Eurobike Top 10 Highlights in Sport Segments
FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany – Eurobike celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. In that quarter of a century the show developed from a small-scale MTB-happening into an event of global proportions. Below are the sports and technical highlights listed for this year’s event; a Top Ten for 2017.
1 – Huge Supply
There’s an almost overwhelming supply of road racing bikes in various segments. Aero, Performance, Gravel, Race and Endurance. The modern road racer has been created by a balanced mix of race, cyclo-cross and endurance. With an emphasis on comfort. Super short and nervous racers are still on offer too, but mainly in models meant solely for competition racing. And just a few of them.
2 – Disc Brakes I
The road racing bike with disc brakes is on the verge of a breakthrough. Not just in the segments performance or endurance, but in regular road racers too. However, the regular racer changes due to the use of disc brakes; one just needs another type of ‘platform’ to build a disc braked road racer. There’s conformity on disc brake assembly. In particular on the spacing of front and rear forks. Standard for the front is 100 mm, for the rear this is widened from 130 mm to 142.5 mm. For in the rear fork there must be room enough to fit a 10- or 11-speed cassette and a 160 or 140 mm disc with brake calliper. No longer a quick release but a 12 mm thin thru-axle. Next to this, assembling a 140 or 160 mm disc is a standard. Some brands put the 160 mm up front and the 140 mm in the rear. The assembly is by so-called flat-mount, the best way to avoid complicated and MTB-ish protruding aluminium adapters. One adapter is necessary, to ‘bridge’ the gap between 140 and 160 mm, made of thin aluminium. The brake hoses run usually partly through the front fork and via the left side of the downtube through the frame. And obviously other wheels are needed.
3 – Disc Brakes II
Shimano is the main supplier of disc brakes. Both on Ultegra-level – the RT 685 and 785 – as well as on the 505 on 105 level. Next to this SRAM offers several disc brake groups. New on the market is the recently introduced eTap Disc. No supply on this front yet by Campagnolo.
4 – Compatibility
Modern frames are increasingly compatible with all component groups. That is, the routing of derailleur cables and Di2 electric wires are getting better and more invisible incorporated into frame, rear fork and stem. Which is also due to the influence of a component group like SRAM eTap. Here only brake cables are necessary, and no electric wires. So, each high-end race frame needs to be designed as clean as possible, to enable the eTap to shine.
5 – Width and Height of Racing Tyres
From the old 20 mm by now widened to 25, 28 or 30 mm. Their advantages outplay the disadvantages. Like more comfort, and reduced rolling resistance. Such tyres need wider rims too, from a 19 to 22 mm. And does this all fit well? Modern racers – including aero racers – are designed to fit this wide tyres. And what about rim brakes? For example a Shimano 105 brake can ‘handle’ a 28 mm tyre. No issue for bikes, equipped with disc brakes; in that case only the spacing between rear- and front fork and rim are important. Nice: more and more wheelsets are compatible with tubeless tyres.
6 – Integration All Over
Brands are increasingly tending to develop components to style-wise fit with the bike. Sometimes necessary because some frames are too ‘wildly’ designed for standard components to fit. Besides this, it’s a way to become less dependent on ‘third’ parties. Aero handlebars, concealed rim brakes, specialized seat posts and cranks. And many brands choose to go for their own wheels. So all a brand needs are derailleurs, shifters, cassettes and chains. It saves in both margins as in looks. However, the new Dura-Ace Group – with for example the new FC-R9100-P Power meter – has a few things in store, which might persuade the more expensive racers to turn to ‘full Shimano’ again. The Dura-Ace R9100 is in mechanical version available end of this month; the Di2 version and the one with disc brakes is planned for early 2017.
7 – Hybrid Bikes
The number of hybrids on the market is growing. Not the “bikes with a basket” but road racers for all purposes. Any cyclist likes to think he or she is a road racer, but in reality their cycling has nothing to do with, say, riding the Tour the France. Still, a racing bike has to look like a road racer. For example models like the 3T Exploro and the Focus Paralane.
Similarities: disc brakes, racing handlebar, and lots of choices in wheels and tyres. Especially ‘fatties’ and, of course tubeless – like on a modern MTB. Another thing: The E-Racer is on the march…
8 – MTBs all over
Very, very much choice in MTBs. From pure Down Hill models to All Mountain, Enduro, Trail, Cross Country and XC Race. Remarkable is the rise of the eMTB. A big fat MTB with extra ‘drive’, usually incorporated around the bracket. And all brands ‘name’ their models individually. Next to all this there’s still a lot of choice in ‘Hardtails’, in full suspension models and tyre sizes in particular.
9 – ‘Plus’ Tyre Size MTB
Plus stands for the extra fat MTB tyre. Not as fat as a (4 inch) fat bike tyre, but still a 2.8 – 3 inch fat. This Plus tyres are available in 2 varieties, 650b+ and 29+. Just like in regular tyre sizes there are hardtails and full suspension models. Compared to a regular mountain bike a Plus bike is easy going. Thus ideal for starters. In order to house this wide Plus tyres, an extra wide rim, an extra wide frame, and a fore fork plus chain line, both avoiding the tyre, are needed.
10 – Twelve Tooth
10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 21, 24, 28, 32, 36, 42, 50. So, 12 tooth it is. SRAM recently introduced a 12 speed X01 Eagle group for MTBs. The special cassette goes for 458 euro by the way. The old triple front has been replaced by a crank set with two chain rings or one chain ring. In order to allow still enough options using just the one chain ring, cassettes with mega big tooth on the rear occur more often.