The 2018 Eurobike trade show continues to give up its riches for intrepid attendees willing to wander the halls of the sprawling Messe Friedrichshafen convention center.
As one would expect of the world’s largest bicycle trade show, many of the better-known brands are on hand with plenty to show off, such as Enve Composites, Stans NoTubes, Park Tool, Fizik, and Camelbak. But even amongst the hundreds of exhibitors on hand, smaller ones can still find a way to get noticed, such as Effetto Mariposa, Abbey Bike Tools, KS, and Wheels Manufacturing.
But being based in Germany, Eurobike is also a prime showcase for European brands that value a stage on their home soil. De Rosa always makes a strong showing here, and French wheel and hub specialist Duke Racing Wheels — who works closely with former cross-country world champion Julian Absalon, but is hardly known in the United States — certainly enjoys a friendly audience here.
Eurobike is also usually good for a handful of new brand introductions, and this year was no different. Exept is a bespoke carbon fiber road frame builder based in Finale Ligure, Italy, and while custom carbon is hardly a new idea, it is definitely novel that Exept is offering made-to-measure frame geometry using monocoque construction instead of the far more common tube-to-tube methods. How does Exept do it? No one would say, but consider us intrigued.
New Italian company Exept is crafting modular monocoque carbon fiber road frames in Italy. That in and of itself isn’t hugely groundbreaking, but what’s interesting is that the company is also offering fully custom geometry.
Exept is currently offering two main styles of bike: a more race-oriented model with more obviously aero-inspired tube shaping and a more integrated fork and cockpit, and this more classically designed version that uses more rounded tube shapes, a conventional cockpit, and a round seatpost.
Since Exept doesn’t do stock bikes – and has no plans to produce in higher volumes – the company can get away with this novel handwritten specs on the seat tube of each frame it produces. Also note the ISO testing certification, which is not only very rare for a small custom builder like this, but very reassuring for the rider.
Exept is very careful to point out that its custom-geometry frames do not use a tube-to-tube construction method. Some sort of modular mold system is used to create the various tube lengths and angles used for each frame, but the company wouldn’t go into precise details.
On the more integrated version of its bikes, the fork crown and headset are more fully blended into the surrounding head tube.
The edges of the outer carbon plies are visible through the raw clearcoated finish, which leaves nothing hidden. There’s some hint as to how Exept uses its modular frame molds visible in the head tube-to-top tube junction.
The asymmetrical chainstays are tall and rectangular in profile, and are shared between both frame shapes.
Since every frame is built to order, customers have their choice of color accents and cable routing as needed.
For Shimano Di2 users, the junction box is housed inside the down tube below the water bottle cage.
With either the aero-shaped or round seatpost option, there’s a neatly hidden wedge-type seatpost binder tucked away inside the top tube.
Offset seat clusters like this have already been shown to yield smoother ride qualities relative to more traditional profiles.
When the Shimano Di2 junction box holder isn’t needed, the space is filled with a third water bottle mounting hole, giving users the option of placing the bottle further down in the frame.
Exept has launched exclusively with disc-brake frames. Want rim brakes? Look elsewhere.
“The black swan symbolizes both contrast and distinction in the genus of custom carbon fiber frame manufacturers,” says Exept’s marketing materials. “Exept is the only manufacturer to combine the performance advantages of monocoque with custom geometry and personal riding styles.”
De Rosa’s Kermesse welded aluminum road bike is designed to be a workhorse racer – just as the name suggests.
Somehow, installing anything but a Campagnolo groupset on this De Rosa just wouldn’t seem right.
Is De Rosa’s TT-03 time trial bike as aerodynamic as the better-known options on the market? Maybe, or maybe not. But it sure is pretty.
De Rosa and legendary Italian design house Pininfarina joined forces to create the Metamorphosis city bike. Built primarily for comfort and style, it certainly wouldn’t seem out of place under a well-dressed man or woman in Milan.
This shaping has no function whatsoever aside from looking interesting.
Camelbak has redesigned its popular Podium water bottles. This third generation features an all-new shape that’s compatible with more cages, it’s more squeezable than before, and even easier to clean. As before, there will be both small and large sizes, plus insulated versions.
The new Camelbak Podium cap can be easily and completely disassembled for very thorough cleaning – perfect for riders who regularly fill their bottles with sugary energy drinks.
An optional rubber cap helps keep trail debris out of the nozzle.
If CeramicSpeed’s 13-speed shaft-driven drivetrain wasn’t enough, the Danish company has a new bearing concept, too. These SLT pivot bearings are claimed to be at least three times more durable than the current market leader in suspension pivot bearings, the full-complement Enduro Max. CeramicSpeed’s trick is in replacing the usual grease with a plastic polymer matrix that is melted throughout the inside of the cartridge. According to CeramicSpeed, the plastic polymer is self-lubricating, won’t attract dust since it’s dry, and also doubles as the cartridge seal. Hardened stainless steel races and ceramic ball bearings work with the polymer to further increase durability. Expect to see these used in OEM applications before it’s made available aftermarket.
Want a Italian made torque wrench at a more affordable price? Effetto Mariposa will soon have this 1-8Nm version of its Giustaforza torque wrench. In addition to a narrower torque range (the original one goes up to 16Nm), this budget edition also features a more positive click at lower torques. Lacking a ratcheting head, the tool offers the best clearance of any torque wrench on the market. Expect this tool to sell for €100, or €140 with bits and case.
