2016 Eurobike brought new colors from Lightweight, new shifting from FSA, speedy wheel changes from Mavic and a new king of the component pile.
As 2016 Eurobike hit its midway point on Thursday, the Peloton Service Course patrolled its halls looking for easter eggs in the tall grass. For every tragically named European brand – Puky, Sinus, VeloTrauma – we found a few cool bits from some reliable sources. Perhaps the most interesting was a new consensus among manufacturers about which component group is considered ultimate bling.
Red eTap Reigns Supreme
Who decides which component group sits a top the heap? If the manufacturers are to be trusted, 2016 Eurobike was SRAM RED eTap’s coronation. High-end bike after high-end bike was spec’d with the group. When a statement was to be made, manufacturers made it with eTap.
A prime example was the Storck Aston Martin Special Edition Fascenario 3. Only 77 of these bikes were made with a price tag of over $17000 – and every one had SRAM Red eTap.
FSA Enters the Grouppo Fray with ‘WE’
There were the big three – Campagnolo, Shimano, SRAM – then Rotor jumped in with hydraulic Uno, and now FSA enters the arena with ‘WE’. A complete group from FSA has been in the works for many years. A mechanical FSA derailleur branded Metron was shown off five years ago, but it never went anywhere, and now we know why. FSA decided to jump in with an electronic group. It’s the whole shebang – two derailleurs, two levers, cranks, BB, 11speed cassette and brakes weighing in at 2090grams.
‘WE’ stands for Wireless Electronic, which is only half true. It’s electronic, but the battery (in the seat post), rear derailleur and front derailleur are all wired together. Only the levers are wireless, running on CR 2032 batteries. The shifters use a rocker style input with a traditional right/rear and left/front division, although the inputs can be customized. The rear derailleur does away with mechanical’s traditional slant parallelogram motion, instead relying on what appears to be the type of mechanism ‘pick and place’ robots have used for many years in other industries. There is much more to this story, from ANT+ communication to enormous customization, so stay tuned for a full review in the near future.
MAVIC Gets Speedy with Through Axles
The benefits of through axles are many, from improved stiffness to safer and more consistent installation, but faster they are not. Mavic may not have made a through axle as fast as a QR, but they have certainly made the fastest through axle we have ever seen. Called the Mavic Speed Release, once unthreaded, the through axle only has to be pulled out about a centimeter, to allow the wheel to be removed. This does require a new fork standard with an open drive side drop. With the through axle still captive in the hub putting the wheel back in takes only a moment as it is always perfectly aligned. The lever itself has a torque setting so once torque is reached it just ‘clicks’ as you turn it to your preferred orientation. Mavic is looking at this Speed Release as an OEM solution since it requires a special fork. Hey, didn’t MAvic just buy a carbon company called ENVE known for making the best forks in the world? It all starts to add up.
Lightweight Breaks Out of Its Shell
The German brand Lightweight was always looked at as a niche producer. They made incredibly light and incredibly expensive wheels that were so good pro after pro paid retail to reap their benefits on race day. The companies black-on-black naked carbon look seemed to feed this austere, business like approach. When they did paint something it was black, white logos were as extravagant as the brand got. Not anymore. Euro Bike 2016 is Lightweight’s coming out party. Its Urgestalt frame is now available in colors more readily associated with easter eggs, made in Asia for a more accessible price and has a disc version. The new Wegweiser wheels follow the rest of the industry’s trend to go wide and use some automated construction to reduce price (don’t worry, they are still very expensive – $4000+) and Lightweight has even launched a clothing brand.