It is a little testament in how far we have come with notinthepeloton when we are given press entry into a show. It's not a massive thing to shout about but it's that feeling that your content is actually listened to...I think! For the third year running, we attended the London Bike Show but this time we took someone who probably knew more about bikes than most of the stands there. Our good cycling buddy Chris Detsicas is like an unqualified mechanic and tech geek who refuses to take the mechanics course because he thinks it's unfair to the other candidates!
We did for a moment doubt that we had arrived at the right venue as we were surrounded by groups of women all very giggly, was there a Magic Mike conference we didn't know about because we wasn't asked to model!? In fact, it was the weekend of the beauty show. After a very over priced and not worth it mocha from one of the outlets, we made our way into the show which tripled up as the Triathlon and Travel show too. 3 for the price of one, great deal! We must confess, we do look out for a freebie or a great deal when we are at these shows so we made sure we got our goodie bag first thing. There's always a random gift inside these giveaways, this year it was spaghetti. I get it, carbs, but at least double up with the sauce?!
The show was a little quieter than in previous years but we didn't mind that as it gave us more time to network and see what's new for this year. It came quite clear that it was the year of the newbies, few brands and even though they may have been around for awhile, we have not come across them so we kept them in mind for a chat as we explored. One thing I was pushing Chris to do was a wattbike challenge, quite a few stands using the pull of a wattbike to get you in for a competition entry or just some promotion. So when we saw 2 wattbikes side by side, it was only right to have a face off. Challenge was 750m, in our heads, that didn't seem far but when we got going, we looked up after giving it some...not even half way! How far is this race?! The guy overseeing us kept on commenting how close it was, 0.1 seconds was mentioned but we were just transfixed on the watts dwindling away as the lactic acid starting to build up. Finally, we both had come to the end separated only by 0.25 of second. Chris won but think those FTP tests with Jake had helped in a way, maybe next time, we should have a 20min wattbike duel?!
We're know what you're thinking whilst scrolling through that gallery...what a beard! Right next door to the wattbike challenge was the Tour of Sussex stand. The guy inside (sorry mate, didn't catch your name!) gave a good insight into what the race was about, a mixture of stages including some famous local climbs including 'The Beacon', one for Sam and his Saddledrunk team mates to think about? We do like the look of the that trophy and knowing a little bit of that area, definitely makes for a punchy race! A product that caught Chris' eye was Acer's facing forward camera giving you a near perfect horizontal image for your recorded rides. Only thing we could see as an issue was if you wanted the integrated computer to face up to you, well you couldn't, it was always fixed with the angle of the camera so if there is a glare off the sun, hopefully the anti-glare will combat this.
Onto the bikeporn and there was plenty of established and new kids on the market to get the juices flowing. We will start with the newbies and a brand who had a classy look to them with their titanium frames and Brooks saddles; J.Laverack. We didn't know too much about them but one of their ambassadors gave us all the scientific spill on their frames and set up. The saddles looked very firm with the set up but we were assured that they were comfy for all types of terrain. We love the integrated badge on the front, no stickers to be seen here! Mach7 sounds like the title of the new Top Gun film (you didn't know?! Maverick is coming back!) but we were told the name derived from the owner's 7th business adventure so we hope 7 is lucky for some. Their bikes are bold in design and race ready, be interesting to see what impact they have on the independent bike market. A brand that is popular in their home country but we've never seen one on the road is Austrian bike maker Simplon. What caught our eye was their split stem, an interesting aero concept but as we explored the rest of the stands, a few models also showed a split downtube, not sure if this affects the overall stiffness of the frame and how much it benefits you aerodynamically but a good discussion topic...
Your usual players were on show and we've always had a soft spot for Cervelo. We used to follow their vlog podcasts years ago when the Cervelo Test Team were racing in the tour with the likes of Thor Hushovd, Carlos Sastre and Heinrich Haussler. We even went one further by purchasing a replica kit! So whenever we see a Cervelo in town (actually being sold by Tri UK we believe), our head is automatically turned. Their P5 just looks ridiculous but in an extremely good way. Cervelo, if you're reading this, we are more than happy to help review any of your range, just drop us a line...wishful thinking! A major rival in the wishlist market is obviously Pinarello who have recently released a range of colours for their F10 Dogma. Local outlet Sigma Sports were there showing off a couple of their builds including a gorgeous Colnago, the finish looked really classy. Think the star of the show award had to go to Factor with their One model. Oh my. Oh my. Oh my!
We did have one stand in mind though to visit and that was Ian and Jane over at NorthRoad. They have been making some waves on social media with their striking fleet of affordable but high spec bikes. We grabbed the chance to interview Ian and he took us through the each of his beloved bikes including our favs' the Ares TT and the Explorer. They even had a competition running for a chance to win one of their Sportifs with the proceeds going to a local charity, think that just shows what type of people are behind NorthRoad. We hope to review one of their range soon if Ian is kind enough to lend us one during the year but they have definitely made sure they've catered for all the different types of roadies.
Our final report comes from a major player in the indoor cycling industry. Wattbike seems like they've been around for years now and are a favourite with sports teams, you usually find a football team sending their subs to warm up on them somewhere. But now with the emergence of other brands in this now competitive market such as Wahoo, Zwift and Tacx, Wattbike has needed to up their game. Welcome to the Atom. It's quite unique in it's design and layout but having a spin on this thing, it's got a mind of it's own. The variety in training options and programmes is immense. You can download wattbike's very own training rides, if you fancy climbing Box Hill or Ventoux, load it up and suffer. Want to get involved in some virtual racing? Hook it up to Zwift. By downloading the app on your tablet, every piece of riding data is analysed to give you the optimum chance to improve riding performance.
So that's it for this year, a show for the independent brands if you had to describe the exhibition, just shows that although we all have that wish of owning that dream bike and it's often one ridden by the World Tour teams, if you're looking for value for money, it pays to window shop around. Meanwhile, we're going back to the wattage drawing board to make sure next year, we win that holiday and finally get one over Chris...oh and did we mention he only won a ride at Mallorca 312 in a random draw?! Same time next year then mate?!