2013 highlights from Northwave, Bkool, De Rosa and Merckx
A first look at some of next year's products from UK distributor i-ride.co.uk
UK distributor i-ride.co.uk, who look after such brands as Merckx, De Rosa, 3T, Northwave, Fulcrum and more, invited Road.cc to their inhouse show to get a first glimpse of some of the 2013 products that will be making their way into your local bike shop later this year.
This stunning bike (pictured above) is the R838 Athena. There's a lot of heritage with this Italian marque and the R838 is their entry-level offering. At £2,799.99 with a Campagnolo Athena 11 groupset, it looks to us like a cracking race-ready bike.
The heavily sculpted high-modulus monocoque frame hasn't changed much from last year but the paintjob is new and, we think, looks very stylish.
Internal cable routing keeps the lines smooth.
The R848 is available for £1,699. It's a completley different frame to the Athena bike above. It's still made from carbon fibre but doesn't have a tapered head tube, BB30 bottom bracket or the hugely sculpted and beefed up lines of that frame, which makes it look all the more elegant to our eyes. A Shimano 105 groupset, Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels and FSA parts complete the build.
The Merak II continues unchanged, aside from a subtle colour difference. That white strip running all the way from the head to to the dropouts was red last year. It looks a beautiful bike.
Northwave worked hard on several key new launches last year so it's a bit quieter for 2013, with just a few updates.
Significant though is trickle down of the company’s Speedplay-specific four-bolt sole to the more affordable Typhoon Evo S.B.S. model.
A Speedplay Adaptor sits between the sole of the shoe and the Speedplay cleat and reduces the stack height, bringing the ball of your foot closer to the axle. It’s available in white/black, white and blue/white.
Moving up the ladder, the Evolution S.B.S, a shoe that uses a wooden last insole, gets a couple of changes. Weight has been reduced, there's a little more flex built into the front of the shoe and venting has increased. There's also some new colour choices. We dare anyone to wear the lime/blue option though...
And finally, sitting at the top of the range is the company's lightest shoe, the Extreme. It launched last year with a bold orange and green colour that surely couldn't be missed. Realising that us UK cyclists have a conservative approach to colours, they've added a matt black option.
As summer turns into autumn and then winter, thoughts for many will turn to dragging out the dreaded turbo trainer for indoor training sessions. Attempting to make training on your own more interesting is Bkool, which adds online route sharing and real world video training rides to what can otherwise be a mentally challenging ordeal.
So you can watch real-world video from locations around the world, and they're constantly adding new videos. The website allows you, once logged in, to share your training data with friends.
One really neat feature is the ability to download a friend's training ride and ride against them as a virtual partner. And when you do venture out on the real roads, you can record it with your GPS device and upload that route to the trainer.
We got a good look at the brand new Mercxk EMX-525 recently, but we reckon the EMX-3 is still a very good looking bike. This is the newly launched Ultegra Di2 model, the highest specced bike in the 3 range. It's going to cost £3,599.99, which gets you a full carbon frame and fork, Fulcrum Racing Quattro wheels, 3T Ergonova bars and Arx Pro stem and Prologo saddle.