Highlights from Cycle Show 2013 (Birmingham)

Thanks to a Wheelsuckers competition earlier this year, I was lucky enough to have tickets to this year's Cycle Show at the Birmingham NEC. Having never been to a cycle expo before, I was as excited as a kid in a candy shop to go and check it out!

Going on Saturday I knew I had to arrive early, so aimed to be at the NEC long before opening. On arrival I saw that a few hundred like minded people had the same idea! I squeezed through the crowds (one advantage of being a whippet) to score a spot next to the mini-stage. About five minutes before opening, Ned Boulting took to the mic to hype up the crowd. He then introduced the lovely Joanna Rowsell, quite the surprise! Once Ned and Joanna had spoken, the doors to the exhibition were flung open and the heaving masses surged forward in a frenzied wave of excitement! All except me of course, I stuck around outside for a photo opportunity with Ms Rowsell.

Walking around the stands in the morning I was struck by the number of companies offering titanium road frames. I'm a sucker for a classic looking frame and all the Ti really appealed to me. Van Nicholas, SPIN, Enigma and De Rosa all displayed superb examples. Certainly plenty of choice for my next n+1 purchase. Titanium is for life!

Of course, if Ti isn't quite your thing there was certainly no shortage of super high tech carbon fibre framed bikes to be drooled over. All the big manufacturers and plenty of smaller ones had their best bikes on show. On display at the Specialized stand, Cav's special edition Venge drew many a crowd.

The show was arranged into four main genres of cycling; commuter/electric, road, mountain bikes and BMX. Retailers of various products and services were interspersed between these areas as well as not one, but three test tracks. There was the road cycling track, a commuter track and a children's test track also! Of course, the highlight of any show is the tech, so I'll hold back no longer - here's a selection of tasty bikes and products that took my fancy at this year's show:

Stunningly painted and classically styled Colnago.

The latest in high tech time trial and triathlon bikes were on display too. This pair of Argon 18's were kitted out to a very high standard. You can't see from this photo, but the integrated Garmin mount in the stem was a nifty (and probably more aero) feature.

I was a little disappointed there wasn't more TT gear on display besides the bikes themselves. I would have liked to have tested out some new kit.

Campagnolo's new 11-speed EPS Record drivetrain.

Wooden bars are pure class. Wooden rims available to match!

Starley - Whatever you like, as long as it's FAST!

Just popping out for a ride honey, I'll be back in a couple of years...

My five top tips for the show:

  1. If you’re planning a weekend visit, go early, by lunch time the halls were so crowded it was difficult to walk around freely.
  2. Where possible take public transport to the NEC. Parking is a flat rate of £10 per car.
  3. Be smart when opening your wallet! There are lots of shiny objects to draw you in but be aware that it's not always cheaper at the show.
  4. Make sure you get around to the smaller stalls as well as the larger, big name displays. The little guys often have a lot to offer.
  5. Catch some of the crazy BMX park action! Those guys are nuts!

All in all I had a great couple of hours at the show. As a final disclaimer I didn't pay for my ticket (£16) or for my parking due to a mix-up (£10) so I effectively went for free. Would I pay to go again? I'm not totally sure. Yes it was good, but I'm not convinced whether that money would be better spent going to the show or on a couple of cake stops over my next few rides. I guess I'll leave that up to you. 

On a final note...

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Comment by Middle Ringer on October 11, 2013 at 19:02

Glad you enjoyed the show. I enjoyed it, but if I had to drive specifically just for the show and pay full price, it's a solid 4+ hour round trip then £26 for a ticket/parking, probably wouldn't do that. I might try to get to the London one next time as that is a lot closer to home for me (also you usually get a boat, camping and ourdoors shows thrown in on the same ticket).

But I am very thankful to Wheelsuckers for the competition and winning the ticket as I wouldn't have gone otherwise and would have missed out on a very good day!

Comment by Andy Hannis on October 10, 2013 at 18:32

Nice review MR. For me I think it might become a bit-annual event. Allows me more time to save up the pocket money! 

Comment by Dave Nash on October 5, 2013 at 19:26

Great overview of the show Middle Ringer and I'd agree that at these events one shouldn't overlook the little guys. Spoke7 was a particular favourite of mine and good to see you included their wooden bars in your highlights. 

This is the second year in a row I have been to the NEC for the Cycle Show - it's a great opportunity to see some of the innovations for the 2014 season and see a good range of brands and accessories - if you get the chance to go I would recommend - it's a very indulgent day out!  

Comment by Nick Williamson on October 1, 2013 at 16:08

Ti forever!......Took the plunge with a Spin last year, love it.

That much kit in one place is a bit mind blowing, it was good to talk to some of the people on the stands and get the benefit of their knowledge. I also enjoyed watching the kids on their BMXs,  doing stunts.

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