Being awestruck might have left us a little too exclamatory on the opening day of Euro Bike 2012, where the sights, sounds and numerous bike showcases left us lusting after the latest bicycles with cutting edge technology.
After spending more time going through the show, we’ve observed some trends this year.
Mountain bikes running 29-inch wheels, or 29ers as they’re commonly known as, have come in big this year with major players like Scott, Specialized, Marin, Merida, Cube, Giant, Focus, Cannondale and Polygon among countless others have either introduced or beefed up their offerings in the segment.
Having tried the Marin Rift Zone XC Pro 29er myself on Demo Day alongside a standard 26-inch model, I will attest to the claims that larger wheels offer an improved degree of stability on the trail, enabling a rider to literally roll over obstacles that would otherwise slow down the standard set-up.
According to the European players, these large sized tyres might comprise handling and could be unsuitable for certain environments. The answer to that would then be to run 27.5-inch wheels, dubbed 650Bs. While actual production models are limited, prototypes abound from players like Focus and Scott. In a conversation with Togoparts, Overseas Sales Director for Derby Cycles (manufacturers of Focus bikes) Jorg Arenz, shared that come 2013, 650Bs would be making a huge impact—at least in Europe.
Electronic bikes with front mounted motors and electronic technology are also coming to the fore in a big way.
Shimano’s Alfine Di2, DuraAce Di2 and Ultegra Di2 lead with electronic assistance systems that have been proven to provide an immense benefit in terms of efficiency and ease of gear shifting. All it takes is a push of a button to switch gears, freeing up the rider to expend more energy on focusing on his race.
Most significantly though, companies like Bosch have launched technologies that allow for electronic assistance to conventional pedal power with electronic motors in the cranks. A big hit in the European market, these hybrid bikes make practical sense for commuters opting for pedal power, with a bit of help.
The flipside, however, of having such electronic systems is that cycling is no longer a carbon-emissions free form of transport as charging up the batteries will contribute to carbon emissions at point of source for electricity.
Some more scenes from EuroBike 2012
Here are yet more of our picks from EuroBike 2012:
Commuter bikes take on retro-garde styling
If Yeti’s SB66 won’t get you going, Morewood’s Makulu will.
Shocks are 29er ready
Hybrid bikes are getting big
KTM’s Scarp gets a direct mount front D
The Scott Genius – my top pick
Stiff and light is the way to go. Cannondale’s SISL2 crankset
And not forgetting the others.
Dynalast and custom fit. Amazing.
Award winner from POC