London Bike Show 2012: Genesis, All City, Cube, NeilPryde, Rose and Strada
Lots of shiny stuff to see at ExCel this year, and not all on the Sunseeker stand...
We spent many happy hours in Tony's Volvo on Thursday taking in the sights of the M4, M25 and M11 on our way to the London Bike Show at ExCel. It's a bigger show than last year, for sure; still not very big compared to the behemoth that is the Boat Show (definitely worth a look, and your ticket gets you in to that and the Outdoors Show too) but with plenty to amuse you if you like your bikes.
Genesis have been knocking out plenty of their disc-equipped Croix de Fer cyclocross/commuting bikes but not to cycle-to-work buyers as they've always been just over the magical £1,000 mark. Until now, that is: Genesis have launched a cheaper version of essentially the same bike, called the CdF. at £899.99 it's now Cyclescheme-friendly, so expect to see an army of the pale blue steeds on your commute this spring.
In order to get under the grand there's some downgrades of course, the most noticeable being that you get Sora switchgear instead of Tiagra. Even though it's only one rung down the groupset ladder, the common concensus is that it's the biggest gap in performance. The frame is Reynolds 520 instead of the more expensive 725, but 520 is what the original Croix de Fer was made from anyway, so it shouldn't be an issue.
Madison have got their own in-house show, Icebike, coming up soon, so they were holding fire on some of the new Genesis stuff until then. The whisper on the underground grapevine is that the superb Equlibrium frameset is going to be available in Titanium and Reynolds 853, and that they're working on a steel race bike. But we'll have more info on that in a few weeks, no doubt.
The London Bike Show is likely the first chance you'll have to have a nose around the new Campag EPS electronic groupset. We had a go on it back in November and thought very highly of it. It doesn't come cheap though; For instance, if you'd like this rather fancy Bianchi Oltre frameset with full Super Record EPS and quality finishing kit, you'll need about £9,100 under your mattress.
If you're after a bike with an electronic groupset and your pockets aren't that deep, then not to worry - it's amazing what you can get for £2,500 these days. For instance, you could have this Cube Agree GTC with Shimano's Ultegra Di2 transmission and still have enough left for a Mars bar. So far as we know this is the only full Carbon bike available with Ultegra Di2, and we're patiently awaiting its arrival at road.cc towers so we can have a go.
That wasn't the cheapest Di2-equipped bike, though: Rose bikes were showing off their Xeon RS-3100, which features a 7005 T6 Ultralight Aluminium frame that's triple-butted to save some weight. If you've got £2,000 to spend on your next bike then the RS-3100 is within range: currently it's showing at £1,996.65 on the Rose website. With Ksyrium Elite wheels, Ritchey finishing kit and a 7.2kg all-in weight, it's looking like a great value package.
All City have a new steel road bike, the Mr Pink. It's an interesting mix of the old and the new; you get such modern niceties as a BB30 bottom bracket shell, threadless headset and sloping geometry, but built in Columbus Zona tubing with a steel fork to boot. There's room for a 32mm tyre, or 28mm with mudguards for which unobtrusive mounts are included.
Geometry is pretty close to 73/73 at the large end of the range, with a steeper seat tube and slacker head tube in the smaller sizes. It looks like it should be a great all-rounder for a mix of leisure riding, commuting and sportives if you like the classic look of steel. The show build comes in at £1,799.
Heard of NeilPryde? Their Alize aero road bike features in our Top Ten Bikes of 2011 and the Diablo ain't no slouch either. Those two frames will be complemented this year by a TT machine, the Bayamo. It's not ready yet, so their stand featured one of the prints from the rapid prototyping machine, but it looks like it'll be an slippery beast.
Look-wise there are obvious family resemblances to the Alize; it maintains the idea of using the bottom of the down tube and seat tube as a single truncated airfoil structure, which NeilPryde claim smooths airflow considerably over the bottom half of the frame; they call it the extended Kamm system. The production bike will come in two guises: the more expensive frameset will incorporate TRP's almost ubiquitous time trial Mini Vs and will have a Di2 battery hidden within the frame, whereas the cheaper version will use standard callipers and you'll need to fit your Di2 battery externally.
The bike will feature a proprietary adjustable stem, but it won't be anything like the one fitted to the display prototype which, apparently, didn't work so well. The production bike is being developed in association with the UnitedHealthcare cycling team, who have recently taken on NeilPryde as their bike supplier.
Strada wheels were at the show; we've got a set of their Velocity A23 wheels in on test at the mo and they were so busy that they had to set up shop on their stand and build wheels for the duration of their stay. They had a new version of their 50mm Carbon clincher on display which has been a labour of love to find the right rim supplier. The one they've ended up with has a 3k weave finish and looks very tidily made, The wheelset with CX-Ray spokes and Strada's own hubs weighs in under 1,500g and come in at £995 for a set.