What's Cool In Road Cycling

Eurobike’14: Last Call!

As the PEZ himself and our Technical Editor Charles are hard at work in the midst of Interbike let’s step back to Eurobike for a moment for one final look at some of the best bikes and gear that were on display in Germany. Clothing from Castelli & Sportful, accessories from Ritchey, bikes from Lapierre, Eddy Merckx, GT and more.

I’ve already covered a lot of great bikes in my first two articles on bikes at Eurobike (Eurobike 1 & Eurobike 2) but I couldn’t let Eurobike pass by without talking about one of my favorite brands, the French builder Lapierre. They’ve long been producing some of the most innovative bikes around and have worked closely with the riders at FDJ for the last 13 years – and they’ve just been signed on for another 2.

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Their new 2015 team machine the ‘Aircode’ was getting a lot of attention with its completely redesigned aero fame, slimmed–down headset designed to reduce the frontal surface, direct mount front brakes, optimised fork profile, integrated seat clamp & semi-integrated headset amongst the details on this highly engineered bike. This one certainly has all that is needed to fight it out in the World Tour – and it looked pretty damned fine too in the FDJ colors.

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My favorite though was this bright red version which showed off its aero tubing perfectly and its extremely tight tire clearance on the seatstays.

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And of course red just goes faster…

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Also on display was their Pulsium range which are billed as high performance endurance road machines designed for the long classics and tough road races or just your local Sunday ride or cyclosportif. The Pulsium range is equipped with what Lapierre call the SAT (Shock Absorption Technology) which we first saw at Roubaix this year with a few riders on FDJ using Pulsiums on the cobbles.

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Basically it’s a form of shock absorber that offers vertical flexibility to take the bumps out of your ride while keeping the lateral rigidity of the frame so that your power doesn’t go to waste.

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For 2015 Lapierre is being distributed in the States by Raleigh USA so finally there will be a solid and reliable distribution chain for those stateside to get their hands on one of these hot machines. No matter where you are in the world, check the full range out at lapierre-bikes.co.uk

I’ve already talked a lot about bikes from this year’s show but not much about clothing so let’s have a look at one of the best lines around now with a look at some of the 2015 range from Castelli.

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They’re known as innovators in the industry with items like the exceptional Gabba wet weather jersey now being accepted as the bee’s knees in wet weather racing gear but they haven’t rested on their laurels with a redesign of the Gabba which they’ve creatively named, the Gabba 2.

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The Gabba 2 has been around for a little while now but if you haven’t yet got yourself one then you’ve really been missing out. For racing and riding in the worst of weather the Gabba keeps your warm while still being a ‘racing’ jersey – it’s high performance protection from wind and rain but with an aero fit. Upgrades from the original include even greater aero performance, improved drainage in the pockets and improved construction of the waistband.

For 2015 Castelli have made upgrades on a number of their extensive range with the two buzz words of aero and comfort being the important factors in every design. They have extensively tested their new products in the wind tunnel, on the road themselves and with their pro riders from the likes of Garmin-Sharp and MTN-Qhubeka.

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For the upcoming World Championships Castelli have been signed on as sponsors for the Italian National team where they will provide the reworked Sanremo speeduit to the squad – the Sanremo 3.0 Speed Suit. After extensive pattern engineering and fabric research they’ve created a faster back/shoulder construction technique for the Sanremo 3.0 Speed Suit with a claim of a saving of 24 watts compared to a standard cycling jersey, and 9 watts compared to the already super quick Sanremo 2.0 Speedsuit.

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The Sanremo 3.0 will be sure to be well received amongst the pros that are lucky enough to get one – as has the Climber’s 2.0 jersey which is a reworking of the popular Climber’s jersey that has become more aero borrowing tips learned from their Aero race line but is super thin, light, quick drying and with a reinforced sun protection and lower back area to better support the pockets. This is a perfect summer’s day jersey and for the amount of technology and engineering that has gone into it, it’s competively priced too at US$129.

