London Bike Show 2018 highlights: Rose X-Lite Six Disc, Factor One, Bowman Pilgrims Disc, prototype Hope Tech crank and more
New bikes, components, clothing, helmets and energy gel flavours spotted at the London Bike Show
The London Bike Show took place this weekend at the Excel, and as ever we were keen to see what treats brands had to show off to the public.
We’ve got the latest bikes, a WorldTour-worthy helmet, an under-wraps crank and even new flavours of gels that we can’t wait to try. Let’s check it out.
Rose X-Lite Six Disc
Rose recently went through a rebrand, and we have to say that we’re a fan of the new look with bold yet discreet branding providing a sleek look.
The X-Lite Six Disc is the flagship among the new X-Lite bikes, and features a blend of T60 and T40 carbon fibre for high levels of stiffness married to low weight – 790g claimed for the frame, with the fork adding another 365g.
There’s neat integration of a seatpost clamp at the seattube, seatstay and toptube junction, while the seatstays themselves follow the latest trend of sitting low, apparently boosting compliance. You’ll be able to maximise that with the 30c tyre clearance the X-Lite Disc bikes offer, too.
Bowman Pilgrims Disc & Custom Club
Fresh and new at the Bowman stand was the Pilgrims Disc frameset, yours for £795. The Pilgrims Disc has taken cues from the popular Palace:R frameset and shoe-horned them within this second-generation gravel-busting alloy bike. This has resulted in a 6069-T6 tubed frame married to a full carbon fork, with a threaded bottom bracket and 12mm thru-axles as standard.
The frame supports flat-mount disc brakes (140mm rotors, but with an adaptor to take 160mm if you want). It will fit 30c tyres “with rubber room", although we’re told you should be able to fit 34c rubber at a pinch, too. The ‘flare-square’ seattube optimises stiffness and vertical compliance over the rough stuff, according to Bowman.
Meanwhile, the British brand has launched its Custom Club, which allows teams to have their Bowman frames painted in their own colours and designs, including logos. Handily, Bowman says minimum orders are small, while it won’t cost anything extra to have bikes customised in this way. Bowman had an example from Regent’s Park Rouleurs, complete with distinctive black and yellow colour scheme.
Metier Beacon Gilet
Sharing stand space with Bowman was Metier, a boutique clothing brand that certainly brings the ‘disco’ element to the mix with the LEDs fitted to its Beacon jacket and gilet. We’ve already reviewed the jacket and were impressed with the stylish looks and neat integration, as well as the performance fit and resilience to the elements.
We got a look at the Beacon gilet at the London Bike Show, and it represents a more flexible piece for milder weather that integrates the same high visibility elements of the jacket.
Favorit F3 Adventure
Over to the Czech Republic now, and we couldn’t help but spot Favorit’s F3 Adventure bike on show. We’d have noticed it anywhere, orange paint notwithstanding, thanks to that Lauf Grit fork that allows for 30mm of travel on rough roads.
It has a classical-looking carbon frame that weighs in at a claimed 1,050g, sports thru-axles and flat-mount brakes, has masses of tyre clearance and will happily run either a 1x or 2x drivetrain.
Interestingly, Favorit is one of the rare bike brands that doesn’t build its bikes with Shimano groupsets – you can have it built up with Campag Chrous or Potenza, or SRAM Force 1 or Rival 1. A frameset will set you back £1,990.
Focus Project Y
Hold on… an e-bike? Well, yes. You see, the Focus Project Y actually broke cover at Eurobike last year, but this is the first time we’ve got our hands on one in the UK.
There aren’t many of these floating around just yet, but the neatly integrated Fazua Evation battery and motor system is already seeing action in its electric mountain bikes, with the gearbox built into the bottom bracket.
The carbon frame is bang up to date from a road perspective, boasting clearance for 35c tyres and flat-mount disc brakes. To accommodate the Fazua gubbins, the R.A.T. thru axles are 148mm wide as opposed to the near-standard 142mm, necessitating the development of the DT Swiss hoops you see.
The smartest thing about this bike, however, is how similar it looks to a regular road bike. Whatever your thoughts on e-bikes, the tech is developing at quite a pace.
Cervelo R5 Disc
When the new Cervelo R5 launched in the summer of 2017, we were presented with a new disc and updated rim brake versions, as well as the usual claims of greater stiffness, greater compliance and some tweaks to help it slice through the air a little easier compared to its predecessor.
