Highlights from Eurobike 2012
By Jeff Lockwood
The annual European pilgrimage for the Eurobike bicycle tradeshow went down this past weekend in Friedrichshafen, Germany. As expected, the show unveiled all sorts of bikes and bits from manufacturers from around the world. Since this is essentially the first show of the season, many products make their debut here. Here is a basic run-through of some of the more interesting things we found.
Knog wins my award for most stunning…and kind of freaky…show display. Those pretty lights around the product moved and changed as you move the product on the table, even leaving behind a silhouette of the image for a few moments after you move it.
Mikili Bicycle Furniture
Mikili is a brand new company from Berlin that makes unique pieces of stylish furniture that incorporate the ability to store bicycles. All pieces are handcrafted by people involved with a social program for disabled employees in Germany. These bookcases, shelves, and other pieces all have one part of the structure that cradles the top tube of your bicycle. Perfect for storing your Hemmingway books and framed pictures on the same shelf as your IRO.
Endurance road bikes
It’s no secret that comfortable, long-distance road bikes are becoming very popular. The main characteristics of these bikes include wide tire clearance, more relaxed geometry for comfort, and often rack and fender mounts. Yet there’s no denying these rigs are race-ready road bikes at their core. Soon enough you’ll be seeing more of these bikes at your favorite Gran Fondo or long-distance non-paved road race.
BMC Gran Fondo GF01: The BMC Gran Fondo touts the ability to do everything from cyclocross racing to being a fast commuter. It features a lightweight aluminum frame, carbon fork, Shimano 515 disc brakes, and a Shimano 105 CX groupset. While it touts long-distance comfort, it definitely looks to share the spirit of its Tour de France-caliber siblings.
Cielo: The Chris King house brand, Cielo, offers the steel Sportif Racer. It claims to have the handling and speed of a more race-oriented road bike, but more comfort for all-day rides. This sexy machine offers trimmed-down chainstays and a lower headtube height.
Thule: Thule, long-known for their car racks (as well as luggage and other bags), have introduced a line of pannier racks and bags. The Thule Pack ’n Pedal system is designed to offer commuters and adventure cyclists a full range of options for their respective needs.
The racks in the system use nylon straps to connect to the frame, and they’re then tightened down with a 5mm ratchet bolt. Within the Pack ‘n Pedal system are a variety of proprietary pannier bags, map mounts, and even a protected adjustable iPad mount for the handlebars. Of particular note are the panniers. They attach to the racks with a very unique mechanism that allows for one-handed installation and removal. Off the bike, the mechanism in the bag folds inward to reveal a smooth surface that won’t catch on your clothing. The bottom of the bag stays attached to the bottom of the rack thanks to a magnet
The Thule Pack ‘n Pedal system is available in the US.
I first spotted a Crème bicycle in a local shop in Antwerp, Belgium. I was immediately struck by its sleek aesthetic and lugged frames. Crème is a Polish company that started in 2009 by a psychologist, a cosmetics R&D guy, and a “rock star.” This trio makes sure a “new vintage” style is just as important as the performance of the bikes. Pictured here is the women’s Café Racer, and it’s definitely worth noting that the company has a strong focus on women’s bikes because, they say, not many companies do so. Crème Cycles just started offering bikes in the United States, so check http://cremecycles.com for more info.
It’s no secret that electric bikes are becoming more and more popular. It’s also important to note that such bikes are no longer the domain of people who have no regard for style and little care for functionality. There were many unique, beautiful, and useful machines on the show floor, all with batteries and motors attached.
SRAM: SRAM is finally getting into the electric bike game by with their E-Matic system, which comprised of a hub, battery pack, and a battery rack to hold the battery. It comes with three different battery sizes, 32- and 36-hole hubs, and is rated at 250w. Maximum assisted speed, as per law, in the US is 20mph and 25kph in Europe. The two-speed system shifts automatically. Chances are you’re going to see the SRAM E-Matic system on a lot more e-bikes in the near future. Case in point…
Electra Townie Go: One of Electra’s most popular models is their Townie, and this year marks the 20th anniversary of the company. So it only made sense that the Townie would be one of the very first bicycles on the market to be fitted with the SRAM E-Matic system. Townie Go, the name of the electrified version of the original bike, is perfectly aligned with Electra’s “simple, safe, and smart” mantra. The bike retains its minimalist stylish lines with the lack of complicated cabling, which is especially surprising…and nice…on an electric-assist bike. The one-button system has a speed sensor for torque to give the rider the little extra push, but not to go over the 25k European speed limit.
KTM Eshopper: KTM is well known as a motorcycle brand around the world, but they also have quite an extensive line of bicycles—more than a few of them are electric bikes. Of particular note is their 2012 Eurobike Award-winning eSHOPPER. The step-through 6061 aluminum frame is balanced on either end with two spacious racks, while fat 24” tires ensure you and your cargo have a smooth ride.
The stem is adjustable, thanks to a quick-release closure, and stopping power is provided by Shimano Deore hydraulic disc brakes. A hefty 250w Bosch motor is controlled with an intricate LCD screen atop the bars. KTM claims this electric-assisted bike will get up to 100 kilometers on one battery charge. While not available in the US just yet, there’s no doubt this would be one attractive and useful bike. http://www.ktm-bikes.at
Continental Belt Drive
Continental is well-known for its rubber, particularly tires. This year, the company has launched another product with rubber at its core: the Conti Drive System. Definitely looking to be an alternative to the Gates belt system, the Conti Drive System has a 14mm tooth-to-tooth distance, where other systems use 12mm. Continental says this allows for a lower tension installation. You don’t need to have the belt super-tight, which loses a bit of efficiency. While Continental says this system is not ideal for the stresses of mountain biking, it is ideal for trekking, city and e-bike use.