Cycle Show 2009 - Enigma, Basso, Swobo, Garmin, KCNC and more...

Lots more show highlights from Earl's Court

by Dave Atkinson   October 12, 2009  

Well we're back from the show now – thanks to everyone that came and said hello, it was great to put a few faces to names. And sell some T shirts. When we weren't sitting on our inflatable sofas drinking the wine that the Belveder girls had brought to the party there was plenty of time to have a snoop round the stands, and there was plenty to see.

Normally after Eurobike we're a bit showed out but This year's Cycle Show had plenty of stuff we hadn't seen in Germany, and seemed a lot busier than last year. Just goes to show that recsession or no, we all still love our bikes. Here's another quick run through some of the new, or interesting, or both, stuff that we stumbled across.

Enigma

Enigma have built up a big following for their top-end Titanium over the past few years but last year's Cycle Show marked a turning point for the company when they unveiled their first steel frame, handmade in the UK like the Ti units. Since then the company has seen unprecedented demand for steel, and now half the bikes the Sussex-based outfit produce are made from Cromoly or stainless tubesets. The star of the steel range is the Elite XCR, a £1500 stainless-tubed road beauty that's superbly finished. Enigma head honcho Jim Walker is passionate about reviving the UK as a producer of bikes and there's no better advert for British craftmanship than one of his immaculate frames; we try not to spend too long on the Enigma stand because we're afraid we'll end up buying one. Or another one, in Jo's case...

Garmin Edge 500

Garmin were showing off their new Edge, the 500, which is a much more compact unit aimed at riders who don't need a whole host of complicated mapping functions. It still uses GPS location to get your ride stats, and you can still upload your ride data to Garmin Connect, but most of the time it looks like a fairly standard, well-featured bike computer. You get a fully customisable interface so you can look at the data you want, and it's pretty straightfoward to use: something that can't really be said of the more expensive edge units. You can upload a route to the 500 and follow it but there's no real mapping capabaility, you just have to follow a crumbtrail on the screen. The retail price is around £200, expect to see a review on road.cc soon.

KCNC

There's plenty of shiny things to look at when you visit a cycle show, but among the shiniest at Earl's Court were on the KCNC stand. KCNC are a Taiwanese engineering firm that specialise in lightweight Aluminium and Titanium accessories, and when we say lightweight we really mean it. A single bar end that weighs less than a packet of crisps? Now that's light. They were also showing off their tiny knife pedals aimed at road riders who don't want to go clipless. At 150g a pair they're absurdly light too, as was pretty much everything else in their cabinet. Standout products for us were the brakes, both the dual pivot callipers and the skeletal V-brakes. They're not cheap, but they're a lot cheaper than most stuff you'll find that's as light.

Swobo bikes

Not a name you might associate with bikes but Swobo had some interesting machines on display at Cycle 2009. Best of the bunch was the Crosby, a singlespeed 'cross bike with a SRAM Torpedo rear hub – free to fixed in just a few turns of a screwdriver. Fixed cyclocross, anyone? The bike's much more versatile than just a 'cross iron though, it'd look the part about town too with its semi-deep orange rims and muted blue-grey paintjob. The Baxter was an interesting bike too, with an Alfine drivetrain and swept back bars for less extreme urban adventuring.

Corima Wheels

Corima were showing off their MCC wheelset at the show, and a very nice looking set of hoops it is too. We didn't get to speak to anyone technical at Corima (they were hiding) so we're still in the dark about quite how the rear wheel works. Normally on a rear wheel you'll get crossed spokes on the drive side, the forward facing ones transmitting the torque from the hub and the backward-facing ones dealing with the braking forces which twist the wheel in the opposite direction. The MCC real wheel has the torque spokes but no opposing spokes, so won't it just fold up under braking? We're assuming it doesn't, but can't work out why. any ideas? Answers on a postcard...

Basso

Basso were showing off their road range as it is in the UK, which is a fraction of their total output. They are bringing over the range-topping Diamante though, a very purposeful looking Carbon road machine. Basso make all their bikes by hand in Italy, so you really are getting European chic for your (significant) outlay. Basso have, like Trek, gone along the integrated bottom bracket route which allows them to use a much wider BB moulding, 86mm in Basso's case, for a stiffer pedalling platform. It certainly works on the Madones so we'd expect it to on the Basso too, though we haven't ridden it. They were also showing the new Astra which is a good looking machine too. Mr Basso is very passionate about his bikes: "He calls me every other day and he's usually shouting", Adam at UK distributors Moore Large told us. The original Diamante prototype frame was nicked from its box on the way over to Britain; "When I told him", say Adam, "I'm pretty sure he was crying"

Paper Bicycle

We reported on the Paper Bicycle last year, a very classy step through machine that's designed for fuss-free daily use. Well, now it's nearly in production and it's still a great looking utility machine. There's a clever new kick stand that extends from the rear of the frame (it looks a bit like an exhaust when it's raised!) and a few refinements to the design. Orders have already been taken for hire fleets in other European countries and UK production is just a case of crossing the t's and dotting the i's. Oh, and clearing up the warehouse...

