Eurobike 2014: The Best Of The Rest, Plus More Fatbikes Than You Ever Thought Possible

Over the last week I’ve gone off on an unusually long tangent in the field of cycle touring equipment, mainly because I happened to be passing by the world’s biggest bicycle industry expo in Friedrichshafen, Germany, and thought it’d be rude not to drop in.

We’ve so far seen awards won by world tourers from KTM, an internal gearing system that hopes to rival Rohloff, a new range of extremely swanky panniers and luggage from Brooks, and new folding tourers from Tern.

Now, for those of you who’re bored of gear or were never interested in it anyway, you’ll breathe a sigh of relief to know that today’s post is the last in this little series.

I’ll run down, in no particular order, the remaining oddities and innovations that might be of interest to the adventure cycle traveller that I saw while Tenny was looking at clothes.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15081365586/

Finally, to end on a light note, I’ll list every fatbike I managed to find on show at this year’s expo, in case anyone was under the impression that fatbiking was still a remotely leftfield niche of cycling. (When Scott are demonstrating a fatbike, you know it’s gone mainstream.)

Next week we’ll be back to something with a little more substance – namely, training for cycle touring. And it absolutely won’t be the kind of training you’re thinking of. Watch this space.

* * *

On with the show…

Surly’s Troll is now well-established as a top-notch all-terrain adventure bike with space for luggage. (Just ask Cass.)

This year they’re launching the World Troller, which is the same frame but with S&S couplings for ease of transport to far-flung wildernesses. Fun times.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917788069/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15104110612/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15104479915/

Burley were demonstrating their Eurobike-award-winning Travoy trailer, which could be a neat option for converting a road-bike into a light tourer.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917539007/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15101099761/

Their well-known Nomad cargo trailer has been tweaked and is now as user-friendly as it’s ever been, with a very useful top rack, a fully waterproof cover, and lots of pockets in the interior. They’re distributed in the UK through Raleigh.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917418449/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917458370/

Poison, a small German outfit, had two Rohloff-equipped tourers on display, with chain drive and belt-drive options…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917466189/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15081140926/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15104153935/

Schauff, another small German company, make ‘heavyweight’ touring bikes (and tandems), designed for up to 200kg total weight…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15104068402/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917867248/

There were plenty of touring trailers on show with kids in mind…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917522180/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917572940/

…and dogs…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15101160461/

…and if one trailer isn’t enough, why not take three?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917560060/

Ever thought of earning your crust on tour by working as an occasional taxi service?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15101155231/

Or parcel delivery service?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15101317721/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917685720/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15103845352/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917475649/

If you’ve ever thought it’d be interesting to cut open the entire Schwalbe Marathon range of touring tyres to see what’s inside, this’ll save you some money:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917697228/

Vaude, being based just down the road from the show, were showing off their Ortlieb-equivalent luggage offerings:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917727130/

HP Velotechnik’s Scorpion electric-assisted trikes (with cargo racks) proved fun to ride…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15103716332/

Folding semi-recumbent tandem, anyone?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917876707/

* * *

OK.

Fatbikes.

(The world’s gone mad.)

Here’s Scott’s take on the idea…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15103738032/

Felt have gone for the road cruiser slant…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917530518/

SE Bikes’ offering is fairly traditional…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917822108/

As are KHS’s, if a little curvier…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15104421565/

And Silverback’s…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917880718/

And Author’s…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15104483025/

And Konstruktive’s…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917847410/

Belt-drive is really coming of age, and so of course there had to be a belt-driven fatbike on the way…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917929298/

Long-haul touring on a fatbike is entirely within the realms of possibility, as Ortlieb (in conjunction with Velotraum) demonstrate…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15101366351/

With the surge in demand, front suspension for fatbikes seems suddenly feasible…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15104312525/

Norco also jumping on this particular bandwagon…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917825108/

But Salsa have outdone everyone in this department by launching the Bucksaw, the only full-suspension fatbike I saw at the show…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917884157/

Salsa also do a range of more traditional fatbikes, such as the Blackborow

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15104087752/

Kids aren’t left out of the fatbike scene…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15103954532/

E-bikes being the theme of the show this year, where would we be without e-fatbikes? (Or should that be fat-e-bikes?)

