The annual Eurobike trade show is a bike lovers heaven and hell rolled into one. The huge, vast, and numerous halls of the Friedrichshafen Messe in Germany are taken over by brands, retailers, and manufacturers big and small. It’s where a lot of the larger bike shops will come to look at what to stock for the following year, where you can spot the clothing and kit trends for 2015, and where people with new ideas come to show them to the industry to gain support and backing. It’s like the ultimate bike window shopping!
On the other side, if you are working it, it means hours and hours spent walking from hall to hall, and a diet that consists mostly of pretzels and sausage. But it is a wonderful chance to catch up with people, as pretty much the whole bike industry was there. Noticeably absent brand-wise this year were Specialized and Trek, both of whom have opted to do their own shows and launches, away from the competition, where they can get journalist’s and retailer’s undivided attention.
So here’s some of the things that caught my eye or crossed my mind after wandering round the Messe for 4 days. I’ve put together a load of images in the gallery at the end – have a look!
Liv-ing the Dream
Yes, yes, I know. Probably the worst pun so far.
In all seriousness, one of the biggest indications of how seriously the bike industry is taking women’s cycling is the Liv stand. Liv, formally Liv Giant, came from the female specific product branch of international cycling super-company Giant Bicycles. Giant founder/investor Bonnie Tu, who is herself a passionate cyclist and advocate for women’s cycling, wants the brand to ‘make cycling more approachable’ and ‘give women more confidence to step on a bike, whatever their age.’
It was launched on the first day with appearances from Liv team cyclists Pauline Ferrand Prevot, Jolanda Neff and Marianne Vos – and impressive lineup! The stand itself was a departure from a lot of the usual Eurobike stands. Products were arranged boutique-style by range, with life-sized style boards showing the breadth of the Liv target market: every woman from the time-trialist to the trail rider to the cycle commuter, and all riders in between.
Wish They Were Here
So, as someone who had been an avid online shopper and general seeker of nice mountain bike gear way before I got a job in the industry, I was aware that there is much more out there for women than the limited selection you see in most shops. Happily, quite a lot of it is available online. Of course, unhappily that means trying it on before you buy to gauge the right size, amongst other things, is usually impossible but I’ll moan about that more elsewhere.
Eurobike holds a wealth of brands that you don’t come across in the UK, and don’t even stumble upon online unless you already happen to know they exist and what they are called. Two in particular caught my eye: Triple Two, and Ziener.
I first spotted Triple Two at Eurobike last year, and sadly they don’t have a UK distributor. I absolutely LOVE the look of their gear and am desperate to actually try some on and give it a test. Looks-wise, it’s somewhere in the Vulpine/casual Rapha/Giro New Road type of thing, except I like the look of it much more than I do most of the products from those brands. Think waterproof tweed-like jackets with incredible detailing, lightweight and soft but durable shorts, earthy tones and tailored looks. It’s also all made with a low environmental impact in mind too. #gearlust
On the brighter end of the scale is Ziener, a company who have been in business for a long time in Germany. They too have a quite an extensive selection of women’s gear, and it looks like beautifully made technical stuff at that. Baggy shorts, long sleeved jerseys, and a lovely deep blue jacket took my eye, but there’s tighter, lycra options for those who prefer that style. For this range it’s more vibrant blues, greens and yellows, and performance fabrics.
Good Bye and Thanks For All The Threads
It seems that neither Royal Racing nor Alpinestars are bringing out women’s ranges in 2015. I’ve heard people rave about the Alpinestars kit, and I loved the look of the 2014 Royal Racing gear, so I was pretty disappointed when I wandered over to their stands to see nowt for me to lust after. I wonder if part of the problem was finding out about the kit, as well as actually finding it. Sometimes, you don’t even know a brand exists to know that you like their stuff and get what name to do a google search for.
On the other hand, it’s a big Welcome Back to the Fox women’s cycle clothing range. They dropped it for 2014, but now it’s back with a few pieces that will be out in March, and there are whispers of a more extensive range. If they bring out a Downpour jacket and Demo FR shorts like my other half have, but for women, I am buying them no hesitation!
For now, there’s two models of short and two models of jersey, each with two colourways. The pricier shorts are likely to retail in the reasonable £70 mark – particularly reasonable since that includes a mesh padded liner. I’m pretty excited about this because, with the exception of the Zimtstern Missa liner short, my old Fox mesh liners are my favourite, and they comprehensively died in the washing machine last month so it’s definitely time for some new ones. Fox have also gone for an animal print motif on their higher priced jersey that won’t be to everyone likes, and usually wouldn’t be for me, but for some reason I like it here. Maybe it’s because it’s asymmetric.
Orange is the new black
It looks like orange is set to be one of the colours of the 2015 season, with Zimtstern and Race Face both bringing out MTB shorts in the hue, plus a few other brands including it as a feature colour. I’m fairly sure I’d call the colour on one of the Liv outfits orange, but I guess it can be argued it’s a shade of red.
Anyhow, if you like orange, you are in luck. Zimtstern seemed to have the looked nailed, though, as ever – check out the orange shorts and matching jersey as worn by Total Women’s Cycling editor Heather Irvine in the Ice Bucket Challenge she did at Eurobike. Yes, that is Danny MacCaskill!