Feature: The Bike Show is in Town

Paul Burgoine pays a visit to the Bike Show in London without so much as two pennies to rub together …

The bike show is in town! In London Town, that is. I went to check it out with not two pennies to rub together in my pocket, as it is still two days until pay day! (I am still undecided if this was a good thing or not). So, to spice my visit up a bit, I set myself a bit of a challenge – firstly, I would imagine I was in the market for an entry level race bike and enough kit to get me started.

In my imagination, I had a budget of £2,000 – Without regarding costs, I would find a dream bike, the most interesting or innovative piece of kit, and lastly the best give away item.

First impressions of the bike show was that it was fairly small and compact – yet diverse in its allocation of stands, ranging from commuting bikes and accessories through to BMX, Mountain Bike and the flagship carbon road bikes. I did notice a large increase of companies producing Cyclo-Cross bikes compounding its increase in popularity – with the Team Hope bike a replica of the one Paul Oldham rides looking splendid with its clean black and green livery.

On arrival, I immediately took advantage of a shoulder massage from the ’Ibiza Angels’ next to the Hardcourt bike polo arena where ‘Zee Zee’ (top bike polo player), informed me of a high class tournament that will be taking place with the group stages beginning on Friday, followed by the knockout finals on the Sunday.

If you haven’t experienced this sport before, I urge you to give it a look. It’s fast, exciting, a bit dangerous and very competitive! You will see some great bike handling.

The Animal Bike Tour Arena is another where you can see some outstanding bike skills – the demonstration was thrilling to watch even with no sounds, due to the PA packing up. Martyn Ashton and Blake Samson were the riders on show, along with a guest free runner. Some of the tricks performed were mind blowing and it’s hard to see how on earth they manage to hold onto their bikes. The finale is quite spectacular so I won’t spoil it for you – check the board at the arena for show times as some differ to the times in the programme.

A word of warning – steer clear of eating too many samples of energy products that are in abundance and a snippet from each stand will leave you bouncing off the walls. Choose carefully!

On walking around the exhibition hall, I found myself drawn to the Pinarello Stand and unable to leave for quite some time. I wanted them all… but funnily enough, the bike that stood out to me was the more modestly priced ‘Catena’ model at £799.00 – a single speed build with thin steel tubes in black, pink rear stays and forks not to mention some strikingly beautiful chrome lug work. If I had my credit card with me I would have been seriously tempted. At the other end of the price spectrum were the ‘Dogma’ models, equally as stunning but at a maximum price of £6,000.00, much more expensive.

There were large stands from Geoffrey Butler, Mosquito and Sigma but Madison seemed to have the most comprehensive range of apparel accessories and bikes. Madison had a rather nice cafe attached to their stand. I found myself chatting to Ian from Watt Bike, and within seconds invited to give it a go. It was a very informative session and I thoroughly enjoyed it until the end when I attempted two maximum efforts. I reached a cadence of 150 and maximum watts of 875 (whatever that means) – apparently Victoria Pendleton can reach 1500 watts (whatever that means!)

Ian was a joy to speak to and even showed me their laser assisted bike fit tool. I have to admit everything he was telling seemed to make perfect sense and was very helpful – just be careful with the max efforts! I felt a bit queasy after and needed a sit down…

There weren’t any particular new radical products that caught my eye – except for some easy fit mud guards for your road bike. Unfortunately there was no way of fitting a mud flap – gross misconduct for winter riding with most clubs.  Possibly the biggest move forward in regards to innovation is in the field of lighting, with bike lights seemingly fighting with car headlamps to see who can be the brightest, and dazzle the most.

The best give away product I received was a simple waterproof phone case from ‘Punto Tours’. The entry level package was a tricky one, as in regard to bike choice it is such a well covered market. I liked the look of the ‘Bianchi Impulso’ at £1500, and with a £2000.00 budget it would leave you plenty to spend on kit from… let’s say Madison – to get you up and running. Surprisingly, my ‘no money no object dream bike’ would be the Team Hope Cyclo-Cross Bike; it is almost a work of art – in my opinion.

I’m not sure bike shows have the same appeal any more given the choices on the web, but if you’re in the market for purchasing a bike – this is the place to be for some valuable one to one advice. The bike show is on at London’s Excel Centre until Sunday, open from 10.00 till 19.00hrs. Why not go visit? There is something for everyone.

Note: Endura Racing will be having the launch of their team on Saturday and you can read about some of the products they have at the show here

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