Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Eurobike 2018 - the biggest cycling commercial event I've ever seen so far


Yes, I also went to see the Eurobike 2018 show, like thousands of other people. The event itself is huge. Last year there were 1.400 exhibitors and ~65.000 visitors so if you've never been there you can try to imagine the scale of it. 


Honestly, I'm not the fan of such parties but I went there with a specific purpose - to meet directly with the manufacturers and establish a business connections as part of continues improvement of Blackcat wheels & services.
Was my mission accomplished? Time will show but the start looks promising ;-)

Before you move forward - please note that this post will be long so take a coffee if it's morning your time or glass of good wine if it's the end of your day, take a comfortable seat and enjoy the reading!

First things first, you won't find here any single picture of e-bike (including road e-bikes LOL!), ceramicspeed chainless drive shafts or 13 sprockets cassettes which everybody talk about. I'll leave those exciting news to the others. I don't have anything against new ideas but seeing all that I'm wondering myself what's the limit... 
Anyway, I only had one day to see the whole show so few days before going to Friedrichshafen I made a list of all companies, their booths and sequence I want to visit them. Having very limited time I focused mainly on the wheels and few bike brands.

The bikes
As you probably noticed already I do ride steel bikes. I like the feeling and look of steel frames so my attention was mainly around those type of manufacturers.

My number one - Ritchey. Although I didn't find there latest Ritchey Road Logic frame I had some good discussion with those folks and one thing they told me is that I should expect a disc version of Road Logic in 2019! That's awesome news! I'll be one of the first customers taking such frame :)

While most of the people were looking at e-bikes I found a lonely Japanese man surrounded by one of the most beautiful frames my eyes ever seen...
Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce to you the yasujiro bikes
 


The finish was amazing. You see those graved symbols on the tube? They are completely smooth when you touch them with your finger


 Some of those frames weight 1.1kg and it takes 3 or more months to build and finish one unit


 Obviously all is hand made and every frame is unique

 I wish I could have more time to spend in this corner. I was absolutely hypnotized by this work. 

Staying with steel frames, I visited the Marin corner where there were few interesting gravel machines. I appreciate this brand as they released one of the best price/value ratio bikes ever - Pine Mountain. Perfect machine if you want to start your adventure with steel without ruining your wallet.



Next was Tommasini with their steel, fatty gravel machine




And Rondo which offers steel, carbon and alu frames.
Rondo is a very good example of recent success story. This is the brand which was able to find a niche in this already well packed business and turn that into a nice product.


The key relies in the front fork which allows to change the geometry of the bike. From endurance to more sportive and all that in one bike - simply brilliant!



All the bikes are nicely finished and painted in unusual but well matched colors. 




As far I could see the wheels are assembled by Hunt, which I guess is a good choice.

Moving on into more modern machines I passed by few titanium frames from Rabbit cycles and Moots. Interesting design, clearly visible trend of more fatty tires in gravel frames.




Bike-packing was also very popular and many different brands showed up. I only missed one brand starting with "T"... Dawid if you're reading then you know what I mean! 




Leaving "classy" world and moving to modern stuff. 
Project Tokyo... WOW!

A a bit more human version by Koga, still very nice, especially the painting.

For those who count seconds - time machines. I wouldn't expect here the disc brakes...are they aero now? Interesting!


Look, one of my favorite brands.

Very slim design. Absolutely sick!

Lovely De Rosa



Italian Basso. Looking closer to their carbon wheels I got the impression that I know those rims very well.. maybe it's just an impression? It's better if I'll leave that to myself :-)


I was never interested in Wilier bikes but those two caught my attention. Especially the last one was really beautiful

A bit small corner for Eddy. Hope the brand and business is doing well.

And something for big boys. These are true war machines!



...and at the end, a cherry on the pie:

Today we have aluminum, steel, carbon, wood.. and guess what's next... plastic! Yes, plastic. 
According to those guys the 3D printing and recycled plastic is the future of the frames.


Wheels!
Wheels were my main target and so the first brand I visited was French Duke



The Baccara road rims are very good option for premium wheels. Price attractive with very good finish and asymmetric option for rear wheels with rim brakes


New for this year, MTB rim with unusual finish. One of the lightest and strongest rim in that category



Impressive hubs, made in France, beautiful carbon finish and few ratchet options to choose. Lauder for MTB and quieter for road

Next on my list was BoydCycling. Thanks to this event I had a pleasure to meet in person Boyd and Nicole. Fantastic people and equally fantastic products.


