Rouleur Live is still a bike show for hipsters, and I was back for my second outing. Only the little matter of a global pandemic since my last visit.
I made the video below because I filmed a load of high spec road bikes with my GoPro and you may want a gander.
Also I want to justify my trip as a business expense.
If you prefer you road bike pron in written/photo format then please-to-enjoy the written account of my day (with lots of fotos). Just scroll down below the embedded video.
These shots show the vibe. High end bike companies and component makers show off their bling.
There are interviews and panel discussions with pro riders, designers and ultra-endurance athletes. Punters queue for fresh coffee and vegan sandwiches with Italian names.
I like vegans. And Italians.
But you came here for the bikes. So I’ll show you as many as I can in a small number of minutes. Start the clock.
This is the Trek Domane that Lizzie Deignan rode to victory in the inaugural women’s Paris-Roubaix earlier this year. As a Domane owner myself I took particular pride in the achievement. Then I remembered I had nothing to do with it. The cobbled sections are noted on the top tube. I particularly like the sparkly paint job and the sweet Bontrager Aeolus hoops.
I wasn’t the only high profile vee-logger interested in the bike.
Next onto the Colnago stand. Colnago featured heavily at Rouleur Live, coming off the back of a Tour de France victory and also being Italian.
Speak of the devil, this Fire and Ice version of the Colnago V3RS was designed by Tadej Pocajar.
Staying with the sub-zero theme, this is the Colnago C64 Disc Italia Frozen Edition. That frosted effect is a special Ceramic Speed chain treatment, a no-doubt-very-expensive alternative to your bog standard lube.
I assumed it was aesthetic. My comment to that effect drew maximum derision from the guy manning the stand.
Finally the Colnago V3RS Capsule Collection – Yellow Jersey Edition. It was described on the plaque as being “the new reference for the most extreme custom built sector”. Let’s ignore that that doesn’t mean anything, or actually make sense. Instead we’ll reference the extreme price: yours *from* £12,500…
Meanwhile at the BMC stand, I’m surprised they let this bike into the show. It must be one of those flat bar, full suspension gravel bikes that everyone’s talking about.
That guy with the shiny arm is BMC’s top man…(nequin).
The yellow bike is the BMC URS LT. Which definitely shouldn’t be pronounced arse.
It has front suspension built into the head tube, controlled by that dial:
The black thingummy at the top of the seat stays is in fact ‘minimalist rear suspension’, which offers 10mm of travel and 10 units of comfort for your rear end. The fat and not un-knobbly tires help cushion the ride further.
Elsewhere in the show, on the SRAM stand, they had the same bike with a proper suspension fork at the front. Far be it from me to suggest that if the bike had flat handle bars, it might be described as a, whisper it, mntn bike.
Toot! The Specialized stand.
Is that our first sighting of bike luggage as art? I think it might be. Look out for more later in this post.
This is the Specialized Crux. Which I like a lot.
The guys on the stand spent 15 minutes telling me it was a cyclo-cross bike. I do some follow up research on t’interweb and the company calls it a gravel bike. It’s one or t’other or both.
The black bike and the ‘weapon’ at the top of my first Specialized photo above are both Cruxs.
I particularly like the smart grey and gold colour scheme. Yes I am prepared to use the term weapon. No I am not prepared to say ‘colourway’.
Talking of colourways, *this* is a very cool bike:
It’s the custom-painted Specialist Diverge that Ian Boswell rode in the recent 2021 Gravel Unbound race. Or at least a replica of it.
In fact the retro ivory and turquoise colour scheme was inspired by another bike at the show, a Specialized Rock Combo (though quite how it inspired the turquoise when I can’t see any of it on the older bike):
Released in 1989, with dropped handlebars and 26″ wheels, the Rock Combo was (according to the plaque) sold as an ‘on/off-road bicycle’. Or to use a term you may have heard before, gravel bike.
Well done Specialized. Ten points to Gryffindor.
Swift Carbon. A company named with the hope that their bikes would live up to the moniker.
I forgot to make a note of the models I captured on (digital) film. I think the one at the top/back is an Ultravox (aah, Vienna) and the sparkly purple one in front is a Racevox.
This one is definitely a Swift Carbon Racevox because I took a photo of the plaque (also it says the name on the seat tube):
Featuring the white, red and green of Portugal, the special livery is to mark that its rider, Jose Neves, is reigning Portuguese national road race champion. Which is nice.
The Titici Vento purports to have patented plate absorber technology.
Which in English translates to an incredibly slim and flat top tube. It’s a striking looking bike. The top tube reduces to a waffer thin 8mm where it joins the seat tube.
This bike is the Shand Drift:
Which was easier to photograph than capture in a video. It seemed every visitor to the show wanted to walk through this particular shot. Notable VeloTuber working here folks.
I like the funky single chainring. If anyone knows what it is, let me know in the comments. I’m pretty sure the cranks are Cane Creek. None of it matches the stock bike components listed on that piece of paper at the bottom. Shandolous behaviour. Ahem.
We bring you a brief interlude from all the bikes to show you lots of helmets. In a post written by a
No we haven’t returned to the BMC stand. This BMC Aero Road bike is actually a rather expensive placeholder for the wheels.
