For 2012 Planet X have placed a much greater emphasis on designing and developing their own carbon fibre road frames, without losing sight of the value for money they built their reputation on. Here's a quick look at four key new models.
The carbon Nanolight N2A is a radical overhaul of the Nano, developed using a mountain of pro rider feedback and featuring all-new, aero-tuned frame forms. The press-fit BB30 bottom bracket keeps weight low and boosts drivetrain stiffness, and this is carried up through the gargantuan down tube which blends seamlessly into the head tube.
This hides both an on-trend tapered-steerer carbon fork and some very neat internal cable routing, with internal guides for easier maintenance. With these technological and manufacturing leaps you might expect a leap in price but the N2A fuselage (frame, fork and carbon aero seatpost) will only set you back £699. The full pro-spec bike with SRAM Red, carbon components and Planet X's own R50 carbon wheels is £2,700.
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Video: Frank Campbell and Brant Richards on the Nanolight N2A (courtesy: Planet X)
The Exocet time trial bike morphs into the catchily-named Exocet 2. The fresh-out-of-the-mould frame has been developed alongside the N2A and it uses the same press-fit BB30, internal cable routing and high-modulus carbon layup. The bike's aerodynamic profile is the result of a hush-hush project with the University of Sheffield that involved many hours of fluid dynamics work. The resulting forms certainly look very slippery. Pricing is expected to be the same as the N2A.
Team Guru Special Edition
So far, the 2012 bikes are very 'nu-school' but next up is the Team Guru Special Edition, made for Planet-X by Sarto Cycles. This is much more old-school in silhouette, with smaller tube diameters and a classic frame shape. The model shown here is a pre-production version so some details may change but the tube-to-tube Italian artisan construction will remain.
Price for the stock frame and fork is expected to be around £2,000, with custom options starting at £300 more. With or without custom geometry, the Guru oozes high-end, handcrafted quality at a price that would normally only buy you a mass-produced frame.
With all this talk of high-end exotica you might be forgiven for thinking that Planet X have forgotten their more budget-conscious roots. Well, they haven't – also new for 2012 is the RT57 which costs just £1,299 with a stock build and SRAM Force. The all-new chassis includes an on-trend tapered-steerer fork but comes with standard external cable routing.
We saw all the new bikes at Planet X and On-One's fancy warehouse and showroom in Rotherham. It's well worth heading to, for bargains galore and a lovely selection in gigantic vintage and antique mirrors.