Sussex-based importer i-ride invited road.cc round for tea yesterday giving Jo Burt an opportunity to fondle some exotic product from the likes of De Rosa and Northwave.
It was a little strange to be looking at cycling kit for next summer when we were sweltering in this August's sun outside i-ride's Ditchling warehouse. Still, not too unbearable when weighed up with the pleasure of wafting carbon-fibre frames from De Rosa and Argon 18 along with some lovely new shoes from Northwave.
We were shown two new Argon 18 frames that the manufacturer had only shipped to the UK to show dealers and press on condition they were kept embargoed until the Eurobike show. They are nervous that, even this close to the show opening at the end of August, someone will copy a couple of the kind of unique features that the Canadian company is known for.
Meanwhile, De Rosa is more relaxed not least because there are no major innovations after last Eurobike's introduction of the jaw-dropping King RS carbon frame. It's mostly more colour choices; and mostly more subtle than the candy-apple-flake offerings at launch and which we're expecting to see copied at this coming edition of the show.
Also unchanged under the paint is the aluminium De Rosa Milanino frame but apart from a new black-themed paint scheme, what has changed is the specification of the complete bike which is now based on Campagnolo Centaur Carbon for a complete price of £1,699.99.
Jo Burt felt that one of the things he likes about the frame is that even though it's made of aluminium, the diameters are relatively small and unmanipulated like the latest hydroformed frames. And hardly larger than many modern high-tech steel tubes. In other words, it looks subtle and understated with beautifully smooth joints and we hope to be test riding one soon to see if the ride does justice to the looks.
Last year's widely-praised R838 carries on in the 2012 range with the same options of Campagnolo Athena or Veloce components and either Fulcrum Racing 5 or 7 wheels for £2,799.99 and £2,099.99 respectively. The colour schemes are new, though.
Italian brand Northwave is offering not one but two high-end shoes for 2012. The £249.99 Extreme Tech 3V lighter pair at 198 grams for a pair of size 42s feature a seamless moulded upper and a super-thin carbon-fibre sole. Weight is kept low by the relatively simple 3-strap Velcro-type closures but the £25-more-expensive Extreme Tech SBS version has the same sole and much the same seamless upper but the closure features an alloy cam lever and a rubbery soft-touch wheel which pulls on a cord to adjust the upper's tension. Northwave call this collectively 'Speed Lace Winch System' and the cord is worth mentioning not just because they call it a 'Dyneema' cord - borrowed from the parachute business and stronger than steel - but that it's heat-treated and wax coated so it doesn't kink. Apart from the ferocious red and yellow colour option, there is also strictly-Euro white and it can also be special-ordered in Layopard-TREK blue to match the rest of your Schleck-alike kit.
More to follow on Fulcrum...