Eurobike is a bike-themed shit show, like the shit shows you remember from childhood, better known as carnivals and amusement parks — and, if your childhood was like mine, the semi-comparable food conventions that Dad brought you to because he thought it’d be fun bonding time (not true, but plenty of candy). This shit show, though, is on a Euro level of like a billion people all crammed into a labyrinthian expansive space that once built zeppelins. And the show lasts (effectively) three days: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. + parties + commuting + random dead time before and after. And the really horrible thing is that as much as you want to hate it and complain and tell everyone how much suffering you’re enduring for the name of your publication and your own understanding of the product world of cycling, the real truth is that it’s kind of fantastically fun — there’s nearly every cycling brand on E-A-R-T-H here and they’ve all got shiny new products on shiny displays with eager-beaver people ready to tell you about all the new specs they’ve labored over for weeks and months, and in some cases even years, to bring this new product to market.
And so if you geek on all things bike, it’s both heaven and hell. A crammed indoor space with thousands of bicycles where what you only actually really want to do is rip out of there and take those beautiful frames to the Friedrichshagen countryside and ride around. And what you get to do is stare at bikes and clothing and accessories and touch them gently and longingly and hope that if you’re nice enough to Mr(s). PR person you’ll get to play with them soon enough. Let’s call it the ol’ trade-show trade-off — and for 72 hours I endured it to bring you the newest news from the cycling product world.
A Convivial Attempt to Conquer Eurobike
One Man, Many Brands and 72 Hours to Rock and Roll
Brands at Eurobike I Wanted to See/Talk/Hang With: Argon 18, Bianchi, BH, BMC, Brooks, Bosch, Camelbak, Campagnolo, Cannondale, Canyon, Castelli, Catlike, Cervélo, Chris King, Cinelli, Continental, Craft, Cube, De Marchi, De Rosa, Eddy Merckx, Evil, Endura, fi’zi:k, Focus, Fuji, Giant, Giordana, Haibike, Ibis, Kinetic, KTM, Lapierre, Lightweight, Look, Mondraker, Santa Cruz, Marin, Mavic, Merida, Northwave, Orbea, Ortlieb, Park Tool, Pearl Izumi, POC, Pure Fix, Rapha, Ridley, Rocky Mountain, Salsa, Santa Cruz, Scott, Shimano, Smith, SRAM, Storck, Thule, Tommasini, Wilier, Yeti.
My Official Time on Eurobike Grounds: 25 hours minus lunches, minus lounging in the sun with Rapha folks, minus stalking the press area for apricot cheesecake and Coca-Cola.
Most Effective Route Taken: Beginning at hall A1 (Rothaus Hall — “Italian Pavilion”) I worked down through A2-A7, looped over to B5, went B5-B1, then swept through the middle infield (Freigelände) then looped back to any spots I may have missed.
Effectiveness of Effective Route: 78 percent (based on brands wanting to see/talk/hang with and brands actually seen/talked/hung with).
Final Caveats Before Getting Into It: 1) I didn’t see everything. I didn’t talk to everyone. I am only one man. If you have other rad things that I missed, please inform me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Your fetish addiction to cycling is safe here. 2) You need to know that being “released at Eurobike” is kind of a deceptive nomenclature. Some of the below are fresh off a “just Eurobike” launch, but many are released in the weeks leading up to the show. Why? Because dealers put in orders mid-summer, not late summer, and so if a brand holds off until Eurobike to announce something, it’s harder to get it in shop orders. This obviously leads to lots of heated conversations about the nature and validity of the Eurobike trade show in general and its date in particular. That discussion, though, is for another time. 3) On to the gear.
Main Trends of the Show You Should Care About
Want to Know Everything Ever About this Big Bike Convention?
Most manufacturers who hadn’t already made a performance/endurance road bike with disc brakes have now. While we eagerly await the UCI to give the green light to the pros, manufacturers are working ahead of the curve. I’m already on board, and I’m glad to hear the rest of the world will be soon. Notable additions to the disc brake world launched at Eurobike: the Cervélo R3 Disc, Norco Tactic Disc, Focus Izalco Max Disc (which won a Best of Eurobike award), and the Eddy Merckx 525 disc.
