What's Cool In Road Cycling

Eurobike’14: The Cool Bits!

Everyone knows that Eurobike has some of the hottest bikes in the world but it’s also jam packed, wall to wall full of the latest and greatest accessories too. Here’s a look at some of the best for 2015 from American Classic, LOOK, Fly 6, Saris, Powertap, Wahoo, BBB and more.

One of the first stops on my annual pilgrimage to the land of all that is cool in bike gear at Friedrichshafen is Bill and Ellen at American Classic wheels. For a great insight into wheel trends from the man who is often making those trends, head honcho Bill Shook is always the man to see. Unfortunately on this particular day though things were a bit down with Bill and Ellen as somebody had just stolen a prototype centerlock 11 spd disc hub like the one that I snapped a picture of below.

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The prototype was taken from the booth during the show, “I placed it on the meeting table, turned around and it was gone. We have the serial number for this hub and there are only 2 of them in the world right now so we are able to trace it. Eurobike is a great event and we did not expect this to happen.” said Ellen Kast, General Manager.

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Despite the loss Bill still managed to smile in front of some of his babies for me – and why wouldn’t he? He had some of the best wheels at the show on display with interesting redesigns of some of his most popular wheels like the Sprint 350, the Carbon 46 and more for 2015.

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The Sprint 350 has actually been one of the best selling wheels for American Classic for a number of years now but for 2015 Bill has designed a completely new stronger and lighter rim to bring the overall weight of this tubeless/clincher wheelset down to just 1396 grams for a lower budget wheel. The rim is now 22mm wide, 24mm deep and has a CNC machined brake track and all at the same price as the 2014 model.

Other news for 2015 is a lighter weight for their Carbon clincher, the Carbon 40 Clincher with a rim weight of just 395 grams with the same ever advancing technology applied to their popular Carbon 46 Tubular with the weight of that dropping signifcantly too with a pair now weighing well under 1400 grams and the very sweet, disc braked version of the same wheel under 1500 grams.

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Much like the multi-millionaire who has 100 sports cars but the difficult but enviable choice of which car to drive today I had to ask Bill who is a keen cyclist himself, ‘What wheels do you ride everyday?’. The answer was the Road Tubeless. Just 1232 grams for the pair, Bill runs these on a tubeless setup with IRC tubeless tires and rides them everywhere, “The rim weight is just 349 grams, the performance and acceleration you get out of these is just amazing.”

To see the full 2015 range from American Classic head on over to amclassic.com

With Bill dreaming of riding his tubeless wheels somewhere on a nice road and not standing guard over his last prototype disc hub I moved on to check out the guys at LOOK who continue to lead the way in the pedal world. For 2015 they have some redesigns in the works plus a new model along with some of their most popular models returning. First up was their entry level Keo Flex.

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I first checked out the Flex at the start of 2013 with a full test and for 2015 it’s had a facelift. The Flex is targeted squarely at the beginner’s market and for 2015 it has a redesigned back end but has kept the same simple clip in and clip out of the original with the cheap entry price of just US$49.99.

The big news in terms of pedals for me though was the introduction of the Keo 2 Max Blade. The Keo 2 max has long been one of LOOK’s most popular pedals and is still available for 2015 but the addition to the lineup has been this new Max Blade that positions itself between the Keo 2 Max and the Keo Blade 2 in the lineup.

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Basically it’s a mix of the two with many of the benefits of the Blade 2 (which I tested earlier this year) but at a cheaper price point – expected to be US$159.99. It comes in 2 composite blade tensions of 8 or 12nm, has a wide surface area of 400 square mm (the blade 2 has 700mm), a reduced platform height to get your foot closer to the axle and all at just 120 grams per pedal.

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Also on the LOOK stand and getting lots of interest was their setup of the Keo Power. It is now available in two formats the Keo Power Essential MSRP US$1,199.00 (left pedal data only) and the Keo Power US$2,199.00 which features the left and right pedal data. The Essential is just as it sounds, you have all the essential data but recorded through just the left crank with the power then doubled to give you your overall power figures.

