With all this focus on mountain biking some of you have been wondering about the Road side at Eurobike. First up is the new Dura Ace Di2 group from Shimano followed by some nice bikes we picked out as highlights.
Shimano Dura Ace Di2.
This is the new electronic groupset from Shimano and for most it was the first opportunity to see it in the flesh and more importantly try it out. There were test bikes dotted around attached to turbo trainers and the shift did indeed seem very smooth. Another advantage is that on the front mech the mech position in relation to the chain can be fine tuned as the system runs on servos not cables. This measn that the shifter can be moved accross a sliding scale rather than just having 2 positions.
The shifter hood looks identical to a normal one but the shift lever throw is reduced as it is a button rather than a lever.
The mechs however are completely different as they don’t need cables or springs.
We had a long chat with Shimano about the group. They told us that, much like the carbon crank that they produced last year, it was mainly produced to prove that they could do it. Each battery lasts 1000-2000 kilometres before it needs a recharge and it will charge to capacity 500 times before it needs to be replaced. That’s 500,000 kilometres and we think the bike will have long worn out before these. 20 riders are currently testing it at the Vuelta from the Francaise de Jeux team and Credit Agricole. One slight problem is that it is susceptible to shocks or banging as there is no spring to hold the mech (particularly the rear) in place. For this reason don’t expect it to appear in XTR any time soon. Overall we liked the idea and execution. It remains to be seen if it will be a success. To be honest we are not sure. If you ride predominantly smooth roads then yes we can definitely see it working but if your road is like most Irish roads then we are not so sure. Campagnolo have produced an electronic shift system too but have decided, at least at the moment, not to put it into production.
Despite takeovers etc. Cannondale have produced some exceptionally fine bikes this year and we were particularly interested in their stand at the show. The company has always gone out of its way to produce interesting concept bikes and this year was no exception with a bike influenced by stealth fighter jets and Lamborghini cars. Its a flat bar road bike. Note the interesting detailing around the fork and the frame. Wouldn’t you love to have this to ride to work on…
Back to real bikes and the companies time trial bike looked very interesting. Its called the Slice and this is the range topping Carbon Ultimate version.
Elsewhere there is this very nice road bike, the Synapse. Note the curving rear stays. They look almost like springs. This bike features a full SRAM red groupset with detailing to match.
This Italian company produces exquisite bikes and this model, the King 3 has a beautiful stealth carbon look to it. The bikes come from the Italian fashion capital Milan and we think it really shows. We caught a rumour that an Irish distributor is considering taking them on in Ireland but can’t confirm or deny it at the moment.
This company tended to be in the mountain bike news more than the road news with Julian Absalon winning everything in site on his Alma but the Orbea Orca is the ride of choice of the Euskaltel-Euskadi team and Olympic men’s road race champion Samuel Sanchez. This photo is of his winning Olympic bike.
This Belgian company which boasts Cadel Evans as its current top rider (although they will sponsor new Russian Pro team Katushja next year). Working closely with the Silence-Lotto squad and riders such as Evans and Robbie McEwan they have made several interesting improvements to the range.
This photo shows what appears to be a shine on the leading edge of the seat post. This is in fact a rough texture added to the frame which creates wash, ironically helping the bike to move faster. It feels like soft sandpaper to the touch.
Another area of innovation is the front fork (pictured) and rear stays. These have been slpit again for aerodynamics helping the bike to minimise the disturbance to the air.
This has all been added to the companies line of road, time trial and triathlon bikes for ’09 such as the flagship road bike the Noah below.
We couldn’t finish this post without showing you the new Gaerne shoe designed for Cadel Evans and now available to the public. Its called the G.Kangaroo and we think it’s a ripper mate!