Only the second week of 2024 and we have had quite the busy one in terms of interesting cycling news. There’s the usual industry stuff (read: doom and gloom) including post Christmas sales chatter and what not. But also the start of the 2024 cycling season so lots from both men’s and women’s pro tours.
Let’s dive right on into it, shall we?
Lotto Dstny Teams Up with Orbea for Replica Rides
Last week we covered how Belgian pro cycling team Lotto Dstny had switched Spanish bike manufacturer Orbea, ditching their 12-year allegiance with Ridley.
This new collaboration for the 2024 season introduces a fleet of cutting-edge Orbea bikes, including the lightweight Orca and aerodynamic Orca Aero, both now available as suitably pricey consumer replicas.
These bikes, featuring Lotto Dstny’s red and blue colours, offer us normal roadies a taste of pro performance, if you have the deep pockets to get involved.
The Orca M10i LTD Replica clocks in at £12,499 and the Orca Aero M10i LTD Replica £11,999. They are being branded as “collectors items”. Only the plus side, all the custom configuration options are ‘free’ of charge.
Shimano’s AI Bike Thinks For Itself
Shimano’s latest patent hints at a future where your bike might just outsmart you! Envision a world where dropper seatposts, front suspension, and saddle tilt adjust themselves automatically, all thanks to the power of machine learning.
This innovative tech, detailed in a new patent, features a handlebar-mounted screen that learns and adapts to your riding preferences in real-time.
Giving feedback is as simple as a Facebook-like ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’, guiding the AI to fine-tune your ride for maximum comfort and efficiency.
I’m looking forwards to a future where my toilet’s AI gives me feedback on my diet composition.
This one is a few years old now (2020) when it was first picked up by Bicycle Retailer. However it got picked back up again this week by Cycling Weekly.
Simon Clarke’s Secret Weapon Unveiled at Aussie Nationals
Simon Clarke, of Israel Premier-Tech, made waves at the Australian UCI National Road Championships this week (03-07 Jan 24) riding the yet-to-be-released Factor Ostro VAM.
This bike, boasting advanced aerodynamics, was caught on camera by a Queensland-based chain waxing service and scrutinised on social media for its sleek design.
From its narrowed headtube to the tapered top tube, every element screams efficiency.
Velo asked Factor for more info on the bike, but they gave a really generic answer about being in the testing phase of development. Could mean anything.
UCI’s Brake Lever Ban Slammed by Victor Campenaerts
Reported on back in mid December, the UCI’s crackdown on angled brake levers has drawn strong criticism from Victor Campenaerts.
He calls the rule “bullshit” and questions its ambiguity, suggesting riders may resort to flared handlebars to circumvent it.
The UCI aims to regulate extreme brake lever inclination due to safety concerns, but the lack of clarity in their statement leaves room for interpretation.
Campenaerts predicts an influx of beach racing handlebars in the peloton, deeming the rule ineffective.
Wiggle’s Wheeling In £26m Debt
This week’s news on Wiggle Chain Reaction Cycles financial woes saw the release of the administrator’s report, exposing debts exceeding £26 million.
The document published on Companies House discloses a lengthy list of creditors, including major brands like Garmin and Haribo, owed substantial sums.
The plot thickens as some debts have been altered due to contractual intricacies. Last I heard, there were at least 26 other companies interested in buying Wiggle.
🍊 Orange Bikes on a Rocky Trail
Continuing on that regular theme of 2023 being a tumultuous year for the UK cycling industry, Orange Bikes has announced its intention to appoint an administrator, a move coming shortly after disbanding their in-house off-road race team due to financial strains and industry uncertainties.
Founded in 1988, Orange Bikes is a more known in mountain biking than on the road, with its Clockwork hardtail and a string of successful race victories.
Despite its influential role in the UK’s mountain biking scene, the company now faces restructuring efforts with a specialist business rescue advisory firm, aiming to safeguard jobs and ensure the business’s future.
