The first months of any year for most in the bike industry, is all about trade show season. It gives manufacturers and distributors of bikes, components, kit, clothing and all manner of other shiny wares the chance to show themselves off for the 2017/18 season, and retailers to select which of those they’re going to stock their shelves with.
We headed down to Core Bike at Whittlebury Hall, near the middle-aged Milton Keynes (50th birthday celebrated recently), to see what was on offer and just generally have a day filled with bike-porn. Riders, and those that supply them, are somewhat tribal in their tastes, so there’s always themes running through the bikes and kit and here are 5 we picked up from this show.
1. Standard is dead…it’s all about customisation.
Gone are the days when it was just spoke nipples, cable outers and hubs you could customise your bike with. Riders are obviously demanding more and the choice of custom kit, colour variations and options was staggering. Here’s a few nuggets;
2. You ain’t a bike brand if you don’t do plus.
Now we’ve got over the 26/27.5/29″ fight, it’s about time to spice it up again. Whether it was a trail MTB adding 3” Plus tyres or adventure bikes running 1.95” tyres (same width as I used to use for riding mountains in the late 90’s), volume in your hoops was turned up to 10.
3. Adventure this.
It’s fast moving out of a niche and into the mainstream (even Rapha are swapping out black and white Alpine scenes for a spot of gravel) and the industry is responding fast. Pretty much every bike brand has a big tyre clearance, disc braked number in their ranks, and any bike luggage company worth their salt now has a lightweight bike packing range to challenge the likes of Apidura and Alpkit.
4. Flat design is in.
There’s been a flamboyancy in design with many bike brands over the years, in fact it’s part of the law of Omerta in certain areas of Italy. After the likes of Trek led the way with simple, flat designs, most bike brands have now omitted their fleur de lys for simple bold colours and clean logos. We like!
5. Trail riders are spoilt.
We love natural and man-made trails alike, but surely we need a range of carbon, single chain-ringed 140/50/60mm but surprisingly light and awesome looking bikes to ride them on?