We headed to St Alban’s today (20) to check in at the Fisher Expo, a trade-only affair with new, shiny things from LOOK, Eastway, and Zipp.
New from LOOK, and not expected in the shops until late summer, is the X85 carbon cyclo-cross bike. Equipped with heavily shaped chain stays and a wishbone seat stay cunningly dished on the inner plane for “optimal mud evacuation”, it will be sold as a frameset for around £2500. The show bike was kitted out with a SRAM Rival groupset, Avid cable operated disc brakes, and a 3T cockpit. Suitable for use with a 135mm rear axle, it can accommodate 29 inch mountain bike wheels. The show bike sported a Fulcrum Mistral wheelset.
Not new, but still stunning, this LOOK 695 in naked carbon with gold pin stripes is reminiscent of the late Ayrton Senna’s 1986 JPS-liveried Lotus Renault 98T. LOOK’s bulky but beautiful C-Stem has been updated, while the ZED2 chainset, a one-piece carbon unit, hints at what a BMX crank would look like if Adrian Newey was given a hand in its design.
The 586 UD has been given a slight makeover and from April will be sold with a SRAM Force groupset, replacing the Ultegra componentry of its predecessor. Expect a penny change from £3,000.
New for 2012 is Eastway, a UK-designed, in-house brand for distributor, Fisher Outdoor Leisure. Named after the London cycle circuit of legend and built with a ‘this could be your only bike’ philosophy across the range to appeal to the growing full-time commuter/part-time racer market, two models caught our attention. The CX 1.0 cyclo-cross bike looks like a well-timed addition to a market responding to the growth in popularity of cyclo-cross racing and sportives. Still at the prototype stage, we hope the colour scheme, erring on the green side of Bianchi’s signature celeste, survives to production.
Eastway may well have stolen a march on the competition by producing a disc brake compatible road bike, the RD1. None of the big three component manufacturers has publically committed to a hydraulic disc brake yet, perhaps awaiting a definitive statement from the UCI on their competitive use, but it has the feeling of the inevitable about it, even though many, your correspondent included, baulk at the aesthetics. On trend in all other aspects (Far Eastern carbon frame, tapered head tube, broad bottom bracket shell) the distinguishing feature of (for now at least) cable-operated disc brakes may help it stand out in an increasingly crowded market.
It’s very early days for the brand, and the two-man team that has brought it from drawing board to launch in mere months admits that bench marking is difficult, but a place in the market alongside Boardman, Cube, and Focus seems likely.
For those seeking a super lightweight finishing kit, the Speed SL handlebar stem, is the world’s lightest mass produced unit, tipping the scales at 102 grams.
Brand new from Zipp, and due in the shops this April, is the 185 gram, SL Speed carbonseatpost, with a clamp profile designed to offer maximum fore and aft adjustment. This is the carbon version of Zipp’s Service Course aluminium post. Its low profile design is secured by two bolts. It comes in 27.2mm and 31.6mm diameters. A naked carbon finish with red and white decals gives an understated appearance.
Tacx displayed a new turbo trainer, the Genius Multiplayer, which adds and reduces resistance in synch with the virtual course displayed on a computer display with which it communicates wirelessly. The virtual ‘rider’ on screen responds to pedaling and steering inputs from you, the real rider. Several courses are available, including stages of the Tour De France, or you can upload any favourite local rides from your GPS device. Tacx also have a new range of team replica water bottles from Europcar, Lotto Belisol, Omega Pharma-Quikstep, Rabobank, and Saxobank.
LOOK Keo Power pedal
Earlier this month, we brought you a first look at LOOK’s new Keo Power pedal from its presentation at Freiburg University’s Radlabor Laboratory. Here it is in the less high-tech surroundings of a hotel in St Albans.
We also brought you news of Santini’s team and standard editions of the GreenEDGE kit. On display at the Expo was a jersey signed by members of the WorldTour team.