Saturday, September 23, 2017

iPhone8: Are you rich enough

Apple iPhone8 teardown  

Subtitle: (pretty servicable == surprise!)

Particularly today, the Apple iPhone 8 is the hottest Smartphone ticket in town.

And here is why.

It says that you are so affluent that you will buy the latest in Apple Smartphone technology to last you about 1 month and a half.

Because in late October 2017 you will pre-order and then pickup in November 2017  the iPhone X and then gift away your iPhone 8.

Lil Wayne: Got Money

Are you well healed enough to join this, Apple's most exclusive club?

The Cycle Show Birmingham 2017

Marcus and Agata spent almost a full day at the 2017 Birmgham NEC: /The Cycle Show/.  As I write this there are still 2 full public days left.  So if what you read is interesting enough consider attending


It is on at the UK National Exhibition Centre and tickets cost 17.50 GBP.   Here   Car Parking was 12GBP for a full day.

Exhibitor List

Our Review Starts Here

It is nit picking really but the entrance sponsors were showing a motorbike and a rally car.   Hmm.   You do know this is a bicycle show Mr WD-40 right?

Here is what we found noteworthy

Garmin: We are not worthy

Vector 3 pedals with inbuilt powermeters are attractive to atheletes with multiple bicycles.   That is just about everybody!

Garmin are not the cheapest but still pretty much the juggenaut of the Smartwatch and Bicycle Computer.   This year I would check out / buy if you have large funds

Garmin Edge 1030 Cycle Computer
Garmin 935 Watch
Investigate Garmin Varia rear Lights
Garmin Vector 3

Large expenditure but basically nearly always the best.

Shiman - OH!

So the good news is that the Di2 electronic groupset for Dura Race level componentry announced beginning 2017 is now actually available for purchase.

Bad News

The new Ultegra which is R8000 et al is still not generally available and the Di2 electronic version even less so.  Surely it will be ready for Christmas? anything else would be a missed marketing opportunity.


To cut to the chase, SRAM wireless is now 2 years old and still nobody else has a wireless groupset.

I really feel that despite the innovations in Shimano Dura Ace Di2, and even allowing better Shimano support by Garmin et al, well, from a pure installation, maintenance, and even reliability perspective it [eTap] is superior to Di2. 

 No irritating junction box is required  (Shimano Di2 shown here)

No thin but annoying signal e cable is required  (Shimano Di2 shown here)

Wattbike Atom

Wattbike is already the established choice for Cycling professionals worldwide.  For indoor training there is no equal but it costs over 2000 GBP.   Enter the Atom bike from Wattbike at a sub 1500 GBP price point.   Perhaps less after discount.

And with equal or better connectivity, and the promise of battery power not just mains power in the future (so you can wheel it around even easier).  What is not to like?

DCR made an initial review here  To me this is going to be an instant success. Wattbike are about to strike gold.  Especially relevant for countries like the UK where outdoor winter training is not always practical.

Campag Still Exists
The famous Italian cycle component manufacturer still exists, well just about.  But I had to struggle to find  any bicycle wearing Campag

As an ex Campagnolo advocate I always rather liked the thumb actuated gear change levers but that's about the only plus point in 2017.  And it is not enough.  Since Campagnolo is not Shimano/Sram compatible you really have to choose and most people go with Shimano.



Simple but ingenious plastic clip that screws to the wall and enables you to mount a helmet (with vents) onto it.


In a shocking lapse of marketing   (well they said they were not ready),  the Aftershokz stand did not have the newly released Air product. What were they thinking?  Not even a mockup/ dummy unit?

Instead they had the outgoing, 20% heavier and larger outgoing  Trekz models.    What I would recommend is visit the stand, checkout the product and if you like it get ready to buy the Air.   Under no circumstances go for the current/almost obsolete product.   Really, wait for the Air.

NB: In UK road races, headphone on open roads i.e with regular traffic is totally banned.  However Bone conduction headsets may be ridden if the race organiser allows it.  This is because this headset leaves both ears totally open.   Essentially then if you race long distance events in the UK, bone conduction audio is your only hope to avoid total and utter boredom.

Nexo Solid Tyres

These are squidgy solid tyres.   They can't possibly compete with pneumatic i.e. tyres with air in them, however maybe they could be good for that city or offroad bike where puncture protection is most important.    We would love to get some tyres for testing!


