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.
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:
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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