E-bikes are fucking everywhere, and I don’t know if that’s a Euro-thing or a global thing, but it’s kind of ridiculous and a bit annoying. Bosch leads the charge (punny?) with the new Power Pack 500, which gives you 25 percent more range over the Power Pack 400, and the Performance Line CX, which is eMTB-designed so you can charge up those trails faster than you can go down ’em. The rest of it I sadly glossed over because I can’t quite hop on board with e-bikes quite yet.
Mountain bikes are becoming more and more carbon fiber-ized, and in general, the mountain world has lots of fun developments and bikes that look like they can literally conquer the world. It’s still up for debate, but it looks like 27.5+ is maybe/probably going to become the standard mountain bike wheel in the next couple years. It’s all advantages and no disadvantages, and nearly everyone gets it. On the mountain side, some husky bikes that deserve your attention include the Yeti SB 4.5c, the new Evil Insurgent (with 27.5 wheels), Norco’s full-suspension Revolver (in both 27.5 and 29er), Orbea’s Occam (released in June), the Mondraker Dune Carbon XR, the Knolly Warden (a full-carbon frame from the mostly steel manufacturer) and the indestructible Intense M16 Carbon.
It’s a good year for looking good (on the road cycling side, anyway), with Castelli launching David Millar’s new line, Chapter 3, which gives Rapha a run for its money in levels of cool/swagger/cost. De Marchi — one of the most iconic names in cycling apparel — is doing crazy cool retro style stuff with performance fabrics (their updated Perfecto/a Lux line) along with a special wool tribute to Eddy Merckx (who turns 70 this year) that I wouldn’t recommend wearing but would be really cool to get Eddy to sign and then hang in a glass case. Giro hopped in the performance game, and they also launched a reflective version of their Empire ACC — that lights up the night. Lightweight also joined the clothing party, with a blacked-out line. POC introduced their Fondo line, for the more casual rider, inspired by different locations around the world. Giordana is making some absolutely bonkers technical clothing — they call it the NX-G — that will clear out your paycheck faster than a trip to Per Se, but might shave down ride time, which, you know, seconds matter. fi’zi:k also has a handful of new shoes, the best being the R1 with a wider forefoot last and a new BOA closure. And, for you tri guys, Endura has now entered into the triathlon market with their first tri line.
Steel is stealing hearts, and as pretty much every bike messenger in NYC/SF can tell you, it’s like the most fun and coolest thing you can ride. Most notable on the mountain side, Ritchey introduced the Timberwolf, and on the road side, Cinelli introduced the Nemo TIG, a new supersteel frame. Or, if you happen to own steel in the form of NASDAQ stocks, then you’re likely into Ti, which is also super exciting, with brands like Nevi and Passoni doing some crazy beautiful Italian frame-building. Passoni is even in the works on bringing to market a bike made with titanium inlaid carbon fiber, a fabric you currently only see on those really inexpensive Italian cars know as Pagani.
Bike packing is like one year off from being the big stink at the show. Until it is, the dudes at Marin and Surly and Salsa are doing rad things with bikes that will get you off the grid and happy. Marin’s revealed a more luxe version of its Pine Mountain (the 2). Surly launched a fab fatbike that’s more affordable, the Wednesday, so more people can get out and do things. Salsa’s Deadwood is a 29+ with drop bars, so figure that out (you can go where you want, fast).
And if you haven’t heard, everyone is riding road bikes off road. Gravel grinders and cross bikes continued to hold presence, notably the Scott Addict Gravel and Cannondale Slate (an “all-roads” bike). Storck got in the mix with the TIX cyclocross, and Ridley introduced the X-Trail gravel bike.
Other Notable Stuff
Not Everything Fits into Pretty Little Categories
Our favorite wheel manufacturer, Gokiso, introduced 50mm and 24mm wheels. If you know nothing of Gokiso, go binge on the engineering geekery for a while (just don’t look at the price tag).
SRAM launched their eTap. Didn’t hear about it a bunch already? Read this.
Shimano updated their Metrea line, which they introduced last year, but is now in a more finalized state and will offer a 1x urban setup.
The dudes at Pure Fix are introducing Pure Track so you can get a quality track bike for a reasonable price (starting at $500).
And finally, in a shootout of gorgeous Italians, the Bianchi Specialissima competes with the De Rosa SK Pininfarina and the Cipollini NK1K. My vote’s for the De Rosa, but the Bianchi is leggy and tempting.