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Amongst the other changes in the lineup were some updates to their Free Aero Race Bib that gets wider and reportedly more comfortable leg grippers, a more aero ride thanks to its dimpled side fabric and the icing on the cake – the Progetto X2 Air chamois.

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This is a truly unique seatpad constructed in 3 layer components, each dedicated to a specific purpose to create the most comfortable ride possible. First up there’s the Skin care layer: A microdenier, seamless, bacteriostatic layer made to adapt to the shape of your body and saddle without any folds in the fabric then a Seamless integrated technology cushioning layer: Multi-density foam with the padding where you need it most for maximum comfort and finally Viscous comfort inserts: Perforated viscous padding which is added in the seatbone and soft tissue area.

Castelli have clothing for every occasion and for every budget – check the full range out at castelli-cycling.com

Next up for clothing I decided to stop in at Sportful and have a chat with the guys from the Italian company who have been making great clothing for many years now but have been very prominent of late with their partnership with Tinkoff-Saxo. Well known for his attention to detail Bjarne Riis has worked very closely with Sportful during their sponsorship since 2010 and has actually decided to sign on with the Italian brand for another 3 years – a big change from when he first started his Saxo team where he changed clothing sponsors a massive 6 times before finding Sportful.

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To highlight this partnership further Sportful had a range of their Tinkoff-Saxo clothing on display at the front of their stand including Michael Roger’s stage winning Speedskin jersey with race numbers, sweat and dirt stains and all. It’s been Rogers’ go to jersey since receiving it earlier this year and he’s certainly had nothing but success with it.

It’s a jersey with a smooth front panel and a high lycra content for maximum aero efficiency, low cut collar, bodyfit construction for the shoulders and a special rough construction on the back to trip the air that makes it significantly faster than a standard jersey in the wind tunnel. This is a jersey that’s perfect for those solo breakaways that Rogers has executed so well this year or as a crit jersey.

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Despite Contador crashing out of the race the Tour was highly successful for the team and Sportful with massive interest from Stage 1 in the brand when Matteo Tosatto first pulled on their brand new water bottle vest to replensish his team’s bottles. This simple yet completely new idea was a result of brainstorming between Sportful, Tosatto and Michael Rogers and has revolutionized the way that the team gets their bottles. It’s now quicker and therefore safer and less energy consuming to drop back and load up for the domestiques.

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Also on display amongst their big range was this cool retro style Italia jersey, the Italia ES – but with anything but retro style technology.

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It’s a jersey with Dry Pro fabric like used on Tinkoff Saxo’s Team jersey, a full length zipper, sublimated graphics, silicon waist gripper and the very cool touch of the five stars on the interior highlighting their previous sponsorship success with the Italian squad with four World Champions and One Olympic champion between 2002 & 2008.

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Sportful have a large range of racewear, winterwear and more – check them out at sportful.com

Leaving clothing behind it was on to some more accessories with the folks at Ritchey. Saddles, handlebars, stems, wheels – they had a number of high quality yet competively priced new bits on display that would look just perfect on my bike…

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Luckily for me nothing is actually for sale at Eurobike so I couldn’t spend my salary there but if I could this new saddle was certainly looking tempting. Well known of course for their stems, seatposts, handlebars and more Ritchey also have an impressive lineup of saddles and this model the, Superlogic Vector EVO was one very sweet seat. Carbon rails, carbon shell and a very nicely finished microfibre cover all for just 115 grams.

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More carbon lightweight goodies on display included this new handlebar, the WCS Carbon Streem II which is a carbon version of their popular alloy model with a short reach, shallow drop anatomical bend and a redesigned wing-shaped top section designed for better aerodynamics while still offering a nice broad section for your hands when climbing and its UCI approved. This new carbon version weighs in at 235 grams with the alloy weighing 275 grams.

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Amongst the lightweight modern carbon accessories at Ritchey there was also this modern classic, the Logic. Sold as a frameset only with a Ritchey Carbon fork and WCS headset included the Logic is old school but super cool with its triple butted Logic II tubing, lightweight dropouts, TIG welding and machined headtube you’re looking at a weight of 1.79kg for a 55cm frame.

