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Eurobike 2017 – My Highlights

This was my first time attending Eurobike in Germany, and it’s been an utter blast.So one week after returning to the shores of Blighty, these are my highlights from Friedrichshafen, covering tech, cycling, and life – in no particular order!

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Eurobike 2017 – My Highlights

Eurobike is one of the largest trade shows in Europe and is attended by the most of the major cycling and accessory manufacturers. Here is my overview of Eurobike 2017, and some of my favourite kit from the show

My friend and I set off from Warwickshire and decided that we’d actually get more out of the trip if we drove from the UK. Now I’ve always been a big fan of Google Maps. However, I was slightly suspicious of the capability of the software route us in the Continent given that the different options provided, to save ELVEN MINUTES were not merely go via this different road, but go via this different country

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Following the trip under the Channel via leTunnel, I happy to say that’s I’m an absolute convert – 35mins journey time coast to coast really puts the ferry at 2 hours into the realms of the dark ages!

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After leaving the UK at 1:00 pm, we finally made it to the farm house we were staying at for 5:00 am, to be greeted by the owner, who was preparing his animals for milking. What I hadn’t realised when booking the room, was that the farm was very close to the local church… Well being close to the church wasn’t really an issue, it was more the bells that started at 6 am!

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So after a very short sleep, we managed to hit the show floor, and the fun began!

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So what did I find particularly interesting on the shop floor?

MIPS Helmets and MIPS liners

Well MIPS really was pushing hard this year to make people realise the importance of their technology. As such, they were one of the first booths, actually in the entrance hall, and also promoted on the back of the Eurobike guide.

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I have been very clear in the past following my Giro Synthe review that MIPS can have such an impact in the case of a crash, I will NOT buy another helmet without this liner technology.  There were many new helmets on display at Eurobike featuring the technology. The MIPS stand had several demo unit to explain to people how the crash technology works. If you fall from your bike and hit your head, the helmet takes the impact, but the liner, allows the helmet to rotate slightly against your head, changing the direction of the force, and reducing the transfer of force to your skull and subsequently brain. Don’t know about you, but I like the sound of reducing forces going through my brain

Several of the major helmet manufacturers released new units at the show this year, many of which proudly displaying the MIPS logo on their rear. Not least of which was the Giro Vanquish MIPS, which might just be the unit I have been looking for to replace my ageing Caseco lid!

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Zwift Android Hidden in Plain Sight

Obviously going to Eurobike, one of my first stops was the Zwift Booth, which was shared with the Tacx team

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The guys on the Zwift stands and events are always exceptionally enthusiastic generally, all having deep cycling knowledge and experience before moving over to Big Orange. If you happen to see a Zwift event near yourself, I highly advise you to pop along. You never know who you might see!

I was lucky enough to catch up with the ZwiftCast after Simon had completed recording for his next video interview,

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Plus the irrepressible Jesper Anker who you may have known from his days on CyclingHub before he moved over to Zwift

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Also, Zwift booths occasionally have very interesting things casually on display. In this case a public display of Zwift running on Android!

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Whilst these are very much pre-alpha software builds, they are a clear announcement that Zwift is looking at coming to Googles range of phones, but given the technical requirements of Zwift, it will be interesting to see just how many devices are eventually supported

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HipLok being EVERYWHERE

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Hiplok had one of the larger presences at Eurobike, when it came to bike security and lock manufacturers, part of this was manifested in that after launching the Airlok last year, it was very interesting to many HipLok AirLok units dotted around the halls. Whilst this was most likely a marketing arrangement from HipLok it did highlight that their bike hanger is about much more than just securing your bike. As Muc-off were happy to demonstrate, it’s also an effective way of showing off your steed.

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When HipLok shipped the Airlok, they also included a ZLok, an armoured zip tie in the box. These are now on general release with a range of colours on display at Eurobike.

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HipLok were also showing off their prototype of a ZLok – but with a combination lock, which I think would be a good next step with the ZLok

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However, with something using a combination lock, there is then the question as to how much force does it take to simply break the loop. That answer to that was pretty simple “with the metal core; it’s strong enough you could do pull ups on it!”…Well that had to be confirmed, didn’t it!!

