Cycle Show 2017
by Dave Land, posted 22 September 2017
The NEC hosts 3 halls of cycling brilliance. Go and get stuck in.
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We had a blast on our first visit to the Cycle Show at the NEC in Birmingham, UK. We met a great many friendly people; chatted bikes, swapped stories, talked politics, got enthused by new products, drank coffee and ended up surprisingly tired, but happy.
The Cycle Show takes up three halls of the NEC, and includes various tracks to ride, try-a-bike set ups, a children’s track, and a sort-of triathlon space (clearly not enough room for a swimming pool), restaurants, café’s and meeting spaces, all set around a smorgasbord of stands, stalls and stores, covering every aspect of the bike trade.
We saw some brand spanking new bikes, as we’d expected. But then the Cycle Show is a slightly curious mix. It’s not a pure trade show, like EuroBike, or Interbike as the trade/press day is specifically on the Thursday, with the weekend for punters to visit and see what’s on offer. It also doesn’t seem to have the full gamut of big brands. For example, we didn’t see Specialized, Trek or Giant there (perhaps we missed them). There were also a lot of distributors, rather than actual brands, per se. There were multiple retail stands, along with a range of therapies to try out. Some of the buzz in the atmosphere may have been from the tasters of energy bars and gels, not to mention the coffee, on many of the stands such as Torq.
Credit: Dave Land, 2017
The upside of this mixed approach is that it seems to provide freedom for the smaller, big brands, or is it the bigger, small brands, to have a decent presence. The Cube stall seemed immense, and it was a delight to talk to Leonard, from Cube distributors. Canyon, Whyte and Orange bikes all had strong stands, as did Pinarello distributors – loved seeing Froomey’s Grand Tour winning special bikes.
One strong impression we came away with was the strength of the ebikes phenomenon. Different people gave us different versions of history, and many expressed frustration that their particularly story wasn’t being heard. But all agreed there was space in the market for everyone. (for more on this, read our Cycle Show ebike review here).
We loved exploring the smaller single-idea stalls: Helmetor deserves a particular mention, and we hope to review it in the near future. And the famous BikeBox Alan generously took time to talk us through his latest film. He drops a Chinese copy, and one of his Box’s off a bridge. You can imagine the result; quality like Alan’s Bike Box mean you don’t have to worry about travelling with your beloved steed. When you arrive, unpack and just ride your bike.
Credit: Dave Land, 2017