11 user comments

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My son and I dropped by your stand throughout Saturday to say thank you for the complimentary tickets but sadly you must have been snooping around.

Excellent show - thanks again.

posted by Old Cranky [276 posts]
12th October 2009 - 11:58

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sorry we missed you, hope you took advantage of the belvedere cheese and wine though!

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7252 posts]
12th October 2009 - 11:59

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Sorry to have missed you Old Cranky - yes that is the slight drawback to having a stand AND trying to report on the show… Of course there were loads of us there on the trade day when we didn't need to man the stand - the sofas were full for the duration

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
12th October 2009 - 12:02

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Yes, it was good to catch up with you both on trade day, the mildly unstable sofa's were indeed full.

I seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time checking out Continental's...err....tyres(?)again this year!

Still seems to be a lot of attention being turned to single speed and fixed street bikes by pretty much all manufacturers, be they big or small. I wonder how long that will continue, there is clearly a call for it, or they wouldn't be making them.
It's a strange niche, that lacks a clear reason in my eyes. I understood SS MTB's, but road bikes are hardly high maintenance, even with 20 gears.

I once again drooled over the Colnago Master X in Molteni colours, but that never goes away!

I missed Charges presence, their stand was always good fun, and also Rapha, I like to get the chance to try before I buy - I do still end up buying though!

Complicating matters since 1965

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posted by DaSy [648 posts]
12th October 2009 - 12:17

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Wasn't there a load of Rapha kit on the Condor stand…? Thinking

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
12th October 2009 - 12:29

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Have Swobo got a proper distributor in the UK yet?

I think the only place I know of that stocks their stuff currently is Stif in Leeds, and I'm not sure how many of the full bikes they carry?

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posted by ctznsmith [102 posts]
12th October 2009 - 12:38

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They do, they've just hooked up with Shiner Distribution based in Bristol http://www.shiner-distribution.co.uk/ They are best known for distributing BMX and skate stuff, but with the cross over from BMX into the fixed scene they are starting to do some 700c and 26in bikes too. We shot some vid with them (hopefully I worked the sound thingy properly) and gave the Swobos and some cool SE bikes the once over inc the Big Ripper a 700c fixed PK Ripper. Top fellas too - we've got that Crosby pictured above coming in on test v.soon Smile

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
12th October 2009 - 12:49

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I've just been in touch with Stif because I really want the Swobo Folsom as a pub bike, apparently much more of the range will be coming in very soon but if you want any bikes sooner they can arrange shipping now from the US - takes about 3 - 4 weeks.

Stif and Swobo were both super responsive to queries through their websites.

Now I just need to convince work it is a viable commuter to get through the cycle to work scheme...

posted by guidob [54 posts]
12th October 2009 - 13:18

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Ive just bought some kcnc ceramic jockey wheels...dont know if they will really be noticable in the workings of the bike but they do look good!!!

not all carbon is the same.

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posted by Jon Burrage [1080 posts]
12th October 2009 - 14:08

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tony_farrelly wrote:
Wasn't there a load of Rapha kit on the Condor stand…? Thinking

Yeah, but it's not the same as poring over it on the nicely laid out Rapha stand. Plus I didn't see any of the Town Gloves, and I still want those. I started looking at them at the Cycle Show last year, and I still haven't got any!

I did however like some of Condor's lugged steel road bikes on show, the Classico I think it was, in various builds that all looked very nice.

I could very easily end up with a nice steel road bike if I don't watch myself carefully!

Complicating matters since 1965

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posted by DaSy [648 posts]
12th October 2009 - 15:10

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yeah the Condor stand had some good looking steel on show, i quite fancied the 'fratello' as a winter bike/light touring machine. i also like the Paul Smith signature stripes on the inside of the forks and chain stays on one of the Leggero's...

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posted by Fringe [1081 posts]
12th October 2009 - 15:55

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