 

TACX NEO Smart Bike

We knew they were coming and Tacx was the first to reveal their idea of what a smart bike should be. We have a Neo encased in a bike frame. But with the stand out feature, that Tacx have removed the cassette, instead equipping the unit with a belt drive and virtual shifting made possible by the magnets within the Neo

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Tacx is targeting a €2000-25000 price point for their new steed. Although I will be interested to see what becomes of that in the long term as the new WattBike Atom, which launched after Eurobike is being priced at £1500. That does put a large premium on the Neo Smart Bikes’s silent running. But given that the Neo Smart is still in prototype phase, it will be interesting to see what other features get added on. Tacx have confirmed that due to the Neo being able to run without plugging in the power, not only will the same be on the Neo Smart bike, but Tacx will also build two USB ports to the front of the unit to allow you to charge your tablet during a workout. Which really appeals to me, as recently with smart trainers, and the growth of Zwift, it must be recognised that whilst these are tremendous achievements, it has moved cycling away from the carbon neutral sport it was. So props to Tacx for harnessing our watts for more than just training.

Wahoo KICKR CLIMB

If there was one company that “won” Eurobike from the Zwift, indoor training world, it has to be Wahoo. Even given the size of their booth, which was surprisingly small, given the amount of mindshare that the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB claimed during the event.

One of the things I like about the KICKR CLIMB conceptually is it came out of left field. No one really predicted it. Everyone has been focused towards smart bikes, that they didn’t see something like the Wahoo KICKR CLIMB coming.

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Currently, there is only one CLIMB unit, the one seen at Eurobike, and whilst the announcement of the unit has gone down well, there has been a rub for some people. The Wahoo KICKR Climb will only work with the Wahoo KICKR 2017 and the KICKR SNAP 2017 due to changes that have been made where you attached your bike. The reason being the event the 2016 models were not designed to have the bike pivot on the trainer. There may be a conversation for existing KICKRs, but currently, that is far from certain.

CamelBack are Making Body Armour

Because the natural progression for a company known for drinks receptacles and backpacks is body armour!? Especially as the back protector in question is what is termed a level 2 protector, which is more often of relevance to motorbike riders

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In order to be certified as a Level 2 protector, the unit must resist the force from the impact of a 5kg  triangle shaped mass, against an anvil, propelled at 4.4ms/s in order to deliver 50J of energy. A unit is only level 2 if the average peak force recorded from the anvil is below 9 kN, and no single value shall exceed 12 kN.

Technical stuff. Here is a little video of the  CamelBak demo

Other bits from Eurobike

Elite clearly took the win for the most impressive display, with an Elite Drivo laid out in component form. Although seeing this in the flesh, I realised that I must have seen them preparing this installation when I did the Elite Factory Tour earlier in the yearTitaniumGeek IMG_2278-2 Eurobike 2017 - My Highlights Zwift Wahoo Tacx MIPS EuroBike

Lizard Skins did a very clever advertising campaign wrapping all of the door bars in the convention centre with Lizard Skins tape

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Bugatti stole my heart with their £34,000 hybrid bike

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Oh and as far as I’m concerned when hybrid bike manufacturers are championing that their unit can do 45/km/h… they are little more than mopeds!

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Eurobike 2017 Conclusion

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Eurobike was an amazing couple of days. I think that one of the biggest things for me was that so many people seemed happy to be there. People showing off new kit, and being proud of the work that they have done. Don’t misunderstand me, I appreciate they are there to do a job, but you can tell when you are talking to a designer who is genuinely proud that their product which has been gestating for who knows how long has finally been revealed.

From my perspective, Eurobike has been very worth while from a networking perspective, I’ve come back with a shed load of business cards, which will hopefully translate into products for reviews on here. So stay tuned

Oh and yes, the tunnels in Germany are amazing, and the autobahns are an experience everyone should do at least once!

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James Gill

Author of TitaniumGeek, which started after smashing off my RIGHT elbow. Feel free to drop me a line about sports tech, medicine, or frankly anything that you want to chat about!!