We’ve been walking the halls of the Excel Centre, digging out the best bits from the London Bike Show. Here’s what we found from Starley Bikes, Rose, Boardman Bikes and Specialized.
Starley Bikes was founded in 2011 but, after a quiet start, this year’s London Bike Show was our first chance to check out their range. The company, by the way, is named after John Kemp Starley, who is widely considered the inventor of the modern bike having designed the Rover Safety Bicycle in 1885 – the first rear wheel drive, chain-driven bicycle with two similar sized wheels.
Starley are based in Altrincham, Manchester, and are very open in admitting that their frames are open mould designs, whereby they use a generic frame design from a Chinese factory, but with their own carbon fibre specification. It’s not uncommon, particularly among smaller companies as designing a frame and opening an exclusive mould can be prohibitively expensive, so it’s refreshing to hear Starley say so from the outset.
They can, however, be very competitive on price, and offer a full custom paint programme. The Starley road range made up of three bikes: the regular R1 and R2 and the aerodynamic AR. The aero AR, pictured above, is the top-of-the-range machine, made from a blend of Toray 700 and 800 carbon fibre (used by a host of manufacturers on high-end machines), and with a tapered headtube, BB30, internal cable routing and integrated seatpost.
The AR frameset is priced at £850, while complete bikes (with SRAM Apex, Force or Red) start at £1,799. The machine pictured above, with full SRAM Red, full carbon Starley JS Meteor Race deep-section wheels with Sapim CX-Ray spokes, an integrated carbon fibre Starley JS Aero stem/handlebar and Fizik Arione saddle, retails at approximately £3,500.
Meanwhile, Starley also manufacture a range of wheels, handlebars, stems and seatposts, and their time trial frame, the T2, has been updated so the brakes are now mounted behind the fork and below the chainstays. The frameset costs £899, with complete bikes from £1,999.
The disc-brakes-on-road-bikes movement is gathering pace – although there is some way to go before discs are widely adopted – and the Rose Xeon DX-3100 Di2 was one of a handful of machines on show at the Excel Centre.
The Xeon, which has an aluminium frame made from 7005 tubing, uses Shimano’s new-for-2013 BR-R515 mechanical discs, which are said to offer 30 per cent greater stopping power, a narrower profile and reduced weight, and which are designed to be used with drop handlebar-style road brake levers.
Otherwise, the DX-3100 build is equipped with Shimano Ultegra Di2, disc-specific Rose Xeon DX-1850 wheels wrapped in Continental GP4000 tyres, Ritchey WCS finishing kit and a Fizik Arione saddle, and weighs a claimed 8.2kg in size medium.
The Di2 bike costs £2,137 but if electronic shifting is not your bag, Rose also offer a Xeon DX-3000 build with mechanical Ultegra for £1,609.
Boardman Bikes run a two-year product cycle and that will see a new range unveiled later this year. They’ve tweaked the current range since its original launch in March 2011, however, and there were a couple of snippets on show from the British brand, who were displaying their full Elite range in London.
When Boardman unveiled the current collection, the road range kicked off with the lightweight SLR 9.2 (reviewed on RoadCyclingUK last year) and the aerodynamic AiR 9.2. They’ve since introduced the entry-level 9.0 in both SLR and AiR guises, and while both have now been around a little while, this was the first time we’d seen the striking red frames in the flesh.
Pictured above, the AiR 9.0 comes from the same mould as the top-of-the-range 9.8, although the carbon layup has been changed a little to drop the price. It still has the aerodynamic frame design, however, and Chris Boardman knows a thing or two about going aero. Both the AiR 9.0 and SLR 9.0 cost £1,999.99 with the former specced with Shimano Ultegra and the latter decked out in SRAM Force.
Boardman have also introduced four new models across the SLR and AiR ranges with Shimano Di2-specific frames. The SLR 9.0S and 9.2S, and AiR 9.0S and 9.2S, have been designed specifically for Di2 – they cannot accommodate mechanical groupsets – so the internal cable routing is incredibly neat, with no need to plug the vacant mechanical routing, as is the case with frames designed to run both electronic and mechanical groups.
Boardman tell us the new 2014-16 range will see subtle changes across the collection. For example, a little extra carbon fibre will be added to headtube of the SLR frame to make for a slightly more upright position on what is currently a very racy frame. They’ve also got one “extra special” project in the pipeline – but wouldn’t give us any clues as to what it is.
IG Sigma Sport used the London Bike Show to unveil the team’s 2013 bikes. The squad, which includes former track sprinter Ross Edgar, will use Specialized’s aerodynamic Venge (pictured above in stealth black) and super-stiff Tarmac SL4 models.
Shimano’s second-from-top Ultegra Di2 groupset takes care of shifting, while Mavic will provide the team with wheels and tyres, including the 80mm-deep Cosmic Carbone 80 hoops pictured above and Yksion Pro tyres. Handlebars and stems come from 3T, while Specialized will also provide the team’s saddles, helmets and shoes, and the kit is from Castelli.
The Venge, which will also serve as Mark Cavendish’s weapon of choice at Omega Pharma-QuickStep, is designed for “all-out sprints to the line”, say Specialized, and the chainstays are huge to accommodate for the huge amount of power put through the frame.