The Cycle Show, Birmingham – Highlights

I went to the Cycle Show in Birmingham on Saturday, an event that moved form London just as I moved there for University a couple of years ago. Although it seems to have lost a few of the top exhibitors over the years, which have been replaced by a billion start up companies, of which 75% are clothing companies (zzzz….), 20% make brightly coloured components or bikes (zzzz….) and the remaining 5% are stupid inventions that look ok but you’d never buy (This years efforts included a mirror you put on your head tube as this ‘didn’t vibrate so much’ and indicator lights that turned on when you raised your arms, except that they just kept flashing when you put your arms donw again), it’s still nice to go to in order to ogle over gleaming carbon fibre beauties you’ll never be able to own, as well as to see some of the machines from the Tour and other professional races. Aside from testing out some Campagnolo EPS, this was the main reason for my going, and here are the highlights:

Colnago are always great to see, they combine an artist’s eye for form with a poet’s romantic lines and with just a dash of science to keep them up to date. They exhibited models from their top of the range C59 Disc, complete with disk brakes ad the name suggests, through to the ‘cheap’ Steel framed Master. The piece de resistance however was the framed C59 Italia of Thomas Voeckler in the King of the Mountains colours he earnt at this years Tour de France.

Specialised brought  a huge haul as usual, as they are almost the world’s biggest bike company, and sponsor three Pro teams in Saxo-Tinkoff, Astana and OPQS. Thus, we got to see the bike Alberto Contador won the Vuelta on, or more specifically, the one he rode into Madrid, complete with race number and a dent on the top tube…

Winning bikes from the Olympic mountain biking and Road race, ie Alexandre Vinokourov’s red machine, which is apparently now worth $200,000 after being sold for charity to a Russian Oil Baron. Worryingly, I knew more then the bloke presenting it as regards why the bikes were all red (Getting round Olympic brand rules and the fact the colour is a mistake after they were meant to be producing a red bike a couple of years ago), but the bike itself is still an impressive sight given its one use history and 100% record.

Specialised were also debuting their special edition Tom Boonen Venge, which is a bit rubbish really, it has a rainbow saddle and a Belgian flag embossed helmet, but the frame itself is just black with yellow and red highlights. It does have one nice feature in that a list of Boonen’s victories can be seen in the Specialised logo. Still, a nice idea, just badly executed.

Pinarello, rebranding themselves as ‘PinaYellow’ for the event, were showing off their range which has somehow managed to become very much like Trek, in that the Dogma now exists in many iterations and all of its models look the same. Whilst not quite as bad as Trek, who have reduced themselves to two carbon models, the Madone and the Domane, and made about 50 versions of each, Pinarello are getting a bit boring now they’re all so wavy – it was much better when only the Dogma was. Wiggins’ bike was on show at their stand, except it wasn’t as Wiggins doesn’t use standard Dura-Ace chainrings – he uses Osymetirc rings.

One interesting part was ‘Condor for Lotus’, part of an increasing trend for Car companies to get in on cycling by having someone make a bike model then plaster their name on it. They follow…

…the ‘Colnago for Ferrari’ brand, which does actually feature some input from the Car maker (only around ‘5%’ of the total though according to Ernesto Colnago)…

…and the £25,000 Aston Martin One-77, which is just the already extortionate Factor Bikes model with an Aston Martin leather saddle and handlebar tape and the logo added on, but you can get the leather bits in different colours. None of these have the slightest bit to do with cars, although Lotus were happy to include this data on their seat tube:

A list of motor – racing victories…how relevant…

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