Boyd offers whole range of wheels: road, gravel and mtb.
Starting from road series you can choose between carbon, aluminum and ceramic.

Carbons are well tested with tubeless system and Boyd offers their own tubeless "Tickled Pink" Tubeless Sealant with the "Bubble gum" taste... sorry aroma not taste :) 
According to Boyd tubeless system is safer solution for those who wants to ride in the mountains and are not ready to switch into tubulars. Lack of inner tube removes the risk of the tube blowout due to heat caused by extensive braking.

Altamont rims are truly ceramic rims with long lasting surface. Ceramic rims improve braking especially in wet. The light version shows only 410g on the scale. Those rims will be part of my offer in the coming days. First build is on the way!


Gravel and MTB options covers the whole range of the rims and wheels made by Boyd


Being over 10years in the business Boyd has develop own hubs with very easy freehub interchange system which allows you to switch cassettes in seconds.

Next, I had very good discussion with Gigantex. This brand doesn't need any introduction, especially for people involved in the wheels business. I can't disclose more information for now, but I do hope to have those rims soon in my offer.



Another interesting meeting I had was with Pillar representatives. In 80% of my builds I'm using Sapim spokes but looking at the latest "Wing" spoke from Pillar I'm very keen to give it a try.

This is totally new spoke and what's very interesting in this one is the reinforced elbow from standard 2.0mm to 2.2mm. In addition the flat part is not completely flat which helps on lateral stiffness. Moreover the weight is very attractive and it's starts from 4.3g per spoke so overall it seems to be very interesting solution for light, strong and aero spokes for road, gravel and MTB usage.

Staying with the spokes topic, there were couple of manufacturers including Tune and Newmen composite showing the rope (string) spokes. Interesting concept indeed, however listening to the conversations it was clear that those two companies are willing to wait a bit and see how the topic will evolve before putting that into production and final wheel sets.

Checking those "spokes" I found them very soft and not tensioned as much as classical spokes. Maybe it's a matter of material itself but the first impression was "so so"

Walking further I passed by few other wheels & hubs manufacturers:
 Corima - nice carbon finish but the lacing is debatable

 Tune - very nice stand, however didn't notice any revolution or new products in their line




 Italian URSUS. Very nice wheels and overal finish. New trend - rims with irregular shape. Seen that in Ursus, Fulcrum, Mavic and Zipp.


 DT Swiss presented their hubs and wheels for e-bikes. Hubs have reinforced ratchet to cope with high torque


 Zipp presented their wheels in a "wind tunnel"

On my way to "tires" section I stopped by P&KLie - a dream tools for most of us, the wheel builders.

I had a good discussion about the spoke tension meter calibrator which I introduced some time ago. We were aligned regarding importance of such tool. Looking for example on the new Pillar Wind spokes there is no way without such tool to guess the right spoke tension. Since the spoke has unusual build and steel thickness only calibrator like that allows to capture the proper tension.

Tires
I left tires at the end. I didn't have enough time to visit all, especially Schwalbe and their tubeless section but I spotted a nice concept from Tannus, the "Airless Tires"

My favorite gravel tires - Challenge, prepared couple of new tires for this year: 



A rich selection of road and gravel tires with true high TPI puts them on top of my list. Really like to ride them!

...and that's all in a nutshell. Obviously if I could stay there longer I would have much more information to share with you, but still, even within one day it was very productive and useful trip. 
I was able to complete all my planned discussions with Boyd, Bitex, Aivee, Kinlin, Gigantex, Pillar, Sapim, Ryde and couple of other Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers - @all, thanks for good discussions we had! I hope to have some of those products soon in my offer in attractive prices  to enrich my offer of the wheels and services.
I highly recommend Eurobike in Friedrichshafen to everybody who is connected in any way to the cycling world. This is a unique opportunity to meet directly with brands and products creators.

Waiting to see what will come in 2019 :)
Thanks for reading and don't hesitate to drop me an email or post the comments here if you have further questions.
Cheers
Tomasz
blog-wheelbuilding

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