The best of Eurobike 2014: clothing, saddles and more
In this third and final piece about his visit to Eurobike last week, Dave Everett shares some of his favourite items of clothing, saddles, pedals and more.
Clothing manufacture EtxeOndo used to sponsor several teams such as ONCE and Euskatel but they have been off the scene for the past two years … or so you might think.
The company has in fact been working with Giant-Shimano. Though it says Giant on the jersey the kit is in actual fact made by ExteOndo. Any of the kit that the likes of Marcel Kittel and Koen de Kort have been wearing this year — from rain jackets to bib shorts — is available in some nice-looking designs.
Castelli showcased their updated Gabba jersey in a new cut which is now available in a few more colours. It’s still a hot item to get hold of. Apparently Castelli can’t keep up with demand of the item — as soon as new stock is available they run out.
They also have a new jacket system — a double-layered jacket that is designed to be more adaptable to training conditions in the winter. Instead of laminating a Windstopper over the top of a micro fleece-style material they are now two separate layers stitched into the same jacket. It’s a tough one to describe but once you see the jacket it’s obvious how much of a good idea it is.
Sportful announced a three-year extension with Tinkoff-Saxo. This is a real coup as Oleg Tinkov could afford any number of suppliers — Sportful were clearly very proud of working with the team.
The team have helped them develop some new kit including extra light jerseys that have been especially designed for the heat that hits the riders when the undertake the Vuelta. As well as ultralight they are still 90% UV protective, something they are pleased about as they knew there’d be no bad publicity shots, unlike with a certain British rider who posted a photo of his sunburnt body after using a lightweight jersey from one Sportful’s competitors.
Sportful also had their popular bottle vest on display. A number of importers for Sportful have demanded this item to be available to the public, though the main guys at Sportful are wondering who’ll use it. Amateur racing very infrequently needs such an item. Perhaps fit milkmen or people heading for a drink or two may be the intended market.
Power meters and smartphone apps displaying power seem to be on the up too. Wahoo had some great items on display. Their Tickr X looks just like a normal heartrate monitor strap and unit. But it records not just your heart rate but also calories burned, cadence (without a separate cadence unit) and a few other parameters. It can then store all this and later post it over to your smartphone. The gizmo was a highlight amongst a plethora of far bigger and more technical items.
Many brands had smartphone apps, but most seemed to do a similar thing. They’d sync with sensors and then just post the details to Strava or other social media sites.
It’s sometimes the simple ideas that work the best and also catch the attention. To keep these smart phones in place on the handle bars you’ll need a mount. Many brands had their plastic clamps that securely mounted the phones to the bars.
But one Austrian firm had designed a simple silicon band that would wrap around the bars and hold any phone in place, eve if it was in a waterproof jacket. The Finn got more attention that items that cost thousands more that it. It was made for BikeCityGuides who usually produce navigational city phone maps.
A new brand from the guys that brought you Charge bikes is Fabric. Fabric focus on producing saddles. They had a couple on display, the ALM is a full carbon-bodied and raid saddle that is meant to act like a leaf spring. The aim is, like any saddle, to keep you as comfortable as possible. Fabric feel that their unique design and construction (that they worked on with Airbus) is flexible enough to warrant not having material upper on the top end model.
They also had a saddle that’s not quite ready for production that is produced much like the old Haxalite shoes. The Cell saddle is made up of its namesake; an air sprung upper is being worked on with a leading trainer manufacture and should be available soon.
Eurobike is amazing, well worth visiting. It gives you a perfect idea of where the market is going and a larger idea of what cycling means to people. It’s not just road, MTB, BMX but the whole vast and multiple directions that cycling has taken over the years that are on display. Some products are easy to relate to; others not quite so much. But it’s all fascinating.