A nice addition to the World Marathon Championships was a tech show laid on by the organisers in the centre of town. Quite a few big brands made the effort to represent, bringing with them a decent selection of tech old and new. Obviously, being Italy, the big Italian brands were there in force, notably Bianchi who had a large celeste-coloured stand right at the heart of things where they were showing off their full suss xc/marathon bike the Ethanol in pride of place. They also seemed to be doing a good job of tuning up the bikes of people lucky enough to already own a Bianchi before the big day – service with a smile!
Vittoria had a full range of tyres for both road and XC, including their new treads the Peyote and Barzo. The Peyote in particular looked like a good shout for the course, with some steep, ramped side knobs for cornering traction, and lower, faster-rolling tread in the centre for straight-line speed. In general, the vittoria xc tyres on show bucked the “wider is better” trend, but then the larger contact patch on 29ers mean that for pure racing, you can get away with narrow 2.0 treads and still have grip to spare. Vittoria have also branched out into road and xc wheels, and even had a set of carbon “race” carbon 29er tubular wheels. Bravery required on a course like the Sella Ronda Hero!
The Mavic stand was pretty easy to spot, a magnet to insects and Francophiles alike, and held their standard mixture of clothing, wheels and helmets, but sadly nothing new and exciting to speak of.
Leonardi racing are one of my favourite Italian brands, always innovating new solutions to old problems. They had their range of expander cassettes on display, alongside some seriously steep Cannondale drop stems designed to work with the lefty/OPI system.
A cool piece of downtube carbon armour to stop stones tearing chunks out of your expensive frame was a cool innovation, and light to boot. They also had a lot of small narrow-wide chainrings, and must have been doing a roaring trade in 28s!
A single-ring crankset with an offroad take on the Osymmetric chainring design took pride of place. Q-rings make a bit more sense to me on 1-by setups, otherwise I suspect the compromised shifting probably negates any real benefit.
Sidi had an amazing array of cycling shoes in a bewildering array of colours, almost all of them seemingly fluoro, and again were not short on interest from the general populus, keen to see what next seasons “must have” would be (my money’s on turquoise – we XC folk are always a year behind our Enduro bros).