or not, but those shifters are not the prettiest things I’ve ever seen. BUT – I’d happily swallow that comment if they work as well as I dream they would.

I didn’t see any indications for the pricing on the bike, but if I were a betting man, I’d put money on 10k+ and then some.

As with many things at Eurobike, the next bike wasn’t a debut – it was released earlier this year and has already been ridden to a fair bit of success. Ryder Hesjedal powered Cervelo’s new P5 to overall Giro victory in the crucial race ending time trial in Milano. Cervelo has long been at the forefront of the aero side of things, and whether you like the looks of the P5 or not, it is all aero, all the time, and really, really fast…plus it comes equipped with hydraulic disc brakes from Magura – the RT8TTs.

If it were just the disc brakes and another supremely aero bike, that would be one thing, but the level of integration and thought put into making the aeroest of aero bikes is impressive.

Riders taking part in UCI sanctioned racing won’t get to take advantage of this, but the non-integrated version is still pretty sweet as well.

The Adura bar system was designed by Cervelo and produced by 3T – see any cables?

Next up – TIME’s new Fluidity S. TIME not only jumped in with a disc brake bike, but they did it well – at least on the surface. The new Fluidity uses Shimano mechanical disc brakes on a decidedly classic looking bike (if you forget about those large brakes around the hubs).

The disc brake cable routing is lovely and well done, not an afterthought held together with zip ties or attachment pieces.

No big tubes here.

The bottom bracket area almost looks quaint in this era of monster bottom bracket shells.

Speaking of TIME – long known as a leader in the pedal world, they have a new line of road pedals that look quite nice. TIME’s Xpresso pedals are light (155g), have tons of platform space, and are svelte enough for even the most corner clearance demanding riders…well, most.

Color Time
Looking back toward the idea of trends – disc brakes are the obvious choice, but color choice has become interesting as well. Not surprisingly, black, black, and more black is tops on the list, but some companies have discarded the notion entirely.

Corratec, for instance, missed the memo and has gone quite colorific.

So has Carrera.

Giro had an awesome display of their new lace up shoes, the Empires, which Taylor Phinney has been wearing for a good portion of the season.

Talk about a match made in heaven… So Giro had been toying with the idea of lace up shoes for some time as a nod to the past and, in a way, the ultimate in user fit tightening possibilities (if you know how to tie just right). At a meeting with Taylor Phinney last year, Phinney, a lover of all things flashy, had been talking about soccer shoes and how much he loved there…flashiness. Out came the Empires, and Phinney was in love.

The Empires are certainly not for everyone, but they are a head turning shoe – there will be some riders in line to pick them up when they become available later this fall.

The displayed wide variety of colorful shoes won’t be available to the public in the foreseeable future, but they did a great job of livening up the area. Fluo? That’s so last year – we do camo!

Giro is also a happy proponent of the fluo trend. If you’ve had your head in your Rapha jersey for too long, you might have missed it.

Fear not fluo haters – they come in traditional colors like white and black too!

Speaking of Rapha – they were at the show this year, showing nothing, but being perfectly Rapha. They made headlines in a big way with the announcement that they’ll be the clothing sponsor of Team Sky for the next FOUR years.

Don’t let me get distracted by Rapha, otherwise I’ll miss this year’s King of Colors – LOOK. Look presented a massive array of color choices for the consumer, highlighted by a special edition series of country specific paint jobs.

Paint is all well and good, but Look had some more to offer in terms of a new bike as well – the 675. Like the Empires, the design is likely polarizing, but it’s definitely intriguing. The 675 was designed more for the sportive crowd, but is not of the upright, comfort variety. The racy looking bike is an attention getter with its integrated stem, which is adjustable to plus or minus 15 degrees. A single spacer can be used, but the bike was designed to achieve proper fit through the adjustable stem.

Word around the show from those that had a chance to ride it (we didn’t have a chance, unfortunately) is that this is a stellar riding bike.

Let’s get away from the colors and carbon for a moment.

Hi, Didi!

Hey, those wheels look familiar! Indeed, the company that Corey Fox recently profiled on PEZ, Cerci Ghisallo, was at Eurobike. Their stand got a lot of attention, and rightfully so. With futuristic and retro dueling all over the place at Eurobike, what says retro better than a wooden rim? Take that chrome styling.

And a nod to all of you bleeding heart classic bike lovers getting ready for the upcoming L’Eroica – here’s some fineness from Wilier.

AHHH! Sorry about that. I have a purpose for the shot though – I’m not entirely sure when fluo came raging back into the market, but I’m pretty sure Wilier was at the forefront of that. I remember seeing a bunch of fluo paint jobs at their factory back in 2010. Thanks, Wilier. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Ok, that’s all for now – look for more soon!

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