We popped along to the 2016 London Bike Show yesterday to have a nose around and see what's new. Here's a roundup of some of the bikes that grabbed our attention. Let's dive in.
Specialized Venge and Peter Sagan’s custom painted Tarmac
Specialized used London Bike Show to display its new Venge, the first time it's been publicly displayed in the UK since its launch last year, with a mock wind tunnel. The Venge is one of the most dramatic, and opinion-dividing bikes of 2016 and it was clearly drawing a large crowd of curious admirers.
The Venge is an update of the model first released in 2011. The key changes are the new brakes, a custom design but it’s their location that is most interesting. Specialized has sought to reduce drag and it reckons the position of the brakes, along with the shape of the calipers, achieves that goal.
Then there is the handlebar and stem. Look closely and you can see how the cables are routed entirely inside the handlebar and stem. Very neat. The stem is only available in this -17-degree configuration, but with a choice of a flat or 25mm riser handlebar. That combination is intended to reduce the frontal surface area of the cyclist, but lowering their position into one that is more aerodynamic.
On the Specialized stand also are two very special bikes: Peter Sagan and Lizzie Armitstead’s custom painted race bikes, a Tarmac and Amira respectively. They’re not their actual bikes, but replicas, and yes, you can buy these frames if you wanted to.
Both paint schemes incorporate the colours of the rainbow stripes. Lizzie's bike uses a “Trivalent pattern” with triangles used because they’re symbolic and “represent the unifying power of working together in solidarity utilizing our strongest attributes”.
Sagan’s bike has a camo paint scheme with a very glittery base paint - you really have to see it with your own eyes - and a gold embossed head badge and the names of previous world champs written in the S-Works down tube decal.
Specialized also does very limited custom paint jobs at its paint shop in the US, as part of its S-Build scheme.
You choose the frame and paint job then specify the equipment and parts. You can see some of the available paint jobs, limited to just the S-Works Tarmac, here. They’re limited to short runs of about 100 frames.
Wilier Superleggera Ramato
This stunning Wilier Superleggera Ramato wins the Prettiest Bike of the London Bike Show award, at least in my opinion. It’s a celebration of the Italian company’s 110th birthday (actually next week, and it’s got something exciting lined up) and is an attempt to remind people that Wilier used to be highly regarded for its paint finishes.
The frame and fork have all the signature features of the original bikes that earned the company its reputation during the 1940s. Skinny Columbus SL steel tubes and matching steel fork with splendid lugs, all coated in this polished copper effect, created by mirror-polishing and then chroming the frame and topping with a layer of translucent lacquer.
This frame has been built up with modern parts, but which still give the bike a retro appearance. A silver Campagnolo Athena groupset and box-section aluminium rims with tan sidewall tyres. All very fetching and oh so pretty. The frameset cost £1,699.
Orro Pyra Disc
This is the Orro Pyro Disc. It costs £1,349.99 and that gets you a bike featuring a full carbon fibre frame and fork, Shimano 105 drivetrain with TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes and Fulcrum Racing Sport wheels. And one of the nicest and glossiest paint jobs it is possible to have on a bicycle.
All cables are packaged away inside the frame and fork. It has a tapered head tube and a reassuringly oversized down tube.
There’s space for 25mm tyres, but no wider, by the looks of it. It’s billed as a Gran Fondo, long-distance endurance sort of bike, so comfort is the focus, but the geometry doesn’t appear to make it look too high and short, just more relaxed than a race bike.
If you don’t want disc brakes, you can have the Pyro without them, with the same 105 groupset and for the same price. Pyro without them, with the same 105 groupset and for the same price.
The Pyro also starred one of the tech highlights of the show. The little light pictured above is fixed to the back of the seat clamp and provides constant and flashing modes, operated by pressing the front of the light. It’s included with the bike, hopefully, it’ll be an aftermarket product soon.Pyro also starred one of the tech highlights of the show. The little light pictured above is fixed to the back of the seat clamp and provides constant and flashing modes, operated by pressing the front of the light. It’s included with the bike, hopefully, it’ll be an aftermarket product soon.
Vaaru Cycles shows new range of titanium road bikes
Never heard of Vaaru Cycles? It’s one of the UK’s newest bicycle brands, and it specialises in titanium, with a range of road and mountain bikes.
The brand, founded by James Beresford and based in West Sussex, launched at the beginning of last year and at the London Bike Show was showing several models, including the V:8 Di2 pictured above.
It has a frame made from 3AL/2.5V double butted titanium with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes. The frame weighs a claimed 1,500g and the frameset costs £1,699. It offers a choice of builds, the one pictured, with Reynolds wheels, is £6,375.
The Vaaru bikes stood out because of their high-quality finish and attention to details, and also the paint job on this bike. Paint over naked titanium is a good look and this one has been finished off with some nice details along the top tube and matched with a custom painted stem.
Higher up the range is this Octane 6-4, which as the name suggests, is made from 6AL/4V grade titanium. The material allows the use of thinner walls and smaller diameters, which is said to reduce the frame weight by about 10%.
Claimed frame weight is 1,400g. It’s available as a frameset for £2,199 or a complete bike costing from £3,650 if specced with a Shimano 105 groupset and Mavic wheels.
Wilier Zero.7 eTap
Wilier has built up its super-lightweight Zero.7 road bike with SRAM’s new wireless Red eTap groupset. It gets its name from the fact that the frame weighs in at just under 800g, hence 0.7-something kilograms.
There’s no need for internal gear cable routing because there are no gear cables to route, hence a plate at the top of the down tube to cover the redundant hole.
Not surprisingly, this bike doesn’t come cheap: it’s £6,999.
Cervelo C5 and R3 Disc
We’ve told you about the Cervelo C5 before but this was our first chance to check out the bike in the the flesh.
“The C5 is designed to inspire confidence through a new endurance fit that delivers predictable, stable handling,” says Cervelo. “It combines the exceptional lightness and appropriate stiffness engineered into every Cervélo – including an all-carbon fork from the pioneering Project California team – with a uniquely integrated disc-braking system.”
The head tube is a little taller than on a race bike and the top tube is a little shorter, the idea being to put you into a more relaxed riding position.
You can fit mudguards via discreet eyelets.
This C5 is in a mechanical Shimano Dura-Ace build with Shimano RS805 hydraulic disc brakes, a Rotor 3D+ chainset and HED Ardennes Plus LT Disc wheels. It’s priced £6,199.
The Cervelo R3 Disc that we first reported on at last year’s Eurobike is an entirely different beast. It’s essentially one of Cervelo’s existing road race bikes with added disc brakes. Okay, I’m being a bit simplistic here; Cervelo has increased the stiffness of the disc-specific fork, made a stronger and stiffer rear triangle, and placed the seatstays wider than on the existing (non-disc) R3 to improve stiffness at the bottom bracket.
It’s £3,799 in this Shimano Ultegra build with HED Ardennes Plus GP Disc wheels.
Dolan has a new disc-equipped carbon road bike, the DR1. It uses thru axles front and rear.
The seat clamp is a wedge-type design with the bolt hidden by a rubber shroud. A complete bike in a Shimano Ultegra mechanical build will cost from £2,500 while a bike with Ultegra Di2 mechanical components will be from £2,999. The DR1 will be available from April.
Rose X-Lite CWX-4000
Rose’s new X-Lite CWX-4000 is yet another new model with disc brakes and thru axles. This bike is designed to be aero, although discs result in more drag than rim brakes.
Rose claims a complete bike weight of 6.95kg (15.3lb) in this Shimano Dura-Ace build. The £3,312 price looks very attractive indeed.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.