As a consumer it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff and after a while you feel drowned in a sea of more or less similar products and marketing bubbles.
The Bike Valley Innovation Awards @Velofollies will try to help you to see some of the better products. Entries to the award need to reflect a certain level of innovation, which can be in design, creativity or even in business model & offering. Although it is rather difficult to judge the amount of innovation since innovations can be in a total different field, f.e. they can be very technical but also design innovation and business model innovation are not excluded from this competition.
But let’s present our jury first:
From left to right you see Steven Kins, editor at Golazo (Cycling.be), Bart De Schampheleire, editor at GRINTA, Sven Vlassenroot, Project Manager at the Flemish Institute for Mobility and manager of the Bikeform-project, Hans Versmissen, Innovation Management Consultant and cycling fanatic and the the right Bert Celis of Flanders’ Bike Valley, chairman of the jury (without voting rights but guiding the selection process).
ELEVEN ZEROS with the X-UP BIKE STAND
As a jury we also try to look for innovations that look rather simple but can make life a lot easier. This new X-UP Bike stand is really something that falls into the category of simple products that make life easier with a reasonable cost price level. A big advantage is that you can also use it for multiple sizes of tire width.
Anyway, just look at the pictures or come and see the stand at our booth at Velofollies or later on at the Bike Valley concept store… they speek for themselves.
BIORACER with the EPIC BIBSHORT
These new bibshorts of BioRacer are already well-known but the new EPIC Bibshort has really graduated muscle compression in the leg panels, which means you don’t get any irritation from elastic bands, which you can sometimes encounter after long rides. BioRacer also a new integrated Vapor Pad. The pad is made of Evapore, a 3D webbing that reacts differently to vibration and compression that will rubberize upon impact creating a shock absorbing layer.
BioRacer also doesn’t forget half of the population since for the Epic Women a BibZip facilitates toilet stops and makes stripping clothing a thing from the past, which is of course a big benefit for women.
VELOCITE with Venn Filament wound bicycle rims, and at the same time also winner of the START-UP INNOVATION AWARD.
Velocite really reinvented the wheel by a new way of manufacturing rims. Until now commercially available carbon fiber composite rims were manufactured using labour intensive methods – by hand.
Venn filament wound rims are the first carbon fiber composite rims in the world to take advantage of an automated production method –filament winding- to produce commercially successful rims that also meet or exceed the performance of the highest quality hand made carbon fiber composite rims. The fibers are also laid up under tension, without crimp. By this new manufacturing process, Velocite took a big disruptive leap in the history of rims and we hope to hear more of them in the near future.
ALSO NOMINATED and FINALLY SELECTED as the WINNER…
The most of the votes went to the Trek Domane SLR. Briefly said we find it very innovative that it is possible to adjust comfort level of a bike. With comfort level we really mean vibrations and road-smoothing characteristics to a new level. Not every rider is really satisfied with high stiffness on race frames, so making it adjustable is a good evolution.
So what has Trek actually done ? The Domane SLR uses an upgraded IsoSpeed rear decoupler that Trek pioneered on the original Isospeed, which provides double the vertical compliance of a standard road bike without sacrificing power transfer. This Isospeed decoupler allows the seat tube to move independently of the top tube so as to absorb road vibration, is now adjustable. As before, the seat post and seat tube are connected by a pair of bearings, but now there’s a slider tucked neatly between the two that moves up and down to tune the ride.
The design allows micro-adjustments for heavier or lighter riders, and it also allows for terrain-specific tuning, for instance stiffest on all-pavement rides and softest on gravel (or cobbles).
Trek has also added a decoupler at the front of the bike, which works like the rear by allowing the steer tube to flex independently of the head tube. The company says the Front IsoSpeed improves front end compliance by 10 percent over the previous Domane. There’s also a new handlebar, which weaves a layer of thermoplastic elastomer inside the carbon shell of the bars to improve vibration damping by a claimed 20 percent. By a short test ride we were also convinced that these are not just claims; we’ve also tested it briefly in a vibration bike stand of Bike Labs which also measures the vibration characteristics.