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London Cycle Show
London, UK, October 11-14, 2007
Part 1 - Condor, Enigma, Kinesis and Raleigh head the line-up
By Ben Atkins in London, England
The London Cycle Show is the UK bike industry's annual event. Held for the first time this year at its new home of Earls Court, the show has attracted most of the world's top manufactures as well as the UK brands such as Condor, Enigma, Kinesis and Raleigh. From October 11 to 14 the show was abuzz with manufacturers, consumers and retailers all hoping to gain a look at next year's products before they hit the stores. Cyclingnews' Ben Atkins was there to provide our readers with an insight as to what was on offer.
London's iconic brand will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2008 and debuted the new all-new Diamante to celebrate the occasion. The new full carbon model is made from Dedacciai's Rebel SL tubing, and in the great tradition of Condor, the frame is available in completely custom sizes as well as stock geometry - one of the advantage of building a frame from bonded tubes rather than a moulded monocoque.
As with a lot of carbon - and other - frames at the moment, the Diamante is equipped with an integrated seat mast to help carry the stiffness of the main tubes right up to the saddle. Condor finishes off the new Diamante with Dedacciai's new Blackwave fork. As further celebration of the company's heritage, Condor has also painted the frame in the colours of Mackeson - a team from British racing's past, sponsored by the eponymous Stout.
Condor has also completely revamped its classic Baracchi frame, which now features an entirely new shape thanks to Dedacciai's new Ribelle chassis. As it did last year, it continues to have the profile of every single Etape du Tour on its main tubes, adding this year's epic stage from Foix to Loudenvielle - Le Louron, and it also includes the first Etape du Legende.
The Leggero frame remains largely unchanged, but it does get a new fork. This frame will be the team issue for next year's super team made up of a merger between Recycling.co.uk and Rapha Condor.
Other features of the 2008 Condor range include a new colour scheme for the retro-inspired steel Classico, new carbon seat stays on the Agio and a new carbon rear end for the Italia, and a very retro gold track bike based on the one ridden to victory in the 1961 Skol Six. Condor also continues with the revival of the old Paris brand, including a limited number of new old stock wooden rims.
Enigma has not felt the need to make too many changes to its frames for 2008, as the East Sussex-based titanium specialist's range is still topped by the Eulogy and its semi-integrated seat post. Tube upgrades have been made to the Echo frame, however, meaning that all custom option frames are now made with double butted tubesets.
Enigma has added a mountain bike frame to its lineup, though, with the addition of the Ego hardtail. Like its road going stablemates, the Ego is made from 3Al/2.5V titanium and fits an oversized 31.6mm seat post for a little extra stiffness. The rear end of the frame is softened slightly with the inclusion of S-shaped hourglass seat and chain stays and is exclusively for use with disc bakes only - sorry, no rim brake bosses are fitted.
The innovation that Enigma is most proud of this year is also what it sees as the ultimate extension to its bespoke frame service, called Lab. According to the Lab philosophy, "Just because it is not in the catalogue, it doesn't mean it's not available.", Current Lab projects include a hardtail MTB frame with twin top tubes that don't join to the seat tube - for extra softness, a cyclocross frame with convertible dropouts for use with disc brakes or in singlespeed applications, and quite stunningly, a mirror polished singlespeed version of the Eulogy frame.
The Kinesis road range is topped by its full carbon KR-810 frame. This was only displayed at last year's show as a bare prototype frame, but has been used to some success by Kinesis Team riders this past season. The KR-810 is a full monocoque construct, covered in a 3K carbon weave and utilizing a slightly sloping geometry. It comes with an oversized 31.6mm Oval Concepts seatpost and Kinesis' own Tracer fork.
New this year - to a company that has a great name for itself in the UK off road market - is the Carbon C-Six Crosslight. This new cyclocross frame is not branded as a Kinesis as it has been made in Italy, rather than Kinesis' usual far eastern factories. This is due to the prohibitive mould set up cost on what Kinesis regards as a niche frame.
One of rhe famous names in British bike manufacture is back in the road race market, and riding high on the success of team Raleigh-Lifeforce-Creation rider Nicole Cooke. Unfortunately, though, there was no evidence of the particular model that Cooke has been riding this season.
Topping the rest of the range is the new AIRLite Carbon Race, featuring a full carbon monocoque frame built with a broad check 12K weave and carbon bladed forks with an aluminium steerer. The bike is marketed with a full Ultegra groupset and includes a 50/34T compact chainset.
Raleigh is also re-entering the cyclocross market with a new entry level bike, featuring a Shimano Tiagra groupset with an aluminium FSA chainset.
Pinnacle is a relatively new name in the world of cycling, but has already enjoyed considerable success in the domestic road calendar through its sponsorship of the Plowman Craven - Evans Cycles team. Like many framebuilders, Pinnacle has used that relationship with the elite peloton to its advantage, taking feedback from its riders and ploughing it into development of new products.
The product of this collaboration is the new Aeos carbon, and on display in the Pinnacle booth was the prototype bike ridden in the Tour of Britain by British Circuit Race Champion James McCallum. The abuse that "Jimmy Mac" put the bike through in the weeklong race is in evidence all over the bike, but the positive feedback he gave the designers is invaluable.
The frame itself is a carbon monocoque made using C3 fibres with a unidirectional finish, while the fork is custom tuned and finished in a similar unidirectional fashion. The whole thing is designed with Pinnacle's P-Fit Pro geometry, and includes such innovative features as a combined head tube badge and cable stop and a forward facing seatpost slot, part of what Pinnacle calls "Forward Thinking UK Design".
The complete "Team" bike comes with a full Shimano Dura-Ace groupset - with the exception of a carbon FSA K-Force Light chainset - and Fulcrum Racing 3 wheels. Ordinarily, the Aeos frame comes in relatively sober silver/carbon, white/carbon and orange/carbon colour schemes, but a limited edition Plowman Craven - Evans Cycles pink and blue version will also be available.
British design combines with Taiwanese manufacture to create the Pro-Lite brand, a bike range that has enjoyed some success in the United States and - for obvious reasons when you see the entirely black-and-white livery - New Zealand and is now pushing for success in the UK.
At the top of its road range Pro-Lite presented the limited edition, full-carbon monocoque X-Pedo, built using its PBS (Power, Body and Soul) carbon tubing. The bike was built up with a full Shimano Dura-Ace groupset, apart from a few in-house parts including Pro-Lite's own chainset.
At the other end of the spectrum lies the entry-level Cuneo road frame, made from 7046 aluminium. Pro-Lite claims the relatively infrequently used alloy offers a stiffness-to-weight ratio comparable to scandium enhanced tubesets but at a fraction of the price.
The low-profile time trial version, the Espresso, is made from aero-section 7005 aluminium tubing and features internal cable routing that enters just behind the head tube and re-emerges down near the bottom bracket. The compete bike on display was built up using a selection of Pro-Lite's in-house components, including full-carbon Cervia aerobars and a Padova full carbon disc wheel which features a hub that can be switched for road or track use. A similarly styled Trentino track frame is also available, also in 7005 aluminium.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Ben Atkins/Cyclingnews.com