Technology is one of the main driving forces in cycling. The sport and the industry have reached a point that would have been hard to believe just a decade ago – and punters are hungry for more.
This weekend, at the BikeShow at London's Excel (from Friday February 23 to Sunday), you can discover and test some seriously cutting-edge products and technologies. These are my favourites.
If you’re a keen mountain biker make sure you take a look at the Focus Sam² e-bike.
With a Shimano STEPS E8000 motor placed in the bottom bracket that can deliver up to 760 Wh of power, Sam² offers two battery options for both shorter and longer rides. The first option is offered within the bike and uses the integrated battery placed in the downtube (380 Wh). For longer rides, Focus also sells an additional 380Wh battery that can be plugged in the downtube instead of the water bottle and bring the battery pack up to 760Wh (with an increase of 2kg on the bike).
It doesn’t matter if you’re cycling in the Alps or in the Surrey Hills — a little extra push won’t hurt you and will help you enjoy the day in the saddle even more.
Finally, with a 170 mm F.O.L.D. suspension system, the Sam² will make descents and bumpy roads feel like an easy stroll.
ICE Full Fat Off-Road recumbent Bike
In December 2013, British adventurer Maria Leijerstam became the first person to cycle from the edge of the Antarctic to the South Pole. Leijerstam cycled for 10 days, 14 hours and 56 minutes and pedaled a total of 638m (500 miles) at temperatures below 30° C.
Setting the record was also possible thanks to a very special bike with three fat tyres and a particularly low gear ratio that helped her while cycling the steep ramps of the Antarctic mountains.
At the show you can see the newest version of that model, Ice's Full Fat recumbent trike. It's a beast for extreme conditions, but can be folded for travel and storage.
In the UK, winters can be muddy and summers rainy. So why not forget removable mudguards and go for all-season ones?
Normally that would mean taking a big hit in terms of sleek stylishness, but Stebles Bike remedies that: it's the first carbon fibre bike with mudguards actually moulded into the frame. It's hand-built in England, too. Long live the mudguard!
Planetus Pbike Hide
One of the first things you start worrying about after buying a bike is making sure it won’t get stolen. Planetus’ Pbike Hide is an anti-theft and recovery system that fits underneath your saddle, on the seat-post or on the frame.
The device can track your activity and is compatible with Strava (in case of theft, that's how you can track it), but it can also detect a crash and report it to your friends and family at home through an alert system. This is particularly important and handy if something happens when you’re out riding alone (always try to avoid that, though!).
Snugs 3D Headphones
Ever felt discomfort using a pair of headphones? Snugs is the latest brand to produce ear buds customised to your ear canal, using 3D scanning and printing tech. Most such things are for audiophiles but Snug’s wireless version will mostly appeal to runners and cyclists, as they're sweat and rain resistant. The price is £169.95, which is pretty competitive for bespoke headphones.
Sigma Delta Cobble Stem
The Korean company Sigma Delta has only just started making products for cycling, but it's already come up with a cutting-edge piece of kit.
In the last few years, especially in road cycling, companies and brands have made comfort a priority and produced bikes and components that make the ride enjoyable as the miles clock up.
The Sigma Delta’s Cobble Stem does the same: it uses a shock-absorbing elastomer that absorbs shocks from bumpy roads, uneven surfaces and, as the name suggests, cobblestones. Made in carbon fibre, it will at the very least make your Paris-Roubaix attempt more fun and relaxed.