Ready to immerse ourselves in the latest cycling, running and swimming gear, we headed to the London Bike and Triathlon Show at London's Excel to see what some of the biggest brands in the industry had in store for the coming season.
Specialized definitely clinched our award for the best booth at the show with a wind tunnel-inspired design that perfectly displayed their top-of-the-line sprinting machine; the Venge Vias.
The Vias’ unique aesthetics are all in service of one simple goal - to be the fastest ever production road bike. The integrated brakes and cockpit completely hide all internal cabling, creating an incredibly sleek and simplistic look that reinforces how much attention to detail Specialized have put into this bike's design and manufacturing processes.
The wheels and tyres have been designed to symbiotically integrate to form one streamlined profile in the wind tunnel and in race conditions. This helps to reduce drag and turbulence around the area between the tyre and the rim while Specialized's S-Works Turbo Clincher tyres claim to be the fastest rolling on the market.
At the back of the stand we found Peter Sagan World Champion edition S-Works Tarmac and Lizzie Armitstead's S-Works Amira. Looking back through the records of the UCI Road World Championship, having both World Champions riding the same brand of bicycle is a rare occurrence, having only happened twice in the last 40 years; certainly a testament to Specialized's quality and versatility as a brand.
Next we moved on to Kask, whose helmets have become synonymous with performance thanks in part to the Italian manufacturer's partnership with Team Sky. There were no new additions announced to the Kask range for for the coming season however, these two rather fetching matte editions of the Vertigo 2 and iconic Protone helmets definitely caught our eye.
KitBrix have become one of the most popular brands for triathlon storage and transportation solutions. Their army-inspired rugged bags form a modular packing solution that allows you to sort your kit by sport or necessity. This way when you get to your race or training camp you can quickly and easily find exactly what you need without any unnecessary fluster.
Moving towards the triathlon end of the expo we came to Zone3. Here the 2016 range was on show, with the middle of the range Aspire Wetsuit catching catching our attention. In both the 2016 men's and women's versions flexibility has been increased with a new one piece shoulder construction. This allows for a full range of movement in your arms and shoulders making it the ideal suit for medium to long distance races.
One of our favourite bike manufacturers, Cannondale had an impressive stand filled with road, cyclocross and mountain bikes that demonstrated the American company’s breadth of talent.
Maybe not the most glamorous bikes in the range but certainly one of the most highly regarded, the CAAD12 has revolutionised how cyclist's and industry insiders think about aluminium road bikes. Cannondale's Flow Modelling process shaves weight off the tradition aluminium frame while still maintaining a level of stiffness, strength and performance that rivals many of the CAAD12's carbon fibre brethren. Finished off with Shimano's Ultegra groupset and a rather ravishing orange fluo paint scheme, it was easy to see why this bike attracted the crowds.
Everyone knows that expos are all about the freebies and the nutrition brands are always the most willing for patrons to try their range, despite the ever-present danger of eating too many, gels, bars and chews and ending up with an upset stomach.
Torq's stand was impressively orange in appearance and scrumptious in taste with samples of their full range of products on offer. The exhaustive range of Natural Energy Mix powders accommodates any palate with a vast array of tasty flavours available.