IMPURE BIKE THOUGHTS, PART III: CYCLE SHOW 2011 HIGHLIGHTS

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So this year the UK’s biggest cycling trade show moved from Earls Court in London to the cavernous isolation of the Birmingham NEC. I spent a couple of days there on Vulpine business and had a great time.
Let the bling begin! (I beg forgiveness for iPhone photo crapness).

So this year the UK’s biggest cycling trade show moved from Earls Court in London to the cavernous isolation of the Birmingham NEC. I spent a couple of days there on Vulpine business and had a great time.
Let the bling begin! (I beg forgiveness for iPhone photo crapness).

Bike of the Show: Pearson I’VE STARTED SO I’LL FINISH Disk Enabled Carbon Cross/Everything Bike.
Pearsons, the Worlds Oldest Bike Shop, and family owned by lovely brothers Will & Guy, have smashed it out the court this year. This seems to be a first. A carbon bike, with disk mounts, canti mounts, plus rack and mudguards eyelets. This sounds dull, but the design is second to none. The photo doesn’t even begin to do it justice. I want one. I will probably get one!

Pearson I'VE STARTED SO I'LL FINISH

Pearson I’VE STARTED SO I’LL FINISH

Blingingest Bikes: Enigma
Enigma Cycles are a superb British firm and I’ve owned one of their titanium frames before, and sent a few cycling friends there. The service is excellent, but above all the frames are gorgeous. This year we saw ultra sparkly stainless steel Columbus XCR road builds, plus a Ti frame polished to an amazing shine (pictured). Along with lovely MTBs, Enigma are a star. And Jim & Mark are top blokes to boot.

Enigma Cycles

Enigma Cycles

Niftiest Carbon Design: Look MTBs
I own a Look road bike, which they are best known for. But these French Fancies know carbon, and have always innovated. The smooth lines of this stem into the head and top tube is a sight to behold. WANT. What does "Naturally Integrated" MEAN though??

Look Integrated MTB Stem

Look Integrated MTB Stem

People’s Award (based on number of Twitter retweets and "Woooahh, yea baby" type replies): Look 695 in GB Colours.
You guys went nuts for this. It sure is purrrrdy.

Look 695, GB Colours

Look 695, GB Colours

Most Bling Winter Bike: Kinesis Cross Light Pro6
A great value aluminium disk-specific frame, this one is built up blingingly with Campagnolo Record 11 for cross. But I reckon this is an ideal Winter road training bike. The disks give great control, and you can forget rim brake crud. Hmmm, budget will dictate whether its this or the Pearsons above, as my next purchase.

Kinesis Crosslight Pro 6, disk-specific.

Kinesis Crosslight Pro 6, disk-specific.

Trend of the Year: Disk-Specific Cross Bikes.
Loads of ’em. There were more cross bikes than MTBs, and many of them were new disk versions or prototypes. For once the UCI did good in allowing disks into cross. Next…Road please.

Least Bling of the Year: Electric Bikes
Snobbery I know, but I just can’t do electric bikes. Its an exertion thing. Storck were going nuts for electric. Weird, as I always think of them for high-end push bikes. Apparently electric is the biggest growth area in cycling. Gulp.

Missing: Mountain Bikes!
Why were there so few? And almost nil downhill bikes. The only MTBs seemed to be crossovers from road bike specialists? Maybe the MTB manufacturers think the Cycle Show is going too Road Bike in general, and pulled out. Or maybe cross is where its at. Weird.

Also Missing: Specialized, Trek, Shimano, Brompton, Brooks, Pashley, etc.
Lots of road bikes. But some really key players missing. Strange. An NEC thing?

Schoolboy Error Award: Felt Full-suss Entrance Display Bike
I mean, just look. It’s not funny. Please guys!

Check out that chain on large sprocket, large chainring. An otherwise beautiful bike ruined!

Check out that chain on large sprocket, large chainring. An

otherwise beautiful bike ruined!

Most Flagrant Destruction of Beloved Bling Brand: Colnago
Talking of unfunny…I love Colnago. I’ve wanted one since I was a kid. And last year I got one custom made for me! But if you have an image as being top of the topermost, making a ‘Ferrari City Bike’ is like making Louis Vuitton plastic bags. It is incredibly naff and showy and a massive contradiction. Both brands say ‘ultimate performance’. Well I love riding around a city. But a hybrid says ‘comfy compromise’. They need to return to beautiful paint jobs and not white (and red) elephants.

Colnago Ferrari Hybrid. Yes, I said HYBRID.

Colnago Ferrari Hybrid. Yes, I said HYBRID.

Most Unwelcome: UCI Approved
UCI continues do to its level best to suck the life out of cyclists and the cycling industry. Small startup companies are made to suffer. And its another layer of money-grabbing bureaucracy. I don’t like the word ‘hate’, but I hate UCI Approved and all it stands for.

UCI Approved Sticker on a Ridley

UCI Approved Sticker on a Ridley

Amusingly Banal Crap Moment: Walkers Ready Salted Crisps Grab Bag Stuck in Vending Machine
Tired, hungry, not a decent shop for miles…I’ll have a packet of crisps. Can’t shake machine as receptionist is sat in front of me. It dropped out 5 minutes later. I was tweeting at the time. Tweeting is a wonderful thing.

Crisps Stuck in Premier Inn Vending Machine. NEC's Finest Cuisine.

Crisps Stuck in Premier Inn Vending Machine. NEC’s Finest Cuisine.

Best Newcomer: Intrepid Apparel
Jason, Emma and gang are lovely guys and love their downhill riding and their product. We talked for ages about starting a clothing brand, as Vulpine is too. Their gear is super tough and I wish them the very best. They deserve it.

Intrepid Apparel. Somebody is getting Downhill gear right.

Intrepid Apparel. Somebody is getting Downhill gear right.

Most Wearable Bling: Quoc Pham Shoes.
Brit/Taiwanese cyclist Quoc really knows design, and has sourced the best leather. It shows. And his range has expanded hugely. He caused quite a stir on the Condor stand. Sweet.

Quoc Pham Shoes

Quoc Pham Shoes

From Ming To Bling: Pearson’s Cycles Range
Now they’re mates, but I need to be honest. Last year’s frames were very samey. Performance was great, but looks were a bit ‘Ford Focus’. But this year, the entire collection has gone stratospheric. The frame designs are witty, clean but interesting, great colour choices and great value. I can think of few more successful re-brands. They’re going to be massive.

Pearson's Cycles

Pearson’s Cycles

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