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The Keo Power however with its left and right sensors when coupled with the new V800 from Polar is surely one of the better power meters on the market with a host of impressive features and the ability to track the power of your left/right pedal output. It’s also available to be used with your smartphone by bluetooth and the Wahoo fitness App.

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If you’re in the market for a power meter this could be one to watch out for with deliveries starting worldwide this October. More info on all the latest LOOK products of course at lookcycle.com

Changing from pedals now to storage systems with the very cool systems from the guys at Saris. Well known for their huge range of vehicle racks and specialist trunk systems the Saris guys have come in from the garage now and into the living room with some very neat bike storage systems to show off your pride and joy.

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First up is the appropriately named, ‘Show Off‘ that features beech wood and cork, a remote controlled LED light system that shines on your bike and a finish worthy of your dream bike being parked on it. Retailing for US$274.99 this could be the perfect way to show off your bike unless you have a couple of machines you’d like to keep in the living room, which in that case maybe a ‘Hottie‘ might be the way to go.

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Yes, The Hottie is a two bike system that also has the advantage of being a freestanding unit so there’s no need to put any holes in the walls for this one. Retailing at US$259.99 it’s a sweet bit of equipment and a much nicer way to keep your bike inside than just leaning it up against the wall.

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Also in the home bike storage lineup was ‘The Boss‘ which is used by a number of pro teams including Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela which is a simple yet well designed foldable bike holder. The Boss supports your bike by the rear axle with rubber sleeved fingers and retails for US$44.99. Many more storage and bike carrying solutions at saris.com

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Just next to ‘The Boss’ in Saris’ sister company Powertap was a very low key but very sweet stand full of Powertap wheels for 2015. They’re continuing to offer the ever popular Enve wheels with Powertap technology but also some Powertap branded carbon clincher wheels that come in 50 and 35mm depths with a 24mm wide rim that will retail for US$2199 – for both depths. Impressively these can also be bought as an alternating pair – eg, you could buy a 35mm front with a 50mm rear. At first glance these look like a really nice rim and for the money would be hard to beat. A pair of the 35’s weighs in at 1617 grams, the 50’s 1807grams and if you went for the 35/50 combo you’d be looking at 1712grams.

With all this talk of power and ‘The Boss’, the real boss, Jens Voigt suddenly arrived at the Cyclops/Powertap stand for an impromptu autograph session.

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Jens has been using Cyclops trainers for a while now with the TREK Factory Racing team and he was happy to pop in and sign a few autographs and chat to the Cyclops guys. The German cyclist who had been cycling on the trainer just next to Jens for a LONG time demonstrating their excellent Virtual Training system suddenly improved his style with his hero just behind him signing autographs and chatting to fans in numerous languages. This was just days before Jens’ big announcement that he’ll be taking on the hour record next month so I’m sure he’s been doing quite a few sessions on his Cyclops trainers of late. For more info from powertap and their range of wheels, hubs and more check out powertap.com and cyclops.com for some great trainers and virtual training.

After watching some virtual riding over at the Cyclops stand I decided to get into the act myself at the Wahoo stand with a ride on their KICKR.

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The KICKR trainer has been previously reviewed by Charles here on PEZ and I remember editing that piece and thinking – can it really be that good? Yes, is the short answer and it’s certainly worth checking out. I wasn’t actually at Wahoo to check out the KICKR though I was there to check out some of their other kit, namely the tickr and the blue.

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The Tickr family are heart rate monitors that work with your smartphone and cover heartrate, distance, lap times etc with the Tickr Run covering your running smoothness by judging your up and down and side to side movement amongst others for those of us that run.

The new Tickr X which will be available later this month has all the features of the base model and the Run but has the very cool feature that it has a memory and you don’t actually have to have your phone with you. Leave the phone at home, do your workout then come home and the Tickr X will auto-synch with your phone to show you all the data from the session. The memory feature has around an 8 hour life which should be more than enough to cover most workouts….

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Another cool feature is that it also measures your cadence just by monitoring the movement of your body meaning no messy sensors, cables or computers on your bike – wear the Tickr X and it will cover everything. The Tickr Family ranges in price from $59.99 for the basic to $99.99 for the Tickr X.

