There are plenty of bike trade shows and industry awards around the globe for innovative new machines, accessories, and technology, but none come close to matching the prestige and glamour of the Eurobike Gold Award. In 2016 twelve Gold Awards were bestowed, along with a special Green Award which distinguishes innovations from the field of sustainable product design, to a handful of new products. These new products exemplify innovation and ingenuity beyond what is currently available on the bicycle market.
This year's winners are:
This handy mountain bike helmet solves the problem encountered by cyclists who ride both downhill and all-mountain: in a few simple steps, the helmet changes from being a regular open-face helmet to a full-face downhill helmet. The chin guard is mounted to the helmet in two simple steps and fixed at the back using a turn lock; no tools are required and the transformation takes about ten seconds. The Jakkyl HDE also features a fastening snap for goggles, so that goggles, rather than a visor or conventional sunglasses, can be used for eye protection in either full-face or regular mode.
The speed of operation, the fact that no tools are needed, and the extra protective technology at the back and sides of the helmet were enough to give it Eurobike Gold.
Always at the forefront of shifting technology, SRAM have done it again with RED eTap. Previewed a year ago and released earlier this year, the wireless electronic shifting developed by SRAM is a winner in its own right - combine it with integrated disc brake technology and this is what the Eurobike judges had to say: "The eagerly awaited wireless sequential shifting technology from SRAM has been augmented by hydraulic disc brakes to produce a truly impressive combination that is certain to change the market."
Track riders and old-school "roadies" are quick to point out the benefits of training on rollers, but are equally quick to admit that rollers are heavy, clumsy, and difficult to store. Not any more: Italian producer Elite has come out with the Quick Motion roller trainer. It is light, durable, and folds completely in half for easy storage. The rollers also come with an optional Misuro B+ accessory pod that will allow them to speak to your smartphone or Garmin device via ANT+ or Bluetooth.
The current trend in road bike tires is to go bigger, wider, and lower in terms of pressure, and American equipment supplier WTB have taken this idea and run with it in the form of their new Horizon Road Plus range. The judging panel at Eurobike were excited that "the newly invented tire size produces an incredibly comfortable ride. These large-volume tires with low rolling resistance equip gravel bikes for all challenges."
The new love affair with gravel racing is what really gave birth to these tires - they're not for mountain biking or recreational pavement rides, they are a high-volume tire which takes your road bike off the tarmac and onto dusty dirt roads.
Speaking of gravel bikes: billed as the world's first aero gravel bike, the Exploro is the brainchild of ex-Cervelo designer Gerard Vroomen, a man who's always been keen to push the boundaries of bicycle engineering. It's a disc brake-equipped, fat-tubed hybrid combination of a road bike and a CX race machine.
This year the Eurobike judges are very keen on bikes and equipment that can transition from road to gravel, claiming that "this bike will open your eyes to a completely new segment: bike racing on gravel. A must for sports fans."
With its unique frameset, huge clearances to accommodate 650 and 700 tires, quirky geometry, and aero tweaks, the Exploro is not a replacement for a mountain bike, but it will take on terrain that's far beyond the reach of a conventional road machine, while still being plenty of fun on blacktop.
Available with full custom geometry and carbon lay-up, the TTiR Custom from marquee manufacturer Parlee features the same smooth ride and efficient drive train as all Parlee frames, yet allows fractional adjustments in frame customization to match each rider's unique positional requirements. Available with internally routed Di2 wiring, and also in a track version, the TTiR "heralds a new era in time trial and triathlon bikes." The judges were particularly taken with the disc brake integration, adding that the "bike is extremely innovative with a sleek design. The enclosed disc brakes are aerodynamic and raise safety in this segment to a new level."
This beautifully-crafted racing shoe caught the eye of the judges, primarily due to its "outstanding closure system. Material and workmanship also received maximum points from us."
The Techlace combines a tension dial with Velcro fasteners - hardly unique, but for the fact that Velcro works in combination with traditional shoelaces. It's very difficult to come up with a new shoe design, but Giro have somehow managed it.
This precise tool-free rotation of a bike's handlebars instantly impressed the judges: "This is a very useful innovation that allows you to adjust bikes for transport and storage in seconds."
The design allows rotation of the handlebar 90 degrees left or right with locking bolts and quick release in just a few seconds, and features an automatic lock-bolt for returning to driving position. It's a safe, quick, easy way to store or stack bikes in tight spaces by creating a smaller profile and overall footprint.
There are several power meters on the market that capture data from a single side of the drivetrain and extrapolate it to encompass both sides of the body. Spanish manufacturer Rotor have done exactly that until recently, but have now developed the technology to capture and analyse power data from each leg at a very affordable price.
The Eurobike Awards panel lauded the 2IN power as being "A true high-end product that sets the benchmark with its power measurement on both sides. In terms of functionality, the price is extremely competitive."
Supernova, the German brand that prides itself on developing truly high-end bike illumination systems, has come up with an ingenious method of integrating the control buttons for light and horn on an e-bike. E-bike lights are not the most glamorous category at Eurobike, but the judges maintained that this is "a simple and useful innovation that provides a clever solution to a real industry problem with fast e-bikes."
Helmet technology has come ahead (if you'll pardon the pun) in leaps and bounds over the past few years, and American producer Lumen Labs has filled one of the few remaining gaps in the market with the Lumos. The helmet features bright left and right turn signals that are activated via a wireless remote on your handlebar. The remote itself is small, unobtrusive, easy to remove, water resistant, and lasts for months before requiring a change of battery.
Additionally, the Lumos features super bright white LEDs in the front and super bright red LEDs in the rear, providing an impressive 80 lumens of safety and security. There's also an integrated brake light: sensors inside the helmet detect when the rider slows down, and automatically turn all the rear lights bright solid red.
The judging panel loved it - "This stylish and highly visible helmet is a useful contribution to cycling safety."
NSA, or No-Slip-Application, describes a new surface technology for carbon bike components that considerably reduces the torque settings required for assembly. "This is a great solution that significantly simplifies the mounting of lightweight carbon components and also makes them less prone to failure," said the Award panel.
Overtorquing carbon components is almost always the reason for failure. NSA will hopefully negate overtorquing and help your carbon handlebars last a lot longer.
The 2016 Eurobike Green Award went to the Taiwanese company Chien King Industrial, which found a use for an otherwise-useless agricultural bi-product, rice husks. The husks provide the basis for the eco-plastic that makes their CK-UB2RH FPC pedals. Recyclable cycling is a new niche, and the judges were suitably impressed: "This commendable development in recycling impressed us a great deal. The result is a very robust and low-cost solution that uses waste from the rice farming industry."