Our Bike Live Cannock demo day roars in to life tomorrow, and here are some of the most exciting bikes we're looking forward to thrashing around the test loops. Our selection concentrates mainly on road bikes but there will also be gravel and mountain bikes (and the trails to ride 'em on) to try too. Oh, and whisper it, but there'll also be a selection of e-bikes too. Advance tickets are still available and you can book on-line until 6.30pm today or should the fancy take you - and the weather forecast is looking good - you can pay on the gate tomorrow (cash only though).
We made the Whyte Wessex (£2,250) road.cc Commuting Bike of the Year 2016-17 because, although not a traditional commuting bike, it has all the practicality you need for riding to and from work – including mudguards, disc brakes and easy handling – and it can double up as weekend mile muncher or sportive conqueror. It’s a bike that can turn its hand to many sorts of riding.
It’s built around a sporty-looking carbon fibre frame and fork with a distance and commute friendly geometry, and ample clearance for 30mm tyres.
The get-up-and-go response of the bike is incredible. That it can on the one hand travel along at a serene pace with ease and then react so positively to more aggressive riding, and be as fast as you like, is a big appeal of the Wessex.
Ribble unveiled its new top-of-the-range Ultimate SL just last month. It’s a a carbon-fibre frame built to a ‘racing’ geometry and weighing a claimed 840g. That makes it Ribble’s lightest frame.
The frame features tube profiles that are designed to be aerodynamically efficient. An oversized bottom bracket and tapered head tube are intended to add efficiency, and Ribble says that the narrow seatstays and 27.2mm seatpost provide comfort.
The Ultimate SL is available as a complete bike from £1,599 although Ribble’s recommended build – with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 11-speed groupset, Mavic Ksyrium Elite Wheel and Deda Zero finishing kit – is £2,999.
The Cento10Air is an evolution of Wilier’s first aero road bike, the CentoAir, with many updates.
Wilier uses Kamm tail airfoil tube profiles for every section of the frame and the brand claim an 8% aerodynamic improvement over the previous bike.
Key to the Cento10Air is a new one-piece integrated handlebar called the Alabarda. Like the frame, it uses an aero profile. Wilier has routed the gear cables inside the handlebar and stem and directly into the frame.
Keeping drag to a minimum and cleaning up the front-end, the handlebar has a small recess to hide away a Di2 or EPS junction box for electronic shifting.
Wilier will be bringing both mechanical and electronic versions of the Cento10Air to Bike LIVE. A model with a Campagnolo Chorus groupset and Campag Eurus wheels is £4,799.
Canyon will bring higher level models to Bike LIVE but the Endurace Wmn CF SL Disc 9.0 (Wmn is short for Women’s) gets star status on account of its value for money. The list price is £2,199 but it is currently reduced to £1,979 (plus packaging and shipping).
It’s a carbon framed bike that’s designed to be comfortable thanks to a layup that offers some give, a fairly relaxed riding position, and a leaf spring seatpost.
When we reviewed another Endurace in the range, the CD SLX 9.0 SL, we said, “[It] succeeds in offering a wonderfully smooth and comfortable ride yet with fast and engaging handling to indulge all those who like to ride quickly, and it now benefits from hydraulic disc brakes and thru-axles for improved braking performance in all conditions.”
The Endurace Wmn CF SL Disc 9.0 comes with Shimano’s second tier Ultegra groupset and DT Swiss R24 Spline DB wheels.
This model has a women’s-specific Selle Italia SLS Lady Flow SE saddle although Canyon will also offer men’s versions of the Endurace at Bike LIVE Cannock.
Liv, Giant’s female-specific brand, will be bringing the composite Avail Advanced Pro 1 (£2,899).
Unlike many other brands, Liv doesn’t just take a standard bike and stick on some woman-friendly components; it tweaks the geometry for women too. That geometry is slightly more relaxed than that of the Liv Envie race bike, for example, the idea being to provide more long-ride comfort.
The Avail Advanced Pro 1 also comes with what Liv calls its D-Fuse composite seatpost that’s designed to damp vibration for a smoother ride.
The bike is built up with a Shimano Ultegra groupset and hydraulic disc brakes for plenty of control in all conditions.
The Propels are Giant’s aero road bikes. The Propel Advanced Pro frame is built to the same race geometry as the top-end Propel Advanced SL, it’s just that it uses a different grade of carbon fibre, and whereas the SL comes with the seatpost integrated into the frame, the Pro takes a separate seatpost.
The Propel Advanced Pro 2 (£2,649) is built up with a mid-level Shimano 105 groupset and Giant’s own SLR 1 Aero wheels.
We reviewed the Propel Advanced 1 (now £1,825) here on road.cc last year, a bike with identical tube profiles, and described it as “a fast and reactive aero road bike that offers excellent value”.
If you’re in the market for an aero road bike you should definitely take the opportunity to get some time on a Propel.
If you’re interested in gravel riding – or you just want a bike that’s strong enough to handle rough roads – take Rose’s Team DX Cross 4400 for a test ride on the Cannock Chase loop. It centres on a triple-butted 6066 T6 aluminium frame and full carbon fork and is designed to be sporty and agile.
You get a SRAM Force groupset, including hydraulic disc brakes, thru axles front and rear, and Rose’s Flex Carbon seatpost for comfort.
Bike LIVE Cannock Chase takes place at:
Birches Valley Forest Centre
It is about 25 miles north of central Birmingham and about nine miles from the M6 motorway.
There is plenty of parking along with toilets and a café.
Cannock Chase has been designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s a mix of natural woodland, coniferous plantations and open heathland.
Bike Live Cannock Chase takes place on Saturday, 8 April 2017.
It starts at 9:30am and you can stay right through until 4:30pm.
These brands will be at Bike LIVE Cannock:
• Beat Bike
Booking your place is simple. Head over to our booking page to get your ticket.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.