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Also on display at Wahoo were a couple of sensors for those wanting specific info like cadence – the RPM sensor is a simple Iphone device that could be attached to the crank or even a footpod on the shoe and details just the cadence, nothing else for $49.99 and the Blue SC details speed and cadence and like all the Wahoo products it’s Bluetooth and Ant+ compatible. More info and many more monitoring and training products at Wahoofitness.com

Leaving Wahoo I then moved on to the Dutch guys at BBB which was probably the most decked out stand at all of Eurobike in terms of gear. It was like walking into a really cool bikeshop with everything to keep you clothed from head to toe, tools, sunglasses, lights and more. These guys make a HUGE amount of cycling accessories. Except for the actual bikes you could probably kit out an entire bike shop with their gear so it was difficult to know where to start at their stand.

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What did catch my eye though was their new helmet the Tithon. It’s an aero lid for the road and has been designed from the ground up in that it’s not based on any of their other popular lids like the Icarus or Falcon but a completely new helmet.

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It’s been designed to have the best balance possible between aerodynamics and thermodynamics – basically it’s supposed to be aero without toasting your head. Double in-mold construction, quality padding and strapping and with an overall very solid/high end feel I was surprised to hear the retail price – 99.95 Euros making this nice looking helmet even nicer looking in my eyes. Unfortunately though it’s not going to be available until May 2015 when you’ll start seeing it on the guys in the Wanty and Synergy Baku pro teams – and I imagine many others at this price.

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Onto an item that the guys at BBB were very proud of now and that costs significantly less than the Tithon or anything else at the stand in fact – a free item! It’s the BBB Bikeboard App which is one of the handiest ride registration apps that I’ve seen.

It was designed inhouse by the guys at BBB who are all riders themselves and it shows that it was designed by real riders by the ease of use and the options offered. With a customizable layout via a drag and drop arranging of all data it’s great that if for example cadence is more important to you, drag cadence to the top of the screen and that will be the biggest display. If you’re not interested in cadence, put the speed, heartrate – whatever, wherever you want. It’s 100% user choice and one of my favorite features.

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Other useful features include a direct to Strava upload – or.GPX/.TCX download, multiple bike option and a very low processor usage to keep your phone battery charged on those long workouts. Hook yourself up with one of BBB’s phonemounts for your handlebars and download the App from the Apple Appstore and play with it yourself – it’s free!

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One more thing that stood out amongst their very full 2015 product range was the Windgun BMP-58 pump. It’s a redesigned version of their old ever popular Windgun that has become even better ergonomically but still retained the good features of its lightweight 6063 Aluminium barrel, an impressive 115psi pumping capacity and its fast volume pump action with metal piston shaft all for a retail of just 27.95 euros.

BBB has distributors worldwide and you can check them out at bbbcycling.com for more on their extensive 2015 range. Certainly worth checking out.

Onto something completely different from BBB now with the custom titanium bike builder, Punch Cycles from Germany. I first met Mario Sillack the man behind Punch at last year’s Eurobike when he caught me openly drooling over his machines.

Ever the nice guy he happily let me drool for a long time as he ran me through his building process and his long, long history with titanium through his work with some of the best in the business like Seven and Yeti. This is a man who knows titanium like perhaps nobody else and you can see that in the workmanship of his frames which this year are offering the option of full titanium forks. This article is not actually about bikes though but accessories so I should really stop talking about his frames here…

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An accesory that Mario is now offering though is some extremely sweet titanium sweetposts. Offered in straight and swept back options these beauties are a work of art and their finish is simply spectacular.

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Check out Mario’s seatposts, frames, complete bikes and more at punchcycles.com

Despite offers from Mario that I should really come and visit his workshop in Stuttgart one day and get measured for one of his surprisingly well priced custom titanium frames I managed to escape there with my bank balance intact when the sight of quite possibly the most beautiful saddles I’ve ever seen drew me back to his stand.

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Mario was sharing his stand this year with Daniel from Crown Saddles which are very well named as one of these babies would be the crown jewel on any dream bike. These are luxury items in every sense of the word with only the finest of fine materials chosen in their handmade construction that adds up to some truly individual pieces of art – almost a shame to sit on one really!

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The saddle on the left is the KÖNIG FRIEDRICH which is 100% carbon with Kevlar rowings, gold leaf hand painted artwork and weighs just 76 grams.

In the middle is the HERZOG EBERHARDT which is billed as the perfect fusion of traditional and modern materials with its blend of Nappaleather, carbon and gold leaf artwork and a 93 gram weight.

Finally on the right is the GRAF LUDWIG II which is their ‘budget’ model at 380€ but there is nothing budget about its construction with its carbon base and alacantra double stitched upholstery coming in at 96 grams. Alacantra looks and feels similar to suede and is often used on very high end car interiors – or in this case, a very high end bike seat. This and Crown’s other models are seriously luxury items with an incredible workmanship – check them out at crown-saddle.com

Still in the realms of high end, German engineering at its best now with the guys at Lightweight. Long famous for their wheels they’ve currently been working more on their Urgestalt range of bikes with this nice matte version sitting in the corner of their stand.

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It wasn’t the bike that was the interesting part here though – as nice as it was – it was instead the technology that had been placed inside the wheels.

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Lightweight have been working on special sensors that would be placed inside each wheel that can measure tire pressure, heat of the rim, speed, mileage and more.

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From this large prototype they’ve managed to cut it down to just one small sensor in the wheel that replaces a small piece of the carbon, weighted exactly the same as the sensor so that the wheel still performs as an ordinary Lightweight wheel would. However you can now track the performance of your wheel through the sensors and the related app for your smartphone.

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This screen shows the rim temperature of your wheels…

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whereas this screen shows temperature, speed and a whole range of functions. Still in the prototype phase this is an interesting piece of technology and would allow you to track the exact mileage of your wheels and what sort of pressures they’d been put under. Imagine that you were to sell your wheels one day and you could provide evidence that they truly were low mileage, well looked after wheels?

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Away from this prototype now and on to their current range of 2015 wheels. Light, great rolling and aerodynamically sound are the buzz words at Lightweight with their disc model being the most used disc wheel in the pro races by the GC big guns – but rebranded and repainted for the occasion. Check out the next time trial at the Vuelta and see if you can spot a Lightweight disc – you’d be surprised at how many you will see. For a closer look at all the Lightweight products check out lightweight.info

From German engineering now from guys that have been in the bike industry for a long time to a pair of first timers at Eurobike in Kingsley and Andrew from Fly 6.

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Two riding buddies from Australia who together thanks to a bad incident back in Australia came up with, developed and produced what was quite possibly my favorite product at Eurobike – the Fly 6 Safety camera/light.

A number of years ago Kingsley was out riding and got shot at by a couple of young guys in a car with a slingshot and it was thanks to this incident that the idea of a rear facing camera combined in a flashing light was born. I’d previously heard about the Fly 6 through some internet buzz before the show and it’s already been sold to more than 28 countries worldwide through their website but this was the first time I got to see one – and even better have a long chat with the creators about the Fly 6.

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It’s a rear facing camera with a flashing taillight that has a number of different options yes – but it’s actually even better than it sounds in real life as it’s been designed by cyclists for cyclists. For example it comes in a box with every attachment that you could possibly need as Andrew and Kingsley have previously had experiences with other products where it doesn’t work on their bike or you need to buy something extra etc – not here. Got an aero seatpost? No problem, the Fly 6 already comes with an extra attachment for that. Want to use your Fly 6 on your roadie and MTB? No problem, there are 2 seat post mounts included in the box, multiple spacers, the USB recharging cable etc – it’s all there. A big tick for the guys for that one.

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On to the product itself now and the Fly 6 has some impressive stats: High Definition 720p video recording + audio, USB re-chargeable lithium-ion battery 5hrs+ runtime, continual looping 2 hour video record, 8GB class 10 microSD card (possibility of upgrading to a 32 GB), nano technology weather proofing and just 105 grams. At US$159 this Aussie bike industry novice pairing were the talk of Eurobike with such a well thought out and obviously well put together product.

They also let me in on a few products that are in the works for the guys meaning that Fly 6 will be known more and more throughout the world over the next year or two. Check them out at fly6.com and see some of the amazing video that has already been recorded around the world from Fly 6 users.

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