Welcome to the world’s biggest bike show, a myriad of product launches, and a lot of rain. If you like bikes this is the place to be and the next few days will see product launches from Cannondale, Specialized, Giant and just about every other big, small and medium-sized player in the industry.
They all seem to have something new to show, even if they have already launched their 2008 ranges, and even if any changes to their range are about ‘evolution’ (industry code for new paint jobs and concentrating on price points) rather than great leaps forward.
So, what are BikeRadar’s first impressions of this year’s event? Well often it becomes apparent right away whether you are in a period of big changes to the ranges or if small steps and consolidation are the order of the day. A quick sprint around the show’s biggest hall, A1 reveals that… it’s too early to tell. But here’s a clue: two big players two different stories, one common theme – the continued development of urban bikes.
Cannondale have some big news for their MTB range (more on that later), an eye-catching folding concept bike that features a Lefty fork and flat frame and the Hooligan, a small-wheeled, hub geared urban machine that looks like the bastard offspring of a BMX and a Moulton.
It sounds weird but it might just work. Those small wheels will give you excellent acceleration (ideal for urban riding) and a long wheel base should make for stable and predictable handling, the hub gears mean low maintenance, and the burly frame certainly looks tough enough to cope with city streets – we shall see, we’ve already ordered one in for test.
Meanwhile, Bianchi are concentrating on evolution which means refinements to the new range they launched last year and the introduction to Europe of some interesting bikes from the Bianchi USA range – chief among this is the Bianchi Milano, a stylish looking urban hybrid available featuring curvy lines and colour coded mudguards. The Milano was launched last year but now the range is expanding, with versions available sporting either Shimano’s Alfine groupset, which will probably sell in the UK for around £500 or a Nexus hub-geared version – probable price around £300.
Elsewhere in Hall A1, De Rosa’s offerings dazzle as ever. It’s not often, though, that you see a chic Italian carbon machine decked out with Campagnolo’s more workaday Mirage range as on the Avanti model we spotted. For the moment here are some pics to whet your appetite and we will update you with a more in depth look at the range later in the show.
And from the sublime… Eurobike, as ever, is providing as many “What the hell is that!” moments as the most dedicated connoisseur of the bizarre could wish for. This one is courtesy of Daccordi – it’s their Meerkat M5.
And don’t worry, thrill seekers we’ll be checking that one out in more detail too!