August 27, 2014 – Eurobike is off to a strong start with more new product releases and major announcements than are typical. Recently the trend has been to launch products at stand alone events rather than compete at the big bike shows for a share of the spotlight.
Garmin has a new single sided pedal based power meter, HED has a black brake surface treatment with increased stopping power, Giro has joined SCOTT and POC embracing MIPS technology, Quarq has launched a Dura Ace compatible power meter, Zipp has new tires, Cannondale is showing a new Slice, Easton has crazy light new wheels using technology from Topolino and the list goes on. A lot of compelling stuff, but in an effort to cut through the noise, here are three things we saw that we believe truly matter and will influence the sport in the future.
1. The New Cervelo S5
The announcement of Cervelo’s new S5 Aero road platform had all the trappings of a typical bike launch. It saves 21.3 grams versus the previous S5, it is stiffer at the bottom bracket and massively stiffer at the head tube. The new bike mercifully has a much lower head tube and has, too many eyes, a much more pleasing shape. It shares many of the things that made the original S5 so quick – BBright, water bottle friendly design, shielded rear wheel – and thanks to improved materials and manufacturing Cervelo claims it comes with better ride quality to.
Cervelo has gone to great pains to not just make the bike faster, but easier to live with. It uses standard Dura Ace brake calipers, the cable management system is future proof accepting both mechanical and electronic systems, it shares small parts with other Cervelo platforms.
This thinking also extended to other components. Looking at the bike holistically Cervelo saw 30% of drag was coming from the handle bars, so it invented its own handle bar, yet made sure it could use a standard stem and still saved 4.4watts making it the fastest bar Cervelo has ever seen.
Why is this important? Cervelo has essentially proved aerodynamics are no longer a legitimate excuse for sacrificing a rider’s ease of use. No silly brakes, no integrated cockpit, no cable routing issues and, if Cervelo’s numbers are to be believed, it appears to be the fastest aero road bike in the peloton.
2. Open Bikes
The baby of Gerard Vroomen and Andy Kessler, Open, made a splash two years ago with its ultra light and responsive hard tail 29er the O-1.0. Open is ready to make a much bigger splash. Its new hard tail the Open ONE is made in Germany instead of Asia and it is both lighter and stiffer, with shockingly light complete builds that are under 15lbs and builds with front suspension at 16lbs.
But what Open did not show at Eurobike may be the most important bikes. A partnership with Liteville will see a dual suspension, 120mm travel XC bike with a 27.5inch rear and 29inch front join the stable. A new gravel bike will also be released soon, the Pathfinder. This should be a category destroying bike. With Open’s weight, ride quality and liveliness, in a gravel package that can accept cross tires, road tires and even a 650b wheel with a 2.1 tire, there a very few places the aptly named Pathfinder can’t go.
Why is this important? For many reasons. The two men behind much of Cervelo and BMC’s success are far from done innovating. Their bikes defy convention and none more so than the Pathfinder. Their exciting young brand is bringing manufacturing back to the western world.
3. BMC Advanced R&D Lab Concept
BMC’s Impec bikes are manufactured in its Grenchen, Switzerland facility. Today at Eurobike BMC pulled the curtain back a bit further to reveal another capability in house at Grenchen – The Advanced Research and Development lab. It posses all the capabilities to create products from start to finish in house, dramatically cutting down development time. While BMC is not the only brand with these capabilities they found a novel way toshow them off.
They decided to imagine what the bike might look like in five years and then use the Advanced R and D department to execute that design. The result was a radical re-imagining of what an aero bike could be. While the resulting concept bike is not rideable, it is more than a papier-mâché model. The modular design that would allow the bike to transition from normal bike to e-bike or handle an enclosed gearbox may be far fetched but the air ducts to cool rotors and calipers and the twin stem and seat post might be closer to reality. The clamp-less seat to post interface is actually rideable and something BMC is looking at closely for actual production. The bike also features a single side design similar to the 1992 Olympic Lotus bike ridden to gold by Chris Boardman.
Why is this important? There are plenty of prototype’s out there and plenty are more farfetched than this, but what is exciting is how close some of these concepts are to rideable reality and how they were all made in Switzerland. According to BMC’s Head of Product, Stefan Christ, we shouldn’t be surprised to see more BMC manufacturing move back to Switzerland in the not to distant future. The return of manufacturing to the west seems to be a theme at 2014 Eurobike.