More bikes from the TCR Show: Ceepo, Specialized, and Focus

Whizzy aero machines to dream about going fast on…

by Jon Burrage   February 10, 2009  

Ceepo Stinger triathlon bike

Here's a few more of the bikes that caught our eye at the TCR Show at Sandown Park over the weekend… 

Ceepo - something different from Japan

Japanese manufacturer Ceepo tout themselves as creators of the “ultimate aerodynamic bike”, a big claim from a company founded just five years ago and competing against goliaths in the world of bicycle technology and development such as Giant, Trek and Specialized – not to mention aero specialists like Cervelo.
They might be on to something though because the company has grown fast and they recently recorded their first ever pro Ironman victory courtesy of Gina Ferguson at Ironman Western Australia.

Ceepo's range of frames is small, but impressive. They make two ‘standard’ frames, one for 650c wheels and one for 700c before moving on to their aerodynamic range: the Vixen (£2000 frame and forks) is Ceepo’s female specific aero effort, the Stinger (£1999 frame and forks) is designed to give high end performance at a more affordable price. The TT Killer (£2200 frame and forks) is the frame that Ferguson rode to the Ironman WA victory, while the Venom £2400 (frame and forks) is the rig of choice for British professional triathlete Richard Stannard.

The top of the range Ceepo Viper (£3500 frame and forks) is the latest addition to the fleet with fairings, cutaways, smooth lines and a quite alien overall design all mental shapes and bulges on the downtube that's is sure to attract attention, it certainly would from UCI scrutineers! There's no way this baby is UCI legal, although you probably wouldn't have too much trouble in your local evening 10, again at certain triathlons it might fall fould of the rules although it would probably be find in most Ironman events.

Measuring only 26mm at the thickest point of the downtube the Viper is sure to slice through the air. Ceepo say they “did not restrict the design to meet irrelevant and archaic UCI limitations”. So there!

Designed specifically for use in Ironman distance races.

For even more pics from the TCR show check out our slide show and our static gallery.

Specialized Transition - choice of the Ironman World Champ 

Specialized's 2009 ‘Transition’ range consists of four specifications the Comp (£2000 with Shimano 105), Expert (£2500 with Shimano Ultegra), Pro (£3500 SRAM Force) and range topping S-Works (£5000 SRAM Red with Zipps) riddent to Ironman world championship glory by Chris McCormack of Australia last year.

Focus – two smart German bikes, shame it isn't three…

Wiggle has been importing the German brand Focus in to the UK since 2006 and has built a strong reputation for quality and affordability. Their tt/tri offerings, the Culebro Tria 2009 (£1350, SRAM Force) and the Izalco Chrono 2009 (£4500 SRAM Red with Zipp 808s) certainly offer bikes at opposite ends of the price spectrum.

The build quality cannot be questioned but it is difficult to see how Focus will be able to make the most of customer loyalty with such a big step between the two bikes in its range. If you are taking up triathlon and make the decision to buy the Culebro and after a season of good service and enjoyment want to upgrade where do you go?

A £3000 price jump would be too much for many people without a transitional model in between we reckon they'd end up looking elsewhere. Its a shame as the Izalco Chrono is very tasty machine with an impressive specification for the price.


10 user comments

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By "impressive specification" don't you actually mean "Is a rebadged Walser, one of the most desirable time trial frames currently in production and one which you probably couldn't afford or get access to if it wasn't badged as Focus, unless your name appears on a Pro team roster; and even then you'd have to pay for it"?

Selling the bike way short there on both price tag and desirability. The frameset alone is going to be 2500GBP, pair of Zipp wheels easily north of 1500GBP, SRAM Red 1200GBP = over the price of the Izalco already. OK, that's aftermarket retail prices but that's how much it would cost to put the bike together in its component parts. And that's before you add in bars, saddle pedals and assorted sundries. Fag packet maths has me nearly a grand saved on the Izalco.

Surely all worth saying about it? - Chasing Wheels, the journal of Britain's least competitive cyclist

posted by leguape [43 posts]
10th February 2009 - 22:57


It is a re-badged Walser… you've got proof of that you'd like to share with us all, that is actual proof rather than just gossip and hearsay?

