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EUROBIKE 2011 – The Afterglow

| Blog, Features, Fuel, What Mountain Bike | 06/09/2010 15:42pm

They say a week in politics is a long time, and it might well be, but I can guarantee it’s not as long as a week at the world’s biggest cycling show held annually in Southern Germany…

Think big. It’s a bike show in widescreen. Eurobike would swallow the London Show into the dark end of one of its 12 show halle. Just getting round and seeing everything means literally jogging past rows and row and rows of brand new shiny hi-tech bikes, components and software.

There were two things which became obvious as the week wore on. Firstly there was no one single killer product or bike on show, bad for those wanting a banner headline. However, the reason for this lack of a standout product was that EVERYONE has raised their game for 2011.

New technologies were mostly refinements in material rather than new ways of making the bikes function, meaning lighter, stronger, but essentially familiar looking bikes for next year. The second was that design and more specifically aesthetics are the golden rules for all 2011 kit. Actually you might not recognise your favourite bikes in 2011 as most brands seem to have hired new graphic design teams in the last year. As the power of Apple’s iPod design and styling continues to leech out into practically all utility items, so brands are realising that it’s no longer acceptable to have a brilliantly engineered frame and then just kit it out in cherry-picked components. You’ll end up with a bike that rides well, but which looks disparate and a bit clunky. Saleable for sure, but not sexy.

For 2011 if you aren’t working with you suspension supplier to custom colour match your fork, tweak the graphics on your chosen wheels to match those of your frame, finding cleaner, prettier and more efficient ways to style your bike then you’re way off the pace…The best at this game are Cube, Scott, Trek and Specialized who continue to put out bikes styled to within an inch of their drop-outs.
If this all sounds a bit too much like window dressing over substance, then it’s you who are off the pace, at least according to the guiding lights of the bike industry. They claim this smooth integrated conceptual look is what consumers want, and the reality is it was hard to resist drooling over bikes which looked so complete or ‘as one’ as somebody accurately described a stunning knobby tyred two-wheeler that was being swamped by lusting bike-o-philes…

After walking 20 miles of aisles, consuming 16 ham and cheese rolls, 14 espressos, and roughly 4lb of steak in the week, it’s time to rest my sore feet and put the best of the show together for you to enjoy. Check out our full report with all that was best from the Eurobike show together with pointers to the hottest MTB kit for 2011 in What Mountain Bike 115, on sale 20 October.

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