The four vast halls of the Jaarbeursgebouw in the centre of Utrecht contained the latest machines from the likes of Wilier, Colnago and Pinarello. But it was products from smaller, often family-led companies that caught our eye.
Segal Bikes from Israel, for instance, were displaying their third generation, ultra light, handmade magnesium road bikes. They've chosen to use the material due to its combination of great stiffness (German tests rate the Segal among the top five stiffest frames), low weight (1,020g for a size 54) and ride comfort (due to magnesium's inherent vibration damping properties).
There are two models available – the Compact (pictured below) and Classic – both of which look just how a racing bike should: fast and flashy. Buyers can choose their own colour and design. Prices depend on componentry: A SRAM Rival fitted Classic or Compact frameset with Carbotec K22 Light Wheels will sell for €3199; a SRAM Force equipped frameset for €3899; and a SRAM Red machine will go for €5250 (€5600 with Marchisio wheels).
Flandria frames were piloted to 70 victories in the Classics, including five Tour of Flanders and four Paris-Roubaix wins, before the Flemish firm went bust in 1981. In fact, the career of one of the best sprinters ever, two-time world champion Freddy Maertens, was strongly connected with this instantly recognisable brand.
Flandria was brought back to life in 2002 by a British company and since then has been making frames that offer a blend of retro looks and modern performance. For 2011 they're offering three frames, all in iconic Flandria Red (if you prefer, you can choose your own colour): The alloy Super Sport (RRP €599 / £499), carbon fibre Competition (€1399 / £1199) and carbon fibre Professional (€1599 / £1399).
Weights seem on the money. For example, the 3k carbon fibre Competition frame pictured below is claimed to weigh just 980g.
The Belgian founder of newcomers n°7even rode in the professional peloton for a year and a half. Realising that he was never going to make it to the highest level, he turned to building bikes instead – and by the looks of his new road, time trial and track frames, his loss is our gain.
The carbon tubes are woven in a single direction and then cleaned inside after production to produce a strong, stiff, light and impact resistant frame. The aesthetics are certainly sorted – if you stop at a traffic light on one of these, you'll definitely be noticed – and each frame can be tailored to personal needs and budget. Price of the Supernova race frame pictured here will be around €1,525.
Anyone wanting a unique bike should check out Italian firm CBT (Construction Bike Tardivo). You can specify the geometry of your made-in-Italy frame, design your own graphics, choose a colour scheme and even have your name printed on it. Alternatively, you can opt for the standard K-Light frame (pictured below), which is available in five sizes.
Retail prices start from €2300 for the K-Light and go up to €3500 for the custom made K.plus900.3 or Italian Passion bikes.
There were also some interesting wheels on show at Bikemotion. US-based Spinergy attracted lots of admirers with their neon orange, yellow, green and blue hoops. Meanwhile, Dutch company Kuiper were offering a well-priced range of full-carbon sets to roll on.
“Ready-made from Hong Kong,” Kuiper's sales manager told BikeRadar. "But tested under the toughest racing circumstances." They're rated for riders weighing up to 120kg and weigh around 1,500g a pair. Prices range from €749 for a 38mm-high clincher set to €650 for the tubular versions and €699 for the AeroTec TT time trial set.
Spinergy's colourful wheels
Swiss company Edco offered three hand-built wheel ranges: Optima, Competition and Supersport. From the first series, the Julier is a 27mm aluminium wheelset with a €475 pricetag. For the full-carbon, 58mm Furka Supersport, the price rises to €2,049. "You don’t need wings to fly" is the slogan for this wheelset, which has the widest flanges on the market for maximum lateral stiffness. It comes with own-brand Aptera hubs, titanium quick-release skewers and a pair of wheelbags.
New for cyclists is the Gokiso Aerospace Hub, developed by a group of Japanese engineers who formerly developed bearings for jet engines. The rotation performance of the wheels is exceptional; only 0.5g of force is needed to get them going. Each hub has two bearings on each side combined with a patent shock-absorbing mechanism inside for a super-smooth ride. The hub will be available next year, in red, orange, silver, black or blue. Price per wheelset will be €2,300. You can watch a video by Gokiso below: