Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday Sermon: Man Made not Heaven Sent

Adam Lambert: Mad World by Devon Marshbank

There is much to wonder and celebrate within our Natural world, but from Art to the iPhone it is made by us Humans.

Many now postulate this includes  <insert your chosen> Deity too.

Faithless: god is a DJ  (Deadmau5)

Saturday, September 29, 2018

The Cycle Show NEC 2018

As I write this you still have 2 days to enjoy The Cycle Show at the NEC Birmingham from September 29-30 2018.  If you are local, are interested in bicycles, and can spare the 20 GBP price of admission  (plus car parking) then I can't see why you would not be attending.  

It's a decently large show, with many big name Retailers and Distributors, the chance to see many types of Road and Mountain bicycles, as well as speciality and high end products.   And some talks and an indoor covered test section.  

What is not to like?

Here are some of the highlights that Marcus, Agata and Pierre found on the day:

Sports Nutrition
Multiple big names are present, most with free food samples!  It is your chance to actually try out a whole variety of sports foods and buy them in quantity with show discounts.

We use Garmin on a daily basis not just as fitness and activity trackers but also Garmin for our Cycle computers.   The reps explained to Marcus that there are 2 distinct sets of product: Performance and Touring.  Hence my lowly Garmin 130  (performance)  has features not found in the more expensive colour touring focused Garmin Edge Explore  and so to get everything I would really have to shell out for something like the Garmin 1030.   Now I understand!

Given this cost delta I will for now continue to use the Garmin 130 and ride with heart rate data broadcast from my Garmin 935 watch.

In all cases it is true that no head unit can do anything more than look (i.e. not control ) my new SRAM eTap equipped bicycle transmission on my race bicycle.

High End & Fanboy

Cycling is an interesting sport in that we the general public can often see, touch, and then buy and use the very products that the pro cyclists use.  Far from true say in Motorsport for example.

So here is a selection of exotica.   With unlimited funds I can quite imagine a stable of 5K and perhaps 10K+ bicycles all focused on different specialities.   But for now just some pictures:

Ribble does Electric

 Ribble announced the Endurance SLe e-bike.  Full Specs here  Prices from 3K GBP

 Also on display models like their existing SL  SuperLight

To Marcus their TT and Triathlon specific bicycles looked too fussy.  There is a need for storage of course but it looked a bit of an 'add on' to me.  


 The more we interact with other athletes in the UK we realise that the weather here has cultured a secret set of home Wattbikers.    The Atom is now the machine to get to keep that cycle fitness intact come rain or snow in the Autumn and Winter months in England.


 Product on display included the Digital Pressure Overdrive pump which has a chamber into which air can be stored and compressed, to then release into tubeless tyres to seat them.

I spoke with a Lezyne rep about the awful design of the battery charge sockets on what I now see are the older lights.  The new design has moved the micro USB socket towards the edge of the light so plugging it in is now possible without swearing.  And the charging cover is now ugly looking with a rubber and a screw, not just a rubber, but it's now practical, before it was awkward.


 My first chance to see the 12 bike road transmission and stepping back:  Well I never wanted to use or own any 11 speed transmissions.  10 speed was plenty for me, but today you need to invest in 11 speed as 10 speed is dead.

Whereas 12 speed road transmission is going where?  I hope nowhere.

Since Campagnolo is not really driving the industry at the Road component level anymore I'm sad to say that unless the likes of Shimano and SRAM adopt this standard I don't see this being any sort of winner.

Condor Cycles

As the owner of multiple Condor cycles earlier in life I was charmed to see the above picture of Monty Young, Condor Founder on a large billboard on the stand.

I owned a previous generation leggero and this current one looks great for 2018.  If you have the funds then Condor still over a beautiful bespoke bike building service.

Hexo Helmets

 This is a bespoke 3D printed bicycle helmet to fit you personally.  It will be high end and not cheap and on the stand they promised a base design with user customisable shells and graphics.   A head scan at the show is free so they have size data for your future product.

KMC Chains

KMC have for years made great bicycle chains.  They also sell the missing link for use with their and other manufacturers chains, allowing you to quick close and open the chain.  Great idea.  They also have a number of high end chains like the DLC11 in a variety of colours .  Expensive but very light and a consistently good product.

Selle Italia
 A good selection on show including the high end.

Cytronex Electrical

 Provide a pretty unique proposition.  This is an electric conversion package for your current bicycle.  It's basically

- Powered Front wheel
- Battery that attaches to the front bottle cage holder screws
- Handlebar mounted control
- Chain mounted motion sensor  (because in the UK if you are freewheeling then it's illegal to supply power)

I hear it is a developing product.  To me its already exceptional, however I hate to criticise but I was annoyed at the number of cables.  I humbly suggest

- Wireless control to attach to handlebars  (not wired)
- Use of wireless rotational sensor to control on/off power delivery.  For me I would propose a Garmin style wireless crank rotation sensor, or a wireless optical sensor mounting close to and monitoring the front chainwheel not the rear cassette as currently implemented.

Now I know my suggestions are easy to make and maybe more difficult to implement, but make these 2 changes and I'm confident the reduction in wiring and hassle would make this a world beating product.

 Fizik shoes and saddles were on display

First you have to classify your flexibility and then Fizik have a range to suit you.

 I was impressed at the saddles displayed.

Less so at the shoes for you could look at them  (all size 42 that I saw), but because they only brought that one size they missed out on people trying them on and really getting ready to then go and order the size they might want.  Next year perhaps Fizik?

 Hutchinson Tyres
Around since ground 0 of tubeless tyres they are apparently the manufacturer of choice for road tubeless.  Lots of tyres on display.

Mumbo F Jumbo

I felt strangely sick to my stomach as I passed this stand

Here is the secret sauce:  Watch This

Tannus Airless Tyres

I believe it is a Korean product, basically solid tyres that you can mount to a clincher rim.  I was really impressed and have paid real money for a trial set.   

A report to follow!

Best Handlebars

 The Deda i.e. Dedacciai stand had some extremely helpful Italians who explained to me their product range and the different sizes and curvatures and materials used in their handlebars.

I'm particularly interested in new road bars with decent internal routing and these SuperZero  looked fantastic

 In second place I also found these Zipp SL70 Aero handlebars.  There were bloody light on the grams but heavier on the wallet!

More Lights

Multiple products from mainstream manufacturers like Garmin and CatEye etc. which provide connected lights i.e. connected to Smartphones with Bluetooth, or with inbuilt cameras to record traffic, or accelerometers to change display on braking.

Really innovative technology and we are testing the see.sense lights and will produce a report shortly

If you are a keen cyclist then I can confidently say that you could easily spend a very interesting day at the NEC Cycle Show.

I highlighted some of the interesting products to me.  But there was also many Offroad bikes and technologies,  lectures, and stands for Cycle tourism.   A pretty full featured show, but not something enormous like Eurobike, so that in this case you can get around the whole show in a full day.