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15104093785/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917449860/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917575819/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15101314571/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15104128492/

Yes, fatbiking is such a ‘thing’ now that the 1st International Fatbike Festival is due to take place this winter.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917888588/

But it’s probably Surly’s original Pugsley that’s done more for fatbiking than any other bike…

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917901327/

They’ve gone and launched a new one for good measure, though, named the Ice Cream Truck.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/15104467145/

* * *

Sitting in the corner of the Surly stand – unnoticed by anyone, it seemed – was a Long Haul Trucker.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/tom-allen/14917905908/

And you know what?

Innovation is all well and good, and that’s what Eurobike is all about.

But that timeless bike was still – for me – the best in show.

Because when it comes to do-it-all touring bicycles for tours of anywhere from a weekend to a decade in length, tried-and-tested wins every time.

14 Responses to “Eurobike 2014: The Best Of The Rest, Plus More Fatbikes Than You Ever Thought Possible”

  1. bob

    What’s the purpose of fatbikes? They do look exceedingly awesome, but aside from that?

    Reply
    • Tom Allen

      Bigger contact area with the ground gives the rider the ability to ‘float’ on top of snow and sand, as well as on exceedingly rough ground. Snow biking was, I believe, the original purpose.

      Reply
      • bob

        Thanks for the info.

        Reply
      • Stephen King

        Tom, you’re a mine of information. =)

        I prefer the trad look, too. Psychologically, they just seem faster – but I could be tempted by some of those big bads…

        Reply
  2. Elio

    I am a bit disappointed with the Word Troller. I thought they would increase the headtube and chainstay lengths…and the white color is the cherry on the cake.

    Reply
  3. tommaso

    Hello Tom
    In the first pic of this report I saw a glimpse of the German Fahrrad Manufaktur production.
    I’m following them because it seemed to me that especially in the cheap zone (T 100, T 300), they made very good bicycles. Have you, please any review about them.
    Thank You, from Italy Tommaso

    Reply
  4. josh tk

    While biking down the PCH, we ran in to a guy who was traveling around the perimeter of the US with a fat bike (surly, I believe). His bike was mounted with multiple cameras and he had electrical tape wrapped super-thickly around the handle bars. I lost his contact info, and would love to see how far his trip has taken him. He said he was making a documentary of his travels. If anyone out there has seen, heard, or met this guy, feel free to share his website/contact info!

    ~ p.s. great list, but yeah… classic bike will always take a cheap, steel framed mountain bike from Craigslist over anything else.

    Reply
  5. Patrick Kelly

    Are you allowed to say/write “traditional fatbikes” ? Aren’t the nomenclature police gonna come and get you?

    Reply
  6. Ryan

    Fat bikes have such a cool look to them. The question is how good are they to tour on if you’re not planning on heading off road too often?

    Reply
  7. Cyclist Kabir

    There are a huge number purposes of fatbikes. Fatbikes were invented for winter trail riding and racing in sub-arctic Alaska and simultaneously. I’ve purchased one for my daughter. She was pleased to get it to ride on snow.

    Reply
  8. John

    I ride fatbikes, I have 3, and can say that although they were originally designed for snow and sand they are just great fun to ride. Some are more suitable for touring than others, due to geometry, mounting points etc, but I find myself choosing my fatbike more than any of my others on a daily basis. I have various other bikes including a disc trucker, which is remarkably versatile, but nothing provides the pure grin factor of a Fat bike…… All in my humble opinion anyway 🙂

    Reply
  9. Fatbike Surly Pugsley – pierwsze wrażenia! | OneMoreBike

    […] roku europa nie jest jednak bardzo w tyle i grube opony dało się zauważyć u wielu wystawców na Eurobike w Friedrichshafen. Historia początków fatbike’ów nie jest bardzo odległa i ma dwa główne zalążki na […]

    Reply

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