Bike shows bring a huge variety of brands out of the woodwork. While you’re guaranteed to have some cool stuff on show from the big players, shows often feature dozens of niche brands which also have something interesting to show.
The Cycle Show in Birmingham is no exception on both counts, and we visited to bring you the coolest stuff we could find.
1. Vaaru titanium bike range
We were keen to have a nosey at the Vaaru stand, as the British titanium specialist always has something interesting on show.
Of particular note was the prototype, titanium rigid mountain bike fork which was seen on the front of a V:29 hardtail.
This fork is unlike anything we’ve seen before, using a three-part construction that welds the cast crown to the fork legs with the seams, and is then ground back to create a seamless transition between the different parts.
The ride quality is said to be superb, and though the fork is unlikely to see production, James Beresford – owner of Vaaru Cycles – did hint that the research done here could find its way onto a road bike in the future.
We also liked the look of the Octane 6-4, an aggressive, classically styled race machine. The one on show was SRAM eTap-specific, which made for a very, very clean-looking bike.
We’re looking forward to seeing where Vaaru go in the future.
2. Wilier Superleggera road bike
While not a new addition to the Willier line, it was hard not to be distracted by this deeply coloured, copper beauty.
Constructed from Columbus SL tubing and built up with a very classy looking, Campagnolo Athena groupset, this bike was a real head turner.
3. Jura Cycle Clothing
Headed by Claire Pool, Jura does a lot of business catering for the Eroica market, and will customise your jersey for a small upcharge.
4. J. Laverack Ti Super Commuter with Shimano's Metrea H-Bar
We’ve been keen to fiddle with the Shimano Metrea groupset for some time now, and we finally had the opportunity to do so at this year's show.
Shimano commissioned J. Laverack, a UK-based titanium specialist, to produce this super-duper commuter dubbed the Pilot to showcase the new groupset.
The frameset itself is a very clean affair, with the subtly formed top tube and curved seat-stay bridge being the standout highlights for us.
And while we won’t pass judgement on the ergonomics of the handlebars, having not ridden them yet, the riding position certainly looks… interesting. We’re looking forward to weaving through traffic in #fullaero mode in the future.
J. Laverack specialises in fully custom bikes, but it will be offering the Pilot as a stock model.
5. Canyon Commuter 5.0
At the time of writing, the bike is currently on sale from the German direct-sale specialists for £969 which is an extraordinarily good price given the amount of relatively niche tech that’s been crammed into this urban beast.
6. Campagnolo hydraulic groupset
Though details of this hotly-anticipated groupset are scarce on the ground, we’ll keep showing you photos of the "ooh, shiny" goodness at every opportunity we get, and hopefully it won’t be long until it lands in the grubby mitts of our resident testers.
7. Brooks helmets
Have you ever worried that your helmet doesn’t quite match your hunting attire? Fret no longer as Brooks has released its Carrera Foldable helmet, covered in a handsome herringbone tweed.
Whilst the tweed is unlikely to improve the aerodynamic properties of the helmet, you can at least feel less uncomfortable the next time you ride your mechanical horse to the blacksmith/farriers/farmers' market/other oldey-timey event.
The Cycle Show runs until the 25th of September, 2016 at the NEC in Birmingham. For more info head to www.cycleshow.co.uk.