Lots more from Ritchey of course at ritcheylogic.com including a nice range of wheels & stems that have seen a number of upgrades for 2015.

Back to just bikes now and perhaps one of the fastest production bikes on display at the show belonged to the folks at BMC with their TM01 but surprisingly everytime I went by BMC’s stand nobody was realy paying it any notice…

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because just next to it was this futuristic concept bike that couldn’t even be ridden – but was pretty special anyway.

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Amongst the innovations on this concept machine were an internal gearbox, single chainstay, single fork blade, water and battery storage solutions inside the massive aero tubes, built in computer and more.

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Although it’s never going to see the light of day, BMC wanted to show off their in-house design capabilities with this concept bike and it certainly was the talk of the show. Just a shame that it seemed to take everyone’s attention away from their actual 2015 lineup!

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To check out what you can actually buy from the engineers at BMC have a look at bmc-racing.com

Another go fast machine was the Focus Izalco Chrono-Max as used by the guys at Ag2r La Mondiale.

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The Chrono-Max has some very interesting details – especially in the front end where they have opted for a front facing integrated brake rather than the now more common, back side of the fork option.

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Also their integration of the headset/stem/handlebars in a spoiler like – yet UCI approved – shell is unique to say the least.

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Their featherweight Izalco-Max 0.0 was also a highlight with this complete bike pictured below weighing in at just 4.95kg. It starts with the 719g frameset (54cm), fibula brakes, 995g DT Swiss RRC32T wheelset and many more lightweight goodies to get to that weight and it will also lighten your wallet to the tune of just under 10,000 Euros.

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If that’s too much then you could go for the Izalco Max 1.0 at just under 7,000 Euros with Durace Di2 and DT Swiss RC38 Wheels.

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Full range at focus-bikes.com

One of the bikes that I saw at the show that just screamed ‘fun’ was this all rounder bike from GT.

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They call it an ‘EnduRoad’ and it’s billed as ‘the perfect choice for anyone who wants to go on all-day adventures, race a Fondo, or explore those hidden side roads just outside of town.’ Behind the marketing hyperbole about adventures this is one well designed and put together machine that is seriously well equipped at a very competitive price.

For less than US$3600 you get a full Ultegra disc equipped bike, Stans No Tubes Grail Disc Specific Road 28h Rims w/ DT Swiss 240 sealed bearings all placed on a beautifully raw finished carbon frame and fork with tapered head tube, PFBB30 bottom bracket and even a removable fender bridge.

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This is a bike that is a go anywhere, do anything machine with an impeccable finish that would make it a shame to go and trash it on some country backroads but it would be oh so fun to do so! Check out this model the ‘Enduroad Carbon Ultegra’ and the whole GT range at gtbicycles.com

Eddy Merckx bikes are back in a big way for 2015 with an impressive lineup of road machines with this model the Mourenx69 sure to be popular.

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The name Mourenx69 refers to Merckx’s win in the 17th stage of the 1969 Tour de France which was an epic stage in Merckx’s palmares with a 214.5 km ride from Luchon to Mourenx. It’s an endurance bike for racers with asymmetric chainstays, downsized BB and longer seatstays that claims to provide maximum shock absorption. The bike also has a slightly higher head tube and shorter top tube over the other Merckx models.

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What intrigued me the most on this bike though was the completely square seatpost and its attachment down the back of the seatstay. Later in the day I actually went riding with somebody who had got their hands on one of the first Mourenx69’s on the market and he raved about the ride quality and its surprisingly quick acceleration but he didn’t like the seatpost arrangement at all having to take the rear wheel off to get his torque wrench in there to tighten the seatpost.

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Still I guess, how often do you change your saddle height on a roadie? For more on the Mourenx69 and the complete Merckx range check out eddymerckx.be

And with the latest bikes from the greatest road cyclist in history, Eurobike has now passed us by for another year. Keep it tuned to PEZ in the coming weeks for all the latest from the other side of the Atlantic as the PEZ and Charles take us through their highlights from Interbike.

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