For this is the DT Swiss stand and now we’re into the section of Rouleur Live featuring top end components attached to high end bikes.
Every high end bike needs a spectacularly-pricey drivetrain and Shimano were on hand to provide us with a wallet-cratering option, in the form of the latest generation 12 speed Dura-Ace R9200.
This chart shows Dura-Ace through the ages.
Woah, the new one is a Rod Hull of a lot bigger:
Oh that’s a close up.
Not to be outdone, Campagnolo also had a stand.
Or actually they were outdone. They didn’t really seem to be showing anything in particular off. Even Pogacar’s Yellow jersey team bike was overshadowed by the special edition Tour de France Colnago we’ve already seen.
Fizik did a better job, with the Canyon Aeroad belonging to professional Emma Norsgaard on display.
If she rode an aero road bike like that in the recent Women’s Paris-Roubaix, which the photo seems to suggest, that’s quite an advert for the comfort of Fizik’s saddles.
Cervelo stand was busy as usual. I don’t know why. It was like this last time I visited. Maybe it’s the proximity to natural light coming through the nearby windows.
Or maybe the proximity to the contents of Wout Van Aert’s garage.
We cyclists are a strange bunch. Most of us have a road bike in our garage that’s less than clean. We salivate over shiny top of the range velocipedes, sparkling under the show spotlights. We venerate a bike still covered in northern French cow shit.
This dirty Pinarello, which is not a sex act, was ridden by Gianni Moscon in his valiant recent Paris-Roubaix attempt. Whence clean, I’m pretty sure it’s a Dogma F.
Onto a bike that’s not for riding in the rain.
Having launched the Team GB track bike for the Tokyo Olympics at the Rouleur event in 2019, Hope were back, this time making one live. This chap is laying up a new carbon frame in one of their frankly very beautiful moulds. I’d hazard a guess that this is the most expensive bike at the show. They’re on sale to the general public. Hope hasn’t sold one yet.
Back to slightly more attainable bikes. This is a rather stunning titanium affair from Passoni. Grrr.
This one from Genesis, despite the eye-catching paint job and the mahoosive deep section wheels is, I think, there to show off the Vittoria Corsa tyres.
Nice but not exactly the first thing your eye is drawn to. But then I don’t have a fetish for rubber. Your mileage may vary.
Every cycle show needs a bike made out of a tree. Not wishing to disappointed, here we have a wooden-framed bike from Twmpa cycles. I have no idea how to pronounce that name.
And no, your eyes do not deceive you. It’s another road bike, or presumably gravel bike, with a front suspension fork.
Now if I was making a front fork out of wood, I’d go with English Yew, the stuff we used to make long bows out of. Very bendy. I’ll email them.
In addition to a trend of showing expensive bikes with mud still on them, there was even more of a trend of showing bikes with luggage on.
Which it turns out I’m massively in favour of.
I’ve recently developed a fetish for nicely designed sacs du velo. As no Frenchman calls them.
Look at this undersaddle bad boy.
This adventurous steed is an F/AR from Fara Cycling, based in Norway. The AR stands for All-road, and the specially-designed bags come supplied with the bike. Now, I’ve looked at the website, I very heart and very want this bike.
Fara also does a road bike, the F/RD, and a gravel variant, the F/GR. Fara does seem to like a nice forward slash.
Whmpa, there’s that Twmpa bike again. And as this is the dedicated gravel bike room, we can confirm that the Twmpa is a gravel bike. No suspension fork on this one though.
A bit more bike luggage porn slides into shot and … WTF is that?
Which clown thought attaching skis to a bike was a good idea?
And here, from
Italian bike companies tend *not* to be under-represented at Rouleur Live. We’ve had eyefuls of Colnago. So where, you ask, are are Cinelli. Here, I say, showing you some photos.
I think the avant-garde track bike and the gold-coloured Columbus steel frame were both Cinellis, but this bike leaves us in no doubt as to its maker. The winning bike in the U23 road race world championships.
Not to be outdone on the ‘being an Italian bike company’ front, Bianchi were also there to show off their celeste-ial wares.
Which brings us to the Wahoo section. Where I’m in danger a bit of a fan boy. Not ideal when you’re trying to publish somewhat impartial bike tech videos.
These shots are interesting, yes interesting, because they show two, count ’em, new Wahoo products.
First the Kickr Rollr. No letter ‘e’ in the name and also no need to remove the back wheel from your bike whence indoor training. The large bracket at the front keeps the front wheel, and the bike, from toppling over.
Second, those Speedplay pedals are the lesser-spotted-and-still-to-be-released power meter variant. Which I’ve been waiting all my life for.
Returning to Wah-products you can buy right now, here’s a Kickr smart indoor trainer along with the Climb gradient simulation thingummy.
And both are attached to the super light Specialized Aethos. Which counts as another bike for the video.
It’s less clear that the Wahoo Kickr smart bike counts towards the total. But whatever, I got to ride on it. And now I wants one. For the living room.
Here concludes my Rouleur velo bling-athon. I would tell you how many bikes we’ve just drooled over but I couldn’t be arsed to count them. Let’s say… 68 (ok, I did try to count them).
If you like nice bikes, or just a quick dirty Pinarello, please do let me know in the comments below. Laters!