We took a short train journey north from London to St Albans to check out new wares distributed by Fisher Outdoor Leisure.
The Hertfordshire-based importer is the UK agent for several key brands, including LOOK bicycles and pedals, SMS Santini clothing, SRAM components, and Zipp wheels, among others.
We cast our eye across updated colour schemes for the LOOK 695SR, the French company’s flagship race bike, and the machine voted ‘Bike of the Year 2012’ by RCUK readers.
Elsewhere, we saw new crank-based power metres from SRAM and its recent acquisition, Quarq, new carbon-aluminium wheels from Zipp, and a certain pink jersey from a certain British designer, as well as new helmets from Carrera.
Here’s the low down.
The LOOK 695SR is a machine that will need no introduction to regular RCUK readers, who voted this French fancy ‘bike of the year’ in our 2012 end of year survey.
The Mondrian-inspired finish is an optional extra, available when the frameset is purchased as an i-Pack that includes the E-post integrated seat mast, the Zed 2 chainset, and the C-Stem.
The performance, as we discovered last year, makes it a machine for the committed racer, as does the price tag. Budget £4399 for the i-Pack in the Mondrian colourway, or £4199 in a Union Jack or ‘Heritage’ finish.
Complete builds start from £5700 with Shimano Ultegra Di2, and are available through Fisher’s network of LOOK-approved independent bike dealers.
And now for something completely different.
We brought you word of Fisher’s new in-house brand, Eastway, at last year’s Expo, and they’re now weeks away from bringing their machines to market.
One of the machines on display at this year’s show, but absent 12 months ago, is the CX2.0, a cyclo-cross bike aimed as much at the ‘all-rounder’ market as ‘cross racers (rack and mudguard mounts offer a clue to its intended use; similarly the road-specific chainset indicates a likely user base of urban warriors rather than hardcore cross riders).
Priced at a penny under £1250, the CX 2.0 has an aluminium frame, carbon-bladed fork, a SRAM Apex drivetrain and SRAM BB5 disc brakes. The finishing kit and wheels are Eastway’s own.
The colour shown here is a prototype: the final version, we’re told, will be a deeper shade of red.
SRAM and Quarq crank-based power meters
SRAM acquired Quark about 18 months ago, and have brought one of three new power meters ‘in house’.
The SRAM Red unit has chainrings compatible with the groupset’s Yaw Axis front mech: one that self trims, and which is arguably the group’s most celebrated component.
The Elsa is almost identical to the SRAM Red, but has chainrings suitable for use with groupsets with rival manufacturers, including Shimano. Any chainring can be mounted wihout the need for recalibration, SRAM’ man at the show told us, providing the bolt circle diamater (BCD) is 130mm or 110mm – both standard measurements.
Both have a flashing LED to confirm that the crank-based power meter is communicating with the head unit, for example, a Garmin Edge, and both record a left-right balance. Both cost £1549.
A more affordable option exisits in the Riken. The carbon arms are solid, and the left-right balance facility from the upscale models is absent.
Santini – Paul Smith maglia rosa
The Paul Smith maglia rosa displayed at the Fisher Expo arrived just before we did, and is only the third made. Given the significance of the jersey, and of the designer, it’s an understated piece.
Smith’s trademark multi-coloured band on the hem of the left sleeve gives a clue to its creator. More obvious, but no less subtle, are the Smith signatures either side of the collar, the tricolore and signature on the back of the neck, and the cyclist doodle on the mesh side panel.
For those determined to show off their patronage of designers, the signature is emblazoned red on pink on the rear of the jersey, above the hem. If pink isn’t your colour, the same garment is available in blue (king of the mountains), red (points), or white (young rider).
This might be the most affordable garment Paul Smith has made. Expect to pay £64.99.
We saw lots of new and interesting garments from Santini; so many, in fact, we’ll publish another piece tomorrow.
Zipp 60 and Zipp 30
American wheel manufacturer, Zipp, dominates the triathlon market, and is gathering an increasing section of the road market. It has two new models for 2013, both geared towards the entry level point for deep section wheels.
The Zipp 60 is a clincher rim with an alloy brake track and carbon spoke bed that uses Zipp’s original toroidal rim shape, superceded by a inverted profile on the upscale Firecrest models. It has 20 spokes in the rear wheel, laced radially on the drive side and in a two-cross pattern on the non-drive side. The freehub is compatible with 10 and 11-speed cassettes. The front wheel has 18 spokes, laced radially. The wheelset will sell for £1199.
The Zipp 30 uses a 30mm deep aluminium rim with a toroidal shape, and like the Zipp 60 is compatible with 10 and 11-speed systems. The price will start at £675.
Both wheelsets are due to hit UK shops in April.
Carerra Nitro Helmet
One of the more interesting models on show in the Carrera helmets display was a prototype of the Nitro: a helmet with plastic covers that lock out the air vents in the front section, operated by a switch on top of the helmet. Carrera call it ‘air lock’ and its their take on the aerodynamic gains developed by Kask in the latter’s work with Team Sky. It also draws on Carrera’s work with ski helmets, in which venting and warmth are forced to strike a balance.
If you’re worried that closing the vents will rob your helmet of the airflow needed to keep your glasses from misting, fear not. Holes are cut in the polystyrene above the brow to suck in air and keep your vision clear. That’s the theory, at least.
Carerra’s man at the show told RCUK that the ‘Airlock’ system of vents that can be opened and closed was a first for the road cycling market, if established technology in the ski world.
It’s due to hit the market in July and is expected to cost around £130.