Duke Racing Wheels has been working with cross country racing legend Julien Absalon to develop front and rear specific rims – a concept that Absalon’s earlier wheel sponsor, Mavic, pioneered several years prior. Named 6Sters, the front rim is wider and deeper to provide greater tire width and improved wheel stiffness. The rear rim is shallower and narrower, and built to add compliance and save weight, all while featuring a reinforced spoke bed for the higher tensions and forces seen at the rear wheel. Currently, the idea is for mountain bike wheels only.
Duke makes its own hubs in France. These feature sprung ratchet rings, with a choice of three available tooth counts (25, 50, or 75 teeth) so that buyers can choose their balance of engagement speed, friction, and noise.
Enve’s new aero road stem uses a shim at the steerer clamp to allow both angle and finite length adjustment. It’s a feature we first saw used on older Specialized stems.
Announced at Dirty Kanza, Enve’s G Series wheels are one of the first truly dedicated gravel wheelsets on the market. Super light and designed to prevent pinch flats at the tyre, these provide clear insight to where gravel wheels are headed.
Abbey Bike Tools will soon have its first chain breaker for sale. Called the Decade, the American tool company says it broke 10,000 chain pins on a single prototype, simulating ten years’ worth of use in a professional environment.
The cromoly body and lead screw are given an ultra low-friction powder-based physical vapor deposition (PPVD) coating for super smooth operation. Massive aluminium handles provide plenty of leverage and some weight for easy spinning. The tool can peen Campagnolo rivets, and stores a spare pin in its handle.
The chain tool’s steel mid-plate is easily replaceable, and can be upgraded with changing chain dimensions so that the tool is never rendered obsolete.
Fizik has expanded its R1 Infinito Knit shoe colour range. Being able to design such patterns is one very obvious benefit for the new knitted technology.
Here’s another example of the expanded colour ways.
The wall-mounted HipLok AirLok is a stylish way to store and lock a bike.
KS has been working with professional cross-country racer Jolanda Neff on a dropper seatpost specific to cyclocross and gravel bikes. Pictured is a prototype remote lever for drop bars.
KS is a big player in the OEM world, and the company’s latest development is in frame-integrated dropper posts. Swiss mountain bike company Bold, best known for hiding the rear shock within a carbon frame, is the first to adopt the new design. It features a seatpost topper that allows 70mm of height adjustment – roughly half what is usually offered.
MIPS has a very obvious presence at Eurobike. The helmet safety company is pushing a clear message of adaptability in design, showcasing that there are endless ways for MIPS technology to be implemented into helmets without compromise. The pictured BOA system is one example, and Giro’s new Aether helmet is another. More simply put, there’s no cookie-cutter MIPS design; each one is designed specifically for one particular helmet.
PEdALED is a premium clothing brand within the Selle Royal group that also includes Fizik, Brooks, and crankbrothers. This Tokaido jacket (also available as a vest or neck warmer) features a silky soft Polartec Alpha inner lining, a material that’s claimed to offer amazing insulation and breathability, all at an impressive weight. The jacket easily stows within its own pocket.
PEdALED also offers a full range of highly reflective clothing. These gloves will certainly give you a hand in being seen.
The new Polygon Stratos S7 offers stellar value with its full-carbon frameset and Shimano 105 groupset for under AU$2,000 (€1399). The Indonesian company manufactures its own metal frames, but outsources the production of its carbon bikes. Distribution method varies based on the market.
The Stratos S7 offers a number of high-end features, such as a tapered fork steerer, an integrated seatpost clamp, and internal cable routing.
Park Tool has updated its BX-2 travel toolbox with a whole new pallet arrangement. Despite the case itself being much the same as the previous version, the new pallets in the BX-2.2 cannot be retrofitted to older cases.
If Park Tool’s previous travel case isn’t big enough, there’s now a much bigger case to fit a full workshop’s worth of tools inside. The BX-3 is designed for race mechanics traveling in team trucks, or for event support mechanics who require a huge array of tools. Built-in wheels and an extendable handle make it easier to move around.
Park Tool has joined the hex screwdriver game and now offer 2, 2.5, and 3mm drivers, built with American-made CNC-machined handles and precision ground blades. Such a tool is extremely handy when dealing with smaller bolt sizes in tight spots (such as front derailleur limit screws). The torque requirements for these smaller bolt sizes are rarely an issue for a screwdriver handle.
SwiftCarbon was founded in South Africa, but now has a Portuguese owner. The Revox is the latest road bike from the company, designed as an all-around race bike. There are some aero elements, but it’s not a wholly integrated design. Most interesting, there’s just one frame that features mounts for both flat-mount disc brakes and direct-mount rim brakes. The fork is changed depending on which way the customer chooses to go. We don’t think having both choices built into one frame is a benefit to riders, but it would certainly ease production and dealer stocking.
A view of the Revox’s edgy front end. Like that paint? All SwiftCarbon frames are now painted in Portugal.
Wheels Manufacturing is no stranger to bearing-related tools. This new bottom bracket tool set is designed to both install and remove just about any press-fit bottom bracket on the market. A kit like this will set you back US$250.
Stan’s NoTubes has updated its gravel range. The Grail Mk3 (right) features a 20.3mm-wide (internal width) aluminium rim. Like all Stan’s rims, it’s optimised for tubeless tyre use. Claimed to weigh 1,675g for a pair with tubeless tape and valve stems, they retail for US$700.
The Stan’s NoTubes Grail CB7 is for those willing to spend a little more, built with a 21.6mm internal width that’s meant for tyres between 25-40c. Claimed weight for the top-tier version is just 1,277g, and retail price is US$1,635. The wheels are said to be more compliant and stronger than the alloy Grail MK3.