As usual a great stand,  and this year the Pwr lights range that I did not recognise before.  

Four4th Lights

British ultra high performance lights.  On suitable discount during the show.

Lezyne seems to have revamped many of its front lights with an i model.  This adds a second waterproof socket allowing you to attach a battery pack.

So Lezyne: Why didn't you just have a single socket that can be a charge point or powerpack point?  huh?  I guess it could be retooling costs, except now you have basically 2 plugs where they should be one.  Not good.

Good Enough

Damson Headbones represent a product that is interesting...  To my mind in every possible way they are inferior to Aftershokz Air, but because not everybody will read my summary here no doubt they will be good enough for some.  They are a bone conduction headset, but very heavy and bulky.  I can't imagine using them for running but cycling might just be possible.  To me they don't even match the Aftershokz Trekz and that range is about to be obsoleted!

Pretty Cool

No Shows
Not everybody it seems turned up.   Most amusing.

Top End Bicycles

So if you have upwards of 5K GBP to spend then this show will offer you some delicious choices.



A high end brand, which is so exclusive they organise little events for members only.  (Just like Porsche does for its car owners).

Condor Cycles
 The famous London bespoke bicycle maker was back in force at the show.    I've owned multiple bicycles from them.   If you have the money they are still an excellent choice in 2017.

Bespoke London Lavoro from Ben Spurrier at Condor.

Boardman is an economically priced bicycle manufacturer with a huge range of choices.  They are local to Marcus and Agata but we failed to find their new Evesham bike retail space, because we found it is still under construction.   2018 we think.  Meanwhile they showcased some beta bikes, some custom aero bikes like this

Security: DataTag

 DataTag is a physical marking deterrent system.   We were so impressed we will do a test install and this will form part of a separate article.

In essence you make the bicycle with hundred of microdots each having a unique number that when seen with a UV light will identify your bicycle and components.   You also install a larger UV etching i.e. invisible to mark the frame and also a large sticker that it the deterrent.

The idea is that a professional thief will have heard of Datatag and will be discouraged from stealing your bicycle because on selling it a dealer or member of the public with a smartphone app can check if the bicycle or components are registered stolen.

The UK bike register provides a similar scheme but it is not as well known and is UK only, Datatag is international and better known, something that is important as a deterrent.

 If you are being very economical you will be glad to here that there are multiple sports foot and nutrition stands.  So without spending any money in the restaurant it is possible to fill up on samples!

In fact Marcus and Agata did fill up but only with a view to actually buying product.

We use ZipVit energy bars for example and cannot recommend them too highly, so Zipvit and others who were exhibiting had us as local paying customers.

As usual in shows, take cash into the show, there is a cashpoint outside the entry hall.

Ribble Alternative

Whilst Boardman has some excellent deals I cannot speak too highly of Ribble cycles.   We frequently recommend Ribbles to friends and cycling enthusiasts.  We had a long talk with some very knowledgeable staff on the stand.  So much so that we forgot to take photos!

In a nutshell

- Ribble are a UK based cycle integrator with a keen eye on pricing
- They focus on Road Bicycles
- In recent years main change would be their move to in house frames  (cf badged frames from big vendors)
- They are famous for having a Cycle Configurator.   Here you start with a frame then add a Groupset, wheels, Handlebars etc until you have a full bicycle.
- The bottom line is that Ribble's pricing is very keen.  Often a bicycle cost is barely more than the cost of the components, excluding a frame!

Some particular notes for 2017

- Popular R872 now has much lighter and stiffer construction with full carbon bottom bracket shell
- Many bikes now use push fit BB86 bottom bracket
- Most bikes have brazed on front mech
- Maybe, just maybe SRAM will be available by Christmas?
- Shimano Ultegra R8000 not generally available but coming
- There is a Birmingham showroom which has a full selection of bikes plus a professional jig to enable you to get correct bike sizing prior to order

As you can tell I was pretty much blown away by Ribble's professionalism at the show.  If I lived near Birmingham you would be a complete fool not to wander in to their showroom at /The Mailbox/.

And Finally

We left the show clutching a large set of bags.  Brochures, samples, food, some products.  It was all very exciting and worthwhile.  If you intend to go to one UK cycle show in the year I'd put this at the top of your list.

Full Photo list at native resolution
2017 Show Guide The Cycle Show NEC Birmingham

Educational Aside
Here are Bike Parts names.  Good to know.