Even though many of the big bike brands unveiled their premium bikes earlier in the year, at private media events or major races like the Tour de France, new models of one sort or another lurk in nearly every booth here. And even if there are no new bikes to show, most brands dress up a few flashy frames simply for the sake of attracting attention.
Here are some of the ones that jumped out at me on day 2. Since we generally have better year-round access to American brands, I focused on European bikes. But don’t fret – there’s plenty more to see in the coming days.
Eric Wallace is the new marketing manager for Ridley Bicycles in North America. He described a few new models for the Belgian brand, including the Noah RS aero road bike. It’s built with most of the same features as the original, super-aero Noah, but at a price roughly $1000 less. The front half of the bike sports the Noah’s R-Flow split blade fork and slippery tube shapes, but the rear half lacks the distinctive Noa R-Flow split chainstays and the integrated seat mast. Instead, the seat tube accepts a traditional seat post –a boon for travel. The seat tube does however wear strips of R-Surface textured paint, designed to energize airflow and create a boundary layer against the tube. Naturally the cables are routed internally.
Also on the way for 2011 is a collection of three models dressed up with a very Belgian theme. The collection is called the Flandrian range and will launch in April with the Helium, X-Caliber, and Icaraus frame platforms. They wear Belgian-inspired graphics, 100-percent Campagnolo drivetrains, and custom, hand-laced 32-spoke wheels with cobbled classics-style box-section rims. Wallace said that Ridley is excited to capitalize on riders’ emotional association and excitement with the Belgian Lion of Flanders logo.
Right now, it’s not possible to buy a Canyon bicycle in the United States. But, “We expect that Canyon bikes will be available in America sometime in 2011,” said Tim Maloney, PR agent for the brand. He wasn’t able to specify exactly when, where, or how a rider in the USA would be able to get one of the German-engineered machines, but he certainly served notice that the company is investigating options for an invasion of American soil.
In Europe, Canyon is a consumer-direct mail order brand, much the same as Dell Computers in the USA. Whether or not that’s the sales plan for America, Maloney couldn’t say. “We have a lot of interest, but we currently just can’t ship to the USA,” he said. “However, if you wanted one badly enough, you could order a bike online, have it ship to an address in Germany, then come pick it up in person while you vacation on the continent,” he described.
Regardless, Canyon is out with a new aero road bike called the Aeroad CF. It’s quite a departure from the company’s current top of the line Ultimate CF SLX. Whereas the Ultimate frames are known for best-in-class stiffness to weight ratios, the Aeroad CF was built to be efficient in the wind. Canyon engineers narrowed and tapered the head tube and bladed the fork and frame tubes to achieve a claimed 20-percent reduction in frontal surface area.
A few other neat details:
- The fork dropouts have reversible “chips” which alter the wheel’s clamp location in the fork blades, thereby adjusting the effective fork rake and handling. The feature is called Rake Shift.
- Micro grains of basalt rock incorporated with the carbon laminate in the fork and aero seat post help add flex and vibration damping for comfort;
- Internal cable routing is compatible with either Di2 or mechanical cables;
Canyon engineers tried to maintain their bikes’ legendary stiffness despite the much narrower frame tubes by way of an internal bottom bracket and adjustments to the carbon layup schedule.