Demo Day highlights - Eurobike 2014

American Classic Carbonator MTB wheels, Time's Activ fork damper, new Crankbrothers tools, and more

Eurobike's demo day was once a bit of a novelty, offering a good opportunity to trial current model-year bikes but not much in the way of new introductions. That's starting to change, however, as we found several interesting releases that will hit the market later this year.

Read on for more details on a few key items, and be sure to scroll through the image gallery for the rest.

American Classic shows off Carbonator carbon MTB wheels plus lots of new hubs

American Classic now has carbon fibre mountain bike wheels

American Classic launched its first carbon fibre mountain bike wheels here at Eurobike. Aptly named 'Carbonator', the new wheels admittedly don't offer any weight advantage over the current Wide Lightning aluminium models but are supposedly noticeably stiffer for riders that want more handling precision.

The custom rims feature a hookless shape with a tubeless-ready profile, plus a reasonably wide 26mm inner width that should work well for general trail riding and racing. Claimed weight for the 27.5in version is 1,599g; the 29ers are slightly heavier at 1,676g. Both will be available beginning in January for US$1,799 per set.

American Classic also showed off a wealth of new hub variants.

Highlighting the list are three fat bike hubs with spacings to fit most common frame dimensions. Two rears will be available in 170mm or 190mm widths – plus thru-axle variants – while the new front will be offered in 135mm quick-release or 142mm thru-axle. Both rears feature 11 speed-compatible freehub bodies and all models use six-bolt disc interfaces. Pricing and availability are both to be determined.

American Classic will soon offer fat bike hubs, too

Speaking of rotors, though, American Classic now has Center Lock hubs and wheels available for OEM customers with aftermarket availability to follow. Company founder Bill Shook says the Center Lock interface was driven largely by the growing popularity of Shimano's new road disc systems, several of which are only offered with Center Lock rotors. Aftermarket wheels with the new splined fittings won't be available until next year but pricing should be the same as on current six-bolt models.

Finally, American Classic also showed us a prototype front hub for use on RockShox's new RS-1 suspension fork. While SRAM's version uses serrated end caps, though, American Classic uses smooth ones that Shook says actually work better at combating fork twist by increasing the surface contact area. This project is currently only available at the OEM level, though, with aftermarket availability to be determined.

American Classic's new RockShox RS-1 front hub uses smooth end caps, not knurled ones

NeilPryde's new Nazaré 2 aero road bike

NeilPryde has updated its current Nazaré (formerly known as the Alize) with an all-new aero chassis to create the Nazaré 2. According to sales and marketing manager Michael Rice, this latest generation generates up to 20 percent less drag than its predecessor (depending on yaw angle) while still maintaining a 920g claimed frame weight.

NeilPryde says its new Nazaré 2 generates 20 percent less drag than its predecessor

Key features include more pronounced teardrop shaping in the seat tube, truncated airfoil sections around the head tube area, and a dropped down tube that's smoothly blended into the fork crown. Direct-mount brakes are used front and rear, and the rear caliper is now hidden away below the chain stays and behind the extra-wide PF86 bottom bracket shell. Naturally, the internal cable routing is also convertible between mechanical and electronic drivetrains with entry points situated just behind the stem.

The fork crown is neatly blended into the surrounding structure

Retail price is US$3,795 / £2,699 / €3,399 / AU$TBC for the frameset (including Shimano Dura-Ace brakes). Complete builds are also available immediately, with a Dura-Ace mechanical package coming in at US$6,095 / £4,399 / €5,599 / AU$TBC with Rotor 3D+ cranks and Fulcrum Racing 3 aluminium clincher wheels.

New 650b/27.5+ tyres and rims from WTB

Never one to rest on its rubber laurels, WTB released several new tyres and rims – all with a common 'wider is better' theme.

Headlining the range is the new Trailblazer 2.8, which is playfully aimed at "Big Kid Shreddin' and Plus Sized Grinnin'". Offering solely in a 27.5 x 2.75in size, the new tyre is supposedly small enough to fit in many standard 29er frames while also catering to the slowly growing crop of 27.5+ bikes.

New from WTB is the 2.75in-wide Trailblazer

The tread pattern features a fast-rolling continuous center section while siped, square knobs and a notably squared-off shoulder suggests confident cornering grip. Claimed weight is 895g.

Perfectly matching with the Trailblazer is the new Scraper rim with its very generous 45mm inner width, welded seam, and a reinforced spoke bed with angled drilling. Offered in both 27.5in and 29in sizes, the Scraper is tubeless-ready with weights ranging from 650-695g each.

The new Scraper rim has a 45mm-wide inner width

Also new is a 2.5in-wide version of the popular Breakout, a 25mm-wide version of the KOM rim, plus a far easier-to-understand naming system for its various tubeless-ready tyre casing variations. So-called 'Fast Rolling Light' models will feature harder dual-rubber compounds with single-ply casings; 'Fast Rolling Tough' tyres add a second ply for additional flat protection; and 'High Grip Tough' tyres will pair a dual-ply casing with tackier, low-rebound rubber.

Time's new mass damper-equipped Activ fork

While the new Skylon aero road bike caught our eye at the Time booth, what we found much more interesting is the new Activ fork, which incorporates a tuned mass damper inside the bottom of each leg to attenuate undesirable road vibrations – the first of its kind to do so, as far as we're aware.

We're dying to try Time's new Activ fork, complete with tuned mass dampers inside each leg

The mass dampers – plus the oversized blades required to house them – add about 150g so the Activ is quite heavy as compared to a more race-oriented model. However, if the mass dampers work as claimed – and it's a well proven concept elsewhere so we expect that they will – that'll be a small price to pay for the anticipated significant boost in front-end comfort for riders that regularly tackle rough roads.

Time is still working out where the Activ will be incorporated but the dimensions are shared with other fork models in the line so it should retrofit to most of the range.

SRM PC8 adds GPS, more intuitive interface

New from SRM is the PC8 computer head, which now incorporates GPS for satellite-driven speed and position data. The gloriously clear LCD screen displays up to seven pieces of information while the three-button interface should feel familiar to current PC7 users.

The new SRM PC8 computer looks - and feels - fantastic

The new menu system is also very intuitive to navigate and the aluminium housing feels impressively upscale and substantial – as it should given the €650 asking price (without VAT!).

Crankbrothers' new y-tools

Crankbrothers' new y-tools add extra functionality to the common three-way wrenches many cyclist have come to know and love. There will be two y-tool models, both with 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex wrenches; Phillips and flathead screwdrivers; and T10 and T25 Torx bits. The US$50, 260g v16 adds a compact CO2 inflator head and chain tool while the US$30, 166g y12 passes over the inflator and chain tool for a patch kit and additional storage bin.

Crankbrothers introduces its version of the popular Y-tool

Both are available now.

Fi'zi:k launches second-generation Kurve saddles

Our final highlight from the demo is fi'zi:k's second-generation Kurve saddles, which use a more advanced carbon fibre-and-Kevlar base in lieu of the original's glass composite structure. According to fi'zi:k, the new version is much more durable than before while new optional carbon fibre rails shed up to 40g, too.

Fi'zi:k's new Kurve saddle uses an updated carbon fibre and Kevlar base that's supposedly much more durable than earlier versions

Carrying over are the three different shapes and interchangeable flex widgets that attach underneath the nose.

Carbon railed Kurve saddles sell for US$300 / €285; aluminium rails come in at US$250 / €235.

Optional carbon rails trim 40g as compared to the aluminium version

BikeRadar has a veritable army on site here in Friedrichshafen so stay tuned for more coverage daily.

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