Last Friday I headed to Melbourne to visit the Ausbike Expo which is the annual bike industry trade show which this year featured hundreds of new products and services for the Australian bike industry.
I spent all day working my way from stand to stand asking the eager participants if they had any products specifically designed for female cyclists or products they believed would appeal to women. Quite a few people steered me towards anything pink but I quickly explained that while pink is popular with some women cyclists it doesn’t appeal to me and I know many of my readers agree.
So here’s a few highlights of the show:
Felt women’s time trial bikes – Nic from Felt distributor Southcott told me that Felt has two women’s time trial bikes in its range that were developed by women for women. They look very impressive – DA 4w and B 16w.
I dropped by the Specialized stand and caught up with Tanya who is the Sydney-based rep who I’ve met a number of times before. Tanya pointed out a few highlights from this year’s women’s range included the very good-looking Specialized S-works Amira road bike (pictured); all new women’s S-works road shoes; and two new helmets that have been designed specifically to fit a ponytails through the back of the helmet.
I was also impressed with the Hincapie clothing range that we’ve not seen a lot of in Australia yet. They have a range of both men’s and women’s gear including a nifty arm and leg band that looks like a charcoal grey colour but contains reflector material that glows when lights are shone on it – great for visibility. The same distributor also told me about the new Garmin cycle computers that are due for release in January 2013.
I was impressed by a Kiwi custom cycle clothing company called Tineli. They have a retail range of cycling clothing for both men and women but also produce custom clothing. I know there’s plenty of companies who produce custom clothing but I was impressed with what Jono had to say.
There seems to be more and more bike events calling themselves ‘Gran Fondo’ and I heard about a new one to be held in Beechworth Victoria from 19-21 April 2013. There’s a 173 km ride, an 83 km ride and a two day gourmet ‘Fondo’. It’s a lovely part of Victoria so should be a great event.
From Pearl Azumi clothing I learned a few insights about women’s cycling apparel. The helpful man I chatted with said that women are more price conscious than men; that the feel of the fabric is very important to women; that we like block colours; and bib knicks that are easy to remove. I was impressed to hear that the Pearl Azumi women’s range is developed and tested by women.
I also found the BV Sport socks very interesting. They have both socks that you wear for activities like cycling and running and a range of recovery socks. I never knew so much research could go into a pair of socks. Stay tuned for a future review on these.
It was great to see the enthusiasm from the industry. Perhaps by Sunday afternoon they weren’t so eager but were certainly keen to talk all things bike on the Friday. Well done to the organisers.
A great weekend in Melbourne was topped off by a visit to Specialized’s HQ in Port Melbourne. Laura Wilson who looks after women’s marketing showed me around and briefed me on Specialized’s women’s ride month that is coming up in November. Stay tuned for more details. I also enjoyed my visit to the ‘Specialized Bicycle Components University’ and meeting the knowledgeable Adam Nicholson who regular trains Specialized dealers and mechanics.