It seems like 2024 has kicked off much as 2023 ended.
Raleigh’s Ride of Restructuring
Continuing the story from a couple of weeks back, Raleigh, the renowned British cycling brand, faces a challenging path ahead with confirmed job cuts and a shift in its Nottingham headquarters.
The brand’s parts and accessories sector is also set to close, with warehousing duties being outsourced.
This restructuring, under parent company Accell, aims to position the brand for sustainable growth while keeping its roots in the Nottingham area.
The good news just keeps on coming, doesn’t it?
As with all ‘struggling financially’ stories, this one got picked up far and wide. The BBC was where I first saw this one.
Pedalling Past the Pandemic
Being nosy, it’s always interesting to take a peek behind the curtain. Bicycle Retailer’s Rick Vosper analyses the challenging year of 2023 from the perspective of bike retailers and suppliers, highlighting a significant dip in non-electric bike sales but a rise in e-bike popularity.
Despite a record low in overall sales and high product inventories, there’s optimism for 2024 with projections of improved sales, particularly in electric and kids’ bikes.
However, the industry still grapples with leftover inventory from 2023 and the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, indicating a gradual recovery rather than an immediate rebound.
If you’re not yet ready to succumb to depression, you can read this one in full (along with a couple of nerdy graphs to enjoy) over at Bicycle Retailer.
Enve’s Parent Company Amer Sports Pedals Towards a $10 Billion IPO
Amer Sports, the company behind Enve Composites, is gearing up for a major shift. They’re filing for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the U.S., potentially valuing the company at $10 billion.
This move means us cyclist and investors alike could soon own a slice of this sporting giant, which also boasts brands like Arc’teryx and Wilson Sporting Goods.
Amer, which snapped up Enve in 2016, is showing no signs of slowing down. With Enve’s recent entry into the WorldTour with its Melee bike, it’s something of a more positive financial story given the previous four.
The difference here, as best I can tell, is diversification. Amer aren’t exclusively in the bike business. Contrast that with Raleigh’s parent Accell Group, who own plenty of companies but they are all bike related. Still, with four out of every five cycling financial stories being negative, it’s making my wallet clamp up at the thought.
Beyond Netflix ‘Unchained’
One interesting article I read this week was from Pez Cycling’s Spencer Martin who took a dive into the cycling world’s latest drama and data.
From the lukewarm impact of Netflix’s ‘Unchained’ on pro cycling viewership to startling UCI salary leaks, he took us on a ride through the challenges facing the bike industry.
The article then shifts gears to the future of Team Ineos amidst Manchester United’s new deal, and the controversy of the Cian Uijtdebroeks affair, highlighting the sport’s uphill struggles and potential routes to a smoother ride ahead.
This piece is a must-read for those of us following the intricate behind-the-scenes of professional cycling.
6 Pedalling Prodigies of 2024
Cycling Weekly’s “Six young riders to watch in 2024” article features rising stars like the afore mentioned Cian Uijtdebroeks, already showing Grand Tour potential, and Puck Pieterse, who’s transitioning her cyclo-cross prowess to road racing.
Also highlighted are Antonia Niedermaier, a versatile climber and time trialist, Jack Rootkin-Gray’s inspiring journey to a WorldTour contract, Luke Lamperti’s criterium dominance, and Izzy Sharp’s time trialling ambitions.
These six young cyclists represent the bright future of professional cycling, promising thrilling races and inspiring performances in the upcoming season.
Team GB’s Untested Hope-Lotus Track Bikes
Cycling Weekly dropped this one. Apparently none of Great Britain’s riders are currently using the new Hope-Lotus HBT track bikes at the European Track Championships, and the question looms: will they make their debut at the Paris Olympics this August?
Despite being unveiled last July, these high-tech bikes are still awaiting their time in the spotlight.
The clock’s ticking for manufacturers to deliver the ‘most advanced bike’ for British athletes, but with only a single competition outing so far, it’s a race against time and design tweaks.
