The Santos Tour Down Under is much more than just a bike race, it's a festival of cycling with brilliant local riding, a chance to rub shoulders with the pros and for the brands and manufacturers, it's a chance to display and launch new products. We took a walk around the Tour Down Under village to see what bikes, products and tech are new and exciting for 2017.
A big feature at the Cannondale tent was the new Super X cyclocross bike, which Stephen Hyde recently rode to victory at the US Cyclocross Nationals. The newly designed bike features 'AI' technology at the rear, which is an asymmetrical design to shorten the chainstay length, allowing for better traction on those slippery CX courses. It also features 'Out front' technology at the front of the bike to improve handling by slackening the headtube angle and increasing the trail. Discover more about geometry and how trail and the headtube angle affects a bike's handling.
At the Shimano Experience Project, the new Dura Ace R9100 was on display. This is the 10th edition of the industry-leading groupset which landed on Australian shores prior to Christmas, closely followed by the R9150 electronic version, which is available now too. The new groupset boasts plenty of upgrades including a new rear derailleur, beefed up crank, stiffer brakes, and new shifters with a shorter throw and similar feel and profile across mechanical, electronic and hydraulic groupsets. To find out more, check out our ten things to know about the 2017 Dura Ace feature.
Also on display were the new Dura Ace pedals which are lighter and have a larger platform than the previous model, allowing for greater power transfer.
Pioneer has vastly increased its range of power meters for 2017, now offering 10 fit options (up from two), for left-only versions including mountain bike and carbon crank options. They have also developed dual-sided power meters for the above mentioned Dura Ace R9100, Dura Ace 9000, Ultegra 6800 and the mid-range Campagnolo Potenza crankset.
The Focus tent had the new Paralane, a super versatile bike, which is part road bike, part gravel grinder and part adventure bike. It features disc brakes, huge tyre clearance and endurance geometry.
The Schwalbe display confirmed the cliche adage that everything that's old is new again. The exceedingly popular 'One' is Schwalbe's best clincher tyre and is now available in a skin or tan wall option, such is the popularity of the retro cotton tubular look.
Another new product launched at the TDU is the 'Aeromax' sunglass from Bolle. The new glasses feature Trivex lenses, anti-fog coating on the inside, a hydrophobic coating on the outside, and wire-core temples allowing you to customise your fit.
Giant had its full 2017 road range on display at the TDU village, but the new TCR Advanced Pro Disc was the main talking point. The TCR is Giant's flagship performance road bike and in 2016 the frame was re-engineered to improve stiffness, ride quality and cut some weight. In 2017, the new frame gets fitted with flat-mount disc brakes as the push towards disc brakes on road bikes becomes stronger.
It wasn't all about road bikes at the TDU Village, as an example, Cervelo were showing off its unorthodox new triathlon bike, the P5X. Cervelo describes the new bike as the 'most technologically advanced bike in the world' combining aerodynamics, stiffness, and integration, not to mention disc brakes which are new to the world of triathlon.
If you missed any of the action from the 2017 our Down Under, go to our TDU bucket for race reports, pro bikes, the best local rides and more cool tech features.