This SRAM Red eTap-equipped R5 Disc features optimised ‘Squoval Max’ tubing arranged in a redesigned ‘Pro Fit’ geometry, arrived at after input from pro riders to appeal to the racers among us. The claimed compliance improvements comes chiefly from a new D-shape seatpost as well as clearance for 28c rubber.
The new Factor One is the brand’s newly updated aero bike, and makes the most of the recently relaxed UCI rules governing aero tube profiles, as well as knowledge taken from the Slick time trial bike. Thanks to input from Ag2r WorldTour riders, it also replicates the popular geometry of the O2 all-rounder.
The new One retains a tweaked twin vane downtube that set the old version apart, an OTIS one-piece bar and stem, along with the distinctive external steerer fork at the headtube. Inside, you’ll find a premium CeramicSpeed headset and bottom bracket, while the fork and seatstays splay widely in order to help it cheat the wind as well as accommodate 28c tyres. Sister brand Black Inc. supply the wheels, also equipped with smooth CeramicSpeed bearings.
Torq Performance Energy Gels - new flavours
Gels aren’t always the most appealing sources of energy on a bike (despite their convenience), but these new lemon drizzle and cherry bakewell flavours from Torq should address that somewhat, being flavours of popular coffee stop cakes. We nabbed a few samples to try, and can vouch that they taste very nice indeed.
Lucho Dillitos Bocadillos
Lucho Dillitos’ bocadillos are an on-the-bike fuel with a difference. They hail from Colombia, and feature guava as the central ingredient; a superfruit that packs four time the amount of vitamin C of an orange, and is a source of vitamin A, E and K, as well as a range of B vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Each block has the consistency of semi-solid paste, and makes a change from a standard gel or energy bar. We also like the fully biodegradable dry leaf wrapping – so littering is less of an environmental hazard – while the flavours are 100 per cent natural, with no additives or preservatives. There were two new versions on show – white and pink guava, as well as guava with feijoa - another south American fruit.
We’re not all about big brands at RCUK, and Northroad certainly caught our eye with its AeroDisc bike, which cut an impressively polished figure at the London Bike Show. It features full aero tubing in a racy geometry and incorporates flat-mount disc brakes and thru-axles – showing it’s not just the big players who can put together a race-ready carbon aero bike with rotors.
The frame is made of T700 Toray carbon, and it’s available in three basic build specifications (Jet, Onyx and Obsidian – all different shades of black, you’ll notice), featuring Shimano 105 through to Ultegra Di2 and CES Sport RC50 carbon clinchers. Prices range from £2,250-£3,500 respectively.
Limar Air Speed helmet
We’ve already seen the new Limar Air Speed lid on the heads of Team Astana riders since the beginning of the WorldTour season, and this example strapped to an Astana-clad mannequin is the only one currently in the UK. Previously, the company has been all about light weight and low profiles, but now it’s making a real foray into the aero market – we’re told this is the first of several new helmets we’ll see from Limar this year.
It has 12 vents in the shell in total, with three inner airflow channels to help direct air through the helmet and over the rider’s head. The five rear exhaust vents allow warm air to escape out the back. Limar’s AirFit system is designed to ensure a fully adjustable fit, and a medium-sized model is claimed to weigh 235g.
Prototype Hope Tech hollow crank
Tucked away in the corner of the show at the Hope tech stand was this prototype hollow alloy crank. Details are sketchy - read: non-existent - as it’s still in development, but we’re told it should represent a new lightweight standard for road cranks from the component brand. Watch this space.
Orro launched its new Venturi aero bike at the start of the year - here’s our first look - and it took pride of place on the iRide (Orro’s distributor) stand at the London Biks Show. It’s a disc brake-only machine, fully embracing the trend towards rotors, while the aero frame means it’s designed to cut through the wind while running 28c rubber.
In order to reach its claimed 985g frame weight, it uses Sigmatex’s spread-tow carbon fibre, which effectively lays up unidirectional tapes of material to pack more fibres in a smaller space. The result? Greater stiffness and less weight, according to Orro.
A close look at the tubing shows truncated shaping to help it deal with crosswinds and keep the weight low, while the inverted hourglass headtube, tapered seattube, bladed seatpost with integrated clamp, and smooth lines at the thru-axle dropouts hint at its clean lines and prowess in the wind tunnel.