Even now the ships are on the water steaming Westwards with their cargoes of 2011 bikes, which will start to hit the shops in the coming weeks and months. But in the meantime, an advance guard is already here at Eurobike 2010, the world's biggest bike show, which throws open its doors this week . Great news for those of us that like to gawp at shiny bikes and kit, and for the sausage sellers of Schwabia, but possibly not such a good thing for the local pig population. And we've only just recovered from Eurobike 2009 (check out the attached gallery of pics from last year's show for a flavour of what to expect).
Early word is that FSA will be launching a new road groupset here, and NoTubes will be launching a road racing wheel, the ALPHA (which sounds like it'll be a treat for fans of bike tech anochronyms), American Classics will be launching a new set of road wheels and components too. Campagnolo have a new clothing line to show off – the CSW project (Campagnolog Sports Wear perhaps?). Polar and Look are getting together to launch some new power measuring pedals. There's a new cyclo-cross bike from Giant among a host of new stuff promised.
Among the riders who will be here to spend some time with their sponsors are Alberto Contador (Specialized) Ivan Basso (FSA), Jens Voight (FSA & SIS), Tom Boonen (Merckx), Frank Hoj (Specialized & Rudy Proect) – there will be plenty more too. There's a Cervelo press conference later this week that should be interesting as well Cervelo boss Gerrard Vroomen and Phil White will be joined by Heinrich Haussler.
Powered by bread, beer and würst, this year's show will be bigger than ever, every year it seems they build a new hall or two... given time we won't have to go to Eurobike at all, they'll be building halls around the road.cc office.
Those halls will contain every type of bike from the weird to the wonderful. The big boys such as Giant, Specialized, Cannondale and Trek will be there, but so too will lots of lesser known names - last year there were bikes from such diverse places as Thailand and Czechoslovakia. Of course there'll be lots of German brands (well the show is in Germany) plus a whole hall full of Italian beauties. Road bikes in all their forms have dominated the show for the past few years and this year promises to be no different.
So what are we expecting to see? A lot of carbon, more titanium and a decent splash of Reynolds 953 from some of the more boutique brands – but looking at last year's predictions we said the same about 953 and we've already heard from one manufacturer who's dropping it in favour of Ti, so it will be interesting to see the way that one falls.
Last year, fixed and singlespeed bikes were there in force, they will be again this year, but we might see more of them in higher end materials and more bikes that have that pared-back singlespeed aesthetic, but with gears. Hub gears. There are aleady bikes around like this, the Charge Mixer for one, but we're expecting to see more of them.
For 2011 the Charge comes with the eagerly awaited new Shimano Alfine 11-speed hub and we'll certainly be on the lookout for bikes with one of those, we'll also be searching for any prototype Alfine 11-spd drop bar levers - now that would be a find, maybe they'll have something on the Shimano stand?
Speaking of groupsets, we also expect to see plenty of bikes built up with SRAM's new Apex gruppo, particularly the set-up with the 32 tooth rear cassette which does away with the need for a granny ring by sticking a slightly larger cog on the back - that might sound sarcy but it does have plenty going for it, not least the fact that it helps maintain a narrow q-factor for a more natural pedalling position.
So what else do we predict?
- If the number of launch invites we're getting are anything to go by we'll also see a shedload of electric bikes… there already massive in Germany where some of the latest generation seem to be pretty much electric mopeds.
- More cyclo cross bikes or cyclo-cross derived bikes for commuting and the like, plus some actual high-end models
- On the road, the mantra as ever is likely to be "lighter, stiffer and more comfortable too", we are due some new models from a fair few brands who marked time a bit last year. We'll probably see more made of the end-user customisation trend pioneered by Trek, Pinarello and Ridley, but the mid to high end of things may also see a bit of action along the lines of the recent Cannondale System Six 105.
- More high end urban/commuter bikes in a variety of materials and taking a variety of approaches from performance through to every conceivable bell (a given) and whistle, short of fitting an engine
- Some of the very finest brains in the bike world will twist, form and mould the english language to find exciting new ways of saying 'laterally stiff, but vertically compliant"
- For one week only the style gods will give middle aged men in this part of Germany a pass allowing them to use micro-scooters
- Solutions to cycling problems you didn't even know you'd had, plus there'll be some sort of +Watt moment. Hopefully
We'll be there in force and bring you all the latest bike and gear news, and if there's anything in particular you want us to hunt down or find out just shout and we'll do our best to bring it to you. In the meantime if you want a further flavour of what's in store check out what we saw last year at Eurobike 2009.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.