Comparing Aftermarket and OE prices… well I think you could go around quite a few bikes, er pretty much all of them and make massive notional savings on building it from scratch… especially if it's got SRAM Red on it which as far as I can see has the aftermarket price it does to try and establish in people's minds that it is a premium product cos it's certainly not an inducement to buy.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
10th February 2009 - 23:16


Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile

cactuscat's picture

posted by cactuscat [305 posts]
10th February 2009 - 23:24


stand by the second bit though

Either way it's got an impressive specification for the money

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
10th February 2009 - 23:27


Wiggle say the izalco is 'an exclusive version of the frame made for Focus' - that's not the same thing as an actual Walser, surely, though to all intents and purposes it looks identical to the model 7. My hard drive says porsche on it, but porsche didn't make it.

however, if it's an identical frame made in a big focus factory somewhere in the far east, does that necessarily mean it's inferior? i've heard (possibly apocryphal) stories of big name bike companies getting mass-produced frames that are lighter/better than their hand-laid ones...

purplecup's picture

posted by purplecup [233 posts]
10th February 2009 - 23:40


Apart from the royalty cheque that is? If he is making the frames he can't be making much money on them at the price Wiggle are selling them for and what does it do for the image of Walser bikes - surely it makes the less exclusive?

Darned if I do…

Mr Sock's picture

posted by Mr Sock [153 posts]
10th February 2009 - 23:47


Probably more of a one-off licensing payment I'd say Mr Sock.

As to whether Walser makes much money out of the deal - carbon frames don't actually cost that much to produce once you've paid for the moulds. Focus are a pretty big brand in Germany so their buying power is going to get them some good deals on original equipment and then Wiggle cut the distributor out of the equation and pass a big slice of that saving on to the customer - I've often priced up a Focus in my head, just like Mr Leguape up top, and though 'blimey I'm getting a free frame'.

Still haven't bought one though Thinking

Anyway on the Izalco who's complaining even if it just designed by Walser you should still be getting an awesome bike for your money.

On a bike somewhere…

thebikeboy's picture

posted by thebikeboy [138 posts]
11th February 2009 - 0:01


That's the whole point though isn't it? That when you're buying an off-the-peg setup you are making that comparison, or having it made for you by the manufacturer, between the convenience/cost of a ready-to-ride and the cost of putting it together yourself.

Manufacturers rely on this comparison to shift units otherwise we'd all be trying to buy parts at OE prices and assembling our own bikes, thus removing a large swathe of the aftermarket which they rely on because of the ludicrous margins they're turning between wholesale and retail. The aftermarket price is an inducement to buy, just as part of complete spec rather than as aftermarket upgrade. SRAM get a guaranteed unit shifted rather than a maybe.

After all, they aren't going to be setting out to make a loss on OE, are they? I do wonder something though - which brake manufacturer was it who recently failed to understand the basics of profit? - Chasing Wheels, the journal of Britain's least competitive cyclist

posted by leguape [43 posts]
11th February 2009 - 22:55


SRAM's strategy makes everyone a winner… (well everyone who doesn't buy Red aftermarket and I've always assumed that the aftermarket sales on all their groupsets must be negligible at the moment at least). Over time as their groupsets build up a following you'd expect their prices to drop back a bit. Otherwise the cost of spares and replacements might turn into a bit of a disincentive to buy bikes with SRAM groupsets as original equipment.

For the time being though the current aftermarket price  makes any bike kitted out with a SRAM groupset look like its value has  been enhanced. Manufacturers also appear to be able to spread the top end SRAM love further down their ranges than they can with Shimano or Campag which suggests the OE price is very generous. 

You seem like a man in the know leguape, surely big component manufacturers look to make their money on original equipment sales?  As you say once you've landed the orders you've got guaranteed sales in big numbers it's just about getting your margins right – anything they make on aftermarket is a nice bit of bunce on top.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
11th February 2009 - 23:33


I'd expect them to run a setup where the compenent manufacturer sells a unit at wholesale of around 30% RRP to the bike companies who then mark it up to 60% to cover their margin and then the retailer sells at at least 90% of RRP taking their 30% margin or more. Which is why no one should really be losing money on 10% off discounts to consumers because it's already factored in and the consumer thinks they're getting a bargain. - Chasing Wheels, the journal of Britain's least competitive cyclist

posted by leguape [43 posts]
12th February 2009 - 23:08