By Jeff Lockwood
The annual bicycle trade show circus season opened this week in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Eurobike can boast being the largest show of its kind. As such, the show floor scenery is diverse, interesting and colorful. And since Eurobike precedes the Interbike trade show in Las Vegas by a couple weeks, many companies use Eurobike to unveil new product.
With cycling woven deep within the cultural fabric of Europe, the genesis…and ultimate promotion and sales…of many trends and technologies are at this show. But, one particular exception is the 29-inch mountain bike trend.
We all know that 29ers have been a fixture on the United States mountain bike scene for many years. But for whatever reason, they’ve been very slow to gain traction in Europe, with the exception of the United Kingdom where they enjoy an appreciable level of popularity.
Eurobike 2010 saw the roots of the European 29er movement begin to take hold, with several manufacturers showing bikes. The past year saw some growth in the larger wheel size, and now a 10-minute stroll inside the halls of Friedrichshafen proves it’s now quite obvious the European bicycle market is completely embracing…and promoting…the 29-inch mountain bike.
In 2009, I made my way over to see what was new from Chris King. At the time, Chris DiStefano had a 29” steel Cielo mountain bike on the floor of the Chris King Booth. Way back then, we talked about how the 29” trend was completely absent from Europe, and how everyone was skeptical of that fancy bike in the booth. It was the only 29” I saw at that show. Two years later…it’s quite obvious this is the year of the 29 in Europe. Every major and minor brand has some 29er model, but I like to say Cielo and Chris King led the way.
Speaking of Chris King, their bottom bracket won a 2011 Eurobike award, and check out their unique tool for injecting lube into the bottom bracket. $49 retail.
The modern day Ibis product line offers a fleet of dw-link suspension bikes that ride as beautiful as they look. Scot Nicol and Dave Weagle teamed up to take the smooth aesthetic…and legendary ride…to the next level. Weagle figured out a way to significantly reduce the size of the dw-links by making them eccentric, which allows them to essentially be embedded within the carbon fiber frame on this 29” 120mm-travel rig named the Ripley. (Interesting side note is that Robert Ripley is buried about 200 yards from Nicol’s house…believe it or not.) The first generation of Ibis products included a Ripley model, but only the name remains with this modern machine. Nicol displays a normal dw-link and the new concentric versions.
Read more about the Ripley in this post.
The Italian race bling factor has now made its way to the 29er. Bianchi is offering two bikes this year. Serious racers will appreciate the Methanol 29 SL with its 3 different types of Toray carbon fiber, integrated seatpost, tapered headtube and 1210 gram frame weight. The Jab 29 is an aluminum affair (7005 T6 triple butted). Bianchi says this model is “[the] ideal bike for long distance ride and singletrack trail.”
Straight outta The Netherlands comes Van Nicholas, a titanium company with an extremely amazing attention to detail… from the engraved logo on the headtubes to their catalog. Their hardtail Zion Twentyniner is a titanium work of beauty. Made with brushed aerospace-grade titanium, the Zion is complimented with a carbon fork and a tapered headtube. The XTR build of the bike retails for around $5,900 (4,165 euros).
Nothing more to say other than here is what an electric-assisted 29-inch mountain bike looks like. Offered by Rotwild, a German company.
Europe is not immune to the hand-built steel 29-inch mountain bike. And that’s a good thing. Chris Diamond is a one-man shop based in Basel, Switzerland. Among his singlespeed road bikes, fixed gear and commuter bikes, is a 29-inch mountain bike. It features a tapered headtube, and some simply-stated graphics. This rig runs about $4,390 Swiss Francs…about $5,563!
Check out this carbon-fiber Monty modified trials bike! Published weight is 6.795 kilo (about 14.98 lbs)
Lezyne has some exciting lighting options for 2012. The whole line of lights feature removable lithium ion batteries that are charged via USB cable. That means they can also be easily replaced if needed. All the lights are LED, and have aluminum casings. 150 lumen – $70; 300 Lumen $90; 450 lumens – $110. Burn times per charge are around 90 to 120 minutes.
Why, yes…I do plan on using the words “color” and “Thomson” in the same sentence! I’m personally a big fan of the black or silver color-only options for the legendary stems and posts from Thomson. But I may be in the minority…or the minority is quite vocal. Regardless…Thomson now offers color packages for their stems. These aftermarket packs include a faceplate clamp, top cap and six bolts. Available in gold, blue and red. Thomson was also showing off a prototype of brand new titanium handlebars. They expect to release them in early 2012. The 730mm bars will come with a 3, 6, 9 or 12 degree sweep, and are 31.8mm fat. As always…US made.
More from Eurobike
It’s such a big show, we couldn’t fit it all into one post. Keep reading more from Eurobike 2011 here.