Froome Zooms for Gaza
Chris Froome, the renowned cyclist and four-time Tour de France winner, has taken a strong stand in a video promoting “The Ride to Bring Them Home Now” event.
This mass solidarity ride, scheduled for Sunday 14th January 2024, aims to support hostages held in Gaza.
Froome, riding for the Israel — Premier Tech Pro Cycling Team, urges cyclists worldwide to join in, each tying a yellow ribbon to their bikes as a symbol of solidarity.
The event, with rides planned in major cities like Tel Aviv, Barcelona, and Los Angeles, has garnered both praise for Froome’s humanitarian effort and criticism over potential ‘sportswashing’.
Ranking The 2024 WorldTour Kits
From the fashionably forgettable to the dazzlingly delightful, Cyclist.co.uk scrutinised every jersey in the peloton.
UAE Team ADQ’s ‘beige blunder’ bags the bottom spot, while EF Education-EasyPost’s ‘Battenberg beauty’ takes the top tier with its pastel perfection.
This is a lighthearted, colourful critique, where style meets the saddle.
Only 18th (and a 2 out of 5) for the Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale? Madness! That kit is a lovely shade of blue. I’m outraged.
If you liked this one, there were a couple more:
- Are EF Pro Cycling’s national champion kits the prettiest in the peloton? (Cycling Weekly)
- All the team kits for 2024: Lifeplus-Wahoo team up with MAAP on new green kit (Cycling Weekly)
Somethings For Cyclists At CES2024
Being a massive nerd, CES2024 is always an interesting event for me. Taking place early every January in Las Vegas, I am too much of a nobody to make it there myself, so I rely on YouTube for my roundups. This year sees a lot of AI (unsurprisingly), and E-Bikes a-plenty.
Road.cc did a good job of tracking down the most relatable cyclist tech in this post which they gave a very long title, but the click-bait bit is “7 weird and wonderful cycling/fitness gadgets from CES 2024“.
There are also similar (non-CES) posts to check out:
- Seatposts that look like Dyson fans and no more cables: tech trends we’ll see in 2024 (Cycling Weekly)
- All the cycling tech leaked by the pros in 2024 (Cyclist.co.uk)
DC Rainmaker’s Garmin HRM-FIT Review
This week Garmin released the HRM-FIT, a heart rate monitor specifically designed for women.
The strap snaps onto your sports bra, blending the features of Garmin’s HRM-PRO series with increased comfort.
DC Rainmaker provides a typically extensive and thorough exploration of its usability, from the simple box contents to its fit and setup.
Is it the ultimate solution for female athletes, or an additional complexity in their fitness regime?
USA Cycling eSports National Championships
Velo ran an article this week covering the 2024 USA Cycling eSports National Championships.
I think the biggest surprise (for me) was that these ran on Zwift, rather than the official UCI partner, MyWhoosh.
Velo have linked to all the power numbers, courtesy of Strava, so you can see just how far removed the average mortal is from their abilities.
Solid imagery here from a Reddit thread titled “How safe is your local bike lane?“
As a Brit, I can safely say… bike lane? What is that?
Minus 21c? Let’s Ride!
Anything around freezing and I’m layering up: undies, vest, base-layer, bib tights, jersey, gilet, jacket, dressing gown…
Redditor Ultimate_Jakob dropped this one with the title “Riding in -21 Celsius. What’s your record?“
It was the ice what caught my attention, but the Moose which blew my mind.
Bike Video Of The Week
Any video from Luke at TraceVelo is an immediate watch for me. And this one is pretty much the standard of his content.
I got four (I think) genuine laugh-out-loud moments from this one.
The content is second to none, and whilst he does things differently to me (and, I’m guessing, many other roadies), his insights and expertise are second to none.
Bike Of The Week
This is the Felt F3X, which is a cyclocross bike.
Sorry, not sorry.
Absolutely gorgeous. Two more close ups to enjoy.
OK, that’s it from me for this week. See you in the next one!